Four reasons to care about the new Canadian copyright bill

Four reasons to care about the new Canadian copyright bill

Remeber the Betamax?

Next week, the feds will outline Bill C-32, better known as the Copyright Act, which is expected to profoundly shift this country’s copyright laws. Why should you care? We’ve got four good reasons.

Because we all know Betamax went out with Hammer pants:
Canada’s copyright laws are absurdly outdated. We still have regulations that make recording a television show on Betamax (!) illegal. It’s probably time we got some laws that deal with the plethora of copyright issues that arise from “the Internets.”

Because you like Broken Social Scene and Corner Gas:
According to the Globe, if the new bill is too strict about how we can copy and distribute Canadian movies, TV shows and music, the public may be even less inclined to consume homegrown arts. On the other hand, if laws on distribution are too relaxed, movie studios and record companies might choose to produce in a country where their work is better protected. It’s a tight-wire act, and the fate of the Canadian arts sector depends on the government’s ability to find a balance.

Because you illegally downloaded both Broken Social Scene and Corner Gas:
One feature of the new bill is causing considerable controversy: digital locks. These are special tools embedded into some DVDs, CDs and video games that prevent users from copying the data. Bill C-32 will allow purchasers to make backup copies and transfer to their computer whatever they purchase, unless the makers of the product decide to use a digital lock on it. It basically gives the producer the choice to lock down whatever they want, and while some creators—particularly musicians—recognize the promotional value of making their product easy to copy, just as many will likely use the lock.

Because the star of 18 to Life says you should:
Members of the Canadian actors’ union ACTRA have been lobbying in Ottawa for certain changes to the bill. Peter Keleghan of 18 to Life and Eric Peterson of Corner Gas both spent the past couple of days meeting with MPs. They believe that consumers are going to share files no matter what the government does. Make it legal, they say, but make the public pay. Their suggestion is that all recordable devices, from MP3 players to USB sticks, carry a levy that will be passed on to artists.

How the new copyright bill will affect Canadian culture [Globe and Mail]
ACTRA calls for changes to copyright bill [CBC]