Blair Steenerson

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Blair Steenerson



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Submission from Blair Steenerson received on September 8, 2001 via e-mail


To whom it may concern:

It has come to my attention that the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues that is being circulated by the Canadian Department of Industry contains proposals that could at best be considered extreme.

In particular, I take issue with the proposed anti-circumvention provisions that seem to be taken directly from the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act. These provisions serve to remove many lawful rights from individuals for the benefit of a small number of multi-national corporations, and are an insult to the freedom that all citisens of Canada take for granted. The DMCA in the US is already under constitutional challenge, and it is likely that any similiar laws here would not be consistent with the free speech guarantees of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The provisions in question would disallow Candians from exercising our hard won "fair dealing" rights with regard to digital media as well as stifling academic and technological research. These laws have already had negative effects on computer research in the US, where foriegn programmers are now scared to travel to trade shows and industry conferences as a result of the arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov, a Russian programmer, under these draconian provisions of the DMCA. In order for the US to counter this atmosphere of distrust, thier tactic of choice appears to be to bring other western countries "down to thier level" though organs such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas and other international agreements.

I believe Canadians value thier rights of free speech be it written words or computer source code. I also believe that the government of Canada wants our country to be an open place for businesses in the world of information technology. Repressive laws such as the provisions outlined above are directly contrary to these goals and values. While it is important for intellectual property to be adequately protected, this must be carefully balanced against the rights of the general public. I urge you to remove the anti-circumvention clauses from the final document, as copyright infringement is already adequately addressed under the current framework, and the use of these provisions as an impediment to lawful acts is simply unacceptable.

We thank you for your time and attention.


Blair Steenerson
(Address removed)

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