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.

Why do some people claim that Canadian copyright is "weak"?

In a series of postings over the years, lawyer Howard Knopf has detailed how Canadian Copyright law is strong (protects incumbent copyright holders), including many ways that Canadian law is stronger than that of the USA (See: 21 Reasons Why Canadian Copyright Law is Already Stronger Than USA's, 22nd Example of How Canadian Copyright Law is Stronger than US - and Another Possible US Treaty Violation)

I had a recent twitter conversation with lawyer Barry Sookman, who has clients in the recording, motion picture and proprietary software industries. As a response to his tweet, "Canada again named to USTR’s Priority Watch List for weak IP laws", I said "Canada being on the USTR priority watch list for having strong Copyright (stronger than US in many ways) only makes list a joke". He then claimed I was wrong, pointing me his submission to the summer 2009 copyright consultation.

His submission didn't provide me with what I was looking for, which was something as detailed as what Mr. Knopf has authored.

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When consumer choice is not enough: Dishonest Relationship Misinformation (DRM)

When I discuss non-owner locks on technology and anti-competitive locks on content, the two highly controversial forms of so-called "Digital Rights Management", a common question comes up: If I don't like these things, why don't I just not buy them and be done with it?

While I have historically been a firm supporter of consumer boycotts, I do not believe they can be effective in this case for a number of important reasons. I am also a strong supporter of free markets, but in this case I also do not believe that markets alone can solve the problems -- partly because I don't believe we have a free market scenario.

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Celebrate Copyright day by recognizing greatest threats

April 23'rd is World Book and Copyright Day, organized by UNESCO and celebrated since 1995. This is a good day to become aware of the threats to Copyright so that we can better protect Copyright from them.

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Supreme Court understands that you don't control what is in your cache

In R. v. Morelli, 2010 SCC 8 the following statement was made on behalf of the majority (McLachlin C.J. and Binnie, Abella and Fish JJ)

[36] On my view of possession, the automatic caching of a file to the hard drive does not, without more, constitute possession. While the cached file might be in a “place” over which the computer user has control, in order to establish possession, it is necessary to satisfy mens rea or fault requirements as well. Thus, it must be shown that the file was knowingly stored and retained through the cache.

Putting Mr. Angus' private members Copyright bill in context: locks, lawsuits, levies and licensing.

On March 16, 2010, NDP digital issues critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) tabled Motion 506 to expand Fair Dealings as well as a private members bill Bill C-499: An Act to amend the Copyright Act (audio recording devices) which seeks to extend the existing Private Copying regime for audio recording to devices. The next day the Heritage committee tabled a motion supporting the extension of the regime to devices, indicating the support of the Liberals and Bloc for this policy direction.

While I fully support the motion on extending Fair Dealings, the impact of the private members bill is much more complex and needs discussion. This is what Mr. Angus intended.

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Don’t Blame Google

In an article for The Mark I suggest that we shouldn't blame Google when music blogs are shut down, since it’s the major record labels that are to blame.

iPad DRM is a dangerous step backward.

Leave it to the FSF to initiate the only coverage of the iPad that sees it as I see it. (See: The Register)

I received an email from the Defective by Design campaign that started:

"Today, Apple launched a computer that will never belong to its owner. Apple will use Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to gain total veto power over the applications you use and the media you can view."

They then reference a petition. Not sure how useful a petition to Mr. Jobs that questions his entire business ethic could be, but it does make for a useful educational tool. If you are a Canadian and agree that the owners of technology should be the ones who hold the keys, and not a third party, then sign our Petition to protect Information Technology property rights which is tabled in parliament and can actually have influence.

Google, China, Hillary Clinton and the filtered Internet

By now you will have read many articles derived from the statements made by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer at Google about China.

The primary issue that Google was bringing up was a simple and not politically hot one. Companies need to know that the government of countries they are trying to do business in will have laws and enforce them against those who attack the physical or virtual infrastructure of these businesses.

Many of the comments and articles about this incident suggested Google was trying to protect online free speech. I do not buy that argument in this case.

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Rethinking out loud about Margaret Atwood

Earlier this week I listened to (MP3) an interview of Margaret Atwood by Spartan Youth Radio reporter Madeline Lemire. I found I agreed with some of the views of Ms. Atwood. This surprised me because I was aware of some of her views on Copyright, and because of this I had become wilfully ignorant of her work. I did not want to financially support someone I felt was a political opponent.

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