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 user 2008-08-15 at 2:39:20 pm Views: 36
  • #19956
    Government copyright bill runs counter to emphasis on environment
    environment is obviously one of the biggest issues of the moment. The
    federal political parties are spending their summers trying to sell
    Canadians on their plans for the future, provincial governments are
    unveiling regulations to address waste, and municipalities are getting
    into the game with increasingly sophisticated recycling programs.

    our environmental policies move far beyond establishing emissions
    standards or cleanup requirements, law and regulation are increasingly
    focused on creating incentives for business to reduce polluting
    activities and for consumers to adopt environmentally-friendly habits.

    the desire to re-orient longstanding practices, laws not traditionally
    considered part of the environment file should also be examined to
    determine whether they are consistent with promoting “greener”
    behaviour. In fact, Parliament recently passed a new law that tries to
    embed sustainable development into government policy. The notion of
    “green copyright” sounds odd, yet the policy choices found in BillC-61,
    Industry Minister Jim Prentice’s controversial copyright bill,
    disappointingly run directly counter to the current emphasis on the

    For example, Canadians trash an estimated 184,000
    tonnes of old computers, cellphones, and printer cartridges each year,
    with many of these items containing potentially hazardous materials
    such as mercury and lead.

    In response, the Ontario government
    recently proposed a new electronic waste fee on consumer electronics to
    encourage the recycling of older devices.

    Despite attempts to
    reduce e-waste, Bill C-61 establishes new barriers to the reuse of
    electronics. If enacted, it would prohibit the unlocking of cellphones,
    forcing many consumers to junk their phones when they switch carriers
    (there are an estimated 500 million unused cellphones in the U.S.

    Similarly, the U.S. version of Bill C-61 has resulted in
    lawsuits over the legality of companies that offer to recycle printer
    ink cartridges. In one lawsuit, Lexmark sued a company that offered
    recycled cartridges and though it ultimately lost the case, the lawsuit
    created a strong chill for companies set to enter that marketplace.

    C-61 also creates new barriers in the race toward network-based
    computing, which forms part of the ICT industry’s response to the fact
    that it accounts for more carbon emissions than the airline industry.

    computing — often referred to as “cloud computing” — benefits from
    the efficiencies provided by large computer server farms that are often
    situated in close proximity to clean energy sources.

    experts argue Canada could parlay its high-speed optical networks and
    environmental advantages in the north to become a global cloud
    computing leader with zero carbon emissions, yet the new copyright bill
    now stands in the way.

    The bill prohibits companies from taking
    advantage of cloud computing to offer network-based video recording
    services (as are offered by some U.S. based providers). It also stops
    consumers from shifting their music, videos, and other content to
    network-based computers, limiting these new rights to devices
    physically owned by the consumer. In fact, the bill even blocks
    consumers from using network-based computer backup services — such as
    the MobileMe service just introduced by Apple — since multiple
    personal copies of purchased songs or videos is forbidden