Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Tragically, it looks like that behind closed doors the Canadian government is in talks to join the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The new plan would see Canada join other countries (including the U.S) to form an international coalition against copyright infringement.
According to the Vancouver Sun, because this falls under the category of being a trade agreement it does not require parliamentary debate, thus leaving all the poor plebes like you and I out of the debate. Hooray for democracy!
It is being speculated that if ratified this could empower border guards or other public officials to serve essentially as copyright cops, inspecting your MP3 players, laptops or hand held devices and having the authority to determine if there is material present that violates international copyright laws.
That's right, a cranky and over worked border guard could potentially confiscate your IPod because you had the audacity to rip a copy of an Abba CD you bought 10 years ago for your personal enjoyment.
The part I find daunting is how undemocratic these type of international agreements are. Other than a few elites in the entertainment industry, did anyone of us ask for this? I also know that these type of agreements are near impossible to back out of once you are signed on, so even if a more sensible government comes along we may be SOL.
Once again, it would seem that rather than embrace new technology and find ways to use it in a creative and innovative manner, the dinosaurs in the recording industry and other mass media corporations would rather see confiscations, fines and even imprisonment for folks who are merely using technology that has made it easy to enjoy their music or videos on a number of formats.
I just hope that when I get interrogated by the copyright enforcement officials, that the one playing the "good cop" lets me off with a small fine if I promise to burn him a copy of my Johnny Cash "Unearthed" box set.
Seriously though, the way this strips away personal liberties and erodes basic principles of democratic inclusion and accountability REALLY bothers me. If anyone know of any campaigns out there to fight this please let me know.