Monday, November 08, 2004

The war comes home 

For years now, Canadians have been able to look at the ridiculous Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the United States and be a little bit self-satisfied that our government wasn't so short-sighted about what creates technological innovation or so beholden to the film and audio recording industries. Now, however, our so-called Liberal government has gotten into its head that it urgently needs to change Canadian copyright law to "ratify" the WIPO copyright treaties-- and that means big trouble for Canadian technology companies, Canadian consumers, and Canadian citizens who value the privacy and freedom of their communications.

How so, you ask?

Well, for starters, some of the changes proposed to the Copyright Act would include making it illegal to circumvent any sort of technological measure used to control access to a copyrighted work. That would mean that even though one part of the Copyright Act says it's perfectly legal for you to copy part of a text for you to review it, another would make it illegal for you to bypass any encryption to actually do so-- that is, by adding encryption, a publisher could extend control over digital works beyond what the Copyright Act actually gives them. So if the publisher didn't want your kind of review written, too bad for you-- and too bad for everyone else who might want to know what you have to say.

Also important, one of the proposed changes would make it so anyone who claims you're infringing their Copyright could have your content removed from the Internet. and if your Internet Service provider doesn't do so promptly at their request, it could be sued in court in a flash. This might not be so bad if all copies not authorized by the rightsholder were illegal, but they're not. In fact, copyright law lets people make lots of copies for all kinds of purposes like research and news reporting, no matter what the author or owner of the copyright says. It's set up this way for lots of good reasons, from allowing free political expression to helping students and scientists learn without some publisher breathing down their neck. And it should stay set up this way, no matter what some $300,000 a year lawyer for the recording industry says, even if he is married to one of the Cowboy Junkies.

Forewarned is forearmed, so go forth and let your elected representatives know what you think about this attempt to hijack Canadian consumers, Canadian artists, writers and programmers, and the Copyright Act itself.

LINK: petition

LINK: from boingboing

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?