Sitting on the Order Paper for Parliament this morning is this intriguing little item:
An Act to amend the Copyright Act (downloadable PDF -- free!)
The writing and publishing industry, and indeed all of Canada's cultural workers are probably tuned to CPAC this morning to witness this legislation's long awaited arrival in the House.
Writers in this country have been looking to government to address digital copyright issues for many years. While we've been waiting for reform of the Copyright Act, Canada's professional cultural workers have seen a steady erosion of our rights and livelihoods.
Chances are I won't agree with everything in the bill, but I congratulate this government for doing the work to bring it to Parliament. This discussion needs to
happen in the country's highest chambers, and Canada's legislators need to do the necessary work to understand copyright in all its subtlety and complexity. I look forward to a vigorous debate.
I'm very hopeful the House, in its wisdom, can find a balance that suits creators, publishers, and the broader public interest.
Of course, before anyone has even seen the new bill, it has already been negatively branded by those determined to oppose any focus on shoring up the rights of traditional copyright stakeholders. Anti-corporatism, anti-Conservatism and anti-Americanism seem to be the flags flown most often over there -- check out this comic book for the kind of balanced and nuanced argumentation we can expect to see more of once the bill comes down. Strangely, traditional professional creators interested in seeing due Parliamentary process applied to the question of copyright reform appear as neither the Fantastic Freedom of Expression Fighters, nor the Evil Emissaries of American Interests. Then again, I guess there aren't that many comics out there in which Superman and Spiderman sit down at a committee table to have a nuanced policy discussion. I would so buy one, though.
UPDATE: Here's the official government press release. And check out the "fact sheets" as well. And, of course, if you didn't get it up top there, here's Bill C-61.
How geeky are we all right now?