Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Copyright Reform Luddite Style!

What can we the consumer’s expect from the Bill C-32 the government’s proposed copyright reform? Sadly, though the bill may be a slight improvement on Harper’s last ill-conceived attempt at a new legal frame work for the digital age, it remains hopelessly out of touch with the two stakeholders who arguably should have the most say in this process: artists and the public.

While Harper paid lip service to the importance of public consultation and transparency, primarily through town hall meetings and online debates, this appears to have been mere window dressing, in the end. Overall, C-32 seems to favour the lobbies that represent the music and entertainment interests, whereas consumers and artist’s interests are very much a secondary concern.

Case in point: many musicians favour an extension of the blank copying levy (which compensates for revenue that might be lost when consumers make private copies) a potentially valuable source of revenue that is sometimes derided as an “ipod tax” by critics.

Worse yet, the new law would make the enforcement of digital locks a priority. Annoyingly, this gives the corporations the power to sue consumers who break such “locks” even for the purposes of creating a copy of a legally purchased DVD as a back up, for up to $ 5,000 in damages! You’ve got to be fucking kidding!!!!

One would think, this kind of criminalization and penalization of regular folks, would be an affront to Harper’s supposed populist sensibilities. However, as we’ve seen before, this government’s grasp of science & technology (i.e. climate change) often borders on luddism. The digital revolution has forever changed the entertainment business, just don’t tell that to the flat earth society that controls the government!

The Future is Unwritten