Friday, December 07, 2007

My Letter to Layton

Jack Layton, the champion of the little guy and supposed friend of unions everywhere needs to oppose the amendment to the Copyright Act being tabled next week. Here is my letter to him:

Hello Mr. Layton,

I am writing to you to voice my strong opposition to the amendment tabled for next week. Like much of the 'legislation' proposed by this government, the bill claims to be one thing when it is in fact another. Does anyone seriously believe that a government that drastically reduced the Council for the Arts budget is acting out of sympathy for Canadian artists? Indie artists work extremely hard for free most of the time. For shows where they are paid, it is generally not enough to cover the expenses of getting their instruments to the venue. Radio appearances are done for free, albums are produced locally with dedicated engineers who often work without pay and if anyone can afford promotional items such as t-shirts or keychains, they are sold at a loss. This bill will severely limit the ability of emerging artists to promote themselves.

Canadian writers are among the best in the world. We are known for winning international prizes and so many of our great novels are created thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts. To sell their work, writers count on festivals, indie publishers, free magazines, and most importantly cross-promotion to succeed as writers. This bill will limit writers from discussing their and each other's work, their ability to offer excerpts to various media and to reach other markets.

Canadian universities are sought after the world over by intelligent and passionate people who desire the highest education available. University collaboration is only one of the reasons, the others include our libraries, publications and educators. Limiting librarians from archiving and discussing files is the very antithesis of higher education. Professors failing to discuss and distribute work is anathema to intelligent learning and limiting the availability of Ph.D. students from publishing their work due to fair-use clauses is very simply an attack on thought.

Scientists worldwide depend on the participation of other scientists in peer reviews to test theories, medicines and technologies. Software engineers independently peer-review their work in a format known as open-source in order to instantly harness the vast innovation available everywhere by passionate, willing participants. Without these, we would never have some of the technologies we rely on day to day.

The Conservative government is not out to protect artists. If they were, SOCAN would be funded to the gills, the writers' union would be as strong as the military and artists wouldn't have to wear out the knees in their pant legs begging for tiny percentages of revenue generated by their own products. This bill is draconian, uncalled-for and simply unbecoming of Canadians everywhere.

Protect artists. Oppose the bill.


Ginger Koolick said...

Well said! You've inspired me to write my own letter.

Chantal said...