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.

Charlie Angus tables petitions concerned about digital locks

From the Hansard for October 18, 2010

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to bring forward a petition from people who are concerned about the misuse of digital rights management to digital locks on copyrighted material. Of specific concern is the move by the government to support the sacrosanct protection for digital locks that will override existing copyright rights that exist for Canadian citizens, educators, consumers, people who buy products and for people who use copyrighted works. They are not able to access them because the digital locks placed on top of them interfere with legal rights.

We know that many of the WIPO compliant countries have dealt with the issue of digital locks by ensuring that those that remain on products are not counterfeited or broken. However, in other WIPO compliant countries they have a balance so that citizens are still able to use and be educated with materials that they have a legal right to.

The Conservative government, of course, has it all wrong in terms of digital rights management.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to restore some sense of balance between the rights of creators and ensuring protection for copyrighted works, but also ensuring that we have a vibrant domain where people can actually access works within a digital realm.

Why the ease of circumventing locks doesn't matter.

Andrew Currie posted an article to his Open Attitude blog titled The gate at the top of the stairs where he talks about a scenario with a real world lock, and made the connection to "software locks and restrictions on our digital media". The overall message can be seen when he said, "the sole point I’m trying to make here is that all locks — physical or otherwise — can be broken; many of them much easier than you’d think".

The real cost of free

A great essay from Canadian born science fiction author and human rights activist Cory Doctorow.

You know who peddles false hope to naive would-be artists? People who go around implying that but for all those internet pirates, there'd be full creative employment for all of us. That the reason artists earn so little is because our audiences can't be trusted, that once we get this pesky internet thing solved, there'll be jam tomorrow for everyone. If you want to damn someone for selling a bill of goods to creative people, go after the DRM vendors with their ridiculous claims about copy-proof files; go after the labels who say that wholesale lawsuits against fans on behalf of artists (where labels get to pocket the winnings) are good business; go after the studios who are suing to make it impossible for anyone to put independent video on the internet without a giant corporate legal budget.

Copyright is no justification for digital locks

The Province has published my reply to an article by Stephen Ellis. In my reply I describe how digital locks are harmful to creators, and how he got his analogy to other physical and digital locks wrong.

Bill C-32: My Perspective on the Key Issues

Law professor Michael Geist has posted an article where he offers his opinion on what he sees as the 5 key issues that are being discussed in the context of C-32. My opinion on these issues are in the C-32 FAQ, but I thought it would be interesting for me to write about the same five issues.

The long computer registry and IT control

(Note: In the 41'st parliament bill C-32 became bill C-11, and Bill C-391 became bill C-19)

When meeting with some members of parliament I have used a gun control analogy to explain digital locks applied to communications technology. A minor form of gun control is being hotly debated in parliament and the media in the context of a private members Bill C-391, which has "repeal of long-gun registry" in its title. A highly controversial form of third-party control over communications technology is part of copyright Bill C-32, even though this key aspect of the bill is not yet adequately understood.

I felt it might be an interesting thought experiment to compare and contrast these two proposals and the political debate surrounding them. In my case this thinking was useful for me to better understand the opponents of the Canadian firearms registry, and thus it may be helpful in allowing others to better understand opponents to legal protection for technological measures.

Jailbreaking must be legal, but should you do it?

You will be hard pressed to find someone who find the practise of applying technology locks to someone elses property more reprehensible than I do. This is what I feel of the practise of companies like Apple and Sony who sell technology where they, not the owner, retain the keys to the technology and treat their owners as attackers of their own property. I believe that this practise should be clearly outlawed, while backward facing legislation such as the Conservative Bill C-32 seeks to legally protect it.

While this is true, I recommend against what has become the most common form of jailbreaking.

Read full article in IT World Canada's blog >>

ZeroPaid Interviews Russell McOrmond 2 – Canadian Bill C-32

Drew Wilson of ZeroPaid has posted a 3 part interview (Part 1,Part 2,Part 3)with me discussing Copyright and Bill C-32.

Why legal protection for technical measures is controversial

On August 14'th I gave a presentation on legal protection for technological measures, and why this policy doesn't fit well within Copyright law (Slides, link to audio recording)

Summary: The types of activities which copyright regulates all assume that you already have access to content. Copyright never concerned itself with concept of access, which was left to other laws.

Technical measures can restrict access, but can't in the real world directly restrict the types of activities that copyright regulates.

Copyright and technical measures are disjoint, but technical measures and other areas of law such as contract and e-commerce overlap.

Is technology useful for stopping an authorized person from doing things which Copyright regulates? Should we radically change "Copyright" to address this problem, or is this a non-Copyright issue?

A simple guide to copyright

I was thinking about the recent DMCA rulemaking in the US, which led me to this "simple guide to copyright".

You can legally do pretty much anything you like with your own property,

unless it's a "fixation" of a copyrighted work and what you want do is a right granted to the rightsholder,

unless it's covered by one of the "fair dealing" exceptions.

That's not too bad. Of course, in the US, or in Canada if C-32 passes as-is, you need to add a couple more lines:

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