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Report from meeting with Heritage Canada, Tuesday March 19.
From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
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/ -- For (un)subscription information, posting guidelines and links to other related sites please see http://www.flora.org/dmca/
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