Setting the Stage for Copyright Reform in Canada

Bill C-60 and Bill C-74 have died. For many consumer aware people, this is not only cause for relief, but also the cause for celebration in Canada.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The fall of the government was the cause of this, so many acknowledge this was a hollow victory. It would only be a matter of time before the whole ordeal would repeat itself.

After the fall of the government, the debate over copyright reform in Canada did not die. In fact, from the moment the non-confidence vote passed to now, the debate has only been inflamed. As more people become aware of what Bill C-60 had in store, the more people know what Canada recently avoided.

Then all attention focused to one figure, Sarmite “Sam” Bulte. A Liberal candidate hoping to win her seat so she can, at best, become the next minister of heritage – or at least be the official Minister of Heritage critic should her party not win (they didn’t.) Sparking the debate was the infamous 250 dollar a plate banquet where all copyright stakeholders could attend and donate money for her re-election.

Sam defended this by covering the intent up (which did not go over very well by consumer advocates.) The debate peaked when during a riding debate, she called the EFF and all those related “Pro-User Zealots“. The words were so strong, that even copyright advocate John Degen disapproved the word choice. It led to Online Rights Canada (ORC) to resist the fundraiser by hosting a “celebration” of their own. Ultimately, Sam Bulte lost her seat in the election, dashing her hopes of being a part of the debate in this session of parliament.

Fast forward to today. One may wonder what is happening in terms of Copyright reform as it has been a while since the debate in Canada was so lively. The key players have been set in place.

Conservative Minister of Heritage, Bev Oda has not been very transparent of her true intentions over copyright reform. Even Russell McOrmond, an advocate of creators rights, doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for Bev Oda.

The other player has recently been announced. Mauril Bélanger, the official Minister of Heritage critic, said in a quietly released statement, “Mauril Bélanger, Canadian Heritage Critic, strongly encourages the Harper Government to pay particular attention to […] Introduce during this Session of the 39th Parliament copyright legislation to incorporate the amendments recommended in 2005 amending the Copyright Act by implementing the provisions of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright Treaty as well as updating certain other provisions of the Act.”.

Currently, Russell McOrmond is requesting all Canadians to send a letter to their member of parliament talking about Copyright reform in Canada.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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