The Copyright Consultation organized by the Government of Canada has come and gone. Last year’s Bill C-61 caused a bit of an uproar, which prompted the government’s new Industry Minister to take a different approach. The result was a public consultation that included a submission process for regular citizens and a series of roundtable talks with a variety of experts.
This has been done before. Back in 2001, a few short years after the DMCA came into effect in the U.S., the Canadian government held a similar consultation and expected the regular handful of lobby groups to weigh in. They were flabbergasted (or so I was told) when they received over 700 responses from average people (including a pretty terrible one from myself which will probably live forever on the Internet). And contrary to the lobbyists’ view, many of those hundreds of public submissions took a very anti-DMCA stance, which complicated matters a little bit.
It’s being said now that this recent consultation process gathered over 8100 submissions, more than ten times the amount from the consultation in 2001. Again, the public is generally anti-DMCA/Bill C-61, but other issues have been brought forward, too, such as abolishing Crown copyright and notice-and-notice versus notice-and-takedown. Overall, the process appears to have been much more constructive.
There are some fantastic submissions, and I especially enjoyed reading Michael Geist’s and Laura J. Murray’s. My own just snuck in on the last day and, after a few weeks of delay, it’s now finally up on the website. Even if my contribution isn’t as detailed as some of the others I’m happy that I managed to participate once more.
(Thanks for to Laura J. Murray and Sam Trosow for writing Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide, which I used while drafting my submission, and which will remain on my Quick Reference Shelf above my desk until the Copyright Act changes significantly).