A bad new copyright bill

2008-06-12

in Canada, Economics, Films and movies, Internet matters, Law, Music, Politics, Rants

Canada’s proposed new copyright act is unacceptably poor, most importantly because of its treatment of Digital Rights Management (DRM). Under the new law, circumventing any such system – no matter why – is against the law. This means that if the company that sold you a song decides to stop letting you access it, you are out of luck. Under the new law, it would be a crime to copy music from a DRM-protected CD that you bought to an iPod that you own, with an associated fine of $20,000.

The law would also mean that organizations like libraries cannot have any confidence in their future ability to use digital materials today and people with disabilities will not be able to use technology to make protected works more accessible. It would make it a crime for me to use VideoLAN player to watch DVDs I bought in Europe, just because people selling DVDs have decided to use monopolistic regional codes to boost profits. Indeed, it would criminalize the distribution of VideoLAN itself.

It must be remembered that the purpose of copyright law is to serve the public good, not copyright holders. We allow copyrights because they create a legal environment in which it is possible to profit from a good idea. As a result, copyright protections help to ensure that people are furnished with new and high quality music, books, etc. By failing to protect the legitimate needs of consumers, this bill fails to enhance the public interest. As such, it deserves to be opposed and defeated.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan June 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Border guards and copyright enforcement
Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Milan June 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm
BuddyRich June 13, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I just wish the major media outlets covering this story didn’t fall for the hook line and sinker of the “consumer rights” it trumpets.

Those rights are alright (current fair dealing rights are much better) but are undermined by the asterisk and the fineprint that states they don’t apply to anything with a “digital lock” and that software that circumvents digital locks are illegal.

It basically gives all the control to the content creators and thats bogus as most music CDs and all DVDs are protected. Making those rights worthless. Those companies would love for us to become leasers/renters, rather than owners of stuff…

Analogies aren’t the best but it would like Canadian Tire telling you what you can and can’t a hammer for that you buy there. I am sure Canandian Tire would love to be able to enforce on us that it can only be used with materials bought at Cdn Tire. Of course that sounds ludacris, so why should a record company say I can’t make a copy of track and use it on my iPod?

Sarah June 14, 2008 at 1:23 am

Colour me surprised that a Conservative government is more interested in corporate profits than the public good.

. June 14, 2008 at 2:51 am

Is your ipod breaking the law?

Ottawa plans to target music, film piracy with fines of up to $20,000
Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun, Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News, Vancouver Sun; Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, June 13, 2008

Canadian consumers who try to circumvent digital locks to copy protected CDs and DVDs — even if they own them — face fines of up to $20,000 under proposed federal copyright legislation.

. June 14, 2008 at 2:52 am

The legislation also proposes a ban against tools to circumvent digital locks.

“The effect of the digital lock provisions is to render these rights virtually meaningless in the digital environment because anything that is locked down cannot be copied,” Geist said.

. June 15, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Canadians flocking to anti-DMCA Facebook group; what you can do

By Cory Doctorow on Copyfight

How pissed are Canadians about the new copyright bill, Bill C61, which was introduced without any consultation and which makes it a crime to upload clips to YouTube or use a region-free DVD player? Way pissed.

. June 15, 2008 at 7:22 pm
. June 18, 2008 at 10:18 am

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Other problems with C-61 and the Copyright Act?
David Scrimshaw

If you follow blogs or even the regular news, you may know that many people are upset over Bill C-61’s amendments to Canada’s Copyright Act that will criminalize the breaking of technology that prevents users from copying digital media.

I’ve noticed some other issues with C-61. I’ve been waiting for one of the copyright gurus to weigh in on them, but since they haven’t, I’m going to bring them up now, and maybe someone will tell me I’ve got it wrong.

. June 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Even if you were allowed to format shift your DVDs (which under this Bill you’re not), you’d probably be technologically prevented from doing so. Most DVDs are region coded, so, for instance, the disc you bought legally in Europe won’t play in your machine back home.

Under the proposed law, circumventing the “technological measure” is prohibited, even if you just want to watch the disc, let alone copy it. If you think that doesn’t matter, because you won’t get caught, ask yourself how you’ll find the tools do make your movie-watching possible. Those tools are outlawed, and people caught circulating them could be subject to a million-dollar fine (literally) and up to 5 years in jail.

Whatever you want to call the bill, the differences between it and U.S. law aren’t all that different. All or most of the “consumer-friendly” balancing provisions in the bill, like format and time shifting for example, are probably allowed in the U.S. under its more general “fair use.” On that point, I actually think consumers would benefit if this bill were more like U.S. law.

The Canadian bill does set out a “notice and notice” system for ISPs, which is quite different from the U.S. law. That’s a pretty good feature of the bill.

Mostly, I think the label comes from the similarity in terms of the anti-circumvention provisions. And those are the most significant parts of the bill.

. June 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Even if you were allowed to format shift your DVDs (which under this Bill you’re not), you’d probably be technologically prevented from doing so. Most DVDs are region coded, so, for instance, the disc you bought legally in Europe won’t play in your machine back home.

Under the proposed law, circumventing the “technological measure” is prohibited, even if you just want to watch the disc, let alone copy it. If you think that doesn’t matter, because you won’t get caught, ask yourself how you’ll find the tools do make your movie-watching possible. Those tools are outlawed, and people caught circulating them could be subject to a million-dollar fine (literally) and up to 5 years in jail.

Whatever you want to call the bill, the differences between it and U.S. law aren’t all that different. All or most of the “consumer-friendly” balancing provisions in the bill, like format and time shifting for example, are probably allowed in the U.S. under its more general “fair use.” On that point, I actually think consumers would benefit if this bill were more like U.S. law.

The Canadian bill does set out a “notice and notice” system for ISPs, which is quite different from the U.S. law. That’s a pretty good feature of the bill.

Mostly, I think the label comes from the similarity in terms of the anti-circumvention provisions. And those are the most significant parts of the bill.

. June 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Canadian Industry Minister lies about his Canadian DMCA on national radio, then hangs up
By Cory Doctorow

CBC Radio’s Search Engine just posted/aired its interview with Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice about his Canadian version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They’ve been trying to get him on the air for months now and he finally consented to ten minutes, but he delivered nothing but spin and outright lies about his legislation and ended up hanging up on Jesse Brown, the interviewer.

You have to listen to this — in it, the Minister lies, dodges, weaves and ducks around plain, simple questions like, “If the guy at my corner shop unlocks my phone, is he breaking the law?” and “If my grandfather breaks the DRM on his jazz CDs to put them on his iPod, does that break the law?” and the biggie, “All the ‘freedoms’ your law guarantees us can be overriden by DRM, right?” (Prentice’s answer to this last one, “The market will take care of it,” is absolutely priceless.)

Ten minutes’ worth Prentice’s only interview with the national radio network’s most tech-savvy program about his new, sweeping tech bill leaves us with the inescapable picture of a Minister who either doesn’t know what’s in his own legislation (he repeatedly says, “Well, that’s a very technical question,” as an excuse for why he can’t answer it) or doesn’t care if he presents it honestly, so long as it passes.

I can’t wait for Charlie Angus to play this back in Parliament during the next Question Period: Ministers who lie on national radio about their legislation don’t fare well in Parliamentary democracies. MP3 Link (Thanks to everyone who sent this link!)

. May 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm
. June 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

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