Monday, September 8, 2008

5 Questions (for candidates) about Copyright

Recently there has been some discussion on a mailing list I'm a member of about questionnaires to solicit candidates' positions on copyright reform, now that the election campaign is officially underway. After contributing my suggestions, I noted that I should probably just go ahead and send my questions off to my local candidates, regardless of what the other participants in the conversation decided to do. So I did. Here's what I sent, minus a short introduction:
  1. Do you agree with the Supreme Court of Canada that "[i]n order to maintain the proper balance between the rights of a copyright owner and users’ interests, [fair dealing, among the other exceptions in the Act] must not be interpreted restrictively." [CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339, 2004 SCC 13]?
  2. Do you believe that Canada should implement and ratify the WIPO Internet treaties (the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty)?
  3. If the answer to 2. is "yes", do you agree that the Article 11 WCT obligation (and similar obligation under Article 18 of the WPPT) can, and should, be satisfied without imposing a blanket prohibition on tools and/or technologies that may have both infringing and non-infringing uses?
  4. Do you believe that the current private copying regime for audio recordings defined by Part VIII of the Copyright Act, including the associated levy and collective society is basically fair to both rights-holders and users of recordings?
  5. Do you believe that a creator's right to control their creation includes the right to control or limit a consumer's private enjoyment of property?
I don't really view any of these questions as no-brainers. While one can treat them as a simple yes/no scorecard, there's plenty of room for interesting discussion within these parameters. So I'm curious to see what, if any, response I get from the candidates.

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