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Fair and Balanced Copyright for Canadians

Grassroots Advocacy Kit


WHAT’S THE STORY?

Now that the highly anticipated new copyright legislation has been introduced, more and more librarians are hearing from concerned library users that copyright laws must reflect the public interest.

Through library blogs, Facebook groups, and a flurry of media attention in the past several weeks, Canadians are saying they want fair and balanced copyright legislation.  They are seeing that copyright affects them every day through common, routine activities, and they want to protect their rights. And they don’t see the proposed legislation, Bill C-61, doing that.

As the voice of the community of library users and professionals, CLA is committed to getting the crucial message to government that copyright issues do indeed strike a chord with Canadians. We now need your help in joining the frontlines of the debate and get this vital message across.

In joining this grassroots fight, you will not be alone.  You will be joined by other committed CLA members, who will be focused on ensuring that federal decision makers understand and hear the growing concerns the Canadian public, library users, and member librarians.


GETTING THE KEY MESSAGES ACROSS

Linked to this page you will find a sample letter for your MP.  Personalize this letter to reflect your own views and situations: personalized letters have the greatest impact! Then print your advocacy letter on your letterhead and mail or fax it to your MP’s constituency office(s).  You should also feel free to involve your colleagues and concerned citizens in the letter-writing campaign. 

Be sure to follow up with your local MP by requesting a meeting on these issues. If your MP is difficult to meet with, insist that you at least talk to him/her by telephone so that you can express your views directly.

Prior to meeting with your local MP, please review the following guidelines to help you prepare. Once you have concluded the meeting, report on your efforts to CLA by filling out the linked feedback sheet.

If you need help finding your local MP, please consult the website below.  Simply enter your postal code where prompted, and it will provide you with your MP information.  Remember to enter your office and home postal codes, as the MP may be different depending on your locations.  The more MPs we meet, the louder our message will be heard!


KEY CONCERNS FOR THE LIBRARY COMMUNITY

The most important change in copyright in recent years, for libraries and for all Canadians, has been the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada judgment in /CCH//Canada Ltd. v. The Law Society of Upper Canada/, which articulated a broad interpretation of fair dealing and defined it as users’ rights. Amendments to the /Copyright Act/ should incorporate the essence of this judgment and ensure that users’ rights are well-protected. The library community’s major concerns also include:

  • Prohibitions against the circumvention of digital locks should be limited to acts of copyright infringement, but should not prohibit the circumvention of technological prevention measures for legal purposes.
  • The Government needs to recognize that government documents and government data belong to all Canadians and that all Canadians should have access to these materials.
  • Persons with perceptual disabilities must have the same right to access copyrighted materials as all Canadians. This right should apply regardless of format in order to accommodate their particular needs. Thoughtful revision of the exception for persons with perceptual disabilities is required to give persons with perceptual disabilities access equity with other Canadians.
  • Libraries oppose legislation that repeats the same mistakes as the American /Digital Millennium Copyright Act/. American law does not adequately differentiate in penalties between a counterfeiter circumventing technical protection measures for illegal profit and an individual circumventing technical protection measures to make a single legal copy.


MEETING GUIDE

Most MPs will generally afford you only 15-30 minutes for your meeting, therefore you should be brief and to the point. Open your meeting by thanking the MP for having taken the time from his/her busy schedule to meet with you and discuss this important issue. Remind the MP of your name and who you represent.

Say a few words about the purpose and aim of your meeting:

  • To discuss the serious concerns about the shape of Canada’s information policy and its effect on copyright legislation.

To encourage the creation of a balanced legislation, as a matter of public policy,that supports both the creator rights and the users’ rights of the Canadian Public.
Do not hesitate to share personal anecdotes with your MP. They can be particularly receptive to specific examples that illustrate the impact of copyright on Canadian users.

Pay attention to the time you have been allotted. Your MP will appreciate you respecting his/her many commitments and busy schedule. 
 
At the end of the meeting, briefly summarize the key points discussed. Be sure to add that if he/she has any questions, to either personally contact you, or Don Butcher, CLA Executive Director at (613) 232-9625.


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© 2011 Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques