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 urge your government to rethink and suspend passing its proposed copyright bill. By protecting strong digital locks and rejecting flexible fair dealing, your proposed legislation 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, 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 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 debate over Canadian copyright “modernization” has been inappropriately dominated by special interest industry lobby groups like the Canadian Recording Industry (CRIA), which represent intermediaries, not creators or the public. Such lobby groups cannot legitimately claim to politically represent the interests of creators, many of whom support a more flexible, balanced and fair-dealing approach to intellectual property (IP) law. 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.

The implementation of DMCA- and Digital Economy Bill-style legislation in Canada not only ignores the rulings of Canada’s Supreme Court--which have repeatedly upheld that file downloading is legal for personal, non-commercial uses--but also exceeds the bounds of intellectual property law with provisions for the technological protection measures (or “digital locks”) developed by copyright holders to control not just how a product is distributed, but how it is used. 

Unless it makes more citizen-minded provisions for fair dealing and drops its protections for digital locks, your legislation does not represent the interests of Canadians and will spell economic disaster for Canada’s multibillion-dollar cultural and technology industries.

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 face legislation that ignores your constituents’ interests in favour of those of the industry lobbies.

I thank you for reading my objection to your proposed bill and hope that your government will prioritize Canadians’ interests 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.