Published May 21, 2008Rumours are flying around the internet that the long awaited USA-style copyright laws for Canada are imminent. A cynic might even say that Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice is thinking about jamming the new law through the legislature in the next couple weeks, taking advantage of the fact that no one generally gives a shit during the last few weeks before the summer recess (Parliament breaks for the summer in late June.)
Dubbed the Canadian DMCA, after the Americas Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which passed in 1998, the new law has been hinted at periodically over the last 18 months or so, but has always been sent to the back-burner after public outcry. Thus far, Prentice has refused to have any public consultation over the law, despite adamant concerns from artist, education, and library groups. The fear is we will soon find ourselves in the same mess as the Americans, where the DMCA has done little to curb piracy, but has been irritating librarians and college students for the past ten years.
While Prentice will no doubt do his best to present this new law as a benefit to Canadian consumers, you can be just as sure that the U.S. entertainment industry has his ear. Rather than adapt to the, uh, real world, the industry seems hellbent on trying to simply scare people off piracy. The new DMCA for Canada is sure to continue this practice, rather than emphasise and reward new business models that take advantage of the changing landscape.
If youre interested in having your say (as it seems our fine minister isnt) you can send an email to Prentice, your local MP, or the PM himself. Even better is to write a real letter to any of the above and mail to: House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A0A6. You dont even need a stamp, you cheapskate.