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.

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.

Why do we have copyright?

Andrei Mincov is a lawyer who specializes in copyright and related areas of law, and is actively involved in the copyright revision discussion. In April of this year he posted a Response to William Patry in the form of a review of William's book How to Fix Copyright. While I agree more with Mr. Patry's take on the issues than Mr. Mincov, I found reading the article and Mr. Patry's critique of this response extremely informative to solidify in my mind why I believe what I do.

To fees on devices the Harper Government says: yes, no,... err.. what was the question?

In a press release and news conference speech the "Harper Government" alleges to not want to increase costs or otherwise devalue the devices Canadians wish to purchase and own. Minister Paradis claimed that "Placing a new fee on devices with removable memory cards, such as BlackBerrys and smart phones, would increase costs for Canadian families and impact the adoption of the latest technologies."

I say claim not because I disagree that devaluing the devices we own is unwarranted and unfair to Canadians, but that the "Harper Government" did far worse within C-11 than they are alleging to "fix" now.

Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights

Yesterday I asked if there were any technical witnesses at the Senate committee studying C-11. I have been pointed to Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights, who appeared before Industry Committee (press release, Hansard from committee, audio/video) and then again at the Senate Committee on June 26'th at the 09:00 meeting.

Double standard on Copyright vs IT Property Rights

In my brief to C-11 committee and in recent presentations I have suggested people compare the attitudes between copyright and technology property rights.  Each of these rights have rightsholders who control various activities relating to their property, and each have people infringing those rights by ignoring that control.

One person who believes copyright should be stronger, but pretty much denies the existence of IT property rights is John Degen.  He appeared before the Senate committee studying C-11 yesterday.  In a few tweets he suggested that as part of the testimony he held up his Kobo and said that he didn't care that the content or tech was locked.

In other words, he chose to waive his right to hold the keys to his property (the Kobo).  He personally didn't feel the need to control what software would be installed on it.

ABC Copyright: slides and YouTube video

On June 4 I gave a workshop at the ABC Copyright Conference titled Access vs. Copyright: Technological measures, Paracopyright, and copyright.  I made my slides available and on June 17'th made an informal recording for YouTube based on the same slides.  Links to both, and to media made of other talks, have now been added to the program.

Summary:  I gave a brief history of TPMs being added to copyright law, then described the two narratives for discussing TPMs: 2-constituency involving copyright holders and users (and a magical incantation on content), and 4-constituency including copyright holders, users, software authors and hardware owners.

Since "digital locks" (technological measures) are often applied to both content and devices, I suggested people compare how the law and various people protect or disrespect the relevant rights-holders.  Each of copyright and technology property rights have primary and secondary infringers, and who is committing these infringements are quite different.

Bill C-11 in the Senate: what would I say to them?

Bill C-11 started debate at second reading in the Senate on June 20'th, with debate resuming on the 21'st.

While it is unlikely that I will have a chance to speak in front of the Senate committee studying Bill C-11, the following is what I would have liked to say.

Truck control unconstitutional? What about computer control?

Justice of the Peace Brett Kelly ruled in Welland, Ont. (Central West Region) on Wednesday June 6 that the provincial law requiring large trucks be limited to 105 kilometres an hour is unconstitutional. This is expected to be appealed, and this process will be very informative to those of us concerned about government revoking owner control over other technology such as computers.

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