Greens blast Big Brother copyright Bill

HALIFAX – The Harper government’s proposed copyright legislation is misguided and proves the government has not listened to consumers, says the Green Party. Industry Minister Jim Prentice today revealed a Bill that paves the way to criminalizing Canadians who, among other activities, download music, movies and digital content, copy songs to music players, burn CDs and upload content to YouTube.

“The Conservative government calls this as an attempt at ‘modernizing’ Canada’s copyright laws, but in reality moves us closer to a 1984-style Big Brother state by severely restricting consumer rights,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Any copyright legislation must balance creator and consumer interests but this Bill utterly fails to do so. Nearly half of Canadians say they have downloaded music from the internet in the past year. Why is the government opening half of our citizens up to massive lawsuits with this legislation?”

Ms. May said the copyright legislation appears even more restrictive than the United States’ regressive Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which has been severely criticized in that country. She said Minister Prentice’s Bill seems to have been written by the recording industry and does not reflect the desires and practices of Canadian digital media consumers.

“Consumer groups were not consulted on this legislation,” said Ms. May. “If Mr. Prentice had bothered to seek advice from anyone other than industry lobbyists, he might have learned that Canadians are opposed to digital locking and other technologies that restrict access to content. The Green Party stands with Canadians in denouncing this draconian legislation and the $500 to $20,000 fines that would be imposed on consumers for something as simple and common as copying music onto an iPod or posting a video on YouTube.”