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A Proposal for Good Copyright Legislation

Creating truly inspired legislation will not be easy, but Canadians deserve nothing less on this crucial issue. We need bold legislation and a made-in-Canada approach.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published September 11, 2009

[Editor's Note: This is Adrian's submission to the Canadian Government's Copyright Consultations. It has been edited very slightly for publication.]

When the copyright lobby uses the word "pirates", their rationale is simple: people who copy are pirates, hijackers, and thieves, so they have no rights.

If that's true, the only side whose rights matter in the relationship between content producers and the public is the side of the content producers.

That's a distorted view of copyright. Copyright legislation must also protect the public's rights. It must provide a net benefit to society. It must not ignore the changing times or be used to protect business models that are no longer viable to the detriment of ordinary Canadians.

And it must not look anything like Bill C-61.

Good legislation will:

Inspired legislation will:

Creating truly inspired legislation will not be easy, but Canadians deserve nothing less on this crucial issue. We need bold legislation and a made-in-Canada approach.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:49:17

My $0.02, sent yesterday:

Intellectual property rights must be balanced: against the rights of consumers to study, understand and modify their possessions; and against the public good, including innovation and economic growth, that flows from the free exchange of ideas and information.

Of particular harm is anti-circumvention legislation designed to prevent people from using their tools in a manner in which the tools' designers and manufacturers did not intend.

Aside from infringing on the individual right to tinker, it:

a) Stifles innovation by creating artificial monopolies of process and preventing the cross-fertilization of ideas from one domain to another;

b) Prevents accurate consumer reporting of product quality and security and hence fair market transparency;

c) Denies consumers the right to modify or improve the tools they have legally obtained for their own uses;

d) Restricts personal privacy, given that consumers may not be able to determine what information about their use of a product is being transmitted back to its manufacturer;

e) Constrains the ability of citizens to excerpt or sample copyrighted works for fair use.

At worst, it is too often exploited either to create artificial monopolies or to prop up industries and business models based on past resource scarcities - of access to information or distribution channels - that no longer exist.

This is bad for the economy, bad for personal freedom, and bad for democracy.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2009 at 22:40:33

The good of the many outweighs the needs of the few.

Intellectual property laws ensure that the few benefit at the cost of the many by using state force (law) to stifle any competing producers or distrobution systems. It's at the point now where in many cases, what's patented was not developed by the people who patented it, nor on the same continent, nor in the same millenia (quinoa an ancient Andean grain, for instance).

I'm tired of hearing about how much filesharing is hurting "music" or "movies". I know a lot of musicians (bands, DJs, opera singers etc), and none of them, save a few buskers, make any real money at it. Copyright laws simply help extend corporate control and market centralization to the point where nobody else can enter the market. Then, free of competition, costs fly through the roof - observe the cost of producing the average blockbuster these days, keeping in mind that 30 years ago, Star Wars came out for $11 million.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2009 at 09:04:15

Tim Bray has an interesting take on copyright reform:

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