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[d@DCC] Parliament must protect citizens rights in the information age!

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_>
To: Frulla.L (at), Minister.Industry (at)
Cc: Masse.B -_at_-, "McGuinty, David - M.P." <McGuinty.D -_at_->, General Copyright Discussions <discuss -_at_->, "Angus, Charlie - M.P." <Angus.C -_at_->, Oda.B -_at_-, Rajotte.J -_at_-, Kotto.M -_at_-, Crete.P -_at_-
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 12:25:47 -0500 (EST)

Letter to:

    The Honourable Liza Frulla -- Minister of Heritage

    Bev Oda       -- Conservative Heritage critic,
    Maka Kotto    -- Bloc Québécois Heritage critic,
    Charlie Angus -- New Democratic Party Heritage critic,

    The Honourable David Emerson -- Minister of Industry
    James Rajotte -- Conservative Industry critic,
    Paul Crête    -- Bloc Québécois Industry critic,
    Brian Masse   -- New Democratic Party Industry critic,

    David McGuinty -- MP for Ottawa South (where I live)

A recent Toronto Star article by Michael Geist concluded:

    In fact, the time has come for all Canadians to speak out and to tell 
    the responsible ministers along with their local MPs what is
    increasingly self-evident. Canada does not need protection for
    technological protection measures. In order to maintain our personal
    privacy, a vibrant security research community, a competitive
    marketplace, and a fair copyright balance, we need protection *from* 

`TPMs': A perfect storm for consumers

  I have been involved in copyright policy since the 2001 consultations,
and I have to admit that I am very unimpressed with the government on this
issue.  In 2001 there were 700 submissions, easily 650 of which were
opposed to WIPO treaty ratification, and yet the government seems intent
to steamroll forward without even discussing the real issues.

  We are Canadians who have observed the experience in the United States
and know their legislation is is harming their economy by putting a chill
on innovation and creativity.  We know how the technology works, and would
tell you if you were interested that the brochures from the Digital Rights
Management (DRM, also called "copy protection", or "technological measures
that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights")
companies are invalid.  We know that the real purpose of these
technologies are separate from protecting the rights of copyright holders,
given these technologies are ineffective at that specific task.

  Where did those 650 responses go?  If you look at the section 92 report,
and the follow-on consultations that lead to the Interim report on
Copyright Reform from the Heritage committee you would assume that those
650 responses never existed.  Was a single person from the independent
technical community invited to talk, people who could give honest answers
about the Internet, ISPs and DRM?  Were our submissions to the section 92
process considered?

  There are considerable harmful unintended consequences to the policies
being promoted.  Harmful policy is moving forward as the special economic
interests that have the ear of parliament have tunnel vision about their
particular small problems, and are not looking at the bigger picture. The
proposals being suggested are like suggesting amputation because of an
alleged paper cut.

  The entertainment industry is an obvious example that is aggressively
calling for DRM.  A wide deployment of effective DRM (including Trusted
Computing platforms) would allow the DRM companies to entirely replace the
current content industry as the gatekeepers of culture.  With all their
attention on non-commercial copyright infringement by audiences (where the
jury is out as to whether this is harmful), they have remained entirely
oblivious to a far greater threat.

  The same is true of independent creators who do not realize that when it
comes to DRM they have no standing.  At the point where the decision is
made about whether something is copied there are only two entities which
can have control:  the owner of the device, and the manufacturers of the
device.  As copyright holders aggressively *give away* control to the
manufacturers they seem to be oblivious to the fact that these
manufacturers are a far greater threat to their business models than any
amount of copyright infringement by consumers.

  Many creators also forget a basic fact which is that any technology that
can be used to create and communicate works legally can also be abused to
infringe copyright.  Granting third party control over tools that can
infringe by definition means granting them control over all tools use by

  Where the DRM companies see a new lucrative business model that will be
given legal protection by parliament, I see violations of our competition
act that will cause considerable harm to both creators and all other

  We need to be looking at this issue in the proper context.  Any
'hardware assist' for communications, whether it be eye-glasses, VCR's, or
personal computers, must be under the control of the citizen and not a
third party.  We are asking who will have control over the means of
creation and distribution of culture in our free and democratic society.  
How we answer this question will determine Canada's ability to protect in
the information age the rights encoded in our charter and in the United
Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  As a technology person concerned with creators' rights, cultural rights,
communications rights, privacy rights and property rights I strongly agree
with Michael Geist:  Canada does not need legal protection FOR TPMs, we
need legal protection FROM TPMs.  Where we disagree is that Mr. Geist
focuses only on the harm to consumers from TPMs, and does not talk about
the considerable harm to creators as well.

  I remain available to any member of parliament or other policy maker who
wishes to discuss these issues.  This issue may be second only to Canada's
military roll in the world, so must be given the attention it deserves.

Russell McOrmond
305 Southcrest Private,
Ottawa, ON
K1V 2B7

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <> (My BLOG)
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