Bill C-11

Why Heritage Minister James Moore is wrong on Bill C-11 "technological protection measures" (TPMs)

I received a reply from Heritage Minister James Moore dated December 2, 2011. I'm not certain which letter it was in reply to, but it could have been my Who is the Candice Hoeppner for information technology owners? letter I sent to all Conservative MP's back in May/June.

While I am posting the full text of his reply, I wanted to offer a quick response explaining why I think he is wrong on the impacts of the "technological protection measures" aspects of Bill C-11. (See: earlier article for a description of real-world technologies being discussed)

Would Dr. Colin Carrie be as cavalier about pharmaceuticals or medical devices?

Prior to entering Parliament as MP for Oshawa, Dr. Colin Carrie co-owned and operated a chiropractic and wellness clinic in Oshawa. I suspect it was the fact that he worked in the medical profession that his misunderstanding of so-called "digital locks" in the C-11 debate has bothered me so much.

I have to hope if we were talking about a pharmaceutical or medical device, he would have analyzed the issue far more closely. My hope is he reconsider his current dismissing of this important issue, given the underlying policies we see in the Paracopyright part of C-11 will have impacts in areas as serious as medical devices.

Protecting IT property rights not a short-term calling

I've been asked over the last decade how my activism will change once Canadian legislation that includes Paracopyright passes. Will my activism be finished, and will I admit "defeat" if a bill abrogates the government's responsibility to protect IT property rights?

TPM provisions should be closely tied to copyright law as suggested in 1996 WIPO treaties

[The following article was first published in the Nov 21, 2001 issue of the Hill Times on page 13]

OTTAWA -- While Bill C-11 has the title of "An Act to amend the Copyright Act," it includes provisions that will impact our usage of modern technology far beyond activities related to copyright. This bill includes policy which fits within traditional copyright law, and parts that are often called Paracopyright which offer legal protection to specific uses of technology. While the copyright parts of the bill are important, it’s the implication of the Paracopyright provisions that are cause for alarm.

Bill C-11 house debate day 5

On November 24, 2011 we had the fifth time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

The debate ended with the speaker asking if the house is ready to vote on the amendment. This vote was deferred until Monday at the end of government orders.

I believe the amendment is the one brought by Hon. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.) on the first day of debate which read:

That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and submitting the following:

“this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, because it fails to:

(a) uphold the rights of consumers to choose how to enjoy the content that they purchase through overly-restrictive digital lock provisions;

(b) include a clear and strict test for “fair dealing” for education purposes; and

(c) provide any transitional funding to help artists adapt to the loss of revenue streams that the Bill would cause.

Given the Conservatives have a majority this amendment will fail the vote, but it is interesting to see what the focus from the Liberals have been.

Bill C-11 house debate day 4

On November 22, 2011 we had the fourth time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

I am glad that Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP) included discussion of the constitutional questions raised by Bill C-11.

The problems are in two areas, and I will refer to the first. Briefly, it is constitutional. The constitutional problem is simple to describe. Copyright is clearly an area of federal jurisdiction, whereas property rights are provincial. To the extent that we have intruded into property rights, we have a problem. This has been described in a learned article published by professors Crowne-Mohammed and Rozenszajn, both from the University of Windsor, in the Journal of Information, Law and Technology in which the authors describe the problem this way:

The DRM provisions of Bill C-61 represent a poorly veiled attempt by the Government to strengthen the contractual rights available to copyright owners, in the guise of copyright reform and the implementation of Canada's international obligations.

Let us de-link them. Let us protect the rights and protect copyright reform without acceding to pressure from U.S. interests, which want to have excessively restrictive controls in the form of digital locks. That is setting aside the constitutional issue.

Bill C-11 house debate day 3

On November 14, 2011 we had the third time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading).

The most notable aspect of the debate for me is how the Conservatives are going out of their way to conflate the WIPO Paracopyright provisions (tied to infringing purposes, no restriction on circumvention tools, etc) and the non-WIPO (beyond-WIPO) Paracopyright provisions.

Are paywalls a Copyright issue?

We should answer the question of whether a paywall is a copyright issue, before we dive into the question of the importance of this question for the debate around the Paracopyright provisions in Bill C-11.

I am familiar with paywalls from the perspective of both a user and a provider of such services. I will offer two specific examples of paywalls to illustrate the issues.

Ending the Long-gun Registry #C19, Beginning the computer lockdown #C11

The House of Commons will begin debate on Bill C-19 (Ending the Long-gun Registry Act) later today.

When I spoke in front of the Bill C-32 committee, after discussing how the "technical measures" aspect of the bill will protect non-owner locks on computers, I ended with the following observation:

For no other type of property would this be considered. We would never legally protect non-owner locks to all guns in a country where many are uncomfortable with the mere registration of long guns. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our homes, alleging it was necessary to protect the insurance industry from fraud. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our cars, allegedly to ensure that automobiles could never be used as a getaway vehicle.

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