Russell McOrmond's blog

A (non-)debate on Bill C-11 starts today: the 4 quadrants of the bill

The Hill Times is reporting that "debate" on Bill C-11 will start later today. During the debate, take note of what components of the bill get discussed and which parts are misunderstood and/or shoved under the rug.

I like to break the bill up into 4 parts (quadrants) based on two axis: Is the policy related to copyright, or Paracopyright (technical measures, etc). The other axis is whether the policy is related to the two 1996 WIPO treaties, or not.

Reginald B. Alcock, PC (April 16, 1948 – October 14, 2011)

Reg Alcock will be missed. Some of us from our community kept in touch during his various roles at the University of Manitoba.

I have met a number of federal politicians over the years, and he was the most welcoming of them all. Whether meeting at his parliamentary office, in the parliamentary restaurant, or outside of the parliamentary precinct he always listened to what was being said and captured and repeated-back (so you knew he got it) the key points of what you were trying to express.

He always demonstrated a genuine interest in making politics better, and was not so partisan as to suggest it was only people in his caucus that had good ideas.

In the 1990's I was in a time when I didn't respect politicians much, and thought the vast majority were corrupt. Mr. Alcock was one of the key people who convinced me otherwise, and made me willing to spend so much time trying to meet people from every political stripe in the federal parliament.

Will you explain why DRM is bad?

I was asked on twitter to explain why DRM is bad. Given I have spent more than a decade talking about this topic, you would think there is a simple twitter-length answer: but there isn't.

Harper Government Delivers on Commitment to Reintroduce Copyright Modernization Act

A Press release from Industry Canada introduces Bill C-11, referencing a speech given by the Industry minister and points people to the unbalanced www.balancedcopyright.gc.ca website.

Will governments protect all property rights from all threats?

While the federal Copyright bill is on the order paper and likely to be tabled Thursday, it is not the only issue currently under discussion where people are concerned about IT property rights. Many people have expressed concern with how newer machines shipped with Microsoft Windows may be unable to boot alternative operating systems. Given the confusion over how the property rights of computer hardware owners are adversely impacted by so-called “Copyright” legislation, discussing this related issue may help clarify.

Industry Minister misinterprets "Who is Candice Hoeppner" letter.

In May I sent a Who is the Candice Hoeppner for information technology owners letter to each MP. The following reply from The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P. indicates that he didn't understand what owner I was focused on.

The letter referenced the 4 owners (copyright owner, owner of media, software copyright holder, owner of hardware). I specifically emphasised the owner of the hardware, which is what the term "IT property rights" referenced. He misunderstood and spoke only about copyright owners.

It is critical the government understands that Bill C-32 didn't recognise or respect the rights of the owners of information technology (hardware), otherwise they will make the same mistake in any upcoming technology bills.

Re: Heading back to school? Hope you’ve memorized the Copyright Act

The following was written as a response to an opinion piece by John Degen, where a shortform was submitted and published as a letter to the editor.



The underlying premise of John Degen’s article is sound. The Canadian Copyright act is excessively complex. With the tools to create and distribute creativity now in the hands (and pockets) of most students, the problem is getting worse as activities which many reasonably consider lawful are actually considered infringements under our outdated Copyright law. It is so bad that lawyers who are (or claim to be) copyright experts often disagree about what the current law says, so it is entirely unreasonable for students and professors to understand it.

This complexity and lack of clarity will induce students to infringe Copyright.

A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton

Today we learned of the passing of Jack Layton, MP for Toronto--Danforth, leader of the Official Opposition. He wrote a letter earlier that all Canadians should read. I find it amazing, but consistent with his character, that even as he knew he was dying he spent the time to write to Canadians to wish us all well for the future.

I lost my own father to cancer in May 2009, and it is with this knowledge of the feelings that I offer my condolences to his family, friends, and many others that will miss him.

U Sask seeks alternatives for educational works: authors should too!

The following is my comment to an opinion piece in Straight Goods by John Degen.


There are many things in this opinion piece which are misleading or false. You need to understand what Access Copyright is in order to recognize them all.

Access Copyright is not a government agency or funding body, although it sometimes acts like one. It takes what appears like a “tax” on the money flowing through it to fund the Access Copyright Foundation, which is doing work far more appropriate for a government agency. If I were a member of Access Copyright having my money redirected this way, I would be quite offended.

Access Copyright is not a union representing a class of workers, even though people like Mr. Degen often try to confuse people into thinking it is.

WIPO Conference Reflects Contrasting Views on Climate Change, Innovation, IP

While the issue that brought me into the copyright debate was IT property rights and into the patent debate was software patents, there are many other ways that PCT's impact other areas of policy I am concerned with.

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development has posted an article summarising some of the recent debates at WIPO around PTC and climate change. Some of these discussions are going to mirror the Development Agenda debates in ways that tie together economic development, climate change and government granted monopolies with other geopolitical conflicts.

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