Bill C-60's changes to the Copyright Act are THEFT

Consumer Fact Guide to Bill C-60

By Darryl Moore

The Music industry is happy with the terms of the new copyright legislation, as is the ISP industry and the “software manufacturing” industry. Public rights advocates on the other hand are notably unhappy. This alone should be a sign that the new legislation is not balanced.

This legislation will affect law abiding Canadians to a much greater degree than it will Internet pirates (the declared intended targets), and law abiding Canadians must now speak out loudly against it. Below is a list of real consequences for the Canadian consumer if the Bill C-60 is passed into law as it stands. These changes take rights away from YOU, without compensation. This is the government stealing from you to give to corporations.

Private copying of sound recordings.

Were you annoyed when CDs became popular in the 80's and you had to buy your entire LP collection over again to have the same music in CD format? This issue was fixed in the 90's when it became legal to transfer your music collection from one medium to another as long as it was for personal use. This was considered quite fair my most Canadians since you were only copying something you already owned, and it was only for your use.

Under the terms of Bill C-60 you will no longer be able to do this. It will now be illegal to copy any CD's (or other media) which are sold with copy protection technology. (Soon to be all CDs)

This means that every time technology develops a new storage medium you will have to purchase your entire music collection over again if you want to use it. (Just as you had to do with CDs) This will be the case for your iPod, for your PC Jukebox, for your Microsoft WMV MP3 player, and for all future media players and software. How much can you afford?

Private copying of other media

The injustice for consumers identified above will also be repeated with other types of media such as movies and software. Already American movie studio's are talking about new digital storage standards which will NOT be compatible with current DVD standards. Without the right to copy your current DVD collection to the new standard yourself you will have to purchase your movie collection all over again. Is this fair?

Home photography

Have you ever been a tourist and asked a stranger to take your picture with your camera? Well, under the terms of Bill C-60 doing so will give that stranger copyright over the picture that was taken. You would not be legally able to use that picture for anything other than private personal uses. So don't decide to share it with your friends on your web site, and don't use it for commercial purposes unless you can locate that stranger. What, you were Brazil when that picture was taken? Well, good luck!

Public Domain

The Public Domain is that great reservoir of creative works where everything eventually ends up when copyrights have expired. Think of Shakespeare, Jules Verne, and even Lucy Maude Montgomery. Once there, creators are free to use the works in any way they like without having to seek permission or pay royalties. The existence of the public domain allowed Walt Disney to create some true masterpieces, allowed the Stratford festival to create truly original productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and gives all Canadians the freedom to recycle and make innovative new works from the the old.

Over the years though, the duration of copyright protection has grown, and the rate of works passing into the public domain has lessened. These term extensions are in fact a form of theft from society as a whole. They denying us all the freedom of expression that we are entitled too.

Bill C-60 will extend the term of copyright for photographs from a fixed 50 years to life of the photographer plus 50 years. This could easily double the term of copyright and at the same time make it very difficult to determine if a photograph is public domain or not. To figure this out one would have to know both who the photographer is, and when he/she died.

Solutions

Bill C-60 can be fixed.

  1. allow people the right to privately copy any copyrighted works they legally own, whether they be sound recording, movies, software, or anything else. You own it, you should be able to do what you want with it for personal private enjoyment.

  2. Allow people the right to bypass any and all technological protection measures as long as they are doing so for legitimate reasons INCLUDING private copying.

  3. Leave the copyright of photographs with the person who owns the film as it currently exists. The only thing Bill C-60 should do is clarify that 'film' should include digital storage media.

  4. Do not extend the term of copyright for photographs to life+50. This will make it exceptionally hard for anyone to determine the copyright status. Instead Bill C-60 must REDUCE the term of copyright on other creative works to the same flat 50 years as photographs have. This will make it much easier for artists to know when they are working within the law or not, and help ensure that there is a strong vibrant public domain for all Canadians to enjoy.

Authored by Darryl Moore
Template amendments by Russell McOrmond

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