Hon. MP Bill Siksay on copyright legislation in Canada

Responding to an edited letter sent by me through Digital Copyright Canada's "Send a letter to your member of parliament" campaign, the Honourable MP Bill Siksay of Burnaby-Douglas has kindly sent me the following reply.

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you for your most recent letter about copyright legislation in Canada. As I have stated before, copyright is always a difficult balancing act between the fair use of the consumer and fair remuneration for artists. What has made the issue more difficult is the explosive growth of digital technologies in recent years.

In attempting to update the copyright legislation, the previous Minister of Canadian Heritage tabled bill C-60. My New Democratic Party colleagues and I felt there were significant problems with this legislation. We had serious concerns about the lack of discussion on the potential impacts of providing the legal sanctions of digital locks. These digital locks, also known as Digital Rights Management (DRMs) and Technological Rights Management (TPMs) could seriously impact consumer rights as well as the fair use of materials.

Concerns were also raised about placing electronic toll booths on the development of digital education opportunities. We felt then, as we feel now, that legislators need to become aware of the evolving complexities of cyberspace, so that any new legislation will be relevant to both the present and the future. New legislation must also balance the rights of individual creators with those of industry and the public.

The NDP is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that artists receive fair remuneration for their work. However, we must not blindly accept restrictive copyright legislation that could be used to quash the development of new digital distribution models, sue kids who share music files and impose tollbooths on the educational use of the Internet.

My colleague, Charlie Angus, the federal New Democratic Party Critic for Canadian Heritage, is studying all recommendations and will be developing positions on the many facets of potential copyright legislation. There are no simple answers to this very complex issue, but the NDP will do our utmost to ensure the government brings forward copyright legislation that is both comprehensive and relevant.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns. If I can be of assistance on any other matter within federal jurisdiction, please do not hesitate to contact my office again.

Sincerely yours,

Bill Siksay, MP