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 #3:
3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
It is my belief that art, culture and innovation in this country would greatly benefit from two things:
I. More fair dealing — specifically, more exemptions for education & research and less criminalization of non-commercial use.
I hopefully don’t need to impress upon this government that those in our education system hold the keys to Canada’s future. As such their needs should be given at least a double-weighting against any argument put forth by for-profit intellectual property industries.
This is not to say that IP makers don’t deserve to make a profit, but they do need to understand that not all sharing is piracy. Fan pages on the web, mash-ups and yes, even file sharing engage people in the arts and oftentimes bring more paying customers directly to content creators. Though sharing media has never been easier, finding the original source has also become a similarly trivial thing.
II. A shorter copyright term. 5 years, 10, 25… Anything would be better than what we must currently endure.
I wrote above that Canada’s big media companies have no right to hold our nation’s culture hostage. Worthy artists certainly deserve compensation for their current endeavours, but locking up our cultural archives benefits almost no one.
We have an opportunity here to free up an important facet of our shared history by releasing archival works into the public domain. This would go a long way towards keeping our culture alive, and as new generations of Canadians engage with it what was old will once again become new.
Any feedback is welcome, as I won’t be making my final submission until the end of the week…