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Canadas copyright law

Canada's Copyright Law

Canada's copyright law is one of our hardest laws to enforce. The reason

the police have so much trouble enforcing this law, is due to technology. This

law is very easy to break, and once broken, it is very hard to track down

violators. So although some form of a copyright law is needed, the one we have

has, too many holes to be effective. There are three main ways in which the

copyright law is broken in everyday life. They is audio/video tape copying,

plagiarism, and software piracy.

The first, and most commonly violated aspect of the copyright law, is the

copying of audio tapes for oneself and friends. Thanks to the invention of dual

cassette stereos, this has become very easy. You simply take an original or even

another copy of a tape, as well as a blank tape. Stick them both in to the

stereo and bingo you have a new tape. You also just broke the law.

Along with copying audio tapes, now we can copy video tapes almost as

easily. If you hook two VCR's together, they can copy from one to the other.

You could rent a movie form the video store, copy and return it, with no one the

wiser.

The problem with copying video and audio tapes is that for every copy you

make the recording artist, the actors, producers and everyone else who collect

royalties from the tapes lose money. If the companies start to lose money, they

raise prices. Thus a vicious circle begins. As prices go up, fewer people buy

original copies. If less people buy the original cassettes prices will once

again rise.

Another major form of piracy is plagiarism. The stealing of someone

elses ideas or work. The biggest category of people who fall into here are

students. Very often a student when doing a research paper will "accidently"

forget to footnote his work. By "forgetting" to give the author credit, the

student has claimed the work as his own. Another reason students may copy

someone else's work is to sound more sophisticated hoping that if they use

someone elses words it will sound better than their own. Generally, this

provides an easy way for a teacher or the police to catch them.

Teachers also plagiarize rather frequently. Very often a teacher will

photocopy several pages from a book, in order to save the students the expense

of having to buy the book for themselves. While this is a noble act by the

teacher, in most cases, this is illegal. Unless the author of the book, gave

consent for his/her work to be freely distributed, teachers can't copy it any

more than students or anyone else can.

The third category of piracy is Software Pirating. There are several

forms which this can take. The most common form is very similar to audio/video

cassettes. It is when someone copies a game or program from his/her computer to

someone elses. As long as the two people have the same type of computer, (they

both have apples or IBM's) this is a very simple process, so long as the

programmer didn't put a bug into the program (a precaution they take against

people copying their work).

Another form of Computer Piracy is a "cracker". A cracker is someone who

has an in-depth knowledge of computers and programming. He can then remove the

"bug" that prevents programs from being copied. After he removes the bug he's

able to distribute the software at his own discretion. This is in direct

conflict with the copyright law, because the program was not meant to be copied

thus the bug. It therefore becomes illegal to remove the bug.

Like audio/video cassettes copying, computer games causes people to lose

money. In this case, instead of it being the singer, or actors, it is the

programmer, and the software companies who lose. This leads to the same vicious

circle. More copies make higher prices etc..

The copyright law is hard to enforce likewise so are the penalties. If

you are found in violation of breaking the copyright laws, you probably will only

have to pay a fine. However, the fines can be quite substantial and depending

where you are in the distribution chain (how many copies were made before yours)

the fine varies, with whoever copied the original paying the most. In extreme

cases, where a contract is enacted upon the purchase of the original copy like

with Word Perfect, a computer word processor. Upon buying an original set off

disks you must sign a contract promising not to distribute the program. In these

cases, you could face imprisonment because now not only are you dealing with

breach of the copyright law, but with a breach of contract as well. So the moral

of the story is enjoy your large collection of audio/video tapes. Get those good

marks on essays you didn't even write. Enjoy those really fun computer games,

because under Canada's current copyright law and the amount of attention the

police pay to this problem, it is very unlikely that you will ever get caught.



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