Monday, October 6, 2008

Fair Copyright

This is a great story. Good on these guys for doing something. Moreover, if the stunt is good enough, heck even if it isn't that clever, it can get coverage.

People should care about this bill, dead or not, because it will come back and it will interfere with basic personal liberties like format shifting.


Proposed changes to law on digital copying rankle few
Downloading of CDs would become illegal, protesters claim
Kent Spencer
The Province

Fair Copyright protesters proved yesterday that six men can carry a coffin through downtown Vancouver -- to protest digital-copying legislation -- and no one will care.

Bill McGrawth, a founding member of Vancouver Fair Copyright, said the federal Tories had moved to make digital downloading of CDs illegal. But the bill, C-61, died when the federal election was called for Oct. 14.

McGrawth predicted its provisions will return in some form following the election.

"The bill would have criminalized digital copying, which people are used to doing in their own homes," he said.

The group carried a black coffin through the downtown yesterday before staging a mock funeral for the now-dead bill.

McGrawth said Canadians should ask their federal candidates about changes to digital-copying laws.

He said violations under the proposed bill could have included putting a TV show such as Boston Legal on to a DVD and viewing it more than once. Or copying a legally purchased Madonna CD on to an iPod.

"There were all sorts of strange regulations in the bill," McGrawth said.

File uploads to YouTube would have been affected as well as digital loans of library files, he said.

Although the protesters' numbers were small -- only a handful showed up -- McGrawth said about 90,000 Canadians have registered their opposition on a Facebook site.

The bill was introduced June 12 by Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who wanted to make it easier to prosecute individuals who download copyrighted material.

The entertainment industry had asked for strict protection of intellectual property, including films and recordings.

The bill would have shut down transfers of unauthorized video-game files over the Internet.

Prentice said the bill would not be enforced as such; the industry would be expected to initiate actions against violators.

McGrawth said opening digital locks would have been illegal.

"We expect software and hardware companies would be forced to put in restrictions to prevent digital copying," he said.

There were to be $500 fines for infringements graduating up to $20,000, McGrawth said.

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