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[d@DCC] [Fwd: Copyright issues in USA, coming soon to Canada]
From: Sydney Weidman <syd _-at-_ plug.ca>
Sorry, I forgot to BCC instead of CC these recipients, so this message didn't make it to the list. -----Forwarded Message----- From: Sydney Weidman <email@example.com> To: Sparkplug <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: Alcock.R@parl.gc.ca, Bezan.J@parl.gc.ca, Blaikie.B@parl.gc.ca, Desjarlais.B@parl.gc.ca, Fletcher.S@parl.gc.ca, Mark.I@parl.gc.ca, Martin.Pd@parl.gc.ca, Neville.A@parl.gc.ca, Pallister.B@parl.gc.ca, Simard.R@parl.gc.ca, Smith.J@parl.gc.ca, Toews.V@parl.gc.ca, Tweed.M@parl.gc.ca, Wasylycia-Leis.J@parl.gc.ca, General Copyright Discussion <email@example.com> Subject: Copyright issues in USA, coming soon to Canada Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 17:05:11 -0600 Andrew Kantor (http://kantor.com) wrote an incredible summary of the problems with Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the Digial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the USA: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2004-11-19-kantor_x.htm We have to watch this carefully because Canada is being forced to accept legal protection of DRM by being pressured to ratifying the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty http://www.wipo.int/clea/docs/en/wo/wo034en.htm. If you think ratifying this treaty would be good for artists, think again. Whoever ends up providing the defacto standard in Digital Rights Management will be in a position to hold every artist in Canada (in the world, for that matter) for ransom. "If you don't pay up, we ain't gonna protect you". How many times has this scene played out in Hollywood gangster movies? Well, this time the bad guy *is* Hollywood. An artist under such a regime would be faced with a brutal choice: Pay your protection money (a.k.a royalty for licensed protection technology) or see your work rendered inaccessible. Whose interests are being represented by these changes? Artists? Audiences? In today's world, there is less and less distinction between artist and audience. Audiences have been empowered to create and publish their own works, and artists have new and more powerful means to capture and transform elements of culture around them. We no longer need big publishing houses or major recording labels to enjoy a vibrant market for creative works. This is good for everyone except the old-fashioned industry middle-men that make their money by artist exploitation and mass production. A government that cares about encouraging social and technological progress ought to be listening to the vast majority of Canadians, rather than listening only to the interests of the industries threatened by change. Moreover, Digital Rights Management cannot, in any case, protect artists for the simple reason that digital rights protection schemes never work. The schemes are always defeated by something simple like drawing on a disk with a marker or holding down the shift key when you insert a CD in your computer. That's why the American entertainment giants have to make these seditious acts illegal. By ratifying the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, Canada will be obliged to defend lame technology with the full force of the law. So in the end, the entertainment industry can rest easy knowing that Canadian law enforcement, and therefore Canadian taxpayers, will ultimately foot the bill for any shortcomings in DRM technology. Since Canadian law enforcement is already empowered to protect artists against copyright infringement, how does this new burden make the job any easier or more effective? What is really at stake for the industry is the ability to limit competition. If I control DRM and DRM is the law, then I can determine who is and is not allowed to produce devices capable of viewing protected content. If anyone tries to innovate or create compatible devices without my permission, I'll just have them thrown in jail. This is not the basis for a healthy, competitive market. It is an environment which limits our freedom and punishes creativity. This change in the legal landscape has special importance for me, as an advocate, user, and creator of Free Software (see http://www.flora.ca/floss.shtml for a brief introduction). Laws protecting DRM could make it illegal for me to create software which reads or writes Microsoft Office file formats. Useful Free Software programs like OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org), would become forbidden. Why should I be prevented from voluntarily sharing my work in order to protect someone else's outdated business model? This would be the equivalent of allowing the National Association of Home Builders to rough up Habitat for Humanity because it is muscling in on their territory. Why bother making laws like this? What are we gaining except more interference in our private lives by corporations and governments? What causes us to accept such bad laws? The process seems to be one of panic-driven greed conspiring with a failure on the part of our government to understand or consider the needs of society at large. Hopefully, Mr. Kantor's article will help everyone understand the dangers of credulously accepting advice from industry lobbyists while ignoring the democratic principles of balance and fairness. Regards, Syd Weidman 2 - 599 Wardlaw Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 0M3 (204)633-3259 _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss@list.digital-copyright.ca http://list.digital-copyright.ca/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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