Toronto Star: Why Canada should follow U.K., not U.S., on copyright

From Michael Geist

Following on last week's innovation deficit piece, this week I report on the fact that Statistics Canada, the Canadian government's statistical agency, recently revealed that Canada has a nearly billion dollar culture deficit, almost all of which is with the United States. The sources of the deficit are copyright and trademark royalties along with broadcasting fees. Copyright royalties were by far the fastest growing, with the Canadian copyright royalty deficit nearly doubling in six years from 125 million dollars to 223 million dollars.

My Toronto Star Law Bytes column examines the deficit and calls for
policies that foster the creation of Canadian cultural products,
facilitate broad public access by following the example of the BBC in
the UK and rejecting copyright term extensions, and put an end to
legal reforms, including WIPO Internet treaty ratification, that
invariably lead to an ever-increasing flow of copyright fees out of
the country.

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An earlier letter to the PM on this topic...

On March 4 I sent a letter to Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, Honourable Paul Bonwick, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Honourable Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board. The topic was the WIPO copyright treaties.


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My advise is not to rush to ratify the treaties, but to instead question the validity of these treaties which were the result of a rush to regulate a new media that is not adequately understood. It would be far easier to renegotiate these treaties to bring them in-line with more modern understandings of the Internet and software than to implement this backward-looking policy and have to watch the resulting economic harm and increases in Canada's deficit in "invisibles".


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