Mr. Minister, Please Protect The Public Interest

Michael Geist, Toronto Star, Sept 08, 2004
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Like many European nations, Canada is under pressure to ratify the new and sterner provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regulations. As Michael Geist writes, "U.S. broadcasters and the MPAA have actively lobbied for the creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations. This treaty would grant broadcasters increased powers over who may control, transmit, or record broadcast signals. The U.S. would even like to extend this power to Webcasts, which could be interpreted to cover Internet downloads." But if the Canadian government thinks ratification will take the pressure off, it is wrong. This column raises the issue of the 'broadcast flag', scheduled to take effect in the U.S. July 1 of next year. Not only could it eliminate fair use, it could also be used to monitor individual viewing habits. And in the mean time, we have the proposed Induce Act, (More)which could have the effect of making Apple responsible for illegal uses of the iPod, or TiVo responsible for illegal recording of television broadcasts (TiVo, interestingly, is reported to be making a deal with Netflix to offer movies on demand). At some point, we have to call a halt to the ever increasing reach of the copyright barons. Now is as good a time as any, this as good a place.
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