Russell McOrmond (micro)blog postings elsewhere..

Periodically I'm asked if I've dropped out of technology policy activism entirely, given the infrequent posts to this site. This site started to respond to the consultation towards a specific Copyright bill, and that bill eventually passed.

I won't be as active as I was during that decade, and I suspect what I'm currently posting doesn't quite fit with the theme of this site. If you want to follow, please check out other social media sites I participate on. My longer form postings always get linked to on Google+, and shorter form things on Twitter.

Samsung, the Harper government, and Technology Property Rights

I have found the media attention around the recognition that manufacturers like Samsung can spy on technology owners to be interesting. After decades of misunderstanding, ignoring, misdirecting or actively lobbying against owners on this issue, the media is finally reporting one of many examples of the issue.

While some are starting to discuss complex and expensive regulation to manage some of the worst symptoms of this problem, I still believe that fully recognizing and legally protecting technology property rights is the most effective solution. Unfortunately the Harper Government has thus far been opposed to property rights, so it might be an uphill battle to solve the problem in Canada.

Late happy 20th anniversary to FLORA Community Web (FLORA.org)

A small excerpt from Ottawa alternative community minded networking:

In December of 1994 a small home computer was connected to the Internet over a 14.4Kbps dedicated connection. As a bit of humor, it was given the name 'apt1.flora.ottawa.on.ca' as it was located in Apartment 1, 214 Flora St, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This computer was being used to demonstrate various WEB and related technologies to NCF volunteers and staff as it was found that it was easier to set up some of these technologies on this home computer than to try to make use of the resources available on the NCF itself.

See Frequently asked questions (and answers) about FLORA.org Community WEB for more information.

Evidence suggests broadcasters like the BBC don't want our money

Some copyright holders and their lobbiests claim the reason people infringe Copyright is because they don't want to pay, and that copyright infringement is the largest single problem reducing their revenue potential. Evidence I've seen in my decades involved in the copyright revision process suggested neither are true, and that barriers put up by the copyright holders are the largest incentive to infringe and the largest barrier to revenue potential.

The BBC is an example of a broadcaster I would like to pay money and subscribe to (not only for Doctor Who), but that continues to put up barriers to me doing so.

Legitimacy of new TV options CraveTV (Bell) and Shomi (Rogers, Shaw)

As Shomi received a lot of advertising in recent months I have been asked my opinion on it. I'm known as someone who has strong opinions on digital content distribution, and as someone who is a subscriber to Netflix and not to any traditional BDU (Broadcast Distribution Undertaking, the term the CRTC uses to refer to Satellite, Cable, and related companies).

My shortest answer is to say these these services aren't new, nor are they in the same market as Netflix. These services are an add-on service for existing BDU customers (Must be Television customer for Bell, but can be existing TV or Internet customer for Rogers and Shaw), and not a service that is untied to the BDU.

Harper Government announces last step implimenting C-11

In a press release, the Harper Government Announces the Coming into Force of the Notice and Notice Regime, using the same language they used to promote the controversial bill.

While I agree that the copyright portions of that bill could be claimed to be "balanced", I will still state the anti-technology ownership "TPM" sections of the bill were unbalanced.

Given the variety of house and senate bills proposing information disclosures without court oversight being pushed by the Harper Government, the notice&notice regime in the Copyright Act will soon be moot. It is highly unlikely that an aggressive copyright holder will use N&N when they will be able to get subscriber information without a court order and communicate threats directly to ISP customers.

Sent input on updated IPEG to Competition Bureau

I made a submission to the competition bureau as part of their request for input. This was based on a submission I had made in 2003, updated to reflect new issues in the last decade including the passage of the C-11 Copyright bill.

C-11's "technological measures" components are presumed to protect encrypted media, which is better understood in a competition rather than a copyright sense. While there is no credible evidence that these measures help reduce copyright infringement, there is considerable evidence that they are being abused to manipulate separate markets as well as harm competitors in the same market.

Canada has ratified WCT and WPPT

While we knew this was coming, Canada has officially ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

This doesn't mean Canadian law can't be fixed when it comes to "technological measures" given these treaties don't require access controls or protection of circumventions of measures not related to copyright infringement. This means nearly all of the direct or indirect infringements of IT property rights, and all the anti-competitive behaviour (tied selling, copyright holders manipulating hardware/software markets, hardware/software companies manipulating content industries, etc), can be clarified as not legalized or legally protected under copyright" law.

Happy New Year, State of our Rights

I didn't have time to create a more formal blog entry with all the references I like to have, but I did post some year-end thoughts to the general mailing list. This may encourage others to join the list and comment as well.

Does it Matter Where Your Data Lives?

This is a question that Michael Geist asks in his blog, and I have problems with the focus of this article. The suggestion is that the physical location of where the CPU, RAM and hard disks data is stored on should be our primary concern.

The primary concern should be who controls the software authors who write the software that accesses and manipulates our data. While there are a narrow set of circumstances where geography of the hardware matters, the reality is that we need to be able to trust the vendors who write the software running on computers physically located close to us as much as we do cloud software services.

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