Russell McOrmond's blog

Technological measures in a land of myth and a time of magic

In a land of myth, and a time of magic, a young technology journalist conducts an interview on digital locks. His name… Jesse Brown.

The person he is interviewing is Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran, admitting he doesn't understand technology, speaks of magical incantations that can be done over digitally encoded copyrighted works.

While Jesse and I both normally focus on discussing science and technology, I thought it might be interesting to explore what my views would be if I lived in the land of young Merlin or with the magic of Harry Potter.

The double-standard: technology property rights infringement vs. copyright infringement.

Last week I had a letter to the Hill Times editor published which discussed the anti-competitive nature of the technological measures aspects of bill C-11.

I received the following question via twitter:

Read your letter in HillTimes. You really think Netflix should have no say how they want their content distributed?

My short twitter-length answer was:

There are infringing and non-infringing ways to do that http://c11.ca/brief - Businesses built on infringement not legit

Openmedia blog: The beginnings of the Internet Lockdown


by Russell McOrmond

I'm just a technical guy. I make my living as a systems administrator, software author and Internet consultant. After watching failures of the legislative process in the USA that lead to them passing laws that attacked the rights of technology owners and the interests of software authors, I decided I must get involved in Canada's political process. I participated in the consultation in the summer of 2001, and have been very active since. This includes sitting in on nearly all of the Bill C-32 and Bill C-11 committee meetings in-person, and being a witness in front of a Bill C-32 committee on March 8, 2011. I have been live tweeting and writing articles for each of these meetings. Now that committee work ended on March 13, the next steps will be a third reading in the House of Commons and then on to the Senate for whatever study they decide to do.

Read full article on OpenMedia.ca >>

Next steps for the art resale right?

The first amendment moved during clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-11 was an NDP amendment to introduce resale rights (See March 12 minutes for exact wording). This is a policy that the Liberal party has supported in the past. The chair ruled the amendment inadmissible as it was a new concept that is beyond the scope of Bill C-11.

Before proponents of the resale right take that as a failure, the process needs to be looked at more closely. This is also a good time to more publicly discuss the policy being proposed. Multiple bills on the same topic are not admissible within the same session of parliament. When the chair ruled the amendment inadmissible, he was effectively also ruling that tabling that policy as a private members bill would be admissible within this session.

Would an art resale right be good policy?

Final report from #C11 parliamentary legislative committee

Clause-by-clause finished today, and the bill is now being reprinted (with the Government amendments that all passed -- no opposition passed) and sent back to the house for third reading and then on to the senate.

Will post more later, but wanted to quickly get video out. Also posted to OpenMedia.ca.

Bill C-11 legislative committee day 10 thoughts

The tenth meeting of the C-11 special legislative committee was held on March 12, 2012. I posted some quick videos which may offer a good summary.

This was the first day of clause-by-clause, and even with a break for MPs to go to the house and vote, the committee made it approximately half-way through the bill if number of pages mean anything. The meeting will continue tomorrow with clause 35, and the 10'th amendment from the Liberal party that seeks to amend that clause. There is no spoiler here, but the amendment will fail simply because it was a Liberal amendment. While it is possible that opposition amendments could pass, it is highly unlikely if the pattern set thus far continues. Any amendment tabled by the government quickly passes, and any amendment tabled by either opposition party fails.

Group submissions to C-11 committee : CBA submission in context.

A small group of lawyers have publicly disagreed with the submission to the Bill C-32 committee (the predecessor to the current C-11 committee) from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), an association of approximately 37,000 members that 26 of them are members of. Given the publicity this group has been able to receive, I think it is interesting to look at group submissions in general.

It is not unusual for a subset of the membership of a group who has submitted to these committees to disagree. In fact, that is the norm. This frustrates many people when these associations go into committee and list their membership numbers as if all the members were in agreement with -- or were even made aware of the policy positions of -- the person sitting as witness in committee.

Bill C-11 anti-competitive: McOrmond

After reading two articles in the Wire Report, I sent a letter to the editor which was published in this week's Hill Times.

My letter started with:



I noted with interest the Wire Report article indicating that, "Netflix Inc. says it does not have plans to develop apps that support Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIM) Blackberry devices or Playbook tablet".

While Netflix may not have the resources to write the software themselves, it is the Conservative Government's Bill C-11 which will disallow any third party from developing their own compatible application.

(Subscribers can read full letter now. I will post full text here later.)

Informal dialog on C-11 at Carleton University

On the evening of March 6, 2012 I attended an informal dialogue about bill C-11 at Oliver’s Pub, Carleton University. It was organized by School of Information Technology Associate Professor Ali Arya, who invited MPs from the C-11 legislative committee, Tamir Israel from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and myself as guests to talk to students and faculty at Carleton. Hon. Geoff Regan, the Liberal MP on the committee, and Liberal Senator Wilfred Moore attended.

An update on bill C-11 : an act to legally protect infringements of technology property rights.

The following is the letter I sent today to my MP in Ottawa South. Please send letters to ensure your MPs are aware of your views, given committee moved to clause-by-clause on Monday. This is when we will learn what amendments will be tabled by each party, and the debate on whether bill C-11 will become better or worse will start.

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