Automatic Filtering: Back to the Future

Image From Bühler, Friedrich Adolf, Filtern und Pressen (Leipzig O. Spamer 1912)

The Government of Canada continues to consider fundamental changes to its copyright laws. In its latest proposal, what’s old is new again, as Canada once more considers automatic content filtering online. Internet Archive Canada strongly opposes these proposals, and submitted a formal response to the Government explaining why.

Unfortunately, these are not new ideas. For over a decade, website blocking, automatic content filtering, internet bans, and other draconian copyright measures have been urged on governments around the world. With political leaders looking at large technology companies with a new eye, both the United States and the European Union have expressed a new openness to these previously rejected ideas. Now styled as attempts to reign in “big tech,” what is really at stake is the free and open internet, which offers so much to the individual user and makes websites like archive.org possible.

Fortunately, while the Government has outlined a variety of potentially troubling changes to Canada’s Copyright Act, it has also stated that “[s]ignificant changes” to Canada’s copyright law are “not presently being contemplated.” In the circumstances, Internet Archive Canada is simply asking the Government to recognize the tremendous significance of these kinds of proposals and refrain from enacting them at this time. Many others have done the same; indeed, our friends at Open Media asked all Canadians to voice their concerns .

Internet Archive Canada is proud of its history in Canada, and we have often lauded Canada’s bright and positive approach to copyright. We are hopeful that reason will once again prevail in the Canadian copyright debates, and that the Government of Canada will work to ensure good copyright policy and strong libraries in the 21st century and beyond.

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