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
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
GETTING THE KEY MESSAGES
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
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
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.
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 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
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)