So I’m finally getting around to writing up my submission to our government’s public consultation on copyright…
There are five key questions to answer:
- How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
- Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
- What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
- What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
- What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
Here’s the first draft of my answer to Question #1. Any feedback is welcome, as I won’t be making my final submission until the end of the week.
1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in an age where the aggregated wealth of human knowledge and experience is readily available at the click of a computer mouse.
And despite the alarm bells that some may raise, art and culture — Canadian and otherwise — is thriving in this new realm. The barrier between so-called “professional” artists and their audiences is quickly disappearing, and with amazing new digital tools any citizen with a computer and Internet connection is able to create their own art and instantly share it with the world.
Understandably, this presents quite the conundrum for industries built upon the monetization of intellectual property. For much of the 20th century these businesses held the keys to our art and culture, doling it out incrementally for profit and making stars out of some while reducing the rest of us to consumers and markets.
And now, these industries have largely turned their backs on the chance to embrace participatory culture, to add value to it — instead seeking to make criminals of the very same Canadians who made their businesses not only profitable but entirely possible in the first place.
Thus I will submit that for effective copyright reform the needs of all Canadians must be prioritized over the wants of a privileged few. I want to live in a society where everyone is actively engaged with the arts, not passively consuming only that which we are told to.
I am certainly not opposed to compensation for those who choose to make a living from producing intellectual property, but I honestly see no need for special consideration from government — the market will decide what’s worth paying for, as it always has.
Note that I’ve deliberately trivialized the plight of big media in the above statement — you can thank the town hall fiasco of a few weeks back for that.
So what do you think? Am I going too far? Not far enough? Missing the point entirely? Let me have it!