Letter Regarding Bill C-60 In Canada

Christopher Rath

2005/06/25

From: Christopher Rath < >
Sent: 25 June, 2005 14:06
To: Steven Harper <Harper.S@parl.gc.ca>, Jack Layton <Layton.J@parl.gc.ca>; Prime Minister of Canada <pm@pm.gc.ca>; Paul Martin <Martin.P@parl.gc.ca>
CC: Marc Godbout <Godbout.M@parl.gc.ca>; <godbom1@parl.gc.ca>
Subject: Bill C-60

Dear Party Leaders,

As I watch Canadian and American legislators bring forward new legislation, I am increasingly frustrated by the trend that I observe: the enactment of new but unnecessary laws. Bill C-60 is a classic example of this trend.

Bill C-60 probably had some real reason for being created, but what it has come to embody is unnecessary language which seeks to redefine theft through the enactment of complex rules around which the use of electronic media are measured. As I understand it, Canada already has legislation that outlaws stealing; what Canada does not need is a set of evermore complicated rules about what constitutes theft---or more properly stated: more complex rule around what constitutes legitimate use. With respect to the theft of electronic content, ownership is not ill-defined at present, and we do not need further legislation. It’s quite simple to determine if someone has stolen electronic content: just ask commonsense questions, “Did you buy or create the content you copied?”, or “Did the creator of that content release it for use by you?” Where the content was created, whether the user is a Canadian resident, whether a WPPT country was involved, and other lawyering is not helpful to determining if theft has taken place.

There has been a lot of press coverage regarding a court ruling here in Canada that has been interpreted by the press to mean that in Canada it is not illegal to download MP3 files that one does not own (and has not paid for). Again, commonsense application of existing laws should prevail. If you don’t own the information, and the owner hasn’t released the content for free use by others, then it is theft is you make a copy. That a Canadian judge would find otherwise confounds and disappoints me.

From my perspective as a “common Canadian”, the real issue at hand in determining what legislation to introduce is whether or not Canadian legislators will be: 1) swayed by lobbyists, or 2) exercise well reasoned, reasonable judgment in support of Canadian citizen’s rights For example, if I buy a CD, DVD, or iTunes track, I now own a copy of that information I have paid for. As such, I should be allowed to copy or otherwise manipulate that information. Enacting so-called copyright reform to forbid me from manipulating content I have purchased is mean-spirited and dishonest, and I entreat you all to reconsider the immoral positions being put into law through C-60.

Regards,
Christopher Rath


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