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DVD-CCA cartel complaint and MP meeting.
From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
Copy to my MP so that he will be aware of this non-response from Industry Canada, as well as my summary of our visit. I have not yet received anything from my complaint which was in relation to a different violation of the Canadian Competition act. On Thu, 18 Oct 2001, Tom A. Trottier wrote: http://www.flora.org/dmca/forum/168 > Hi, I got this message from Industry Canada on the DVD monopoly complaint: > (excuse the poor scanning...) This is what I was worried about. Since we are in the same region as the USA, and the cartel is based primarily out of the USA, then the region-encoding would not be understood in a Canadian context as anti-competitive. This is an argument that will need to be made primarily outside of zone 1 given that Canada isn't taking into consideration that there woult be trade in CD's between other than the origional encoder and the final consumer. This is why I believe we need to focus on the second issue, which is the tied-selling of CSS encoded CVD videos to DVD-CSS licenced video players. The DVD-CSS has only two purposes at this point which is to limit the inter-regional trading of CD's and to control the DVD player market. I believe in Canada we must focus on that second issue, specifically as it relates to the treatment of Open Source/Free Software based DVD players as illegal "anti circumvention devices". We need to remember that Canada doesn't really have a government-side advocate for consumers. Consumer and corporate affairs became Industry Canada, and this totally changed the political landscape such that the interests of big-Industry are promoted, but the interests of consumers are simply not protected. Those of us that want to continue the Copyright vs Competition debate beyond the reform process will find out heads up against this problem all the time. Meeting with MP --------------- In my meeting with my MP on Thursday we spoke about these issues. The key things I got from the meeting were: a) The political aspects of the lack of a separate Consumer Affairs department in the Canadian government. Having competition and consumer affairs handled by Industry Canada is an conflict of interest. b) In Canada the Copyright issue is a dual/duel-responsibility between Industry Canada and Heritage Canada. Heritage will focus on artists, while Industry will focus on publishers. He believed we should do what we can to encourage Heritage to take as large a roll as possible in this process as our interests are closer to those of traditional artists than of the Industrial publishers. I noted there will be nobody at the table focused on the new third constituency, users/citizens, and that this may be something we should be pushing for as well. As publishers work to try to move copyright from being a regulation of publishers by authors to being a regulation on citizens by publishers, we need to have someone working on citizens behalf. c) Mr Mauril Bélanger was active during the last copyright process, so may be quite willing to get involved in this one. Our discussions indicated that we didn't yet share ideas on "the right to compatibility" in a software/computing free market (IE: reverse-engineering and circumvention devices), but that would be an appropriate topic for a later meeting. It should be understood by us that an MP is not going to have spent as much time thinking about new-economies, copyright-vs-competition and other such things as we have. d) I also spoke about Bill C-287 which was the mandatory GMO labelling bill that failed the day before, but which Mr Bélanger supported. I wanted to bring this up to discuss the whole area of consumer protection in Canada. For the curious, here was my agenda. ---------------------------------------------------- Agenda October 18, 2001 *High Tech consumer choice, competition* *and fair government procurement* The purpose of this meeting is to identify areas of common interest, and to contemplate strategies for moving forward related public policies. Bill C-287 - Now-dead bill was not ideal, but was a step in the right direction. - We need consumer protection laws which mandate labelling on all controversial ingredients or manufacturing techniques that meet a certain threshold for controversy or health (allergies) Copyright reform Delicate balance between a number of different interests - Charter rights vs economic public policy - Authors, Publishers and the general public - traditional property-based business models and newer services based models - potentially incompatible public policy initiatives such as GDP-style growth vs Free Market competition Fair Government procurement - Existing CITT cases with P&L Communications indicates a willingness of government bureaucrats to fight against fair government procurement. Microsoft - European Commission, 19 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice in the United States have each investigated Microsoft. - Where is Canada? Letters written to Minister Brian Tobin or the competition bureau have met with replies asking ?what anti-competitive practices?? DVD-CCA - If Canadian Copyright is extended to protecting access rights such as was done in the USA with the DMCA, then this will cause conflict between specific businesses and Canada's Competition act - The DVD-CCA (Copy Control Association) licenses a technology called DVD-CSS (Content Scrambling System). DVD-CCA is primarily made up of the largest movie publishers. - Software which implements CSS is protected by the US DMCA as a "circumvention device". In order to play CD's on my own home computer running Free Software (Linux) I needed to make use of a tool called DeCSS which is illegal to publish or even link-to in the United States. - DVD-CSS is unrelated to the ability to copy a CD, and is a technology used to control the video-player market as well as the International trade in CDs. - Requiring a DVD-CCA cartel endorsed player in order to play a DVD-CCA cartel published movie is a case of "tied selling" under Canada's Competition Act. - Regional codes unduly restrict the trade of CCS-encoded CDs and could potentially also be a violation of the Competition Act. --- Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> See http://weblog.flora.org/ for announcements, activities, and opinions Oppose DMCA in Canada! (C) reform process.... IP Counter Essay Contest! It is time to mourn and reflect, not anger.... Appeal 'No more violence!' -- For (un)subscription information, posting guidelines and links to other related sites please see http://www.flora.org/dmca/
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