I have to deviate from my intentions for this blog, with a brief news update. Once again, Canada is embarking on the road to change for our Copyright Act. Consultations begin today, in Vancouver, and will make their way across the country over the next two months. Althia Raj of the Winnipeg Sun reports that the Federal Government is looking to pass this legislation before 2010. This timetable may be a little ambitious.
Canadians are fortunate that (so far) our Copyright Act has not changed solely as a heated reaction to the phenomenon of file sharing. The last major revision of the Act occurred in 1997. With a combination of luck and reticence, the digital environment was left alone to take shape through both market and non-market activity. The possibilities and pitfalls of new technology coupled with world-wide connectivity have become clearer; time has allowed for a more measured evaluation. Recent comments from Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement at the Digital Economy Conference suggest that the Federal Government will look to the future, and not to the past, as amendments are considered. Thank you to both Ministers.
But, if I may offer up my wish-list, I hope Ministers Moore and Clement will give their unequivocal support for fair dealing. Our Copyright Act is deemed to offer encouragement for creative effort, and, respect for creators. Fair dealing is the only measure within the Act that actually supports creativity.