Monday, February 01, 2010

Paul Krugman on the Virtues of "Boring" Canadian Policies

Here's Nobel Prize winning economist and NY Time columnist Paul Krugman writing today about the comparative role of Canadian and American banks recently and what Americans can learn from how "Canada, by contrast, has maintained a happy tedium" with respect to banking.

It's a great op-ed that could just as well apply to Canadian copyright law, which is already stronger and better in so many respects than that of the USA.

Enough said.



  1. Howard, you say our copyright laws are stronger and better than the American ones a lot.

    I must challenge to to justify this statement. Specifically, what is it about them being stronger that makes them better?

    We have Crown copyright for government documents where the Americans have no copyright at all. Definitely stronger, but few would argue this is better.

    We have fair dealings instead of fair use, which significantly limits what we can do with works. Time and format shifting and parody are all technically illegal. As these are things most Canadians do and appreciate, I suspect few would consider this better.

    Americans have exemptions for educational uses which we lack. This increases the cost of education significantly and helps to create one of the largest, bloated, copyright collectives in the world. Access Copyright. Few other than the collectives themselves and big name publishers and authors would consider this better.

    We have moral rights for authors, and public lending rights, which limit what you can do with works you own (e.g. Snow vs Eaton Centre) and increasing costs to libraries. Both of these, I think make our system comparatively worse.

    The few things that do make our system better than theirs, like the shorter term of copyright, and the lack of DMCA legislation, is due to our system being arguably weaker than theirs.

  2. Darryl:

    Perhaps I should have said stronger AND/OR better. I agree that stronger does not necessarily equate with better.

    However, sometimes it does. Canada is right to protect performers with our neighbouring rights regime, even if it isn't working as well as it should. It can be fixed someday, we hope.

    Likewise, creators deserve a decent moral rights regime, which Canada has had for decades, unlike the USA which still doesn't have this.