Ryan Malcolm knows what's up.
April 3, 2004 11:36 PM   Subscribe

In response to Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruling that file sharing was legal in Canada (previously discussed here), Federal Heritage Minister Helene Scherrer has stated that "As minister of Canadian Heritage, I will, as quickly as possible, make changes to our copyright law".

The problem is that Canadian copyright law has been going through a slow and thoughtful reformation process. Since the unveiling of A Framework for Copyright Reform in 2001, a lot of progress has been made in updating the laws to reflect the needs and concerns of content producers, and the public domain. Now, however, it seems that all of this work may be bulldozed by Helene Scherrer, who declared her intentions at the Juno Awards last night.
posted by Jairus (11 comments total)
Concerned parties can contact the Copyright Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage at (819) 997-5638.
posted by Jairus at 11:37 PM on April 3, 2004

I wouldn't be surprised if this turns into an election issue. Seems like just the trick to motivate the dispasionate youth into voting against the ruling Liberals. I don't think there will be time to pass new law before either a spring or fall election (at the latest), but would the opposition conservatives come out in favour of file sharing to score points? Doesn't seem very corporate friendly, as goes the cliche.
posted by loquax at 1:23 AM on April 4, 2004

Here is some real analysis of the Canadian file sharing ruling. It is quite a stretch to say that file sharing has been made legal in Canada.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2004

sp dinsmoor: From your analysis link:

"In summary, this case really does seem to say, as the media have reported, "Yeah, file sharing, of music only, not video nor other copyrighted material, is A-okay - go ahead, kids!" [and] "downloading a song for personal use does not amount to infringement" (emphasis mine)

Seems pretty legal to me.
posted by Jairus at 10:14 AM on April 4, 2004

loquax: We all know that crazy stunts to grab the attention of the hip kids is the domain of Jack Layton... Brace yourself for the Layton-Broadbent-Malcolm juggernaut of hip, new ideas! All the cool kids are gonna vote!
posted by Old Man Wilson at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2004

Jairus: The next sentence:
"But it's open to appeal, much of it actually comes down to procedural issues that CRIA could correct in future cases, and so I'm really dubious about how well it will stand as far as putting a stop to future lawsuits."
I wouldn't rely on this ruling to protect myself against a future suit for copyright infringement.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 11:50 AM on April 4, 2004

It comes as no surprise that a government representative comes out very shotgun rather than considerate in regard to the issue of copyright infringement. Sure she's making one group happy but in this instance there isn't even the appearance that numerous viewpoints and data are being considered. One of the leading principles, supposedly, in the modern "rational" society is to consider, debate, and research data and then draw conclusions and take appropriate action. Not so in this case (and numerous others of course). Statements and actions based on uncontested "facts" seem rather unchecked at the moment. Or have I just been incredibly naive?

Contrast this with a recent proposal to introduce mandatory retesting of drivers in Ontario and Alberta to improve safety. In both case, both Transportation Ministers have stated in effect that they have to see evidence that such testing will actually result in improved safety (rather than simply serving to increase revenue.)

I don't see Helene announcing that likewise, the fees for the levy on blank recording media will also be reduced or eliminated.
posted by juiceCake at 11:59 AM on April 4, 2004

It'd be ever so nice if we could treat our rabid politicians like we do rabid dogs.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2004

"Copyrights have a value, and artists and songwriters would like to get paid for the use of their music..."
-Holger Peterson, president of Stony Plain Records.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
posted by Eamon at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2004

Turnabout is fair play. If industries that market copyrighted products want to keep their copyright, then they should be *required* to market that product.

I call it the "use it or lose it" copyright. A work, say a copyrighted musical performance *could* be renewable every five (5) years, but *only* if during that five (5) years, it had been offered for public sale to, let's say, the retail value of $500 as a minimum.

This means that the vast libraries of content that are owned, but never re-released, IF THEY WERE PROFITABLE, would be worth renewing their copyright BY OFFERING THEM UP FOR SALE.

If they were not profitable, it would not be worth it to try and sell $10,000 worth of that content--so the owner would let the copyright lapse.

What does this accomplish? First of all, a VAST amount of copyrighted material instantly becomes public domain. Second, the copyright becomes again what it was intended to be, a stimulus to business. Third, the much smaller amount of copyrighted works then become enforceable--with penalties to reflect infringement.
posted by kablam at 4:28 PM on April 4, 2004

The current copyright system is our society's Alzheimer's.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on April 5, 2004

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