Reply letter from the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Letter from the Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages. Dated November 15, 2007, in reply to a letter sent on 21 Aug 2007.

Dear Mr. McOrmond:

I am replying to your correspondence addressed to the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, and co-addressed to the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, regarding copyright reform in Canada.

Ms. Verner is grateful for your kind words of congratulation on her appointment as Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages. She appreciated your advising her on your views on copyright with respect to information technology and has noted your comments. The Minister regrets that she is unable to meet with you; however, she has asked Mr. Jean-Paul Boulay, Director of Policy Development, Copyright Policy Branch, to meet with you to further discuss the issues that you have raised. I invite you to contact him at 613-990-6254 to schedule a meeting.

The Government of Canada, led by the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, is working toward bringing Canadian copyright policy into conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties.

Please be assured that the Government takes your concerns very seriously. Mr. Prentice and Ms. Verner are aware of the sensitive nature of issues regarding copyright in the digital context. These are complex issues and the Government is continuing to consider the concerns of all Canadians.

The cultural policy objective of the Copyright Act is to ensure adequate protection for creators and cultural content as well as appropriate access for all Canadians to cultural works.

Government officials continue to monitor developments around the world. The Government wants to ensure that the rights of Canadian creators are adequately protected by law, and that these rights are balanced with the ability of the public to access works.

I trust that this information is useful. Please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Craig Carson
Senior Policy Advisor

c.c.: The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.

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Met with Heritage Officials

As suggested by the Minister, I met with Heritage officials on November 28, 2007. I was told that they could not tell me the contents of the bill, but did suggest that it is now out of the hands of the bureaucrats and in the hands of the cabinet ready to be tabled.

Since we couldn't discuss the bill, and I couldn't influence the bill through them, we spoke generally about the direction of copyright, the anti-competitive and fundamentally anti-creator nature of "DRM", etc. I have met with these same people at Heritage in the past, and both were already quite aware of the position I was bringing, and we were able to discuss details.

We also discussed some of the statistics being thrown around to justify radical changes to Canadian copyright. I explained the methodology used by IDC for the BSA/CAAST so-called "Piracy study" and how it is based on under-reporting the usage of FLOSS.

The same is true of the Industry Canada study which doesn't really prove a causal relationship between unauthorized P2P and music purchasing, but does skewer the existing recording industry sponsored studies that suggest massive losses allegedly caused by unauthorized P2P.

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