Michael Geist sez,
Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister's Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement were unable to reach consensus on the broad framework of a new bill.What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown -- yet again -- their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an invonvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.
With mounting pressure from the U.S. - there have repeated meetings with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks - the PMO sided squarely with Moore's vision of a U.S.-style copyright law. The detailed provisions will be negotiated over the coming weeks by the respective departments, but they now have their marching orders of completing a bill that will satisfy the U.S. that comes complete with tough anti-circumvention rules and no flexible fair dealing provision.
For those wondering what can be done, my only answer is to speak out now. Write a paper letter to your Member of Parliament and send copies to the Prime Minister, Moore, Clement and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. No stamp is required - be sure to include your home address and send it to the House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6. Once that is done, join the Facebook group and the Facebook page and be sure to ask others do the same. You may have spoken out before, but your voice is needed yet again.
Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists' coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America's copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.
There's only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.
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I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.