This is a letter I mailed to Suzan Kadis. She’s the MP for Thornhill, Ontario – where I live. It’s an issue I feel strongly about. You should write to your MP about bill C61 also – if your MP thinks their constituents don’t care, they won’t care either.

Verbatim copy follows.

26th June 2008

Mrs. Susan Kadis

House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Madam,

I am a constituent writing to you with concerns about Bill C61.

I am a software developer, and all changes in legislation regarding intellectual property affect me directly – not only as a consumer, but also as a creator. In the past years I have suffered from the rampant software piracy on the internet so please consider what I have to say in that context.

Firstly – the American-style legislation will do nothing to help creators get paid for their hard work. There is no evidence to suggest that in the USA (where they’ve had similar draconian laws for some years now) piracy is any less pervasive than it is in countries without such laws.

Secondly – I’ve heard one conservative MP say that downloading a song will not warrant a very large fine, but uploading a song will make the uploader liable for 20000$. This person is either lying or is completely ignorant about file sharing technologies used in this century. In most cases it is impossible to download a song without uploading it at the same time, thus the smaller limit to the fine will almost never apply.

Lastly – I have an ethical problem with such ridiculously large fines. As I said – I am a creator of digital goods, I don’t like when people make copies of my software with me seeing no extra revenue, but I refuse to ruin anyone’s life because of it. And if this bill passes – lives will be ruined, for example:

A person downloads 100 songs from the internet using some popular file sharing software. They get caught, refuse to settle, and the plaintiff’s lawyers pursue the maximum penalty – 20000$ per song. The person who downloaded 100 songs is now liable to pay two million dollars. The person has to sell their home, and spend 20 years of their life paying off the difference.

I urge you and all the Libreral party to oppose this bill. It is not based on Canadian values and does not serve Canadian content creators.

Yours truly,

Andrew Smith

83 Novella Road,
Concord, Ontario
L4K 5K6