Copyright Reform Process in Canada

I googled my name out of 1 part idle curiosity and 2 parts ego boosting.

Interestingly, this link popped up first.

It’s a submission I made ages ago when the Canadian government was looking for public input into copyright reform. I’ll reproduce it here for my amusement, and perhaps yours.

Reply comment from John Koetsier received on October 12, 2001 via e-mail

Subject: Copyright Reform Process

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments about the upcoming copyright reform process.

It’s critical that in this process, the rights and privileges of Canadian CITIZENS are held paramount.

The trend we seen in the US of ever more centralized control and restricted access to intellectual property is one that is NOT designed in the best interests of artists and authors, but the best interests of large corporations.

This would be an incorrect model for Canada to follow.

We pride ourselves on being a democratic nation: government of the people, by the people, for the people. Let the laws of the nation then reflect the best interests of the people.

I want to state that I am against intellectual property theft, often referred to as ‘piracy’ by various content industries. However, I think it is very clear: we are far less threatened by occasional file sharing, music sharing, and other forms of intellectual property sharing than by draconian restrictions and laws that limit people’s freedom … and derive from a presumption of guilt mindset, not a presumption of innocence. That in itself would be a frightening reversal of hard-fought freedoms and rights.

Finally, I want to say that the interests of the people, the interests of the nation, AND the interests of intellectual property producers themselves would be best served by ‘letting a thousand flowers bloom.’ More content, more production, more consumption, and more profits flow from an information economy built on an abundance principle.

Heavy restrictions, strong laws, and prosecution of ordinary citizens, such as we’ll see if the music industry and the software industries get their way, will create an economy of scarcity, regulation, and antagonism. It will be a less vibrant economy for EVERYONE, including producers. Fewer works of art and literature and software will be created.

The only winners will be a few companies already at the top enjoying longer copyrights. Why create something new when the old is selling well and no-one can touch it for decades?

Canada will benefit most by a thriving, diverse marketplace of ideas, content, art, and software: a bazaar, not an authoritarian, rule-bound, miserly stock exchange.

Thank you again for this opportunity.

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Wow, that was almost 3 years ago. I still stand by all those comments.

I kind of doubt they made any difference, though.

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