I just sent my first-ever letter to my MP

You can read it too:

June 13, 2008

The Honourable Andrew Telegdi
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sir,

I am a constituent who is concerned about copyright and intellectual property issues. As a member of Waterloo’s high tech community, I make my living from my intellectual property. I understand the need to balance the interests of all stakeholders.

I do not believe that Bill C-61, the amendment to the Copyright Act tabled by minister Prentice yesterday, strikes that balance.

As has been noted, copyright is complex and nuanced. Time and care are needed to make sure changes to this important piece of legislation do not result in consequences that are damaging to Canadian culture and industry, and that Canadian citizens (ie. “consumers”) are treated fairly and with respect.

I am concerned that the provisions to protect technological protection measures trump all hard-won protections for consumers and render illegal activities like device-shifting, time-shifting and back ups that are legal and common practice today.

I am concerned that the technological measures protections may have far-reaching consequences beyond the above, stifling Canada’s high-tech innovation. I also do not believe that these protections have rendered any real protection to artists in jurisdictions where they have been put in place. There may very little benefit for a change to law that comes at a very high cost.

I am concerned that the “making available” provision could open Canadian citizens to indiscriminate and extortionate lawsuits like those seen in the United States.

I am concerned that strengthened “moral rights” provisions could stifle Canadian culture, particularly a thriving remix culture and Canada’s long, but unprotected tradition of parody.

Most of all, I am very concerned that all of this will be enacted without due consultation with Canadian citizens: Canadian artists, Canadian consumers, Canadian industry and Canadian institutions. This is a complex matter that requires considerable deliberation. This is not a bill that can be railroaded through the House.

I sincerely hope you take the time to review these issues and vote against any bill that does not truly balance the needs and interests of Canadians ahead of powerful international lobbies.


Darcy Casselman

I’m sure there’s more, but this is about the best I can do at 6 in the morning running on about 3 hours’ sleep.

You might want to write too.

Edited to add: I’m now a supporting member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in support of Online Rights Canada.

Also, if you can’t bring yourself to do anything else, you should probably join the Fair Copyright for Canada group on Facebook if you’re on Facebook. I know, that’s not many of you, but maybe you could pass it along to your Facebook friends. The size of this group has been referenced on the floor of the House of Commons to demonstrate that Canadians actually care about intellectual property issues (bizarre, I know).