On July 20, 2009, Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore launched the first Canadian public consultation on copyright policy since 2001. The consultation provides Canadians with an exceptional opportunity to have their voice heard on the future of copyright law in Canada. I launched SpeakOutOnCopyright.ca as a platform to give people information and tools to participate in the consultation.
For years Professor Michael Geist has worked tirelessly to raise awareness on issues pertaining to digital rights for Canadians. But his galvanizing efforts during our government’s public consultation on copyright reform deserve special mention.
In addition to the dedicated site quoted above Dr. Geist started up a Facebook group (currently more than 85,000 members strong) and continued relentlessly posting about the subject on his own blog — even, at one point, offering suggested keywords for submissions.
A prorogued Canadian government and the looming spectre of ACTA have put last year’s copyright consultations in a questionable light — I might even go so far as to suggest the whole exercise was a sham. But if nothing else, the consultations got interested parties articulating their opinions on copyright reform, and I’m of the opinion that those opinions are valuable to any Internet user on the planet.
If you’re interested, the submission I made to my government can be read here.
Professor Geist, meanwhile, maintains his prolific posting habits on his own site. It’s not always easy reading, as large blocks of text are often copied and pasted from official sources. But Dr. Geist’s ongoing analysis of government double-speak make his blog an invaluable resource for digital righs, whether you live in Canada or not.