the bill that wouldn't die

October 12, 2008 under Bill C-61

It’s a zombie bill, staggering towards its next victim in search of “[no] braaainnss”. Indeed, I still believe that Bill C-61 was a step backwards, and I was pleased to see it fade away when the current Parliament was dissolved. But it’s election time again and the Conservatives apparently laid Bill C-61 to rest in Stephen Harper’s, er, Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery, because the Bill is baaack from the dead, creepy eyes and all.

The Conservatives are promising to reintroduce controversial copyright-reform legislation if they are re-elected, according to the party’s official platform released on Tuesday.

What would it mean if Bill-61 were to be unleashed upon us?

  • Hell hounds will drag you into the abyss should you dare to create a backup copy of your Dexter Season 1 DVDs, be it to recordable DVDs or magnetic storage (aka: a hard drive). If you play it safe and the originals become scratched, you are still doomed…to re-purchase them.
  • Ol’ Auntie Ethel bought you a CD of one of your favourite bands for your birthday, but most of your music is digital now, so you’d like to rip it in order to store it on your centralized storage device as well as put on your iPod to listen to it during your daily commute. If you do, you’ve turned your soul over to a demon and soon enough, you’ll be puking pea soup and doing things with a crucifix well beyond its intended use.
  • Your son just has just received his kindergarten class pictures, and so you scan them and save them as JPGs that you can email to relatives as attachments. You might as well have just gone on a killing spree with a machete – expect to be out-smarted by some stoned and horney teenagers who force you to dwell upon your recent actions at the bottom of a lake.
  • You’ve just bought a wicked new Blackberry Storm, but your contract with your current carrier just expired, so you’d like to switch to another carrier offering a better deal. You’ve done some research online with regards to the method of unlocking your phone so that you can use it with another carrier. The moment you press that final key to unlock it, you’ve sealed your fate. With a pounding headache, you awake in a cramped coffin to the sounds of dirt falling upon you. The only thing keeping you company is your Blackberry Storm, but it has no bars. All you can do is play Solitaire until your oxygen supply in the coffin is gone.

In each of these situations, you would’ve violated the laws that Bill C-61 will put forth. Current Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice, calls this bill “Made in Canada”. On the contrary, it reeks of the United States’ Digital Millenium Copyright Act; the Bill that’s allowed the RIAA in the US to sue pretty much everybody it can.

Michael Geist has compiled a list of current candidates in ridings across the country who oppose Bill C-61 and support his Fair Copyright Pledge. You can find the list here as well as a Google Maps mash-up that gives a visual representation of the list. Something to keep in mind if you’re voting (and you should) next Tuesday.

And to those in my ol’ stompin’ grounds of Timmins who happen to follow my blog or stumble across this post…your incumbent MP, Charlie Angus, is one of the leading politicians in this country who actually understand the copyright and and Net neutrality issues that we’re facing. Help him to continue to fight for fair copyright and neutral Internet for Canadians.

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