COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION NEEDS FIXES TO PASS:HUGHES

OTTAWA – Canada needs to update its copyright law to match both technological advances and consumer needs according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.

Speaking to the government bill that attempts to update our law and bring us in line with international treaties that Canada has already signed, Hughes indicated the government will have to bend on some key issues if it wants to secure New Democrat support.

This is the third time in five years that the government of Canada is attempting to update its copyright right law. Problems with the digital lock provision and the effective abandonment of the blank media levy are the items that have to be addressed to garner New Democrat support on the issue.

The power afforded to digital locks in the bill is seen as an area of concern. The locks will have the power to over-ride other sections of the legislation that show some leniency and recognition of the way that people use and consume copyrighted materials.

“This update treats the breaking of digital locks for personal use the same as if the lock were being broken for commercial counterfeiting. We do not do that in other areas,” said Hughes. “We do not treat a first-time shoplifter the way we do a bank robber. Why should we penalize a kid posting a mashup on YouTube that uses previously locked material the same way we would a real video pirate?”

Hughes also spoke to the oversight shown in the legislation since it does extend the levy on blank cds and cassettes to the portable music players that have spread like wildfire since the copyright laws were last updated. “The legislation would end an important revenue stream for artists and would ignore the way that technology has changed, the very thing the bill is supposed to do,” said Hughes.

“The New Democratic Party's position on copyright is based on the principles of compensation and access. It reflects our belief that artists need to be paid for their work and consumers should be able to access these works with the least amount of restrictions,” concluded Hughes.