Kempton Lam, who organized Saturday's anti-DMCA rally at Industry Canada Minister Jim Prentice's office in Calgary, Alberta, has posted a GREAT couple of articles reporting on the day, which looks to have been an unqualified success. The Minister (who was in Calgary for an open house at his constituency office) is introducing copyright legislation that mimics — and exceeds — the worst elements of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, a law that has resulted in lawsuits against 20,000 music fans, harmed free speech and innovation, and failed completely to enrich any artists or prevent infringement.
Minister Prentice has refused to answer any of the 250+ questions that the CBC Radio programme Search Engine compiled from its readers' suggestions; and he shut Canadian artists, industry and consumer groups out of the drafting of the bill, writing it with the help of US entertainment giants and the US Trade Representative. The Minister's office says that consumer interests in the bill will come about as the result of a separate committee, the kind of thing that usually takes a decade to come to fruition in Canadian law.
So on Saturday, some fifty concerned people attended the Minister's open house and asked him some of the questions that the CBC had compiled. Hundreds more wrote and called the office (I tried to leave a message late on Saturday and found that all three of his office voicemail systems were filled and no longer accepting messages).
Word is that the Minister had no idea that this would be such a big deal for Canadians (the week-old Facebook group for fighting the bill just crested 10,000 members and is growing fast), despite the fact that the last two MPs who tried to introduce a slightly better version of the law ended up losing their jobs.
Word is that the Minister and his advisers are scrambling, rethinking the entire matter because of the public outcry. It's thanks to you all — everyone who wrote and called, and especially people who went to the Minister's office on Saturday, and especially Kempton Lam, who organised the whole event. (Be sure to check out all the videos Kempton filmed of Canadians putting questions about the proposal to the Minister)
We've killed the Canadian DMCA twice now. We will do it a third time, a fourth, a fifth, and forever, until Canada's politicians start drafting balanced copyright laws that protect Canadian artists, scholars, critics, schools, libraries, and the public interest.
(Photo credit: _DSC0046 from LiminalMike's Flickr stream)
O Canada! The Canadian DMCA version of the national anthem
Canadian DMCA introduced
CANADIANS! Tomorrow is your best chance to fight the Canadian DMCA! Event in Calgary, national phone-in
Canada's DMCA won't get any consumer rights added to it for a decade
Facebook group for fighting Canada's DMCA growing fast
Ranting hand-puppet tackles Canada's DMCA
HOWTO Fight Canada's coming DMCA copyright law