While students were basking in the sun this past summer, federal Industry
Minister Jim Prentice introduced Bill C-61, a copyright law that would have
given students a tougher time researching for that 10-page essay.

The bill may have died on the table now that Parliament has dissolved and a
federal election draws near. But don’t be fooled by its death. A copyright
reform will most certainly be on the agenda of the new government, and if the
Tories get re-elected, we may see the resurrection of a harsh, U.S. influenced
copyright law.

If it were passed into law, the proposed bill would make, among other
provisions, the downloading of music and the uploading of copy-protected
material on YouTube, illegal, both a frequent and often necessary activity
carried out by many Canadian consumers. Like consumers, students would also
experience an injustice of a different kind.

Certain resources would be prohibited, such as custom course packs put together
by instructors. The copyright restrictions would significantly reduce what
reading materials instructors can choose from. Either this would mean that the
quality of course lessons would have to lower or students would have to buy an
entire textbook just to read one chapter. Both scenarios don’t look good to me.

The bill would also limit what educational materials we access and share on the
Internet, including academic journals, news sources and video clips. Classes
would have less digital materials to work from. Library services would have to
be completely upgraded, wasting funds that are already lacking. A lower quality
of education is essentially what I’m getting at.

Don’t get me wrong, students are fanatics when it comes to downloading music,
but if Harper gets elected and wants to make it illegal with this bill, go
right ahead. Just leave our hard-earned education out of it.