Tracking the Copyright Consultation Submissions – Brief Summaries (July 20, 21)

The government posted the first batch of copyright consultation responses today, with 26 formal submissions from the first two days of the consultation.  Tonight, the consultation Twitter feed indicated that nearly 200 responses were received over the course of the week.  With the assistance of Frances Munn, I hope to provide summaries of the responses, though the volume may make this difficult in the weeks ahead.  Full text of the responses can be accessed here.

July 20, 2009 Submissions

1). Chen Shen (consumer and producer of original works)

Chen Shen urged balancing between the interests of creators and consumers, arguing that Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 were skewed too far in favour of the producer. Further, Chen Shen argued that producers should embrace new technologies rather than trying to suppress them.

2). Jeff Cliff (hacker, computer science student, musician, tutor and educator)

Cliff came out strongly against restrictive copyright laws, rejecting an American styled DRM model. He argued that an open copyright “free market” system would best encourage innovation and creativity, and urged the government not to turn computer science students and users of new technology into criminals.

3). Philips Dusty (freelance software developer, member of Canada’s Pirate Party)

Dusty argued that the Internet has allowed authors and musicians to directly distribute their works to consumers through self-publishing or Bittorrent, bypassing the old distribution channels. Further, he worried that Canadians would suffer huge privacy violations if policing laws were enacted to track down all incidences of file sharing (e.g. reading private emails).

4). Matthew Gallant

Gallant described the American attempt at copyright reform a “failure” and cautioned Canada against adopting an American DMCA. He urged the government to stop pandering to lobbyist groups and instead to protect people’s freedoms and expand on fair use.

5). David Gerhard (Professor of Computer Science)

Gerhard argued that the DMCA does little to protect consumer rights and that digital locks are ineffective at protecting copyright. He also argued that artists make art for the purpose of “expression,” not for profit, and that many modern artists have embraced the realities of file sharing.

6). Tims Keenan

Keenan argued that copyright laws in Canada protected large media corporations at the expense of the consumer and advocated for shorter copyright terms and stronger fair use protections so that consumers could use their purchased media in any way they wanted.

7). Allen Kevin

Kevin argued there was no need to reform current copyright laws, arguing that the government’s proposed law would turn 99 percent of Canadians into criminals. He was also opposed to laws protecting digital locks.

8). John Klein

Klein proposed a copyright regime where works enter into the public domain after 18 years and where people could only face criminal charges if the harm done to a copyright holder exceeds $100,000. Further, he proposed making the Copyright Act short and easy to understand.

9). Tyler Laing

Laing argued strongly against Bill C-61, criticizing the Bill for turning individuals into criminals due to activities like watching DVDs on Linux or telling someone how to circumvent DRM. Further, he criticized the music industry for making large profits off CDs while giving little return to the artist and proposed changing laws so that artists were entitled to a larger cut of their work.

10). Jason Locklin (researcher)

Locklin talked about his frustration with limited access to scientific publications and proposed changes such as expanding fair use, creating a public domain library, and a national digital copyright registry for maintaining copyright.

11). Russell McOrmond (software author)

McOrmond rejected the direction proposed in the 1996 WIPO treaties and argued against giving phone and cable companies the power to inspect communications for the purpose of notice and take-down regimes. He advocated for newer and simpler rules.

July 21, 2009

1). Maxwell Anderson

Anderson advocated shortening the length of copyright to the same copyright period used for patents because it would create a better balance of public and private interests.

2). Michael Archer

Archer agreed that the music and video piracy was a problem, but pointed out that existing alternatives like Pandora and Hulu are not available in Canada.

3). Grady Booth

Booth advocated abolishing copyright to be “ahead of our time.” Booth argued that laws should adapt to the sharing and copying culture of modern technology rather than combating it.

4). C. Bourne

Bourne discussed the issues facing campus and community radio stations such as digital locks that prevent changing music between media formats and tariffs that must be paid on new technologies (e.g. FM transmission, Internet streaming, podcasting). He urged the Copyright Board to consider the financial burden placed on non-profit radio stations when it came to new tariffs.

5). Bear Damgaard (Programmer)

Damgaard argued for a more open copyright regime. He advocated for an end to DRM, shorter copyright terms, and expanded protections for personal use.

6). David Dieno

Dieno asked how many Canadian citizens and youth without the vote would be criminalized by the new legislation. He also stated that obtaining digital content at a “reasonable price” (via iTunes or Walmart) would be the best way to compensate artists.

7). Pat Donovan

Donovan strongly criticized the American system and DRM, urging decision-makers to do something “sensible” and not “political.”

8). Ryan Gagne

Gagne argued that the old system of content distribution was a “broken” business model. He proposed that the government deal with the reality of digital media rather than protecting the interests of lobbyists protecting the interests of a “specific group of business related interests.”

9). P. Hunt (Software development industry, consumer)

Hunt advocated finding a better balance in Canada between the rights of the creator and the licensee. Hunt also urged laws to recognize that content spans multiple technological forms.

10). Michael Lines

Lines described the U.S. model as “an invitation to failure” and urged Canada to find a better balance by reducing copyright terms to the 25-year range and eliminating the Crown Copyright.

11). Lucas

Lucas argued that copying media from the Internet is not all that different from using a cassette to copy music from the radio or a VCR to copy TV. He also advocated in favour of more openness, arguing that distribution companies and artists need to change their business model such as promoting themselves through MySpace.

12). Andrew C. Murdoch

Murdoch argued that copyright should remain with the creator and not divested to a third party such as a record company. He also said there should be greater protection for individuals to make personal use copies of their legally purchased media and a shortened copyright term.

13). Gerry Obrien

Obrien was critical of the way politicians paint the music industry as “victims” in the copyright debate. He proposed a system where the industry must prove that downloading has cut into their profits instead of blaming pirating when a musician does not sell as well as expected.

14). Paul Theriault (medical student)

Theriault advocated for an open copyright regime. He said “ideal” copyright legislation would exempt educational institutions and individual consumers so that individuals could share content without fear of interference from the law.

15). Stephen Paul Webber (consumer, software developer, writer)

Weber advocated strongly for expanded fair use, shorter copyright terms, and protection for technologies that circumvent digital locks.