Thursday, June 05, 2008

Your Government Inaction

Based on a variety of reports, I decided the other day that it was time to contact my MP about what might happen with copyright here in Canada. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Harris,

I have been dismayed to read the continuing news reports about the possible Canadian version of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Suggestions that overly large fines might be introduced in spite of many Canadian artists specifically coming out against this tactic is extremely worrisome and tells me that this bill would be friendly to non-Canadian corporations rather than to Canadian creators and consumers. Even worse to my mind, the word that came down last week that border officials would be allowed to search computers and digital devices such as iPods without any sort of warrant tells me that my government is prepared to invade my privacy in order to make large companies happy.

As with any government, there are things the Conservatives do that I agree with and things I do not. In that, I suspect I am off the most common variety of Canadian. But this is the first time I've felt obligated to write. I am a blue collar worker, but I also have a secondary career as an author, and my wife is an academic librarian.In these roles, both of us have a strong interest in copyright issues, and we firmly believe that while copyright is a positive thing, it has been carried too far and shows signs of becoming even more onerous.

Therefore, I urge you and the government to give due consideration to this bill and to allow other voices to be heard, rather than allowing it to be pushed through.

Thank you for your attention on this matter.


Derryl Murphy

cc The Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
The Honorable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry

and here is what Dick Harris (or his office lackeys) wrote in response:

Dear Derryl,

Thank you for your e-mail, it is always a pleasure to hear from my constituents.

The Government of Canada aims to protect the rights of creators and the rights of holders. However, as the need to reform copyright legislation was highlighted in the 2007 Speech from the Throne, our government knows it must move forward quickly.

Copyright reform is complex and our Government will introduce a new bill when she is satisfied it strikes the right balance between creators and consumers.

Thank you again for expressing concern in this issue.


Dick Harris, MP
Cariboo-Prince George

So that's it. We wait to see just how the federal Conservatives define striking the right balance.

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