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Consultation meetings on digital copyright issues

From: mskala _-at-_
To: canada-dmca-opponents (at), discuss (at), netfree (at), plug (at), srbaker (at), sshack (at), mordred (at)
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 17:42:45 -0500 (EST)

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3 March 2002                                Matthew Skala
please distribute until 31 March 2002

Consultation meetings on digital copyright issues

The Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and the Department of Canadian
Heritage are holding a series of "consultation meetings" in cities across
Canada, to solicit opinions from stakeholders on digital copyright.  The
main topics to be discussed are:

   1. Creation of a "making available" copyright privilege, to cover
      distribution of works through interactive media like the Web.

   2. Legal protection of "technological measures".  This is probably the
      big-ticket item for most of us, because it boils down to whether
      Canada should or should not introduce something like the
      anti-trafficking provisions of the USA's current Digital Millennium
      Copyright Act (DMCA) or proposed Security Systems Standards and
      Certification Act (SSSCA).

   3. Legal protection of "rights management information"; closely related
      to topic 2 above, this deals with whether there should or should not
      be a law against tampering with the label on a piece of data, saying
      who holds the copyright privileges for that data.

   4. Liability of network intermediaries.  In short, should we have a
      notice-and-takedown system like that of the DMCA?

These topics (especially numbers 2 and 4) should be of concern to everyone
in Canada who uses computers, especially those of us who are active in
security research or who use free software.  The persecution of researchers
(such as Sklyarov, Felten, and myself) under expanded US copyright law
should concern everyone with a stake in academic freedom.  If you've been
following the debates and care about the future of copyright in Canada, then
I encourage you to attend one of these meetings.  The dates and locations

   * Halifax, March 8, 2002 - NOTE! This is very soon, and they want
     registration forms in by March 5 which is the day after tomorrow
     as I'm writing this!  Hurry, if you're in Nova Scotia.
   * Vancouver, March 15, 2002
   * Montreal, March 21, 2002
   * Toronto, March 26, 2002
   * Ottawa, April 11, 2002
   * Prairies (AB, SK, or MB), date and location to be determined

This morning (March 3) they sent me half a megabyte of registration
documents in both official languages but WordPerfect format only.  I got on
the mailing list by virtue of having submitted interventions in the earlier
written comment period.  As of this writing, none of the material I was sent
today is on the official Web site; I'm tempted to convert it to text and
post it on my own site, but I hope and expect that it will be on the
Government Web site in sensible format very soon.  If you need it fast (for
instance, if you're in Nova Scotia) and it isn't posted at the Government
URL below, please email me.

I hope to attend at least the Toronto meeting and, if the organizers will
let me, possibly the Ottawa one also.  If anyone in the Kitchener/Waterloo
Ontario area is interested in getting up some kind of posse or group
delegation, please get in touch with me.  I will be posting reports of my
experiences in due course, and any relevant news I find out about as it
happens, at the "leb wog" link below.

Feel free to distribute this message to anyone who's interested, until the
end of March 2002.  I've attached some background links below.

Matthew Skala

Government comment process home page:

Notice of the consultation meetings:

Registration information:
   should be posted on the Government site soon;
   email me at if you need it sooner

My page of links relating to the consultation, including the interventions I
filed which total roughly 31,000 words:

Article of mine in the BB&C newsletter about some of the background issues,
aimed at a relatively non-technical audience:

Notes on many topics including copyright reform, updated approximately daily
(this is where to look for the latest information):

Canada DMCA Opponents mailing list and links page:

Electronic Frontier Canada, who are also active in this debate:
Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see


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