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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Corresponding with my MP, II

Hi Denise,

I have just heard that the Conservative Party is set to reintroduce the copyright bill, C-32, in identical form to its prior introduction.

Below this letter, please find the text of my previous letter to you with regard to this matter. As the bill is reportedly identical, all of my serious concerns and criticisms still apply.

I would welcome a considered response from you. Furthermore, although I realize you must be busy, I would be gratified if you would take the time to comment on any of a number of other serious actions of this Conservative government which have disturbed the conscience of my whole community, including, just off the top of my head:

- the controversial Keystone XL pipeline plan;
- untimely 'tough on crime' legislation and the attempts to bully this prohibitively extensive document past our elected representatives without time for proper reading or debate;
- the outrageous Afghan Detainee document release fiasco;
- national and provincial carbon tax rhetoric - in light of the Climategate revelations;
- the backroom dealings of our provincial and national governments, leading to the unrepresented imposition of the HST in BC; along with the billion-plus in federal incentive money for its introduction, which BC taxpayers must now pay back;
- embarkation with apparent lack of debate upon an adventurous, open-ended conflict in Libya.

My community is frustrated and angry with the state of Canadian politics, and uncomprehending of the reasoning of our provincial and national governments in implementing the majority of their most important policies. They are serving the opposite interests to our own!

Please note that I am treating this as an open letter, and will be posting the above and any response to http://christasthostoraoraret.blogspot.com as with my previous letter regarding C-32.

Thank you, and best wishes -

- Chris

***************************************

The following reply arrived yesterday. It sounds a lot like the prior response and is more than likely a form letter. I am more than likely not particularly impressed given the respectfully demanding and multi-issue tone of my communication, to which I devoted a great deal of thought. Judge for yourself:

***************************************

November 17, 2011

Chris James :

Thank you for your emails regarding C-11, the Conservative government’s new copyright bill. Since 2004, New Democrats have pushed to have Canada’s copyright legislation brought into the digital age.

My New Democrat colleagues and I believe that copyright in a digital environment must be based on two fundamental principles – access for consumers and remuneration for artists. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has failed to meet these two fundamental principles. On one hand, the government directly attacks millions of dollars in existing copyright royalty to artists all the while undermining rights of consumers through their digital lock provisions.

Given the above, we will not be supporting Bill C-11 unless the government is willing to amend the digital lock provisions and restore royalty provisions for artists.

New Democrats are concerned about a number of measures in this legislation. First, we oppose the digital lock provisions in Bill C-11 as they go well beyond our obligations under the WIPO treaty. Legal protection for TPMs (Technological Protection Measures) should not override rights that are guaranteed to citizens under existing copyright legislation.

Another concern is that this bill offers consumers rights they will not be able to exercise. The blanket provisions for digital locks will allow corporate interests to decide what legal rights you may or may not exercise. This unbalanced approach will ultimately hurt artists, educators and consumers.

There are also serious concerns over the impact this bill would have on long-distance education. In particular, we are totally opposed to provisions that would require students and educators to destroy their class notes after 30 days.

While we support the right of consumers to time shift and back up legal works, we oppose the government’s attempt to erase the right of artists to receive compensation for private copying of works. Further, the refusal of the government to update the private copying levy into the digital realm will cost artists millions of dollars a year in loss royalties.

Finally, we oppose plans to remove mechanical royalties for radio as well as attempts to erase collective licensing rights in schools.

While there is much we dislike in this bill, there are measures that we can support — for example, provisions that would bring Canada into compliance with the WIPO copyright treaties including the “making available” right of artists. We also support the move to ensure photographers are given copyright over their works. We support efforts to extend fair dealing rights for satire and parody.

For our part, we will try to improve this deeply flawed piece of legislation. First, we will look to amend the digital lock provisions to ensure there is a balance between the right of a creator to protect their work and the right of the consumer to access content for which they are legally entitled.

In addition, we are committed to clarifying the fair dealing rights in terms of education so that students and educators are able to access works in the classroom while, at the same time, ensuring collective licensing regimes for the fair remuneration of creators are not undermined.

Again, I appreciate knowing of your interest to have Canada adopt improved copyright legislation for the 21st century.

Sincerely,

Denise Savoie, MP
Victoria


***************************************

Ms. Savoie, thank you again for responding. I have to state that my interest is not mainly the updating of copyright law. My interest is transparency and the maintenance of my rights and of my beautiful country. I would like to close by reproducing my full list of serious concerns:

- mauling of fair use and legal support for digital locks, as I have explained;
- the controversial Keystone XL pipeline plan;
- untimely 'tough on crime' legislation and the attempts to bully this prohibitively extensive document past our elected representatives without time for proper reading or debate;
- the outrageous Afghan Detainee document release fiasco;
- national and provincial carbon tax rhetoric - in light of the Climategate revelations;
- the backroom dealings of our provincial and national governments, leading to the unrepresented imposition of the HST in BC; along with the billion-plus in federal incentive money for its introduction, which BC taxpayers must now pay back;
- embarkation with apparent lack of debate upon an adventurous, open-ended conflict in Libya.

I SAY AGAIN, My community is frustrated and angry with the state of Canadian politics, and uncomprehending of the reasoning of our provincial and national governments in implementing the majority of their most important policies. They are serving the opposite interests to our own!

Thank you for your time, and please, vote for someone you can believe in. Don't vote for soothing words.

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