Speech from the Throne

OK, so we had the much delayed (two months) throne speech. One paragraph is very interesting:

To fuel the ingenuity of Canada’s best and brightest and bring innovative products to market, our Government will build on the unprecedented investments in Canada’s Economic Action Plan by bolstering its Science and Technology Strategy. It will launch a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the economy. To encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity contribute to Canada’s prosperity, our Government will also strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright.

So let’s look at this from a creator’s viewpoint, since Barry has already looked at this from a lawyer’s viewpoint, and managed not to say anything. Seriously. Go read his post. It said NOTHING.

First off, what precisely is a ‘Digital Economy Strategy’? It doesn’t say. I doubt that either the Harper Tories, nor the Ignatief Liberals has a clue what one is. It does mention driving adoption of new technology. It doesn’t say what this technology is, or why adopting it is important.

Then it says that it is going to encourage new ideas by strengthening laws governing ‘Intellectual Property and Copyright.’

The problem is that it doesn’t define what ‘Intellectual Property’ is, so we have no idea what they intend to do.

Strengthening Copyright on the other hand strikes me as a really good idea, if it is done correctly. The American and European Union copyright regimes have been a terrible disaster, and the main reason that they have been a terrible disaster is that they have been aimed in the wrong direction. Rather than lengthening terms, or requiring anti-circumvention rules for Technical Protection Management, instead the greatest way to strengthen copyright law, would be to recognize the Creator as of primary importance. Copyright must remain under the control of the Creator, and after the creator’s death, the creator’s heirs. It must be non-transferable under any circumstances. Those who wish to use the work would be required to lease it, with lease periods being of no more than five years, with automatic renewals being prohibited.

Strengthening copyright in this manner, and encouraging our trading partners to adopt similar rules would be in the best interest of Canadian creators, and of the Canadian public as it would encourage creation of a wide range of new, and exciting works.


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