All signs are pointing to Industry Minister Jim Prentice introducing Canada’s long-awaited copyright reform bill into the house of commons within the next week or two. Sadly, all signs are pointing to this as-yet unborn legislation being even more restrictive than the stillborn bill C-60, which was the Martin governments stab at the same thing.
The general impression seems to be that the new legislation will boil down to being a “Digital Millenium Copyright Act v2.0″ (the DMCA being the U.S. equivalent legislation introduced seven years ago, and one of the most mis-applied and ineffective (link your own MPAA/RIAA study of choice on piracy here) pieces of software in my memory.
I’ve started a half-dozen follow-up paragraphs trying to encapsulate why you should care. I’m aware the prospect of following Canadian government legislation on copyright reform is… not particularly appealing, but you should care. This is a critical issue to Canadian content creators of all stripes (artists, actors, writers, producers, musicians, teachers, researchers, academics…) and equally important to all Canadian content consumers (everyone). It will influence what types of entertainment and educational content you can watch, and how you can watch it, and who you have to pay to watch it. It will influence what types of entertainment and educational content you can create, and how you create it, and who is the gatekeeper to distribution. It will influence how much it costs to buy an iPod, and whether academics can be sud for research by corporations who don’t like their findings, and weather or not we want US Government to be able to not only influence Canadian policy, but to (by some accounts) write it outright.
This is not a partisan issue (the Liberal proposal was awful as well), this is an issue about Canada having a chance to be a strong Global leader in progressive copyright… or capitulating to U.S. Pressure to copy a bill whose own architect says “Canadian copyright law is already stronger and better than that of the US.