Friday, December 5, 2008

How Canada Fought Bad Copyright Law: Showing Why Copyright Law Matters

[Great post and kudos to Michael Geist in leading the charge in Canada. I also highly recommend Michael’s blog -- BSA]

How Canada Fought Bad Copyright Law: Showing Why Copyright Law Matters (Culture)
by Michael Masnick from the sit-back-and-watch dept on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 @ 4:10AM
You may recall, just about a year ago, there was suddenly a bunch of news over the possibility of Canada introducing its own version of the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). To the surprise of both the entertainment industry (who helped craft the law) and the politicians who were pushing it, the opposition to this law was incredibly successful in getting its message out. Starting with calls on various blogs and Facebook groups, kicked off by law professor Michael Geist, the issue became a big one throughout the media. The politicians who promised the entertainment industry that they would pass this law tried to delay the introduction, assuming that the opposition, while loud, was thin and would fade away. They were wrong. The issue continued to get attention, and when the law was finally introduced, the opposition, across the board, was widespread and strong. It wasn't just a fringe issue among "internet activists." It was something that people from all over the economy saw as a fundamental issue worth fighting for.

But why?

For years, copyright (and wider intellectual property) law has been considered to be sort of inside baseball, something that only lawyers and the entertainment industry cared about. But that's been changing. There are a variety of reasons for why this happened and why copyright is considered a key issue for so many people in so many parts of the economy. Michael Geist has now put together a film that tries to examine that question. After first discussing how the issue became such a big deal, Geist interviews a number of Canadian copyfighters to get a sense of why copyright is an issue worth fighting about:
Not surprisingly, Geist has also made the movie available in a variety of different formats so people can do what they want with it, including remixing or re-editing it. There's the full version (seen above), an annotated version, a version for subtitling, or you can download the full movie via BitTorrent at either Mininova or Vuze. Unless, of course, you live somewhere where they claim that BitTorrent is evil and must be blocked.