Bill C-11

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.

Order Fixing Various Dates as the Dates on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force

Many parts of the C-11 came into force on Wednesday as part of a notice in the Canada Gazette.

Also published on the same day: MicroSD Cards Exclusion Regulations (Copyright Act), which temporarily excludes MicroSD cards from the private copying levy. The government went out of their way to protect the levy (what they sometimes call a "tax") in Bill C-11 itself.

Sections relating to the two WIPO treaties will be delayed until it is confirmed that Canadian law conforms to the requirements of those treaties.

There is also a delay relating to the notice-and-notice regime for ISP liability.

Why do we have copyright?

Andrei Mincov is a lawyer who specializes in copyright and related areas of law, and is actively involved in the copyright revision discussion. In April of this year he posted a Response to William Patry in the form of a review of William's book How to Fix Copyright. While I agree more with Mr. Patry's take on the issues than Mr. Mincov, I found reading the article and Mr. Patry's critique of this response extremely informative to solidify in my mind why I believe what I do.

To fees on devices the Harper Government says: yes, no,... err.. what was the question?

In a press release and news conference speech the "Harper Government" alleges to not want to increase costs or otherwise devalue the devices Canadians wish to purchase and own. Minister Paradis claimed that "Placing a new fee on devices with removable memory cards, such as BlackBerrys and smart phones, would increase costs for Canadian families and impact the adoption of the latest technologies."

I say claim not because I disagree that devaluing the devices we own is unwarranted and unfair to Canadians, but that the "Harper Government" did far worse within C-11 than they are alleging to "fix" now.

Before Canadian Copyright there was already Canadian Copyright

Since Bill C-11 will set back technology property rights, I thought to look back in time for Copyright law. As discussed in the chronology of Canadian Copyright Law, Canada was under the UK copyright Act until 1921 (and thus under the Berne convention from the beginning in 1887). This didn't mean there weren't Copyright related acts to deal with issues specific to Canada, with the largest being our proximity to the "pirate" nation of the United States.

Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights

Yesterday I asked if there were any technical witnesses at the Senate committee studying C-11. I have been pointed to Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights, who appeared before Industry Committee (press release, Hansard from committee, audio/video) and then again at the Senate Committee on June 26'th at the 09:00 meeting.

ABC Copyright: slides and YouTube video

On June 4 I gave a workshop at the ABC Copyright Conference titled Access vs. Copyright: Technological measures, Paracopyright, and copyright.  I made my slides available and on June 17'th made an informal recording for YouTube based on the same slides.  Links to both, and to media made of other talks, have now been added to the program.

Summary:  I gave a brief history of TPMs being added to copyright law, then described the two narratives for discussing TPMs: 2-constituency involving copyright holders and users (and a magical incantation on content), and 4-constituency including copyright holders, users, software authors and hardware owners.

Since "digital locks" (technological measures) are often applied to both content and devices, I suggested people compare how the law and various people protect or disrespect the relevant rights-holders.  Each of copyright and technology property rights have primary and secondary infringers, and who is committing these infringements are quite different.

Latest correspondence with my MP, David McGuinty

I've been in communication with David McGuinty on technology law issues since May 2004, prior to the election when he became my MP. The latest correspondence was a package in the mail containing a copy of the official Hansard for Friday, June 15, 2012 with a tab highlighting his intervention on Bill C-11. On the front page was a hand-written note about the intervention, and his suggestion to me that I "keep up your good work".

Senate Study of C-11

The Senate Standing Committee Banking, Trade and Commerce did a study of Bill C-11 on Thursday June 21'st (1 meeting), June 22 (8:00 and 13:00 meetings), and June 26 (9:00, 13:00 and 19:00 meetings).  First meeting had the two Ministers and 3 bureaucrats from the departments of Industry and Heritage, and the 3 bureaucrats (plus one more) were recalled for questions on the last meeting.  There were 44 other witnesses called.

While others were happy as their views were heard, I was quite disappointed.  While I didn't listen to all the testimony yet, I did listen from time to time and looked at the witness list.  The list would have been very familiar from the witnesses in 1997 or in 1988 for those major copyright amendments.

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