It looks like there will now be a reprieve for all of you filthy, dirty scum who have dared to engage in file-sharing, downloading, and the elusive but nonetheless nefarious “time-shifting.”
Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice has, for now, backed off on plans to introduce a new and comprehensive copyright bill to the House of Commons, at least until late January of 2008. The new bill was supposed to be introduced this week.
The proposed legislation has been referred to as Canada’s “DMCA,” a (possibly) pejorative allusion to the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Various sources have alleged that the proposed Canadian copyright laws are based in large measure on the American legislation, which has been reviled in some circles as too protective of corporate interests and too heavy-handed in its punishments of actions that “…make criminal what copyright law would forgive.”
Minister Prentice and the Conservative government were apparently taken aback by the groundswell of opposition to the proposed legislation. There was also the suggestion that the Conservatives held off from ramming through the bill because it might look like they were being unduly influenced by American lawmakers and lobby groups:
In particular, it’s probable that—however accurate—the repeated suggestion that the Conservative government may be a little too willing to succumb to pressure from the U.S. entertainment lobby and the U.S. government in shaping Canadian copyright policy, rankled as well.
Ottawa law professor and activist Michael Geist has been at the forefront of the campaign, calling for more in-depth and comprehensive consultations with the people who will actually be affected by the new legislation––that is to say, you.
Geist’s activism on the topic led to the formation of a Facebook campaign which, by all accounts, had quite an influence on the decision to delay the bill. As of today, there are more than 23,000 members in the “Fair Copyright for Canada” Facebook group. Sources say this is a much better use of your time on Facebook than adding people from Grade 3 that you actually hate.
There is a rally planned at Queen’s Park next Tuesday (1 p.m.–2 p.m.; December 18, 2007) for members of the Facebook group, but we’re pretty sure they won’t mind if you go too.
Photo by Atilla Soylu from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.