Reply to questions for candidates from Dana Green

Two separate emails.
First email, dated Thu 24 Jun :
Dear Chris Brand,

Many apologies for not replying to your questions sooner!! I must have across as quite dismissive. Sorry. I had been receiving so many junk emails from companies carrying “Brand name” vitamins and software etc. that I blocked the word “brand” with my spam filter…lesson learned!

Since I have been swamped, I just got to clearing out that “possible spam” folder today, and behold – your emails.

So…Regarding your questions, I must admit that I am not adequately informed on the issue to answer these tonight in this email. I have run across some debate as to the value of copyright versus patent at my workplace, as we often take start-up companies public and see technologies in development stage and inventors keen not to fall prey to slyly devised paperwork. I have heard a colleague of mine state that patents are useless and copyright is valid and yet have no idea why this was stated. I do intend to find information about copyright starting tonight, and I will.

I will do my best to answer some of your questions now and find further information on this issue and reply to the rest before the weekend if possible.

This is an issue I cannot pretend to become wise about in a few hours, but I will consult with the web, find unbiased global articles from the Vancouver Library Online resources section, as well as phoning four Burnaby-resident friends who deal with the concerns of product inventors, creators of music and literature and idea developers every day, and perhaps they can give me a wider view.

If you can suggest any title to read or informative sites please reply with them.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to become engaged and informed on this issue.

Second email, dated Thu 24 Jun :
Dear Chris Brand,

Here are some answers for now.

1. I do believe that the Copyright Act should be a careful balance between the rights of creators and the rights of the public.

2. I do believe that the rights of users of copyright material should be preserved in Canadian copyright law. Of course, as stated above, it is a balance. Do you have any specific ‘rights’ and ‘situations’? I prefer to deal with each situation as best I can, not deal with blanket concepts.

3. I do believe that users (please define their representatives for me please) have a vital stake and should be consulted in changing copyright law.

4. Yes - I do recognize the property rights of citizens to own and control Information and Communications Technology for lawful purposes. If these ownership rights are abused by some citizens who break the law we should deal with that issue of its own accord.

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More answers from Dana Green

Email received Mon 28 Jun, partly answering more of our questions and partly responding to my own answers to her questions. I've added ">" to clarify who said what :

Thanks Chris

Hope this helps, sorry it took me a couple of days, I just needed to be clear headed when I sat down to answer… let me know if there is anything else I can help out with

>Do you believe the "50 years after author's death" copyright term should be extended, shortened, or left at 50 years? If changed, what term is appropriate to reward creators?

Should be extended, if only for those whose families have lived on, and artists were not dutifully rewarded for their contributions in the first place.

>Heritage Committee recently released an Interim report on Copyright which recommended applying a levy to all content that was not explicitly marked as royalty-free. The Internet has always worked on the assumption that all work is royalty-free except that which is protected behind e-commerce features of a website (passwords and other security). Do you support the radical changes suggested by Heritage Committee?

It depends on where the monies go; if sent only to major record companies and / or government agencies, which are already profiting greatly on the labours of artists, then no!! But, if there were an association set up to keep track of registered content creators, and the proceeds did actually go to them, whether through the internet or other (established) mediums, then yes! It’s a good idea.

>Currently, we have the right to make private copies of audio files. The music industry wants to make it illegal for us to break any encryption that they use on those files in order to make these copies (but they still want to collect the private copying levy)

A levy seems like just another method of profiting from others’ efforts (like the one that was charged on writable media, tapes, cds, dvds etc.) I do agree that it is wrong to obtain material from musicians before they completed it or intended it to be released – or to plagiarize material. But this law does not address those issues. What it does do is make something illegal - with the knowledge that people will devise a way around it! This seems inelegant at best. At worst it makes it a crime to have studio musicians make copies of original material for mixes and such. This is the modern equivalent of making it illegal for an orchestra to recreate Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and rearrange notes, chords and layers to create a new symphony. This type of thinking is prejudiced and a reflection of the lack of proportional representation in legislature. Criminalizing the breaking of encryption would only be possible if we had minimal privacy – which I oppose – and even then, the cost of imposing such a law would be a ridiculous waste of tax revenue and not a valid priority.

>Will you sign our Petition for Users' Rights?

Yes I would sign it. From what I see, its hope is to recognize users as competent people whom are not, in the greater scale, out to profit unlawfully from artists efforts. As stated it recognizes that users’ rights should be considered and users be consulted with before changes to the copyright act are made.

>and if elected fight for our rights in parliament?

Absolutely! That’s why I’m running!!!

>Currently, we have the right to store files anywhere we like on our own computer. The music industry wants to make it illegal to store audio files in certain places on our computers.

I believe this is an extension of our loss of privacy which is systematically being implemented as we speak (ie: Bill C36 / Bill C7).

>Currently, if I buy a copy of a copyrighted work, the copyright holder cannot dictate to me when or where I enjoy that work - they can't tell me that certain CD or cassette players are acceptable and other aren't and they can't tell me that I can only watch a video in Canada, for example. These rights are also threatened (in fact, DVDs already enforce restrictions on where they can be watched, although this is not a right granted to copyright holders under the Copyright Act).

This is an example of a regulation that that been set up under the guise of protecting us and our rights. However, it actually protects large multi-nationals (few Canadian citizens benefit). It is interesting to me to note that during this election the material distributed to us (the candidates and our official agents) by the Canadian Government was in DVD format – requiring us to use dvd – it was advised that we buy a dvd player if we did not have one - as if to push us forcedly in that direction.

>There were something like 700 submissions to the Copyright Reform process, many from individual Canadians. The latest report from the Heritage Committee ignores most of them. There are groups that represent some subset of users (libraries and educational institutions have managed to get their own exceptions included in the Copyright Act). The Digital Copyright Canada Forum is trying to become a voice for the average Canadian user.

Good, that is what we need – I urge you to make that voice heard as best you can by linking your sites to others sites of interest to the people affected by this.