Pop Culture
Stephen Harper May Adopt American-Styled Copyrights Laws For Canada
By Hervé St-Louis
November 30, 2007 - 00:56

Credits: Government of Canada - © Copyright - Her Majesty the Queen who had nothing to do with taking this picture...
The New Government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper may introduce new legislation to change the current copyrights law regime in Canada to make it closer to the United States.

These laws would break from the Canadian tradition of balancing copyrights' laws with public interests and fair usage. Copyrights in Canada are not absolute rights given to copyrights owners. Owners, often are not even the original creators of the rights they adamantly protect.

The traditional spirit of Canadian copyrights' legislation, gives creators a license to benefit from their creation during their lifetimes, and their heirs a period of 50 years. After this period, rights revert to the public.

The Harper's government new proposed laws would probably increase the period after the life of the creator to 70 years. In the United States and other countries, large media groups who own copyrights to material that should have already fallen into the public domain have constantly lobbied the political class for extensions. It seems that these lobbyists have finally found a friendly ear in Canada, in the form of Stephen Harper's "New Government."

Other changes in the Canadian copyrights' laws would prohibit users from tampering with protection technology. They would  continue to impose stiff levies on blank medias and allow large corporate groups to sue and obtain the identity of users manipulating copyrights' contents. Other provisions, such as beefing up the ability of schools to use contents under fair uses, or enhanced protection for parodies would continue to be ignored.

In light of this, Prime Minister Harper's new legislation would be more draconian than those of the United States. It would make Canada a virtual police state where all but the thoughts of citizens and consumers would come under the monitoring of either the government or corporations.

This position is a far cry from the laissez-faire approaches that Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims he adheres to and counter late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who once said that " The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation."

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