I have sent your Copyright Pledge to our leader for review as we do not have a national council meeting til after the election. I have recommended that she endorse it.
I have seen that Brad Thomson has given his personal opinions (not party policy) on some of these issues. Party policy doesn't directly address some of the issues you've raised and in those cases, the candidates are entitled to give their own opinion.
As a royalty receiver (a Juno nominated songwriter, a writer and one-time performer) and now as a person who's firm advises new companies on technology and IP protection, I have a unique view.
Please take this as my personal opinion as a candidate and not as part policy, but it is consistent in my view with what we have in policy.
First of all, I would personally take your pledge. But realistically, corporate donations are no longer a big deal. I don't solicit them and I wouldn't take them from anyone where I would have to appear to make an impartial decision. It's not the first time that we as a party have walked away from a donation. And when you are this tight for money -- it hurts. But as a party, I can safely say that if we think there is any conflict, we return the funds.
I have not thoroughly read bill C-60 so I'm answering in principle. I oppose spyware and believe the party will support me in this. Gathering information about customers and their needs is a legitimate marketing technique. Legitimate marketers always disclose they are collecting information and what the consequences of that will be and seek informed consent. Anyone else, is being less than honest.
Nor should we allow a company to tie any right or privilege to the release of personal information or the acceptance of spyware of any kind. I've had someone tell me that I might not receive a service because I refused to provide them with personal information. Fortunately, privacy legislation protected me and I let them know it.
But even if all of these companies are not malicious and have the highest motives for the collection of information, they still need to be stopped. They leave technical "back doors" which expose people and firms to security breaches, again without their consent.
I have problems with copy protection, especially where it introduces spy-ware issues or where it affects security (see above).
I also have some issues about near monopolies using their positions to prevent competition. So I'm always wary of granting too much power to any company. I hope that consumer preference will do this, as opposed to legislation.
INTEREST OF CREATORS
Get a gold record and receive as little as I have for royalties and it becomes very apparent that the interests of creators and the rest of the value chain are not always, shall we say -- aligned?
I firmly believe that companies have a right to make money. I believe that there is a valid role in the value chain for intermediaries. But I also think that protection for the creators is rarely, if ever done.
I'm a HUGE believer in open source. I just wish we could find a way to compensate for it
I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR YOUR GROUP
Who says politicians know everything? (That's not my question)
Question 1 - I think that my interests as a creator of copyrighted materials have been fairly well served by CAPAC and SOCAN. Why are these models not applied to software and other copyrighted materials. What are the upsides and downsides of this in your opinion? Couldn't we use something like this to fund the open source movement?
Question 2 - How do we protect from abuses. Personally? I think that RIM has been (modesty prevents the use of the word I want to use) poorly treated by the system. I am very disturbed about copyright and patent "squatters". I feel the same way about them as I do about those who abuse patents on seeds and other similar areas. What can we do about this without legitimately hurting the rights of those who have truly added value to the process and deserve to be compensated?
YOUR QUESTIONS on ELECTION 2006
I'm party president but I'm a also a candidate.
As a candidate, here are the answers to your Issues
Copyright Law and Technical Protection:
- I believe in universal standards and have problems with the general idea of a single manufacturer imposing a standard. I have not studied the Sony-BMG issue thoroughly, and with the campaign, it's unlikely that I will get to it in the next few weeks.
Copyright is supposed to ensure that a person or entity is compensated for the use of their intellectual or other property. It is not supposed to stifle competition or to prevent open standards from emerging. That abuse is another form of monopoly and restricts open competition and emerging new ideas.
Totally opposed to any intrusion that is not informed consent and with no coercion of any kind. (see above)
I cannot fully deal with this issue due to my adherence to Canadian values. I believe that we as a nation are opposed to the death penalty. Any of the other penalties I can envision would probably offend several UN declarations. (lol)
If we were in power or influencing it, I would meet with the best minds in the industry and find out what government could do effectively. I'd be open to any out of the box thinking -- any idea would be considered. Why? These idiots are killing the effectiveness of open communications and are a MAJOR productivity loss.
And I personally resent their ability to impinge my productivity.
I'm always opposed to secret state surveillance. If the state legitimately needs powers, let them openly legislate these powers and, while they might not be able to disclose an active investigation, let them disclose what they are doing.
Without reasonable and probably cause -- I have to ask what on earth gives law enforcement the idea that they have any right to be looking into private information.
In a world of terrorism and organized crime, there are bound to be intrusions into privacy that we might not accept in the general course of affairs. They must be totally kept within those bounds. The only way to do that is to have absolutely independent oversight by civilian authorities. Moreover, those chosen to do this task should be totally above patronage or coercion of any kind.
PIPEDA and Privacy
I support a balance of privacy legislation that doesn't impinge on legitimate corporate needs. I distrust bureaucrats to design these things well. So my endorsement of privacy legislation is not carte-blanche. I've seen some really stupid things in the current legislation.
But in balance, I've also seen total abuses of personal information and the imbalance of the consumer versus the large corporate entity. Class actions seem a logical means of righting wrongs when all else fails. I do not want to see Canada become a mirror of the Litigious States of America.
So balance is required.
If anyone takes my personal information and stores it in a way that exposes me to identify theft, they must bear the costs of that loss. Moreover, there should be a way that I can recover that without a long and costly lawsuit.
We are reaching a unique position in our societal evolution where access to the telecommunications infrastructure may no longer be a privilege. It may have become a right. Regardless of my feelings, it has been proven that access to communications is fundamental to prosperity.
A balanced approach is required. Where corporations gain real advantage providing access in profitable areas, we may reasonable insist that they also provide some contribution to less profitable areas. On other occasions, we may decide to subsidize or even provide some assistance. Each must be weighed on its merits and a reasonable course chosen.
I'm amazed that we are asking about review of the Telecommunications Act every five years. At the rate of ICT developments, I would think that we should be looking at a regime that is constantly in revision with a time horizon of far less than 5 years.
I hope this has been helpful.
Progressive Canadian (PC) Party