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What needs to be done to stop ‘heavy-handed’ copyright bill.

There are strong rumours coming out from Professor Michael Geist and others that the Conservative government will again attempt to being forth a copyright bill, and one that once again is very consumer-hostile:

All signals suggest Heritage Minister James Moore has triumphed over the objections of Industry Minister Tony Clement, setting up Canada to march in excessively protected lockstep with a United States that boasts the toughest laws against pirated music or movies on the planet. It may well be a legal constraint that’s impossible to enforce, but the rumble out of the PMO suggests the new law will ignore the extensive public consultations that advocated a go-easy take on copying of CDs and DVDs in favour of robust anti-consumer limits on transferring or sharing content.

From Professor Geist commenting on this:

Martin’s report is wholly consistent with my earlier reporting that the PMO has sided with the out-of-touch Moore, who has emerged as a staunch advocate for a Canadian DMCA. While the bill will undoubtedly include some elements designed to garner support from consumer and education groups, the U.S.-style approach to digital locks will effectively undermine the current fair dealing provision and any additional user-oriented reforms that find their way into the bill.

What needs to be done to halt/stop this if the reports are true is to do the exact same thing the last time the Conservative government tried to pass a DMCA type law; mobilize public opposition to it to force them to back off or to modify the bill to make it more consumer-friendly/be compatible with fair dealing.

The Conservatives are very sensitive to issues that may cause them a drop in support in the public opinion polls that threaten their desired goal of reaching a majority government, so if there is a strong public outcry against these hinted at new measures, they’ll drop them like a sack of hot potatoes. I’m sure Professor Geist will be calling his fans and supporters to the barracks as he did last time, when he created the Fair Copy Right For Canada facebook group, which got a lot of attention and a lot of people joining it. I’m hoping that the opposition parties – particularly the Liberals – will seize on this proposed new law and denounce it, if it’s as “heavy-handed” as claimed.

A government in the hands of the US Copyright lobby (and their Canadian enablers) telling people what they can and can’t do with their Ipods has the potential for severe blowback against the Conservative government.


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