May 7, 2009

Bill C-61 - the basics

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not exactly political by nature. And I do try not get up on my high horse, although I'm hardly successful.

But Bill C-61, the Canadian government's legislation concerning copyright in the digital age, is a joke, a monstrosity that turns its back on the last twenty years of digital advancement in favour of out-dated ideas and the interests of a few multi-nationals who fear loss of revenue.

It's a complicated issue, to be sure, but this short documentary (narrated by Cory Doctorow) lays out the issues quite clearly, and lets you know how devestating this bill could be to artists, educators, librarians, and the general public, to say nothing of artistic freedom or the right to actually own what you;ve purchased.

Please, give it a watch. And do whatever you can to keep such legislation down. It's your freedom too.


Anonymous said...

This video makes a lot of unsupported claims. We're told over and over that this legislation is bad, and will harm culture and creativity, but not a single example of why is given. Copyright exists so that creators can benefit from their labour. It shouldn't be changed so that consumers can glut themselves without cost.

Corey Redekop said...

Well, it's only a ten minute exploration of some of the issues, not a deep analysis, but I do see your point from that angle. However, I am a creator, and a consumer, and I feel that legislation as it stands is so deeply mired in past copyright shenanigans and machinations that nothing good will come of it. The bill punishes artists and consumers both, and refuses to accept new realities.

I don't say new copyright legislation would be easy, but there has to be some growth forward.

Anonymous said...

okay, but again, you make a claim without substantiating it. How does it punish artists and consumers?

Corey Redekop said...

I believe the bill punishes consumers because it completely guts the idea of fair dealing, a concept which has existed ever since copyright legislation first went into effect. If I purchase a book, it's mine. I can destroy it. I can lend it to a friend. I can do whatever I want with it. Under the new legislation, particularly with regard to DRM and digital locks, I don't own it at all. I can't move it from my drive to my iPod. If I dare try, I'm breaking the law, even if I am using it only for my own purposes. This is a very dangerous road to go down, and completely disregards the nature of technology and the Internet.

I am not saying that I'm against copyright entirely; I certainly enjoy getting a few royalties now and then. But disregarding what the technology allows us to do, and has been doing for years, makes almost everyone a criminal to some regard. There's no effort made at balancing all the issues involved.

And making librarians into watchdogs? Under the bill, the right to copy for purposes of education and studying is pretty much gone if there are digital locks involved. The idea of making a librarian into some kind of information guard is anathema to librarians. There's a real reason why most librarians such as myself are left-leaning; it's because we strive to provide information to everyone. Making us guards is an insult.

No legislation will ever be perfect, and there will always be those to circumvent the law to profit. But I believe the bill as it now stands makes most people criminals to some extent.

Balance the issues. That's all I ask.

Anonymous said...

but there's no reason that when you buy something in one format you should have the right to transfer it to another. We all know its possible, but that doesn't make it a right. You bought a cd, it works in your cd player. You bought a dvd, it works in your dvd player. You want them to work on your iPod, by a version for your iPod. There's no punishment here.

How does this make librarians into police? There's never been the right to copy for educational purposes. Every student must buy their own copy of the damned book.

All this is driven by the lazyiness and greed of a generation of spoiled brats, conditioned to aquire more than they can possibly use and unwilling to pay for it. It's not a question of left/right, it's a question of right/wrong.

Making my -or your - work free to anyone is an insult. It devalues my labour. Health care is free in Canada (mostly) but doctors get paid, no one asks them to donate their time and expertise. Yet this is what's being asked of creators.

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