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Report from meeting with Heritage Canada, Tuesday March 19.

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
To: No DMCA in Canada <canada-dmca-opponents (at) flora.org>, Universal Access <cpi-ua (at) vcn.bc.ca>, <tba-discuss (at) canopener.ca>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 16:24:03 -0500 (EST)

Report from meeting with Heritage Canada, Tuesday March 19.
-----------------------------------------------------------

For more information on the ongoing consultation process

http://www.flora.org/dmca/

  I met last Tuesday with Loris and other folks at Heritage Canada,
Copyright Policy Branch.  It was a very interesting meeting as it gave me
the feeling that Heritage "gets it" more than any of us gave them credit
for at the beginning of this process.  They aren't active participants in
the Open Source/Free Software movement or similar, but are very well
informed relative to others outside our community that I have have spoken
to on these topics.


  While I thought I would just be meeting with Loris, it turned out that
there were a number of other people there that had an interest in the
conversation. While people came in-and-out during the meeting (I suspect
only Loris booked the time), there was at one point 6 other people plus
Loris and I.


  When I met with my MP in October <http://www.flora.org/dmca/forum/170>
he mentioned that it is likely that Heritage will be our greatest allies
in this discussion.  I have not spoken face-to-face with anyone from
Industry Canada yet, but they also have not invited me.  At this point I
do not expect an invite from a group of people working at an organization
called the "Intellectual Property Policy Directorate" when my core beliefs
on this issue come from rejecting the idea of ideas as a new form of
property.  I will be very pleasantly surprised if I turn out to be wrong
on this, and they do extend an invitation.



  Some notes from the Heritage meeting.  I did not take many notes,
largely because I was surprised at the level of interesting conversation
and didn't want to slow things down in any way.



 - "Making Available"  

  Many of us software-experience "policy wonks" have not paid much
attention to this.  It was suggested that we look more closely to
understand the ties.  I will do so myself, and make some comments.  I
didn't comment in my paper this summer.
  

 - "Look at Europe"

  Most of us concentrate on what the USA is doing with the Sonny Bono
Copyright Term Extension Act, DMCA, and the CBDTA (New name for SSSCA).  
It was suggested that because the Canadian copyright act is much closer to
the act used in European countries, we should be looking more closely at 
what the Europeans are doing.


  I do hope that Canada follows more of what the Europeans are doing.  As
an example, the 1991 European directive on software states as principle
that "interfaces, are not protected by copyright" and that "only the
expression of a computer program is protected and that ideas and
principles which underlie any element of a program, including those which
underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright".
  http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/lif/dat/1991/en_391L0250.html


  It needs to be noted that this directive essentially nullifies the most
controvercial aspects of the USA's DMCA.



 - "Reading list"


  I was suggested to add Jessica Litman to my reading list.
http://www.law.wayne.edu/litman/ 

  Some of the history of copyright is covered there, and the level of
special-interest manipulations of the law to benefit specific industries.


Note:  I'm still at the beginning of "Voltaire's Bastards - The
Dictatorship of Reason in the West", by John Ralston Saul.  Now I have to
decide if Litman or Lessig will be my next read ;-)

  I am glad to be reading JRS given that some of the stupid-government
decisions such as this whole "Intellectual Property" debate come into
focus.



 - "DMCA protest, ITAR protests, etc"

  It was suggested that we make some of these issues better known at the
meetings.  It needs to be understood the damage that some of these
proposals can cause, including how having Canadian law different than that
of the USA can greatly benefit Canada.


  We have all heard that Alan Cox has boycott travel to the USA and
recommends other foreign programmers do the same.

    Alan Cox resigns from Usenix ALS committee, cites DMCA
      http://www.chguy.net/news/jul01/smart.html


  While a number of us in Canada have quietly said the same thing, we need
to do this more publicly.  I have not done this yet, but I believe I will
be setting up a "We, the undersigned..." type petition that will list the
programmers that have decided to boycott travel to the USA.


  From quick Google searches, this was mentioned in some submissions to
this process already:

Search:  "site:strategis.ic.gc.ca Alan Cox travel USA DMCA"

    Submission from Kevin Hartmann
      http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp00599e.html
    
    Submission from Matthew Skala
      http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp00111e.html

    Submission from Todd Showalter
      http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp00701e.html
    
  My own reply to the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association
(CMPDA) <http://www.flora.ca/copyright-2001-cmpda-reply.shtml> documents a
deliberate violation of the DMCA with the use of DeCSS.  It should be
obvious that I have canceled any plans to go to the USA. I specifically
did not go to a wedding last summer in California, and let family and
friends know that it was due to a boycott of this insane law.

    
  There is already a project many of us know about called FreeS/WAN which
has hired Canadians specifically because of law/legal problems with the
USA.  The following is from
  http://www.freeswan.org/freeswan_trees/freeswan-1.95/doc/intro.html   

  "The rest of the team are Canadians, working in Canada. (Why Canada?)"
  Which links to:
http://www.freeswan.org/freeswan_trees/freeswan-1.95/doc/politics.html#status

  While the legal battles are still underway in the USA, it is expected
that if the DMCA is held up in court (or if more insane laws such as CBDTA
- the new name of SSSCA - are passed), that there will be a mass exodus.	


  Will an implementation of DMCA-like provisions in Canada cause the same
type of thing with people leaving Canada? 



***  Canada's Innovation Agenda

  It was suggested we take a closer look at "Canada's Innovation Agenda", 
and how this relates to current discussions.

  Industry Canada does have a mandate in relation to Canada's Innovation
Strategy <http://www.innovationstrategy.gc.ca/>.  I hope they realize that
there is more innovation in independent software, especially Open Source,
than with the old "Software Manufacturers".

  A key question becomes: how compatible are some of these changes to
current laws with Canada's Innovation Strategy?


  We need to be watching what Industry Canada is doing more closely than
we have in the past.  As an example, please look at "Industry Canada
Research Project on Intellectual Property and Innovation in the
Knowledge-Based Economy"
  http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/ip01102e.html

  I find the language informative because I consider the creation of a new
form of property, Intellectual Property, to be the prolonging of the
Industrial Economy and fundamentally incompatible with a Knowledge-Based
economy.

See: "A new economy, or a new product for the old economy?"
  <http://www.flora.ca/copyright-2001.shtml#new-economy>

---
 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
 See http://weblog.flora.org/ for announcements, activities, and opinions
 Get Legal - become Free! http://weblog.flora.ca/article.php3?story_id=126
 Stay Legal - Use Free Software  http://www.stay-legal.org/

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