I agree until it affects me.

Michael Geist highlights a poll on Canadian attitudes toward copyright sponsored by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). The poll makes the following claims:

  • 91 percent of Canadians believe that artists should be protected by copyright
  • 55 percent view copyright as an election issue
  • 68 percent want stronger copyright laws
  • 32 percent would vote for a party pledging to establish stronger copyright laws (17 percent would not and it would not make a difference to 44 percent)

He makes excellent points about the questions they didn’t ask. For example:

What percentage of Canadians would say that the law should protect consumers against the secret installation of copy protection programs that threaten the security on their computer? What percentage of Canadians would say they should be entitled to view a store-bought DVD in their homes regardless of where it is purchased? What percentage of Canadians would say that they should be entitled to make a copy of their CDs to listen to on their iPod?

The article doesn’t explain the questions asked or the methodology so it isn’t clear how those polled may have been prompted to give their answers. However, I would be very surprised if more that 10% of Canadians actually gave a thought about copyright, let alone consider it an election issue.

I’d bet that most people don’t give copyright a thought until it keeps them from doing something they want to do. I was explaining the Broadcast Flag to my father, who said he agreed with that. I then explained that it meant that his very expensive new VCR would become useless and he would be unable to record a program the same way he always had. Suddenly he felt very differently.



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