The bane of democracy?

I'm not very much into politics, but there are a few things that get me fired up: assaults on education and health care, the environment and copyright reform; all things that Conservatives are slowly, but surely destroying. This is without any consultation or regard to Canadians thoughts and opinions, but rather to benefit large corporations and industry.

I'd like to focus on copyright today, something many of us are not familiar with. After reading the Boing Boing article, "Canadian Prime Minister promises to enact a Canadian DMCA in six weeks," It became clear that our Conservative minority government didn't learn any lessons from the mass outcry against bill C-61 two years ago.

The Tories have shown — yet again — their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business…

I find it upsetting that the Conservatives are pushing this bill so quickly to undermine Canadian citizens, yet again. And you wonder why there's a Pirate Party.



Rewind back to 2008, I sent a letter to Rick Casson regarding the introduction of Bill C-61. I received a reply, which was only a formulated response. It became clear that he was not, and still probably is not, interested in addressing the concerns of myself as a constituent, in typical Conservative fashion. For those interested, you can read my letter sent 2 years ago, as well as his response. I plan on sending yet another letter this time around.

Sent:

June 16, 2008

Mr. Rick Casson
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sir,

I'm a constituent who has been following recent developments in Canadian copyright law. I'm concerned that the Copyright bill presented by the government on June 12th goes too far in outlawing the lawful use of copyrighted material, and does not take into account the needs of consumers and Canada's creative community who are exploiting the potential of digital technology. I'm disappointed that this bill adopts an American approach to digital copyright laws, instead of crafting a Canadian approach.

Canada's copyright laws need to advance Canada's interests. This means copyright laws that respect ordinary consumer practices, such as unlocking cell phones and copying the contents of purchased DVDs for use in video iPods. The current bill outlaws these practices. This means copyright that facilitates the work of Canadian creators, such as documentary filmmakers, who instead find that this bill outlaws the use DVDs as source materials for their films. This means we find made-in-Canada solutions to the challenges of file-sharing, such as consideration of the P2P proposal of the Songwriters Association of Canada. Instead, this bill paves the road to importing the consumer file-sharing lawsuit strategy that has failed so spectacularly in the United States. Canada deserves better.

Please ensure that this bill really is made for Canadians by allowing all Canadian stakeholders a say in its final contents. That means meaningful consultation in the coming months, and opening up Canada's copyright policy to more than just the special interests that lobbied behind the scenes for this law. As my MP, I urge you to represent my interests in the copyright debate.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Ruzek

Received:

July 4, 2008

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning Bill C-61.

The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-61, (An Act to Amend the Copyright Act) on June 12, 2008. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.

What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians? Specifically, it includes measures that would:

Expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the “statutory damages” a court could award for all private use copyright infringements
Implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address internet piracy
Clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities
Provide photographers with the same rights as other creators
What Bill C-61 does not do: It would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation.

Bill C-61 is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia

For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Rick Casson, MP – Lethbridge.

Chair-Committee on National Defence
Canadian Chair-Permanent Joint Board on Defence

255 8th Street South
Lethbridge, AB. T1J 4Y1
Phone: 403-320-0070
Fax: 403-380-4026
Email: casson@rickcasson.com