Opinions

Letter: The fury of fact checking and an alarming case of copyright activist' blues

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Editor, the Gauntlet:

I'd like to correct a couple of points made in your article ["Copyright changes not all about CDs," Sarelle Azuelos, July 17, Gauntlet] about Bill C-61, the bill the government introduced to amend the Copyright Act.

First of all, you did no fact checking about the assertion by Ms. Annie Treppanier from Industry Canada that desktop delivery of interlibrary loan material by libraries will now be legal if bill C-61 is passed. Desktop delivery of interlibrary loans has been legal in Canada since a 2004 Supreme Court judgment: CCH Canadian vs. the Law Society of Upper Canada. Between 20 and 30 per cent of Canadian university libraries (including the University of Calgary library) have already taken advantage of the Supreme Court judgment to offer desktop delivery of interlibrary loans.

Bill C-61 would restrict the right of libraries to offer desktop delivery of interlibrary loans. Somehow Canadian libraries would have to ensure that our users destroy their digital copy of an interlibrary loan within five business days of receiving it if the bill becomes law, though the bill will allow our users to keep a single print copy. Most library users find it much easier to keep a digital copy on their laptop or USB key, rather than wasting paper printing a copy. It is odd that the Canadian government would introduce this requirement, when library users in the U.S., Australia and Europe don't face similar restrictions in their use of interlibrary loans that are delivered digitally.

Second, I was disappointed to read the assertion that no one in Calgary is concerned about Bill C-61 or about copyright. Many librarians at the university participate in national and provincial library associations that are protesting Bill C-61. The Canadian Association of University Teachers of which all university faculty are members of has been quite vocal in protests against Bill C-61. Locally, many students, alumni and faculty participate in the Calgary chapter of Fair Copyright Canada. The Bill C-61 protest organized on Jul. 5 at Industry Minister Jim Prentice's Stampede breakfast brought out a large crowd. I have no doubt that there are other local, provincial and national attempts to protest Bill C-61 that involve large numbers of Calgarians.

I am still glad that you took the time to write an article on Bill C-61 and hope that you follow up with this as the bill progresses through Parliament.

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