DRM

Digital "Rights" Management, Digital Restrictions Management, Dishonest Relationship Misinformation

This is a generic acronym used to describe a system of software, often including technical measures, used by copyright holders who "claim" that this stops or reduces copyright infringement. DRM in fact does not affect those engaged in unlawful activities, and can only impose hidden digitally encoded contract terms on law abiding citizens.

Please see: Alphabet soup of acronyms: TPM, DRM, TCPA, RMS, RMI, Protecting property rights in a digital world.

Sent input on updated IPEG to Competition Bureau

I made a submission to the competition bureau as part of their request for input. This was based on a submission I had made in 2003, updated to reflect new issues in the last decade including the passage of the C-11 Copyright bill.

C-11's "technological measures" components are presumed to protect encrypted media, which is better understood in a competition rather than a copyright sense. While there is no credible evidence that these measures help reduce copyright infringement, there is considerable evidence that they are being abused to manipulate separate markets as well as harm competitors in the same market.

Canada has ratified WCT and WPPT

While we knew this was coming, Canada has officially ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

This doesn't mean Canadian law can't be fixed when it comes to "technological measures" given these treaties don't require access controls or protection of circumventions of measures not related to copyright infringement. This means nearly all of the direct or indirect infringements of IT property rights, and all the anti-competitive behaviour (tied selling, copyright holders manipulating hardware/software markets, hardware/software companies manipulating content industries, etc), can be clarified as not legalized or legally protected under copyright" law.

Lack of economic harm from rights infringement not whole story

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), a scientific institute of the European Commission, released a report with a familiar message: illegal music downloads aren't a substitute for legal music downloads. While I believe this type of research is critical to debunk the outrageous claims about the economic harm abused to justify backward policy choices, I don't think economic impact alone is the entire story.

If someone broke into our home and did not take anything, only rummaged through our belongings (possibly taking pictures, etc), we would still feel violated. Integral to home ownership is the right to decide who can enter our homes, and our privacy and property rights are violated even if nothing was taken or damaged, and there was no economic impact.

"Digital Lock" language from the technology owners perspective

I was pointed to an article on G+ asking for language when someone takes control of their own computer in a way that is designed to be done by the manufacturer, rather than using an exploit that circumvents the intention of the manufacturer. The term "jailbreaking" and "rooting" are often used, sometimes not differentiating between these very different scenarios.

I prefer to use language that expresses the issue from the point of the owner, rather than third parties including device manufacturers or copyright holders.

A device that is comes unlocked, is designed to be unlockable, or where it is designed for the owner to be able to change the locks, could simply be called non-infringing hardware.

Commercial infringers demanding government gut laws protecting technology owners.

I sent the following to my MP and to the Minister of Industry:

Mr McGuinty, my MP for Ottawa South,
Cc: The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry,

As you know I have spent more than a decade working on protecting technology owners from various forms of infringement of their tangible property rights. Much of the threats to property rights comes from people and organizations falsely claiming such infringements are necessary to protect their rights.

To borrow from a related phrase: One owners right to protect their property ends at my right to protect my property.

Computer Control in the context of a Gun Control debate

There has been considerable discussion (debate, flamewars) about gun control in the wake of the tragic shooting in Newton, Conn. -- so much that the NRA hid its Facebook page to avoid hosting flame wars.

It is hard for me not to be reminded of the debates about computer control while listening to all the debates on gun control.  (See: Protecting the property, privacy and other rights of owners: Bill C-19 and Bill C-11 , The long computer registry and IT control).

Cautionary Tales About Collective Rights Organizations

I've received a few emails about a document (PDF) describing the track records of Collective rights organizations (CROs), including from InfoJustice and one of the founders of Unglue.it (Another awesome alternative to CROs).

My own concerns about how CROs often push for exceptions to copyright in the form of compulsory licensing was included (See page 18, 19), with a reference to "Independent authors just wanting a little respect... from fellow creators and collective societies".

Privacy/security battleground in your computer, not just on network and in cloud

I want to highlight and frame something said by Christopher Parsons in a recent interview on CDNTech network.  When asked about encryption (time 6:12), he clarified that surveillance will most often involve going around encryption, such as by installing malware on the computer of the person being surveilled.  The alternative would be to intercept the communication on the network or as stored in the cloud, and try to decrypt.

This should point to an often forgotten truth:  that the question of who controls your computer is just as, if not more, important than how Internet Access Providers (IAP's) or services (Facebook, Google, etc) are regulated when it comes to protecting your rights and interests.

Douglas Rushkoff on Program or Be Programmed

This morning on the way into work I listened again to the interview CBC Spark's Nora Young did with Douglas Rushkoff as part of their Summer audio blog. I recommend everyone listen to this interview. Greatly simplifying, he speaks about how we live in a programmed world, and that people who don't understand at least a little bit about programming will not be able to be full participants.

Ownership doesn't make people do bad things, or excuse them.

Sometimes the feedback you receive from writing is unexpected, as happened with Andrei Mincov's feedback on twitter about yesterdays article: Why do we have copyright?.

He didn't offer feedback on the focus of the article, which makes sense given Mr. Mincov provided a good tool to determining which of two different answers to the "why copyright" question we each might give. What I found interesting was his response to the second half which documented how it was the protection of the rights of technology owners that caused my increased interest in copyright law.

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