NDP Leader Jack Layton Weighs In on Upcoming Bill!

Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth), Leader, Canada’s New Democrats, replied to a constituent who asked questions about Copyright. Also posted to Facebook.

Many people have received this form letter, reproduced below.

Thank you for writing to express your views with respect to proposed changes to the copyright legislation.

First, it is difficult to speculate about what is or isn't going to be in the legislation until the Harper government introduces the bill in parliament. They have had almost 2 full years to act on this matter. However, with electioneering being on top of the Conservative's "to do" list, we are concerned that legislative plans may die if they manage to succeed at bringing the House down.

The truth is 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 copyright legislation, the previous Minister of Canadian Heritage tabled Bill C-60. The NDP believed there were significant problems with this legislation. We had serious concerns about the lack of discussion on the potential impacts of providing the legal sanction 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.

The placing of electronic toll booths on the development of digital education raised concerns. The NDP 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 both to 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. We are also obliged to reject 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.

Please rest assured that the NDP caucus, led by the work of NDP MP Charlie Angus, will be studying all recommendations and developing positions on the many facets of potential copyright legislation. While there are no simple answers to this very complex issue, we will work to ensure the government brings forward copyright legislation that is both comprehensive and relevant.

I appreciate the time you have taken to register your views and concerns about this important issue. All the best.


Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats