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[d@DCC] Letter to NDP critics: Keep eye on the future during Bush visit

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
To: "Angus, Charlie - M.P." <Angus.C (at) parl.gc.ca>, Masse.B (at) parl.gc.ca, Julian.P (at) parl.gc.ca, McDonough.A (at) parl.gc.ca, Desjarlais.B (at) parl.gc.ca
Cc: General Copyright Discussions <discuss -_at_- list.digital-copyright.ca>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 10:43:17 -0500 (EST)


Dear 

    Charlie Angus (Timmins--James Bay), 
    NDP critic: Agriculture, Canadian Heritage,

    Brian Masse (Windsor West), NDP critic: Industry, Science and 
    Technology, Auto Policy, Canada Border Services, Customs,

    Peter Julian (Burnaby--New Westminster), NDP critic: International
    Trade and Globalization, Persons with Disabilities, Treasury Board,

    Alexa McDonough (Halifax), NDP critic: Foreign Affairs, Post-Secondary
    Education,

    Bev Desjarlais (Churchill), NDP critic: Crown Corporations,
    Transportation, Canadian Wheat Board, International Development,



  While many in the NDP will focus their attention the next few days on
the Bush visit, it is important that the party not focus all their
attention on missile defense.  There are other foreign and domestic policy
issues which need to be considered, and that touch on the areas that you
are critics for.

  Trade will be an important part of the discussion.  While I know that
this is politically incorrect to say, I hope you will ensure that the
government doesn't trade away our place in the new economy for a few cows
and some softwood.

  Along with arms the United States is also a net exporter of so-called
"intellectual property". This will be the next most important issue on
their agenda.  Canada has a large and growing trade deficit in
intangibles, largely monopoly rents from patents and copyrights being sent
to the United States. Canada must adopt more modern business models and
methodologies to reduce this trade deficit. Not surprisingly, this
modernization is being fiercely opposed by the United States.

    "In an October 15 speech, the Director of the U.S. Patent and
    Trademark Office (USPTO), Jonathan Dudas, vowed that the U.S.  
    government will `fight' proposals that aim to `fundamentally change
    the WIPO charter and philosophy' away from its current focus on the
    promotion of intellectual property." (link below)

  What the US is talking about is not a change in the charter for WIPO,
but a proposed change from the promotion of a single industrial-era
business model onto all creativity: have labour work to "manufacture"
knowledge which is then owned by "content industries" who sell it to the
public on a per-unit basis through use of monopoly rent seeking (royalty)
business models.  The change from promoting this outdated model is
necessary for WIPO to fulfill its charter in a changing world economy.  
This modernization is also important for the protection of the rights of
creators who should not be treated as only labour, and other citizens who
should not be treated as only consumers.


  I am a strong supporter of an alternative known as open collaborative
development models.  For software you can see this in Free/Libre and Open
Source Software (Mozilla Firefox browser, OpenOffice.org office suite,
Linux/BSD/Darwin operating systems).  For scientific research you can see
the movement for Open Access publishing of publicly funded research.  For
online distribution of works you need to become aware of the Creative
Commons movement.

  I would like to meet with each of you to discuss the opportunities and
the opposition.  Canada is at a crossroads:  It could join the "coalition
of the billing" which are those countries that bow to US pressure to
outsource their cultural and economic policy to foreign special economic
interest groups. Alternatively, Canada can adopt a modern way of looking
at development in the knowledge economy and become a world leader.

Thank you.

Russell McOrmond
305 Southcrest Private,
Ottawa, ON
K1V 2B7
Phone: (613) 733-5836
http://www.flora.ca/#contact



Links:

Feedback to StraightGoods: Re: Building a medical Wikipedia
http://www.digital-copyright.ca/discuss/4102

Modernization of WIPO
http://www.cptech.org/ip/wipo/

U.S. vows to "fight" the Push for WIPO Reform
http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/index.php?p=3D10&res=1024_ff&print=0 

Creative Commons
http://creativecommons.org/   - US/International
http://creativecommons.ca/    - Canadian (New site in-development)

Digital Copyright Canada forum
http://digital-copyright.ca/

-- 
 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 
 Code is Law: how software code regulates the activities of citizens,
 and acts similar to law.  How do we ensure transparency/accountability?  
 http://www.flora.ca/russell/drafts/code-is-law.html
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