Radu Luchian(ov): Pastime: Commentary
On Copyright Law

The following is a letter I sent as part of one of many campaigns to stop the deepening of unfair copyright laws in Canada.

Please stop the attampt to make institutionalized theft legal through the Canadian Copyright Reform

Dear Ministers,

Like many other Canadians who take their digital entertainment seriously, over the years I gathered large amounts of digital garbage. Cubic feet of game boxes and movie DVDs advertised as excellent but actually a waste of time or, in the case of many games, not functioning as advertised or full of bugs or otherwise of low quality, but still sold for top dollar. The entertainment industry takes it for granted that they can sell the cat in the bag based on awesome trailers or video clips and no reseller would take back a game that fails to install or a movie that totally disappoints, when they should actually pay us for the loss of time and the frustration their false advertisement cause. If you decide to make copyrights stick, please consider making it both ways. If a company owns the rights to a piece of digital fluff, they should also be responsible for its quality. If we are not allowed to try out the merchandise before we buy it, then they should at least agree to reimburse us if the actual product fails to do its job, entertain or as it is often the case, not work at all. If people can't tell or share stories - in any medium - based on copyrighted scripts, characters and events, the whole point of the concept of 'story' disappears. Making arbitrary, unilateral laws to govern the creative process and the consumption thereof is akin to using halberds in order to do rice carvings; possible, but highly difficult and dangerous for the end product.

In the summer of 2009 the Government of Canada held public consultations on copyright and Canadians engaged in those consultations at unprecedented levels. Unfortunately, it now appears that the Government may be poised to ignore the vast majority of Canadian consultation submissions and proceed with anti-consumer copyright reform legislation. Legislation that would employ strong protection for digital locks, a rejection of flexible fair dealing and support for specific technologies and business models. Legislation that may indeed be more stifling than the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which, over the course of the last decade, has proven to be a backwards, ill-conceived approach to copyright.

To ignore the input of thousands of Canadian consumers and creators when modernizing Canada’s copyright regime would be irresponsible. Alternatively, I urge this Government to heed what Canadians have told them and only proceed with legislation to reform copyright that is technologically neutral by not integrating protection for specific technologies or business models (e.g. all-encompassing prohibition of circumvention devices and technologies). Legislation that expands and protects fair dealing to ensure Canada has the legal framework to adapt to future business models and new forms of creativity we have yet to discover.

Fortunately, there remains time and opportunity for this Government to reassess its approach on copyright reform and ensure that the input provided by Canadians via public consultations process is taken into full consideration.

Radu Luchianov.

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