Wednesday 19 January 2011

Pirate nation?

Canada's Industry Minister Tony Clement thinks that failure to implement American-pushed updates to Canada's copyright law could make Canada a pirate nation:
"If Canada is not au courant with copyright then we run the risk of being a pirate nation and that will mean that people won't have an incentive to create in our society and that will be a problem. That will be a problem economically and a problem in terms of our ability to be an innovative society."
Michael Geist notes that C-32 would have Canada implement some of the strictest copyright rules around anti-circumvention, though it loosens some parts of current law around fair dealing and time/format shifting (absent digital locks).

I suppose Clement could be right in the trivial sense: since everybody is already ignoring prohibitions against format shifting, failure to allow it would mean that Canada would continue to be a nation of pirates. Otherwise, I find it a bit of a stretch that failure to tighten Canada's copyright rules would make it a pirate haven.

Cory Doctorow has also been keeping abreast of Canada's proposed copyright changes.

Canadian cultural policy worries a lot that Canadians consume too little Canadian (read too much American) music, television and film. So they subsidize production of Canadian culture through broadcast mandates and direct grants. I wonder whether this regime, coupled with strong copyright, is really better than eliminating all the grants and mandates, easing up considerably on copyright, and imposing a bandwidth levy. Revenues from the levy could be distributed to Canadian artists proportionately to their share of torrent traffic. I'm not in favor of such a policy because I don't particularly think that there's any market failure in the amount of Canadian-produced content consumed by Canadians. But I'm also not sure that it's worse than current policy. It would at least direct funds to the Canadian artists that folks in Canada actually want to watch or listen to.

Here are the Canadian pirates that give me the most nightmares.

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