Copy leftovers

Rather than including consumer concerns such as flexible fair dealing, time shifting, format shifting, parody, and the future of the private copying levy within the forthcoming bill, Prentice [Canada’s Industry Minister] will instead strike a Copyright Review Panel to consider future copyright reforms.

Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, once again shows that corporate interests trump the public interest in Canada.

It seems that this 2002 Supreme Court ruling is being completely ignored by the powers that be:

Excessive control by holders of copyrights and other forms of intellectual property may unduly limit the ability of the public domain to incorporate and embellish creative innovation in the long–term interests of society as a whole, or create practical obstacles to proper utilization.

Consider that before movable type, we didn’t have copyright laws because there was no available technology to easily copy text. Monks and scribes did the heavy lifting and shared within the literate world. Minstrels, troubadours and town criers passed on information orally to the non-literate. Enter the printing press and we see the Stationers Company with a comfortable monopoly on printing from 1556 until the Statute of Anne in 1710, which gave rights to authors and book buyers. Are we doomed to face the equivalent of the Stationers Company monopoly for a century before we get laws that reflect the realities of the digital age and give more power to individuals than corporations?

The early American economy blossomed by ignoring British copyright and patent laws, so that American goods could be produced and sold cheaply. If our government restrains our collective creativity through stringent copyright protection, will our economy be threatened by some country that cheaply produces the desired goods of the digital economy? These “business-friendly” government policies may be setting all of us up for a big fall.

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