Off topic for Column 2, but hey, it’s Friday.
For those of you who have never seen Canadian government at work, it can be pretty entertaining sometimes, and never more than when there’s a lively debate going on during Question Period. Our big debate now is the newly-introduced copyright bill, which blatantly panders to the U.S. media industry; not surprisingly, a lot of us have pretty serious problems with it, and have been talking to our government representatives. Jim Prentice, the Industry Minister who presented the bill, either doesn’t really understand it or just isn’t very good at speaking about it:
The best source for information about what’s happening with the bill is Michael Geist’s site, a law professor who has analyzed the proposed bill in great detail and blogs about what it would mean to the average person, but you’ll also find a lot by Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing, who is Canadian and very vocal against any government interfering in its citizens rights. We’re also starting to see independent artists speak out against this, who feel that this prevents people from easily discovering them, and know that most of the money collected from lawsuits just goes to the lawyers anyway.
If you’re Canadian and care about this issue, join the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group and take the time to send your MP a letter, using the Copyright for Canadians template if you can’t think of what to write yourself. This isn’t just a techie issue, as both Geist and Doctorow explain: it criminalizes day-to-day activities of anyone who makes a backup copy of their DVDs as a guard against damage, or scan and email their kids’ class photo to their relatives, or rip your music CDs for your iPod if the CD has any sort of copy protection on it.