Copyright

Response from Industry Canada

Just received this response from the Ministry. Any typos are likely my own!

Dear Chris Brand:

On behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister for Industry, thank you for your e-mail of March 13, 2013, regarding Bill C-56, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act (the Bill).

Lack of economic harm from rights infringement not whole story

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), a scientific institute of the European Commission, released a report with a familiar message: illegal music downloads aren't a substitute for legal music downloads. While I believe this type of research is critical to debunk the outrageous claims about the economic harm abused to justify backward policy choices, I don't think economic impact alone is the entire story.

If someone broke into our home and did not take anything, only rummaged through our belongings (possibly taking pictures, etc), we would still feel violated. Integral to home ownership is the right to decide who can enter our homes, and our privacy and property rights are violated even if nothing was taken or damaged, and there was no economic impact.

Ongoing government dishonesty conflating Copyright with Counterfeiting

This isn't a new issue, even if there is a new Conservative Government bill C-56 tabled before parliament. The long and short titles tell a shortform of the dishonesty:

An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Short Title: Combating Counterfeit Products Act

Public Domain Day 2013

January 1'st each year we morbidly celebrate the death of authors and other creative persons. Flaws in the law mean the expiry of the copyright monopoly, and works finally entering the public domain to the enrichment of all humanity, is most often calculated from the year of a creative person's death.

Wallace J.McLean, Meera Nair and Michael Geist all blogged about the celebration.

Ownership, or emotional attachment to a right?

A CBC Spark interview with James Grimmelmann about the ReDigi case in the USA highlights some of the confusion around the usage of the word "own" in the context of copyright.  I understand why recipients of copyrighted works are confused given the confusing language used by the recipients of the government granted monopoly of copyright itself.

Ownership doesn't make people do bad things, or excuse them.

Sometimes the feedback you receive from writing is unexpected, as happened with Andrei Mincov's feedback on twitter about yesterdays article: Why do we have copyright?.

He didn't offer feedback on the focus of the article, which makes sense given Mr. Mincov provided a good tool to determining which of two different answers to the "why copyright" question we each might give. What I found interesting was his response to the second half which documented how it was the protection of the rights of technology owners that caused my increased interest in copyright law.

Why do we have copyright?

Andrei Mincov is a lawyer who specializes in copyright and related areas of law, and is actively involved in the copyright revision discussion. In April of this year he posted a Response to William Patry in the form of a review of William's book How to Fix Copyright. While I agree more with Mr. Patry's take on the issues than Mr. Mincov, I found reading the article and Mr. Patry's critique of this response extremely informative to solidify in my mind why I believe what I do.

Statutory knowledge monopolies and supply management

Two forms of government manipulation of the marketplace have become the most controversial aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Canadians: supply management and statutory knowledge monopolies. Each are government interventions in the marketplace between producers and consumers, each have a stated public policy purpose, and each are controversial.

July 12, 2012 Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

The decisions in the 5 copyright cases were released by the Supreme Court today. On first glance things went well, with the scope and limits of copyright clarified.

What will be hard for the technical community is to separate the specifics of a technology from how Copyright regulates specific uses of a technology. An example is the separation of a "stream" and a "download" which aren't different from a technological standpoint, but that are being regulated differently. The specific non-technical purpose of the bits being stored or sent from one place to another is what Copyright is regulating, not the fact that bits were stored or transmitted using a specific technology.

Before Canadian Copyright there was already Canadian Copyright

Since Bill C-11 will set back technology property rights, I thought to look back in time for Copyright law. As discussed in the chronology of Canadian Copyright Law, Canada was under the UK copyright Act until 1921 (and thus under the Berne convention from the beginning in 1887). This didn't mean there weren't Copyright related acts to deal with issues specific to Canada, with the largest being our proximity to the "pirate" nation of the United States.
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