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Outrageous: Canada’s Copyright Bill C-61 lack of public consultation June 13, 2008

Posted by Raul in food for thought, public policy issues, random thoughts, technology, Web 2.0.

I am never surprised by government’s lack of public consultation over an issue. Having taught public policy, I am more than aware about how governments maneuver to ensure that their bills and laws are passed with outstanding skill. Dodging bullets from the transparency and accountability social movement is known as one of the master skills of governments at all scales.

In my Twitter feed, I saw today a post on Bill C-61 proposed by Minister of Industry Jim Prentice and the lack of transparency and public consultation that surrounds the bill. I am not unfamiliar with this topic, having live-blogged Michael Geist’s lecture recently. Dr. Geist is an expert in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa (and an absolute pleasure to talk to, by the way).

He is (and I think, rightfully so) worried about the content and provisions of Bill C-61. Geist furthermore makes a really good point here:

Because in a country that rightly promotes the importance of education, the Canadian DMCA erects new barriers for teachers, students, and schools at every level who now face the prospect of infringement claims if they want to teach using digital media.“[Michael Geist’s column, June 13 2008]

As an educator, a policy analyst, a researcher, an academic AND a blogger, I am worried about a bill that would prevent teachers and students from using digital media to advance the knowledge. In this era of the “new normal” (a term coined by Geist that I have adopted now as a philosophy) we have been adopting new technologies and media at an incredibly fast pace. Just as an example, I have been vlogging more recently, as well as highlighting new music, videos, etc.

What is the future of our rights as users of media and are we really doing what is best for the citizens and residents of Canada? That’s a question I am mulling over right now… what do you think?



1. gillicious - June 13, 2008

My mom was a big person in copyright for educational institutions (especially media copyright for colleges) and I forwarded her one of Geist’s latest pieces on it. She spent decades helping to make it so that teachers and students could easily borrow material from their school (or transfer it from another) and be able to show it in class without having to pay huge fees or dance the bureaucratic jig. So much for all that hard work.

What worries me most about this bill isn’t so much what it’s about (which pisses me off more than it would most people), but that it shows how easily politicians and politics can be manipulated by big corporations. When does it end? What other freedoms will we lose in a similar way?

Let’s hope the bill doesn’t go all the way through in its present form.

2. Rejecting Bill C-61 in its current form - The online discussion « Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment - September 3, 2008

[…] I had covered the Bill C-61 discussions in a recent post, but it seemed to stir NO DISCUSSION whatsoever (with the exception of Gillian’s very good commentary). This morning I woke up to a Tweet by Andy and I figured I had to write a post about it, and try to bring more attention to it. The reality of it is, this Bill WILL affect a lot of Canadians, residents, even short-term visitors! I don’t think that people are informed enough about this issue. Thus I hope this can be a wake-up call to action. This is a relevant topic that has direct relevance to what Joe Solomon spoke about yesterday – mobilizing people to effect social change. […]

3. Putting back the public in public policy « Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment - September 3, 2008

[…] in Metro Vancouver, particularly in the management of wastewater. * The lack of transparency in the development of Bill C-61. – The need to re-assess the whole Eco-Density concept and understand the heterogeneities within […]

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