A copyright call to arms

Posted on November 16, 2008 

A copyright call to arms

In the era of peer-to-peer file sharing, on-demand television and easy copying of video games and movies, Canadians often take for granted the availability and ease of using digital media. It’s hard not to: the sheer amount of digital content available online is astonishing. For many, the Web is a black box that provides us with what we want, when we want it.

But with a new session of parliament a week away, a host of proposed changes to copyright legislation threaten to tip the legal balance further in favour of those who sell and disseminate cultural content, rather than everyone who consumes it.

As one example, under legislation sponsored by the Conservatives in the last parliament Canadians could be fined $500 for the downloaded songs on their computer. Thanks to our existing laws, no Canadians have been taken to court for downloading music, but, as customers, we have suffered from increasingly invasive measures taken by those who hold the rights to digital material. Companies aim to limit how many times we can install a song or piece of software, check to ensure that our music was purchased legally and may even track the websites we visit.

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