The Great Canadian Copyright Consultations - A "How to" Guide for Creators
A few minutes of your time could help shape the government's promised
anadians have answered the Federal Government's invitation to air their
views in this summer's Copyright Consultations with enthusiasm, sending in
thousands of responses.
However, to date, the majority reflect the perspectives of education
professionals, students, or others with little sympathy or insight into the
rigours of survival as a professional creator of copyright works. Beyond
this forum, opponents of an effective copyright regime have worked hard to
build support through websites, blogs and email campaigns.
If you are concerned about the impact on your livelihood of new exceptions
under the Copyright Act or an extension of fair dealing that will expand
uncompensated uses and erode the market for Canadian books, magazines and
newspapers, you still have a chance to be heard. You still have a chance to
help ensure the government's promised copyright bill does not undermine your
livelihood. Make sure your voice is heard.
If you believe that Canada should better protect the rights of creators,
drive innovation, catch up with its trading partners and meet its
international commitments, then please prepare a submission right now.
Your submission should respond to some or all of the six questions the
government has posed (see below). This guide has been created to help you
draft it. The suggested structure and arguments are just that -
suggestions - to make this task fast and easy for you. This can be completed
in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. You can cut and paste the arguments below,
build on them, or write down your own reasons for reforms. The main thing is
to send your views to the government. Ask your friends, family and work
colleagues to do the same.
Send your submission now! The deadline is Sept. 13, 2009.
All submissions should be sent directly to the government at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparing Your Submission
Question 1: How do Canada's copyright laws affect you?
Briefly introduce yourself and explain why copyright reform is important to
you. For example,
I am a writer who makes a living from books. My income depends on royalties
from the sale of my books as well as from the reproduction of my books under
collective licences. This income pays for food, shelter and clothing for my
family, and allows me to continue.
Copyright should exist to protect creators like me. When others use my work,
it should ensure I am compensated.
Collective licences exist to allow universities, schools, corporations and
governments to make copies of my work and the works of other creators while
ensuring that we are fairly compensated. This is a system that works well,
but is in peril.
I am worried that new exceptions and expanded fair dealing could
significantly undermine my income while at the same time damaging the market
for books, magazines and newspapers published in Canada.
Question 2: How should existing laws be modernized? (Use as many of the
points below as reflect your views)
I want Copyright Act reforms to follow the principles outlined by the
government for Bill C-61:
The rights of those who hold copyright must be fairly balanced with the
needs of users to access copyright works.
The Copyright Act must provide clear, predictable and fair rules to allow
Canadians to derive benefits from their creations.
The Copyright Act should foster innovation in an effort to attract
investment and high-paying jobs to Canada.
Canada must ensure that its copyright framework for the Internet is in line
with international standards.
Canada's Copyright Act needs to be reformed because:
New digital technologies have made it cheap and easy for anyone to copy
files and make money from them, or to copy and distribute works without
recognizing my need to get paid for these uses.
By failing to take action, our government has allowed a culture that demeans
and devalues intellectual property to flourish. This is a culture that
assumes copyright works can be expropriated without proper compensation for
those who invested their talents, skills, time and hard work to create them.
Canada's Copyright Act is badly outdated. We are years behind our key
trading partners in modernizing our copyright laws for the digital age.
Canadian copyright law should recognize international standards by
implementing and ratifying the WIPO Treaty.
We need rules to discourage the unauthorized taking of other people's
property without compensation.
It is only fair that we protect creators' investments of time, money and
Question 3: Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright
changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
Canadian copyright law should be technology neutral. It should be based on
general principles rather than specific technologies. The ability of a
creator to get paid for the use of his/her work should not depend on the
Question 4: What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster
innovation and creativity in Canada?
Creativity and innovation will thrive only when they are rewarded. Fair
compensation for creators provides the resources and incentives they need to
continue to create and innovate.
I want my work to be distributed as widely as possible. But I want to be
paid fairly when my work is used.
Fair dealing already allows for substantial free use of copyright works.
With a system of collective licensing in place, there is no need to expand
Instead of resorting to exceptions and expanded fair dealing which do not
offer compensation to creators, the government should facilitate an
expansion of the existing system of collective licensing which provides
users with easy access to copyright materials through one-stop shopping and
creators with fair remuneration when their works are used.
Collective licensing helps consumers obtain access to works while ensuring
creators are fairly compensated. It is a "win-win" for everybody.
Question 5: What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster
competition and investment in Canada?
Canadian creators and publishers are actively pursuing new business models
and opportunities. Expanded fair dealing, new exceptions in the Copyright
Act, and a weakening of collectives and collective licensing rules would
undercut these models and the sustainability of our Canadian cultural
The copyright reforms advocated by creators and publishers are reforms that
have been successfully implemented in other markets. In many countries that
have modernized their copyright laws, digital marketplaces are flourishing,
consumer choice far exceeds that in Canada, and illegitimate file sharing is
declining. The result? Legal online activity is skyrocketing among teenagers
and illegal behaviour has plunged.
Question 6: What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in
the global, digital economy?
Canada's creative community has proven it can win accolades and achieve
greatness in the global marketplace when the conditions are there for it to
flourish and thrive.
To flourish and thrive, creativity and innovation need to be rewarded.
Canada can be a leader in the digital economy by ensuring that copyright
laws protect the livelihoods of creators and provide incentives to produce
compelling, professional content that draws international audiences.
Summary and Thank You
Thank the Government for the opportunity to provide input on these issues of
critical importance to you, your colleagues, and your family. Reiterate how
these issues are directly important to you because they affect your
livelihood. For example:
I am a professional, and I produce professional quality products. Like other
professionals, I expect and deserve to be paid. No-one suggests that
teachers should not be paid, or that the suppliers of computers and other
materials used in the classroom should give them away for free. Canadian
creators and information producers need the same respect if we are to
continue making an important contribution to Canadian culture and society.
New exceptions and extensions of fair dealing that are being called for will
be done at the expense of creators like me, eliminating with a stroke of the
pen revenue streams that are fairly earned and on which I and my family
Thank you for the opportunity to express these views and help ensure Canada's
copyright laws match international standards and reward innovation and
Email your submission to: email@example.com
THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING UP!