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PROCESSUS DE RÉFORME DU DROIT D'AUTEUR
SUGGESTIONS REÇUES RELATIVEMENT AUX DOCUMENTS DE CONSULTATION
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Suggestion de Dr. Ian Firla reçue le 8 septembre 2001 par courriel
Objet : Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform
To Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other concerned agencies:
I write to express my grave concern regarding the extreme intellectual property provisions of the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues (CPCDI).
These measures, based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), give far too much power to publishers, at the expense of indivdiuals' rights. The DMCA itself is already under legal challenge in the US, has gravely chilled scientists' and computer security researchers' freedom of expression around the world for fear of being prosecuted in the US, and resulted in the arrest of a Russian programmer. The CPDCI provisions, which serve no one but (largely American) corporate copyright interests, are just as overbroad as those of the DMCA.
Though I am a Canadian, I have attended protests in London, England, to express my concerns over first the imprisonment of Dmitry Skylarov and later his indictment under the DMCA. I have also written letters to Adobe Inc (the company who first asked the FBI to press charges against Dmitry and later withdrew that request when they learned that Dmitry Skylarov's programme in itself violated no copyrights).
These provisions would amend the Canadian Copyright Act to ban, with few or no exceptions, software and other tools that allow copy prevention technologies to be bypassed. This would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of freedom of speech, and similar guarantees in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since such tools are necessary to exercise lawful uses, including fair use, reverse engineering, computer security research and many others.
Consumers must have the right to use products freely. The DMCA and the CPCDI as they are currently constructed infringe on those freedoms. In America, the RIAA and the MPAA are engaged in a very active campaign which suggests that any circumvention software exists solely to break copyright and redistribute intellectual property without remunerating artists and theit corporations. This could not be further from the truth. I have purchased many DVDs. I like to watch my DVDs on my computer. I do not use Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh operating systems. I use Linux computers. The MPAA has made it illegal for me to possess a key piece of software which would allow me to watch a DVD on my computer.
I am not a criminal. I strongly resent being treated as one. An exact and poigniant equation would be if governments assumed that every gun owner was a not a potential, but an active murderer. Obviously that is absurd. The same holds true for those who might posses or produce software which would enable a consumer to circumvent encrypted digital content for their own fair use.
I urge you to remove these controversial and anti-freedom provisions from the CPDCI language. The DMCA is already an international debacle. Its flaws should not be imported and forced on Canadians.
Dr Ian Firla
St John's College
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