Toronto – Students are calling on the federal government to reform Canada’s Copyright Act in a way that fairly balances the rights of users and creators of copyright works. At a town hall meeting held in Toronto last night, as part of the federal government’s copyright consultations, students reiterated their call for fair copyright legislation.
“Students have been clear in their demand for fair copyright,” said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students -Ontario. “New copyright legislation must carefully regulate technological protection measures, eliminate Crown copyright and provide a more flexible definition of fair dealing.”
Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement have been leading a round of public consultations on copyright reform. Thursday night’s meeting was one of two town halls designed to facilitate discussion from hundreds of live participants and online followers.
Because of the last-minute introduction of a lottery system that did not guarantee those participating the right to speak, students attempted to circulate a flyer detailing their position on copyright reform  (PDF). Event organisers used private security guards to prevent the distribution of the flyers, threatening to remove the students from the premises of the hotel where the consultation was being held. The flyers contained an introduction to copyright that provided a summary of the results of campus copyright consultations held by the Canadian Federation of Students throughout Spring 2009.
“With the ever increasing cost of education, students should not have to pay even more to access the material they require to be able to study, research, and learn,” said Melanson. “It is ironic that while students are concerned that new legislation may allow copyright owners to lock up information, the government is locking up its own consultations.”