Below is my email to my member of parliament about Canada’s proposed Copyright Legislation. I am willing to go on the record with my view.
Hello Ms. Davidson,
Bill C-61 has been introduced by your government, and as my member of parliament, I am hopeful that you will vote against this law that strips consumers of their rights and stifles educational use in favour of corporate interests. Punish media pirates not families.
Please let me share a story. My wife and 2 year old son are driving from our home in Port Lambton to our family cottage in the Bruce Pennisula. To occupy our son on the 5 hour drive, I transfer his favourite Veggie Tales DVD onto an iPod for him to watch. Unfortunately, now I can be charged $20 000 and a possible prison sentence for this act under this proposed legislation. These figures are according to the analysis from Torys LLP which summarized the legislation (Boehm & Bernstein, 2008) and has a division of leading Canadian intellecual property and copyright lawyers. My brother and his family recently purchased a Playstation Portable for the purpose of watching DVDs in the car, it has no DVD player so he will also face jail time. Boehm & Bernstein (2008) state clearly that “Individuals may also make a single copy of legally obtained music, photographs, books, newspapers, periodicals and videocassettes (but notably not DVDs) to devices they own (known as “format shifting”).” This law makes law abiding citizens pirates and criminals. I do not want to exagerate, but transfering a DVD that I legally own to an iPod for my son may lead to financial hardship and significant time away from my family in prison.
In light of these facts I wonder why? Why would the government take away my rights of ownership and threaten me with jail time for showing my son a Veggie Tales DVD? I purchased this DVD, however media companies would love to sell me the iPod version of the DVD and force me to buy the movie twice. Which bible story from the Veggie Tales would this correlate with? An interesting side note, Veggie Tales is not even available for the iPod via Apple’s iTunes Store.
The education sector was also promised an exemption, which is in the legislation. As stated in the Torys brief, “educational institutions would be permitted to use and reproduce material from the Internet for teaching purposes only.” That is fair. However within the education exemption, there is a business clause that over rules the education exemption! Again quoting from Torys, “if the Internet site restricts the use of the material, either through a specific notice or digital lock, the institution may not use the material.” So there is no exemption if it is over ruled by a business exemption to educational use. It is impressive spin to call this an educational exemption. It is an education clause that entitles business an exemption to these rules against the greater good.
I am against piracy. I support action against individuals who don’t purchase media and intellectual content. I don’t support fathers in jail for wanting a child to be entertained on the way to the cottage. I don’t support business exemptions for educational use.
Ms. Davidson, what do you support? Do you support jail time for putting a legally purchased DVD on an iPod? Do you support business over education? I await your personal response.