We all know that a new copyright bill that will supposedly update copyright for the twenty-first century is in the works. Several of the usual suspects (Barry Sookman, Michael Geist) have written articles about it. Sookman’s article reads like it was written at the minister’s behest. Geist’s article suggests sending your comments to the minister to let him know what you want in a copyright bill.
I lean towards Geist’s position this time. While I’m in disagreement with both of them about what a good Canadian copyright bill should have, Geist’s position is closer to mine than Sookman’s. But they both miss one big point.
James Moore now has a big target painted on his back. No matter what he does, someone isn’t going to be happy. In fact he, and the Conservative Government would have been far better served to have ignored the issue. The current Canadian copyright regime has problems, however it’s better than what the United States or Great Britain have implemented, and far, far better than what South Korea has implemented.
Currently Canada has one of the best copyright systems in the world. It isn’t as flexible as it should be, the copyright term is far too long, it’s corporate friendly features are too strong, and it’s artist friendly features are far too weak. In fact the change that would most help creators could be made easily, would attract the support of a wide spectrum of Canadians, and incidentally bring us closer to the WIPO copyright treaty. That is to make it illegal for a corporation or anyone else to buy a copyright. Oh, they should be allowed to lease copyrights, but for a period of no more than five years, and automatic renewal should be illegal. The only method of changing ownership of a copyright would be through inheritance.
The Canadian Government talks about protecting the artists. I’m calling on them to prove that they do want to protect the artists, by implementing my suggestion.
Monday May 17, 2010