New Threats To New Media And Canada’s Copyright Reform
This evening, exhausted and talked out from SXSW in Austin, I attended a charged discussion on Canadian Copyright reform in Toronto.
The panel included NDP Digital Affairs Critic and MP Charlie Angus, Victoria Owen (representing the Canadian Library Association), Stephen Waddell (ACTRA), and Don Quarles (Songwriters Ass.) Michael Geist, who remains leader in the cause, posted his opening remarks here.
If you’re working in Digital Media, Branding, Marketing & Advertising or otherwise consuming, creating or sharing content, I urge you to get involved in copyright reform because these reforms will impact how you deliver content to your audience and how your audience consumes your content. Consider this: your audience will need to pay more to get online and interact with your branded content, send you an email, and even see your display ad.
The problem: Lobbyists wish to legislate compensation to agencies and corporations for alleged lost revenues due to online pirating .
The Proposed solution: a Canada wide ISP (Internet Service Provider) tax levy.
To convert piracy to a new royalty stream, it is proposed that a ~ $5 monthly licensing fee be included in Canadians’ Internet bills, in addition, Canadians may also pay for content at every access point. This blanket license is modeled after the tax levy on blank cassettes in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.
You may remember that his idea was inspired by imposed “copy fees” on cassettes in the 1980′s. Although this concept worked in the physical world to some degree, in the virtual world we need to experiment and innovate to find a variety of solutions that favor all content creators not just a select few.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume a Canadian ISP tax levy could work. We’d have to establish a whole new level of bureaucracy to police the following:
- Make all media freely copyable in Canada. Read: users will be able to pay for their media once, and freely copy and share it without limitation (case and point: the Batman, Dark Night DVD was sold with an easy-to-ripe, DRM-free copy).
- Canadian film makers, song writers, writers, directors, producers, artists, and [actually] all Canadians could register their created media with some central bureaucratic agency, and as such, receive compensation for their content based on defined criteria like file downloads and bandwidth.
- The government agency, would need to track content creators and copyright owners as well as public domain content and know who to pay what in some sort of timely fashion; they’d need to keep track of who’s revenue license was valid and who’s expired (you get the idea).
All this to say, in my humble opinion, government should encourage innovators to innovate a series of business models that adapt to the times and the paradigm rather than legislating a business model.
What can you do? Find your Member of Parliament and send them an email, a video, a photo, a podcast, a song and maybe a piece of your mind.