Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Proposed new Copyright Reform

There's apparently a potentially dangerous (for consumers) new copyright reform bill about to be pushed through the Federal government by the Conservatives, with little or no opposition. This is a bill that's a virtual clone of the anti-consumer DMCA bill in the states, and one that is basically authored by big US Media Interests. Below is a copy of the letter I sent to my Member of Pariliament about it. I'd encourage anyone to read the links and if they agree, to also talk to their MP.

Dear Madam,

I'm very concerned about reports I've been hearing about Parliament proposing a new copyright bill that will limit consumer freedoms and fair-use rights. From what I hear, the new bill will be a virtual clone of the US DMCA act. This act includes forbidding the use of copy-protection circumvention policy, something which I feel is antithetical to consumers' right to fair use of media. By placing copy controls on media, companies prevent consumers from enacting their fair-use rights, and can enable 'device lock-in.'

For instance, while it is perfectly legal to buy a song from the iTunes music store and transcode the file to play it on a non-Apple MP3 player, one would have to circumvent the copy controls to do so. Under this proposed legislation, doing so would be illegal. This would mean that consumers could potentially have to buy one copy of a song for every device that they own. While companies are not necessarily obligated to make it easy for consumers to copy media for their legal, fair use, I feel that it is wrong to punish consumers for circumventing those protections to make legal copies of copyrighted works for their personal use.

Big media will argue that these laws are necessary to protect and nurture content to be created. Copyright creates incentive for artists and businesses to create media, because there is a potential for financial reward. While this is true to a certain extent, it's also true that the more controls and restrictions are placed on media, the more frustrated consumers will become with purchasing media. This limits the market growth, and in the long term, revenue for the media companies.

Please do not side with the US Big Media lobbies on this one. Fight it. Debate it. It's not a black and white issue, as the media companies would have you believe. It's about consumer rights, and the importance of a flourishing artistic and cultural atmosphere.

Links for more information:

thank you,

Tom Robertson