Landing : Athabascau University

template letter to send to Canadian government, against copyright "reform": Revision

If you disagree with Canada introducing, in six weeks, DMCA-style copyright legislation for Canada (i.e. anti-consumer, lose-your-internet-service-for-sharing-a-file copyright legislation), feel free to copy, customize, and snail-mail the letter below. This kind of legislation could have dire implications for a DE institution like AU.
For your letter to actually get read, you need to include your complete mailing address.
(You can email it too, but you don't need postage to mail the House of Commons and paper carries more clout.)

I also welcome comments and criticisms on how to improve this letter. (In drafting it, I adapted some short excerpts from a generic, CC-licensed letter by Russell McOrmond.)


Hon. James Moore (
Hon. Tony Clement (

Right Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
Dr. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Opposition (
[Your MP]

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Ministers Moore and Clement,

I am writing to ask your government not to pass its proposed copyright bill, which, by protecting strong digital locks and rejecting flexible fair dealing, will destroy the traditional balance between the interests of creators and the interests of the general public in the sectors of culture and technology, and will do great harm to the Canadian economy by stifling innovation and criminalizing consumption.

I am sending copies of this letter to my MP and the Opposition to ask that the Opposition make your proposed bill a motion of non-confidence, particularly for the government’s refusal to factor the feedback of Canadian citizens on this issue into its proposals.

The government’s proposed copyright legislation fails to address the cultural economic realities of Canadian citizens’ and educators’ everyday media usage, and reproduces punitive models of IP law like the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the UK’s Digital Economy bill, which impose unacceptable limits on industrial innovation, economic growth, free speech, and human rights. The implementation of similar legislation in Canada will be disastrous for Canada’s cultural industries and consumer economy.

The debate over Canadian copyright “modernization” has been inappropriately dominated by special interest industry lobby groups representing intermediaries (people who are neither creators nor the general public). Industry lobby groups such as the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) cannot legitimately claim to politically represent the interests of creators, many of whom themselves support a more flexible and balanced approach to fair dealing. Creators realize that creativity builds on the past, and that the protection of creators' rights includes the protection of users' rights, in order to sustain cultural and technological industries in Canada, and in order to foster future generations of creators and innovators.

Thousands of Canadians, including hundreds of people who are in creative or innovation industries, have signed petitions, mobilized on social networks and written to their MPs, your ministry, and the Prime Minister, to advocate a more balanced vision, only to see legislation tabled that ignores your constituents’ interests in favour of those of the industry lobbies, and the obsolete, inefficient business models they are seeking to shore up by pushing for police-state laws like those you propose--laws that even contradict Canada’s Supreme Court. Any proposed copyright reform must be consistent with the repeated Canadian Supreme Court rulings that uphold the legality of file downloading for non-commercial personal uses.

In addition, your proposed legislation exceeds the bounds of intellectual property law in its provisions for the technological protection measures developed by copyright holders to control not just how a product is distributed, but how it is used. It may be appropriate to protect technical measures applied by copyright holders to their own content. What cannot be allowed is the legal protection of technical measures that affect devices that they do not own (e.g. my home computer).

I thank you for considering this objection to your proposed bill and hope that your government will instead prioritize the interests of Canadian citizens over those of transnational industry lobbies. I recommend you look to the example of India’s recent IP legislation as a model for modernizing copyright in the interests of Canadian citizens.