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Publishing at the polls: federal parties respond to arts and culture questions

The Canadian Conference of the Arts sent leaders of the five federal parties a series of questions pertaining to arts and culture, and have posted the responses on its website. All of the parties responded, except for the Conservatives.

The answers are published without edits, and in a handy table format so you can compare responses. Of particular interest are questions pertaining to the Copyright Modernization Act:

Which elements of Bill C-32 will your party keep, and which elements of the bill will your party remove or change in a new bill to modernize the Copyright Act?

Bloc Québécois: The Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new bill is fair to both creators and consumers. This balance must be achieved, most notably through: an upgraded system for private copying, applying to Mp3 players and other digital music players; reasonable royalties to artists for redistribution of their works; the abolition of the education exemption and fair recognition of the resale rights of visual artists.

The Bloc Québécois is committed to fostering a regime requiring ISPs to pay royalties, which will go towards a fund to pay creators in Quebec who have been harmed due to the illegal downloading of artistic works.

Conservative Party:

Green Party: The Green Party of Canada strongly supports artists’ rights to guaranteed fair compensation through fair patent and copyright laws. At the same time, we consider the digital lock provision in Bill C-32 to be excessively restrictive in that it will not allow students and journalists to properly create and conduct research.

We will work with the CCA and other stakeholders to sharpen the definition of educational uses to find the right balance to give researchers this ability in a manner consistent with a thriving information commons, fair dealing principles, and moral rights.

Liberal Party: Recent studies have shown that Canada’s out-of-date Copyright Act translates into major economic loss (up to $965 million lost last year due to piracy, according to an Ipsos/Oxford economics study) for Canadian creators all across the country; the Liberal Party will thus start working on presenting a modernized copyright act as soon as we form government. Bill C-32, the latest Conservative attempt to modernize copyright, was unbalanced and unfair; a Liberal government will work with all stakeholders to ensure creators rights and their sources of revenues are protected under the Copyright Act.

Digital technology offers many new opportunities, but enjoying content without compensating its creators shouldn’t be among them. A new Liberal government will introduce technology neutral copyright legislation that balances the needs of creators and consumers and reflects the principle that our artists and musicians should be paid for their work. We will stand with Canadian creators as they navigate both the opportunities and challenges of the new digital society.

During the debate on copyright legislation in the last Parliament, it was the Liberal Party that developed a practical solution to providing musicians with compensation through a new private copying compensation fund rather than a levy. A Liberal government will look to develop similarly innovative solutions to ensure that the Copyright Act protects creators’ existing and future rights and revenue streams in a digital age. Likewise, the Liberal party believes that any exception under fair dealings must be clearly defined with a clear and strict test for fair use so that creators are fairly compensated for their work.

NDP: In reviewing Bill C-32, New Democrats would closely examine a number of key issues contained in the proposed legislation, including (but not limited to) ISP liability, Technological Protection Measures (TPMs, or so-called digital locks), statutory damages, private copying and reproduction for private purposes, broadcast mechanical licensing and fair dealing.

In order to arrive at an equilibrium between the interests of rights-holders and those of consumers, New Democrats would likely begin developing new copyright laws, beginning by consulting widely with stakeholder groups with the aim of creating a legislation that is “ unlike C-32 “ truly technology-neutral, balanced and flexible enough to ensure its adaptability to new platforms and technologies in the years to come. We would also determine definitively Canada’s obligations as a signatory to various international treaties governing copyright and intellectual property.

And when you’re done reading all the responses, reward yourself with a visit to vintagevoter.ca.