Sunday, June 22, 2008

Harper Proposes Change to Copyright Laws

Educated Canadians oppose copyright act changes

p2pnet Canadian industry minister Jim Prentice is promoting his bill C-61 Canadian DMCA as a “made-in-Canada approach that will benefit all Canadians”.

But Canadians aren’t exactly lining up in support with, “more educated respondents … much more likely to want their MPs to oppose the changes to the Copyright Act,” says a new study.

On top of that, fewer than half of respondents think the proposed amendments balance the rights of copyright holders and consumers.

Under proposed changes, people could be fined $500 for downloading copyrighted material, and up to $20,000 for hacking digital locks or uploading copyrighted material to file-sharing websites, notes the poll, from an Angus Reid.

But, “Canadians are clearly divided on the proposed changes, with 45 per cent of respondents supporting the amendments, and another 45 per cent rejecting them,” it says, with one-in-ten undecided.

Regionally, British Columbia (52%) and Alberta (48%) show the most resistance, while Quebec (53%) and the Atlantic Provinces (50%) are, “the most encouraging of tougher copyright infringement laws,” says the report.

“In turn, Manitoba and Saskatchewan (21%) house the most respondents who are unsure on the issue,” it says, going on >>>

The survey reveals that a majority of Canadians over the age of 55 and those with a high school diploma or less are clearly in favour of the amendments to the Copyright Act. Sixty-one per cent of older Canadians support the new changes, while only 23 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 and 47 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 feel the same way.

Canadians are also split over whether or not downloading music equals stealing it, an idea originally mooted by Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) which claims downloading is exactly the same as walking into a store and shoplifting a CD.

Fifty percent of the people included in the poll agree with the RIAA, 45% disagree, and four per cent aren’t sure.

“A breakdown among various groups reveals that women (54%), older Canadians (65%), respondents living in households earning more than $100,000 a year (57%) and university graduates (53%) are more prone to believe that downloading music from the Internet without paying amounts to stealing,” says Angue Reid.

‘Lobbying by the North American music industry’

Respondents were given a list of seven statements, “related to the new amendments and asked whether they agree or disagree with each one,” says the company.

The result?

The vast majority (76%), “believe the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act are being introduced as a result of lobbying by the North American music industry”.

The poll also says asked about how they’d want their Member of Parliament to vote on the proposed amendments, more respondents said they wanted their MP to vote against the changes (39%) than for it (32%).

“The discrepancy between males and females is also of interest,” Angus Reid says, adding, “While 49 per cent of men want their MPs to vote against the new copyright amendments, only 29 per cent of females concur.

“Respondents aged 18 to 34 once again show the highest level of opposition to tougher restrictions, with a clear majority (58%) saying they want their MP to vote against the new changes —- compared to 37 per cent in the 35-54 age group and only 27 per cent of older adults.”

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