Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How the U.S. got its Canadian copyright bill

From Michael Geist: How the U.S. got its Canadian copyright bill

"Last week's introduction of new copyright legislation ignited a firestorm with thousands of Canadians expressing genuine shock at provisions that opposition MPs argued would create a "police state." As opposition to the copyright bill mounts, the most common question is "why"?

Why, given the obvious public concern with the bill stretching back to last year, did Industry Minister Jim Prentice plow ahead with rules that confirm many of the public's worst fears?

Why did a minority government introduce a bill that appears likely to generate strong opposition from both the Liberals and NDP with limited political gain?

Why did senior ministers refuse to even meet with many creator and consumer groups who have unsurprisingly voiced disappointment with the bill?

While Prentice has responded by citing the need to update Canada's copyright law in order to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties, the reality may be that those treaties have little to do with Bill C-61.

Instead, the bill dubbed by critics as the Canadian Digital Millennium Copyright Act (after the U.S. version of the law) is the result of an intense public and private campaign waged by the U.S. government to pressure Canada into following its much-criticized digital copyright model.

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