On October 29th the B.C. Legal Institute challenged two teams to debate the worthiness of copyright law in today's electronic "iWorld". Moderated by Rick Cluff of CBC's Early Edition, the teams' light-hearted arguments focused mainly on the exchange of digital information.
Karen MacDonald, of Smart and Biggar and Professor Joost Blom, from the University of British Columbia, held that copyright law will remain an important issue because artists will continually need to be protected and compensated for their creative works.
While their arguments were strong, they narrowly lost to the team of Tony Wilson of Boughton Law Corporation and Professor Robert Howell, from the University of Victoria, who held that with current laws, publishers win while creators and artists lose, and unsuspecting parents are being turned into "pirates" on the internet as they post pictures of their children dancing to music they haven't licensed.
Teenagers, they argued, are most affected and forced into "piracy" as they experiment with on-line video and music rather than being encouraged to push the envelope of today's cultural mediums.
The first ever Great Debate trophy was presented to Mr. Wilson and Professor Howell. Afterwards Mr. Wilson commented that, "Of course copyright still has its place, I am, after all, a copyright lawyer, but it was fun to examine a world without it. Reviewing old ideas with new perspectives and open minds allows for progression in any world."