Geist: Facebook more than just a cool tool for kids

Michael Geist writes about the interesting impact of Facebook in helping launch a larger conversation on Canadian copyright. (Toronto Star, Homepage version)

While not discussed in the article, this isn't a group with a specific vision for copyright, but a conversation amongst more stakeholders in the debate than we have seen in any of the consultations.

Copyright revision previously involved bringing in the industrial stakeholders to hammer out compromises and create a deal. This made sense as, since the tools used to produce and distribute content was expensive, and thus was an industrial act.

This has all changed with new technology. Now all citizens can afford the means of production and distribution of content, meaning that Copyright now regulates the activities of all Canadians. This means that, unlike the past, average Canadians are legitimate stakeholders in the debate. This means that the views of Joe-six-pack, soccer moms, and teenagers are just as relevant to the Copyright debate as the head of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) or educators.

It has been stated that these average citizen stakeholders may not understand copyright law. While this is true, this suggests we must modernize Copyright law to make is more understandable, not exclude key stakeholders. The other issue is that these laws regulate technological acts, and my experience has been that the average person on Facebook understands technology far more than the heads of any of the industry associations or unions, making these private citizens as informed on the overall issues as some of the lawyers and lobbiests are.