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Copyright Law, American Style

From August 31, 2008

When MP Bev Shipley received an email from a constituent asking a question about the Conservatives' new Copyright legislation, he responded with clarifying information about the act. This is good. Unfortunately for the constituent and Mr Shipley, the information he provided was wrong.

Mr Shipley wrote in his email: "C-61 allows you to copy your DVD to your computer in various formats. If you damage your DVD you do not lose ownership right to the material although the format in which you use it may be somewhat limited. You can view the movie on your computer or you can connect your computer to your television." Yet Bill C-61 explicitly prohibits the copying of any protected DVD, even for the purpose of backup or format-shifting. As a member of the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Mr Shipley should have known this.

Many consider Bill C-61, tabled by Minister of Industry Jim Prentice, an unbalanced bill which does not recognize the rights of consumers to fully use their legally acquired media. Some consider C-61 a 'Made-in-USA' bill, designed to defend the interests of Hollywood and Washington lobbyists, at the expense of Canadian freedom.

In fact, the law would go so far as to criminalize multi-region DVD players and could make illegal companies that refill printer ink cartridges.

Rather than protecting artists and performers, the wording of the Conservatives' Bill C-61 makes it a gift to American film, music, and technology industries. Canadians do not want this, and they should not support the Cons' attempts to make this sort of bill law.