Letter to Mauril Bélanger, Liberal Heritage Critic

I sent the following letter to Mauril Bélanger, Opposition Critic for Canadian Heritage.

Dear L'hon. Mauril Bélanger,
Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier

I see from a press release I was forwarded that you are the new Heritage Critic for the official opposition. It is unfortunate, but you seem to be promoting a view of copyright revision that will be disastrous to a vast majority of Canadian creators.

Is it possible that we can sit down and talk about these things in the future? The 1996 WIPO treaties, while they may benefit the incumbent non-creator copyright holding intermediaries, it does so by protecting their legacy business models from competition. This competition is from a variety of Creators, where protection of the old way of doing things means massive harm to that majority of creators who are trying to benefit from new ways of doing things.

The primary issue in copyright revision is not copyright holders vs. infringers, but competitive battles between incumbent businesses and newer methods of production, distribution and funding of creativity.

Thank you.

-------- Original Message --------
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Ottawa, Canada
K1A 0A6

For immediate release
Canadian Heritage: National Priorities

Ottawa, March 31st 2006- Mauril Bélanger, Canadian Heritage Critic, strongly encourages the Harper Government to pay particular attention to the following three key Heritage issues, deemed priorities:

1. Affirm Canada’s commitment and investment in the arts in the amount of $342 million over the next three years which will increase funding for arts organizations throughout Canada, especially major national centers of excellence. In 2007 the Canada council will celebrate its 50th anniversary and we urge the Harper Government to firmly commit to the Council’s funding to reach $300 million by 2008, as committed by the Government in 2005. The Council is the principal channel through which the federal Government provides support for professional artists and non-profit arts organizations, a vital institution to Canada’s Arts community as a whole.

2. Proceed cautiously in the case of any upcoming review of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s mandate, in a manner to include an enhanced, workable funding formula that would assist the CBC and Radio Canada’s ability to fulfill any defined mandate. Any review exercise should be conducted in conjunction with broad based community consultations.

3. Introduce during this Session of the 39th Parliament copyright legislation to incorporate the amendments recommended in 2005 amending the Copyright Act by implementing the provisions of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright Treaty as well as updating certain other provisions of the Act.

Additionally, the Official Opposition is also encouraging the Harper Government to act on other national Heritage priorities such as the development of a museum policy. Regional priorities are also of a particular importance such as Toronto’s “Cultural Renaissance Envisioned” project which will ensure Toronto’s cultural vibrancy on the national scale.



Office of Mauril Bélanger, P.C., M.P.
Official Opposition Critic- Canadian Heritage
925 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Telephone: 992-4766

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Mention in speech

Mr. Belanger again mentioned some mythical international obligation on copyright, which I am taking to be an incorrect belief we are obligated to ratify the 1996 WIPO treaties simply because Canada signed them in principle a decade ago.

Anyone who is from, or knows someone from, the riding of Ottawa-Vanier should convince them to send letters to Mr. Bélanger to inform him about the harm to Canadian creators and other Canadians that would result from implementation of the 1996 WIPO treaties.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.