Double standard on Copyright vs IT Property Rights

In my brief to C-11 committee and in recent presentations I have suggested people compare the attitudes between copyright and technology property rights.  Each of these rights have rightsholders who control various activities relating to their property, and each have people infringing those rights by ignoring that control.

One person who believes copyright should be stronger, but pretty much denies the existence of IT property rights is John Degen.  He appeared before the Senate committee studying C-11 yesterday.  In a few tweets he suggested that as part of the testimony he held up his Kobo and said that he didn't care that the content or tech was locked.

In other words, he chose to waive his right to hold the keys to his property (the Kobo).  He personally didn't feel the need to control what software would be installed on it.

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.

Bill C-11 in the Senate: what would I say to them?

Bill C-11 started debate at second reading in the Senate on June 20'th, with debate resuming on the 21'st.

While it is unlikely that I will have a chance to speak in front of the Senate committee studying Bill C-11, the following is what I would have liked to say.

Truck control unconstitutional? What about computer control?

Justice of the Peace Brett Kelly ruled in Welland, Ont. (Central West Region) on Wednesday June 6 that the provincial law requiring large trucks be limited to 105 kilometres an hour is unconstitutional. This is expected to be appealed, and this process will be very informative to those of us concerned about government revoking owner control over other technology such as computers.

Elizabeth May and C-11

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, was the focus of attention for the debate at report stage of Bill C-11.  In her speech introducing amendments she spoke about why she introduced 18 amendments to the act.  It was also voting on each of these amendments that was taking the time yesterday during votes, and it was she that eventually "released the hostages" by allowing previous votes to apply to later motions.

Unlike other MPs and other parties, her amendments more closely reflected what Canadians said in consultations.   While there were other issues up for debate, such as educational copyright, the bulk of submissions and participation in the consultations were opposition to legal protection for "technological measures".  Given this, while she also addressed educational copyright, the bulk of her amendments addressed various aspects of technological measures.

Bill C-11 3'rd reading on Monday May 14.

The order paper for Monday May 14 included C-11 3'rd reading "debate".

There were motions to make amendments in the Order paper: Report Stage of Bills. These were from Mr. Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska) of the Bloc and Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) of the Greens, neither of which had party representatives in the committee studying the bill.

There are many more motions from Ms. May than the earlier list I commented on.

International Day Against DRM — May 4, 2012

It is fitting that the GOSLING 10-year anniversary coincides with the International Day Against DRM — May 4, 2012. My focus in GOSLING has been how the government regulates software, including how the government protects or rejects software choice. DRM (Digital "Rights" Management, Digital Restrictions Management, Dishonest Relationship Misinformation) easily represents the greatest threat to the rights of technology owners, including the right of technology owners to make their own software choices.

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