Here's my letter to my MP:
June 13, 2008
Ms. Joyce Murray
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
I'm a Vancouver Quadra constituent who is appalled by the Copyright bill presented by the government on June 12th. Far from being a balanced approach to copyright law, this bill as it stands is simply a US-style, unworkable piece of legislation that caters only to foreign corporate stakeholders, and stomps on Canadian stakeholders and Canadian consumers. It invites frivolous lawsuits and does nothing to improve the protection of artists' copyright beyond current Canadian law.
We need a made in Canada approach to amending copyright law. This means having meaningful and substantiative discussions with Canadian consumer groups, Canadian educators, Canadian artists and Canadian business. Why has this not been done already? These same groups have been clamouring for input on the bill in previous months, yet their cries have been seemingly ignored in the drafting of this bill.
The bill as it stands makes many common consumer practices illegal. I am not talking about the practice of illegal downloading. More importantly, the bill effectively renders format shifting and time shifting illegal by criminalizing the breaking of digital locks. If I want to transfer the contents of a purchased CD or DVD to my iPod, I may break the law by breaking any digital lock placed on the disc. If I want to record a TV show with my Linux-based computer PVR for watching later, I might break any digital locks placed on the program by its broadcaster/creator. Even if the bill states the practice of time shifting and format shifting is allowed, the rules against circumvention or breaking digital locks make those practices illegal. This bill is unworkable, it is unfair to consumers, and it does nothing to protect artists' copyright as it should be intended to do. It only seems to protect corporate interests.
The government needs to amend the current bill to reflect Canadian interests and fair dealing before it can be passed into law. Failing that, it needs to be struck down. I implore you as your constituent to vote against this bill if it is not altered and improved to the point that Canada can be proud of it. We need to be a world leader, not a blind follower.