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The Progressive Economics Forum

The Canadian DMCA: Evidence that we are a colony

It is with considerable disgust that we watch the Conservatives introduce the US entertainment industry’s wet dream of legislation to amend copyright laws in its favour. Without any evidence that the super-profits being reaped by Big Media have been adversely affected by file sharing. Without any consultation with Canadians. Without any demonstrable benefit to Canadians as consumers, artists or content creators.

In fact, a whole group of Canadian artists have objected to this legislation. And there is evidence commissioned by the government itself that file sharing is good (not bad) for artists (see this post).

Even in terms of international negotiations, this move is appalling. Through sheer bullying by the US government and Big Media, the Conservatives are giving away the store without even getting any concessions. Yet, when Canada seeks resolution of its trade irritants with the US we get to talk to the hand (politely, less we offend). Compare this to the lengthy negotiations over softwood lumber.

Some have taken to calling this the Canadian DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), as it mimics to a large degree the US version that allows Big Media to sue teenagers and students for “piracy”. The Conservatives have thus responded by giving it an Orwellian slogan, “Made-in-Canada Copyright Reform”.

Alas, it is not just the Conservatives, either; the Liberals tried the same thing before they were ousted from government. That one died due to the last federal election. Hopefully, this one will meet a similar fate. And in case you find this all very boring, check out the comic book version.

UPDATE (June 16): The Globe’s banner headline on this issue from June 13, Ottawa gets tough with illegal downloaders, is blatantly misleading. The intention of the Canadian DMCA is to make file sharing illegal, as in the US, but it is currently legal in Canada. What is illegal is recording something on your VCR and watching it later (known as “time shifting”), something the new act will legalize (subject to some conditions). It is annoying when a national newspaper frames the issue in such a way as to influence readers before they have had a chance to read the article, which contains some good rebuttals.

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from ScruffyDan
Time: June 12, 2008, 4:32 pm

It is enough to make one sick. The NDP seem to be the only party willing to listen to Canadians (instead of the MAFIAA). The other parties have sold us out on copyright.

Comment from shieldcore
Time: June 12, 2008, 8:01 pm

Fair to say our government has sold out to the US money masters. Is it any wonder Americans are unwelcome in more and more countries with every passing year? Canadians don’t count in the corridors of power. I will protest, shun the bully tactics of thugs who overtly wave the flag of choice and openly profess the true values that they have secretly gutted in favor of the almighty dollar which they truly revere as their only god!
I visualize these money masters as freeloaders, people with no talent other than an aversion to real work.
It is time to stop confusing people with money lords who prey on the average citizen.
It is time to protest with those hard earned dollars in your wallet, by refusing to purchase trade marked and copyrighted junk and, instead, turning to open sourced products like Linux, free music and free videos.
Everyone has experienced the “150 TV channels and nothing on” syndrome. WE the people have a choice to make. We can, as a group, openly chastise the great money lords masquerading as benefactors by turning towards freely offered software, music AND movies.
Let the big cigar smoking moguls die with locks on shlocks.
Turn your noses up on pay for play tunes. Go camping instead of renting that new release movie. In short, piss on ’em!
That’s my opinion, I hope it’s yours as well. Together we could make the world a much better place to live in. And you don’t have to be Canadian to subscribe to this ideal.

Comment from freeasinfreedom
Time: June 13, 2008, 6:46 pm

I have been a GNU/Linux user for many years and under Harpocon’s new law it will be illegal for me to break the digital lock…or even download an unlocking tool so that I can watch a legally purchased DVD movie on my home computer.

If this law passes I will boycott everything from the big media companies and encourage others to do the same. But first…let’s try to stop this “Made in USA” bill.

If you live in a Conservative, Liberal or BQ constituency, tell your MP that you’ll be voting NDP if they vote for this bill.

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