Friday, June 27, 2008

Either You're With U.S. Or Against U.S. - New Canadian Copyright Laws

Grouping of copyright and Supporting PaperworkCopyright Symbol and Supporting Paperwork Printed copyright symbols over registered copyright forms, document frames
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Did you ever wonder why Canada introduced a new Copyright Bill recently even though in the past the public disapproval of a similar bill caused it to be squashed? Well there is a very good article on that purports the United States has a hand in getting the maple leaf nation to quickly pass a controversial copyright law.

Michael Geist (the very same Michael Geist that started a Facebook group petitioning against the original changes to the Copyright legislation) argues:

The public campaign was obvious. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins
was outspoken on the copyright issue, characterizing Canadian copyright law as
the weakest in the G7 (despite the World Economic Forum ranking it ahead of the

The U.S. Trade Representatives Office (USTR) made Canada a fixture on
its Special 301 Watch list, an annual compilation of countries that the U.S.
believes have sub-standard intellectual property laws. The full list contains
nearly 50 countries accounting for 4.4 billion people, or approximately 70 per
cent of the world's population.

Most prominently, last year U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John
Cornyn, along with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, escalated the
rhetoric on Canadian movie piracy, leading to legislative reform that took just
three weeks to complete.

The United States seems to really find Canada's copyright laws attrocious. Does the United States need Canada's agreement to provide justification in the international community? Personally, I think it is just that. They have been pressuring Canada to pass harsher laws through 'blackmail politics.' Geist states:

U.S. officials upped the ante at the Security and Prosperity Partnership
meeting in Montebello, Que., last summer. Canadian officials arrived ready to
talk about a series of economic concerns, but were quickly rebuffed by their
U.S. counterparts, who indicated that progress on other issues would depend upon
action on the copyright file.

The U.S. makes Canada out to be the 'bad-guy' in the copyright world, but it seems they just want Canada to become American. They want Canada to be a mirror reflection of America. The thing is, Canada shouldn't be bullied into instituting a bill that the public has already helped squash. I fear that the U.S. is becoming a state where rights are becoming the exception and not the norm.

Now, I do not just blame the U.S. for Bill C-61 because essentially the Canadian government buckled to U.S. pressure. I blame the government as well, because they have become like a kid who gives in to peer pressure to try marajauna, etc. Canadians should be able to stand up for what they feel is the right thing to do, and before this American pressure, Canadians said that they were fine with the way copyright law was practiced north of Canada-US border.

The Canadian government should be able to stand up for itself, and at least state that they will negotiate about the copyright laws. If you think about it, the United States needs Canada's co-operation with the tough copyright laws so that their closest North American 'buddy' is not against them (which looks bad in the international community). Israel, one of the United State's best 'buddies,' is considering relaxed copyright laws, but I bet that the Americans will not question that plan. They would never jeopardize their relationship with their Middle-Eastern best-buddy. They would rather pressure their closest neighbour, a neighbour that they have shared a peaceful border with for many many years.

(Check out the facebook group against Bill C-61)


The Commentator said...

Being the history major you are, how often has Canada stood up for itself in crucial moments during its history?

Not often.

DC said...

That is true. The last time we stood up to the United States was... ummmmm.... 1812 ;)

Anonymous said...

No, it was when we refused to attack Iraq.