The Canadian Software Innovation Alliance and Copyright Policy

2008/10/23 10:00am

Free software relies on copyright law – both it protections, and its user rights. Free software developers rely on the protections copyright affords to enforce license terms. Developers rely on copyright’s user rights to access the software of others. Access to others’ software is necessary to understand the functionality of that software, to address interoperability issues, and to identify violations of a free software license. Copyright law supports all of these needs, and so supports a vibrant community of businesses, developers and hobbyists working on free software.

Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, changes this support. By introducing “anti-circumvention laws” – special rights that attach to digital locks – software distributors have the power to override the access rights of free software developers. These anti-circumvention laws disrupt the free software business model. One cannot “circumvent” a digital lock even for the purposes of enforcing one’s rights in one’s own code.

The Canadian Software Innovation Alliance (the CSIA) is a coalition of Canadian businesses and free software supporters working together to give free software supporters a voice in copyright policy. The CSIA opposes Bill C-61, and is calling on the Canadian government to reject the one-sided approach of Bill C-61 in favour of copyright laws that support the free software business model.