Your Rights: Tell Jim Prentice to Stick It!

by Irma Arkus

For a few weeks now, we’ve been in a complete state of panic over the potential changes to Canadian Copyright Act…and for good reason too.

Time: Tomorrow, June 12, 2008 is the day when the tabling of the suggested bill will be presented. Panic time everybody!

Jim Prentice, Canada’s Minister of Industry has been drinking Kool-Aid in gem-encrusted goblets, paid for by US corporate funds. Prentice, together with Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, and Minister for La Francophonie (Josée sounds mighty busy, doesn’t he?), has concocted an ammendment to Canada’s Copyright Act that will put US Digital Millenium Copyright Act to shame.

If you recall, upon approval of the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a slew of children and grandmothers were taken to court over their “illegal downloading.” What we are presented here is something that will surpass the US efforts and take the concept of “copyright” to a whole new level of corporate protectionism.

If it were to pass, everything you do, or ever have done, will be illegal.

What does the ammendment say, you ask? Well, for one, interpretation of the ammendment may make your Tivo viewing habits illegal, or uploading files from owned CDs to your mp3 players.

The shameful part of the Prentice’s efforts entail extensive consultations with lobbying industry representatives, but very little communication with public at large. In fact, his continuous negligence to engage in any consultation with public has resulted in release of a letter addressed to Prentice, written by Union des consommateurs, Option consommateurs, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), Consumers Council of Canada, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and Online Rights Canada (

Basically, Canada has a lot of angry consumers. And their number is bound to grow in no time.

Michael Geist commented on this development by explaining the different reception of industry representatives versus that of consumer advocates by Prentice’s cabinet: “(this) letter confirms what has been widely feared — the recording industry may have received assurances of a bill, yet Industry Minister Jim Prentice has still not consulted with Canadian consumer groups.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we have been left in the dark.

But do not sit back and relax. Time for action. Canadian action.

What I invite you to do is to send your outraged response to your local MLA, join , and write your love-letter directly to :

Jim Prentice
Minister of Industry
C.D. Howe Building
11th Floor, East Tower
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5
Telephone: 613-995-9001
Fax: 613-992-0302