The very small silver lining to Bill C-61: Amazing public outcry

Even though I feel pulled in a million directions at the moment, I could not let the weekend pass without some sort of post on the new Canadian Copyright bill, C-61 (aka Canadian DMCA). Just in case anyone reading this hasn’t been amply informed about the supreme badness of C-61, here’s a link to Industry Canada’s explanation of and fact sheets on the proposed changes, and another one to Michael Geist’s special article on the “fine print” of the act.

What has been neat to see, in the shadow of this terrible proposed legislation, has been the public protest against the bill. Bill C-61, looking pretty much like we all feared it would, was introduced Thursday morning. With no public consultation, yet several meetings with members of the entertainment industry and the US Government, a near copy of the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act was no surprise.

Within an hour I was getting questions about C-61 at work. The CLA was on it in a flash with their press release. The Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group (link requires facebook login, unfortunately) gained 10,000 new members (adding to the existing ~40,000) overnight. You couldn’t turn on CBC Radio 1 without hearing someone being interviewed about the bill, and the show Search Engine began a cool webpage asking listeners to write in with their questions and conundrums about the proposed legislation. Neat and evenm fun responses have popped up, including that collaborative video of people proclaiming to be “Copyright Criminals.”

Call me unduly optimistic after a sunny neighborhood block party this evening, but frankly, to my jaded and weary eyes, this outpouring of protest is heartening. It’s not just librarians who care about copyright. On the contrary, suddenly copyright is this hot topic that anyone ‘in the know’ seems to have an opinion on.

And, of course, Michael Geist has been tirelessly working on the issue. Watch his blog for the latest news, links to coverage, creative responses, opportunities to make your voice heard, and his own legal analysis of the legislation and its consequences.



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