Dear Candidates: The Copyright Pledge – The NDP Response

I sent this letter to all of the local Candidates:

Good Day,

Earlier in September I contact you for your opinions on various subjects, as a content producer and consumer I am affected strongly by both ends of the copyright debate, if something I produce is reproduced without my consent and proper attribution, consumers of my content will not always be aware of the value I bring them and potential income in the future from said content is lost.  As a consumer, I feel very strongly that I should be entitled to fair-use protections and archiving without fear of reprisal from Government or Non-Government organizations.

I lived south of the Border from 2002-2007 and was constantly reminded of the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act and litigious corporations, even my day to day work was affected, if a graphic I produced was too similar to something found on the Internet, I was often felt coerced to change it, for fear of a copyright claim against my employer.  The Balance between consumers and distributes in severely tipped in the favor of the distributor in the case of the DMCA.  I use the term distributor, because DMCA claims are oftent he work of a content distributor and not the producer or creator of a given item or content.

Mr. Prentice’s Copyright Act appears to be cut from the same cloth I would like very much to see candidates from our local riding take a pledge (as written by Michael Geist, respected author and opinion journalist on the matter) to avoid the same Copyright Pitfalls that have befallen our neighbour to the south.

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.

Vous engagerez-vous dans une approche équilibrée de la réforme sur le droit d’auteur qui reflète les opinions de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes en promettant:

1. de respecter les droits des créateurs et des consommateurs

2. de ne pas supporter tout projet de loi sur le droit d’auteur détruisant ou diminuant les droits des utilisateurs face à la Loi sur le droit d’auteur

3. De consulter pleinement les Canadiens et Canadiennes avant d’introduire toute réforme sur le droit d’auteur et de tenir des audiences nationales inclusives sur tout projet de loi proposé.

Again, I thank your for your time,

Merci pour le tout tes temps,

Kevin Wardrop

The Irene Mathyssen Campaign Responds:

Dear Kevin,

I am writing on behalf of MP Irene Mathyssen in response to your email.  Irene wanted me to please let you know that she signed Professor Geist’s pledge on Saturday October 4th.

Irene understands the importance of protecting both the creators and consumers. Several members of her campaign team are independent artists, including Penn Kemp a poet, and independent publisher and producer of CD’s and books, and as a consumer herself, Irene recognizes that both parties need balanced protection.

Finally, Irene also asked that I please let you know she is also opposed to “bandwidth throttling” by ISPs and would-if re-elected-be working to bring forward legislation to ban this practice.

Regards,
Shawn Lewis
Media & Communications
Irene Mathyssen Campaign

One can only admire a campaign that coordinates a response and adds a note about bandwidth throttling.  Thank-you Shawn Lewis, I appreciate your (and your Candidate’s) time.

For more on the Pledge itself, I recommend visiting Michael Geist’s blog

Dear Candidates: I'm not Voting Liberal

On September 22nd, 2008 I sent this to the local Liberal Candidate:

Good Day Ms. Gauthier,

I live in your riding and would like more information about your stance on Personal Freedom, Government Transparency, Nuclear Power, Culture and Entertainment, Unions and International Trade.

Thanks for your time,

Kevin Wardrop.

Straight forward and simple, I was looking for responses from the three Candidates in my riding who most closely resembeled my political leanings.  The Candidates from the Green and NDP parties replied.  Daniel O’Neail’s Green Party most closely resembles the majority of my Political Leanings (save their enviornmental stance, which I do not agree with)  but Irene Mathyssen presented a more comprehensive and nuanced stance for the NDP.  The Liberal Candidate has yet to reply and with just a few short days left, they have made my decision all the easier, as my arbitrary timer has lapsed and I won’t vote Liberal now, simply over a local matter.  Stephan Dion’s “Democrat Light” approach to the Tories notwithstanding.

It falls to Jack Layton and Elizabeth May now to form an effective opposition to the Tories.  I’ll be watching.