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Submission from Ernie Dunbar received on July 28, 2001 6:09 PM via e-mail

Subject: Copyright Reform

I am a taxpayer living in Vancouver, and I would like to contribute to the public consultation on the upcoming copyright reforms.

Extending current copyright legislation in the manner that is planned is a bad idea. At best it is simply unneccessary - Current legislation already expressly protects copyright holders from distribution of material without permission. Putting another law in place to prevent the circumvention of copy protection does not make it any less likely that the first law will be broken, it simply makes it so that the person breaking the first law will be guilty of two crimes.

Preventing the circumvention of copy protection also ensures that fair use laws that allow the legal copying of information are made irrelevent. It would be parallel to making it illegal to quote directly from the Encyclopedia Britannica, even with a proper bibliography, or more relevent to computer technology, making it illegal to back up data to prevent data loss. Keep in mind that DVD's did not exist ten years ago, and in another ten years it may be impossible to find the hardware needed to decode the proprietary format that they are encoded in. If consumers are not allowed to re-record DVD's in a new format, the data on the discs would be lost forever due to their proprietary format. For example, we see this already in the case of documents authored in old versions of Microsoft Word. The format that they are encoded in is no longer in use, and it is impossible to find old versions of the software to decode them. Microsoft's End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) forbids the reverse-engineering of the format of these files, and as a result the content of the files literally cannot be recovered. The very format of many of the letters sent to copyrightdroitdauteur@ic.gc.ca will someday fade into oblivion, and a lot sooner than they would if they were on paper. If this law were enacted, consumers would be forced to someday completely re-purchase the contents of their DVD's (and other formats) every time a new technology replaces the old formats, even though the consumers already legally own a copy of that media. And the sad fact is that this won't happen just once in a consumer's lifetime, it will happen *many* times over. While this may appeal to the distributors of media, it does not appeal to the taxpayers at all.


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