Rejecting Canada’s new copyright act

2007-12-14

in Books and literature, Canada, Daily updates, Economics, Films and movies, Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Music, Politics

As a student, I was constantly being called upon to support various causes, through means ranging from making donations to attending rallies. Usually, such activities have a very indirect effect; sometimes, they cannot be reasonably expected to have any effect at all. Not so, recent protest activities around Canada’s new copyright act: a draconian piece of legislation that would have criminalized all sorts of things that people have legitimate rights to do, such as copying a CD they own onto an iPod they own.

Defending the fair use of intellectual property has become a rallying point for those who don’t want to see the best fruits of the information revolution destroyed by corporate greed or ham-fisted lawmaking in the vein of the much-derided American Digital Millennium Copyright Act. At their most controversial, such acts criminalize even talking about ways to circumvent copyright-enforcement technology, even when such technology is being mistakenly applied to non-copyrighted sources: such as those covered by the excellent Creative Commons initiative or those where fair use is permissive for consumers. Watching a DVD you own using a non-approved operating system (like Linux) could become a criminal offence.

For now, the protests seem to have been successful. Of course, the temptation for anyone trying to pass a controversial law is to hold off until attention dissipates, then pass it when relatively few people are watching. Hopefully, that will not prove the ultimate consequence of this welcome tactical victory for consumer rights.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan December 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm
Milan December 14, 2007 at 4:11 pm

“The Canadian government is about to bring down Canada’s version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it promises to be the worst copyright law in the developed world. It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses.”

Milan December 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm
. December 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm

This blog post discusses the positions of the NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives on copyright reform.

. December 17, 2007 at 12:37 pm

THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE DISASTER:
RECONSTRUCTING THE SONY BMG ROOTKIT
INCIDENT
By Deirdre K. Mulligan† & Aaron K. Perzanowski

If DRM is to emerge as a tool that benefits consumers through the introduction
of new business models and innovative pricing structures, the
terms of these transactions must be clearly and meaningfully presented to
consumers. Unless consumers understand the rights granted and costs imposed
by these transactions—among them sacrificed privacy and security—
DRM will remain a tool that exclusively benefits copyright holders,
while presenting consumers with, at best, inconvenience and, at worst,
violations of their security, privacy, and expectations.

. December 21, 2007 at 1:08 pm

Libraries urge balance in Copyright Act changes
The Canadian press
December 21, 2007 at 10:46 AM EST
OTTAWA — Canadian libraries fear that proposed changes to the Copyright Act are being driven by Hollywood producers eager to crack down on piracy at the expense of ordinary consumers.
The libraries are urging the government to seek balance in any changes proposed to the act.

Milan January 3, 2008 at 10:25 am

The Galacticast netshow has produced a great little end-of-year short calling on Canadians to fight the Canadian DMCA in the coming year. This is the on-again/off-again US-inspired copyright act that Industry Minister Jim Prentice wrote without any input from Canadian interest groups, making it into a kind of wish-list for US-based entertainment giants.

The episode parodies many, many science fiction classics (and the host sports a nifty DMZ tee from The Secret Headquarters!) and does a good job of laying out the basic issues in funny, easy-to-understand ways.

It’s a cinch that Minister Prentice will reintroduce the Canadian DMCA in 2008 — and we’re gonna kill it again!

. June 11, 2008 at 10:56 am
. October 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

WalMart now says they’ll keep the DRM servers on forever

By Cory Doctorow on Copyfight

After announcing that they’d be shutting off their DRM servers and nuking their customers’ music collections, Wal*Mart has changed their mind. Now they’ve told their customers that they’ll be keeping these servers online indefinitely — which means that they’ll be paying forever for their mistaken kowtowing to the entertainment industry’s DRM mania.

All those companies (cough Amazon cough Apple cough) that say they’re only doing DRM for now, until they can convince the stupid entertainment execs to ditch it, heed this lesson: you will spend the rest of your corporate life paying for this mistake, maintaining infrastructure whose sole purpose is to lock your customers into a technology restriction that no one really believes in. Welcome to the infinite cost of doing business with Hollywood.

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