According to Michael Geist, Steven Harper’s office has called for a new “Canadian DMCA Bill Within Six Weeks.” Geist has been “Covering the Return of the Canadian DMCA” lately, giving us all a heads-up that new legislation is coming down the pike. (All this hubub is apparently much to the displeasure of Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who would allegedly like us to chill out, push copyright from our minds and wait until he’s ready to unveil the bill.)
While yet another bad Canadian copyright bill will be a disappointment, (and approximately round eight-billion of the same ridiculous fight) what really scares me is the impact of this on participatory democracy.
There were 8,100 submissions to the 2009 copyright consultation! It was pretty amazing, and manyfold the response to previous traditional-format consultations on the same topic. The online consultation format allowed for public participation on a scale unheard of ever before for such a topic.
And if all that participation makes no difference to the bill resulting from that consultation process? If the message the government chooses to give the people is that they laugh in the face of our puny little consultation submissions? That it is pointless to try to contribute our experiences and knowledge to our policymakers?
If Geist is corrent in his assessment that “The consultation appears to have been little more than theatre,” Who will participate in the next one? Who wants to waste their time crafting letters that will never be read, or used? What is the point?
I fear that the day of the introduction of the new copyright bill will be not only a bad day for Canadian copyright, but a sad day for the future of Canadian participatory democracy.
ps – Near the end of writing this post, I went to the copyright e-consultation website and looked for the record of my submission. It was one of the many that came in on the last few days of the consultation, and the office was so bombarded with the overwhelming response that they annouced that it would take a while before they could make all submisisons public. However, I still can’t find mine. Can you find yours? I have a copy of the email, in my sent mail box, and as you know I posted a copy of it here after I sent it off. However, I can’t find it on the consultation website. ??? Are there others in this same boat, still?