Candians who vote to re-elect the Conservative government next week will also be voting for an archly pro-copyright agenda. According to the party's official platform released yesterday:
A re-elected Conservative government led by Stephen Harper will reintroduce federal copyright legislation that strikes the appropriate balance among the rights of musicians, artists, programmers and other creators and brings Canada's intellectual property protection in line with that of other industrialized countries, but also protects consumers who want to access copyright works for their personal use.The CBC reports that the proposed legislation – which Harper's party had planned to introduce last year but withdrew under fire – includes serious fines for illegal downloaders and makes it a crime to circumvent DRM.
We will also introduce tougher laws on counterfeiting and piracy and give our customs and law enforcement services the resources to enforce them. This will protect consumers from phoney and sometimes dangerous products that are passed off as reliable brand-name goods.
"There's a fine line between protecting creators and a police state," Liberal industry critic Scott Brison told CBCNews.ca at the time.
Law professor Michael Geist stopped the legislation from moving forward in December with a Facebook protest group that gathered tens of thousands of sign-ups and forced the Conservatives to retreat.
This time around Geist has created a Copyright Pledge he is asking Canadian politicians to support:
Will you commit to a balanced approach to copyright reform that reflects the views of all Canadians by pledging: 1. To respect the rights of creators and consumers. 2. Not to support any copyright bill that undermines or weakens the Copyright Act’s users rights. 3. To fully consult with Canadians before introducing any copyright reform bill and to conduct inclusive, national hearings on any tabled bill.