Online file-swapping seen as election issue

The following is a letter to the editor in reply to a few copies of a CP article: Edmonton Sun, London Free Press, CNews, CTV

Related letters were sent to the National Post, Toronto Star, CFRA, Variety, TMCNet, Reuters

CP should do some fact checking before simply reporting a CRIA press release. Canadian law does not make it hard to prosecute unlawful music sharing, as falsely claimed by Henderson. Our privacy legislation requires a minimum level of evidence that CRIA has been unwilling to provide thus far. CRIA lost file-sharing cases due to lack of evidence, not problems in Canadian copyright law.

Canada's overly-complex and overly-strong copyright laws are part of the reason why Canadians aren't able to be certain what is lawful and what is not, and following CRIA's advise would only make this bad situation worse. Many of the activities which are currently considered unlawful by the recording industry, such as listening to music from a legally purchased CD on a portable music player like an iPod, would surprise most Canadians.

Their survey did not tell us anything new, and the question wording was likely biased towards specific answers. As an independent software developer that CRIA labels as the "other side", I agree that creator copyright holders like myself and musicians should be protected by copyright. We also agree that copyright should be an election issue. Where we disagree is whether the critical problem in cultural policy is copyright infringement or the currently overly complex, strong and long copyright law. Complex, strong and long copyright law favours the middle-men like recording labels, media companies, larger businesses and lawyers. If copyright is to benefit creators and creativity then it must be made understandable and reasonable in strength and length.

More than 2378 Canadians, including many creators including musicians, have signed the Petition for Users' Rights in copyright which contradicts CRIA's biased interpretation of their own survey.

Russell McOrmond
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