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[d@DCC] Is the Competition Bureau Investigating so-called "Copy Control" CDs? (not "Audio CDs" at all)
From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
Dear Competition Bureau, I would like to confirm that bureau is investigating the problems in the market for audio CD's. I use the term "audio CD" loosely as many of the recently released CDs do not conform to the Red Book standard for audio CDs (Compact Disc Digital Audio system, or CDDA). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Book_%28audio_CD_standard%29 Most consumers are not technical enough to notice the lack of the CDDA trademark logo on a CD, and thus are not being made aware of the fact that they are no longer purchasing a standard audio CD but something entirely different. Without this knowledge they are unable to be aware of the limits that these CDs will have compared to the standard format that the consumer expected to be purchasing. The reality is that this technology, like all other "technical measures" used by content distributors or DRM (Digital Rights/Restrictions Management), does not (and can not) stop activities that Copyright regulates. In all cases these technologies are used to technologically impose limits negotiated in contracts. Many public interest policy people call these rules "paracopyright". Most of these contracts are between the content industry and technology companies, with the terms of these contracts deliberately hidden from the consumers who then have the terms of these contracts imposed on them. It is important to remember that these hidden contract terms only affect law abiding citizens. Those citizens with technical knowledge will always be able to extract these files and convert to a DRM-free standard file format. They will then infringe copyright by sharing the standard file. In the case of many DRM systems it is as simple as extracting a key from any authorized player (technology made available to all consumers) to unlock the "digital lock" around the content. It only takes one technical person out of the 6.5 billion people on the planet to decode the file, and then it is available to less technical people to share. Bill C-60 gives legal protection to this "paracopyright", these technologically encoded hidden contracts. Since we are talking about contracts there is a legitimate question of whether the constitution allows the federal government can act in this area of provincial jurisdiction. See: "Constitutional Jurisdiction over Paracopyright Laws", by Jeremy F. deBeer, Chapter 4 of "In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law" http://www.irwinlaw.com/books.cfm?pub_id=120&series_id=3 We also need to ensure that these contracts are made transparent and accountable as is the case for any other contract terms, including problem contracts being reviewed by the federal Competition Bureau and the provincial and federal privacy commissioners. See: "If Left to Their Own Devices...: How DRM and Anti-Circumvention Laws Can Be Used to Hack Privacy" by Ian Kerr, and "Anti-Circumvention Legislation and Competition Policy: Defining A Canadian Way?" by Michael Geist, two chapters of "In the Public Interest". These hidden contracts are used in anti-competitive battles between industry players that must be investigated. A recent article talks about how Sony is using this technology in a battle they are having with Apple. Sony prefers the Microsoft brand and is not happy with the success of Apple's iPod and iTunes. They created a new CD format that was not an audio CD but that some audio CD players would interpret as audio. The purpose of the format was to lock people from being able to read the CDs with Apples software. When people complained to Sony they are falsely told that this is an Apple problem, and that they should write to Apple to convince them to "open up" their iTunes store to other players (meaning, the Microsoft player). DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE By Barry Ritholtz - The Big Picture http://p2pnet.net/story/6808 While Apple has been very successful with their player and music store, and should be investigated, it must be remembered that Microsoft was recently scolded by Anti-Trust Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly about contracting terms which would prohibit portable audio player manufacturers capable of playing Microsoft DRM music from also playing competitors music (mainly Apple). http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,123254,pg,1,RSS,RSS,00.asp Creators, their audiences, and purchasers of electronics must be protected from these hidden contracts and the anti-competitive battles in this marketplace. A first step for the competition bureau should be to put these companies under investigation. The bureau must also intervene in the Bill C-60 hearings to ensure that legal protection for these hidden contract terms are not allowed in our Copyright Act. If it is decided that legally encoded contracts need legal protection, then this change to law must happen within appropriate legislation (primarily provincial) in a way that allows for appropriate accountability and transparency. We do not give legal protection for human readable contracts with "fine print" that is not readable, so we should certainly not be giving legal protection for digitally encoded contracts that are unreadable to humans at all. We should not allow any disclosure of these terms by third parties to be claimed to be "infringing" of some right. More details on this issue are in this article: Standards? What standards? http://www.digital-copyright.ca/node/1095 Thank you. Russell McOrmond Full contact information: http://www.flora.ca/#contact -- Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 2359+ Canadians oppose Bill C-60. This bill protects antiquated Recording, Motion Picture and "software manufacturing" industries from modernization. http://KillBillC60.ca Sign--> http://digital-copyright.ca/petition/ _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss@list.digital-copyright.ca http://list.digital-copyright.ca/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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