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.

Differentiating allies and opponents in the Copyright debate

Copyright is often claimed to be a balance between rights-holders’ interests on the one hand and the interests of users and society as a whole on the other hand. I only wish things were that simple. I could take my place alongside other rights-holders, and know that copyright law would at least be taking the interests of creators into serious consideration.

The problem is that the reality is quite different. With digital copyright you have potentially 4 rights-holder groups. Even if you only consider the interests of copyright holders, the vast majority of the debates I have witnessed have been between and within copyright holder groups, not between copyright holders and some other individual or group.

Just as with previous bills, the tabling of Bill C-32 will bring new people to the debate. Reading how I evaluate my allies and opponents may be useful as a kick-start for those people.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog

A real-world e-book conversation, TPM included

Author John Degen has posted some fictional conversations between a writer and a reader on his blog (June 9, June 10). I say it is fictional as it ignores how the relevant technology works, and thus not only the lack of clarity of the relationships between writers and readers but also the fact that there is a technology company as intermediary that separates there from being much of a relationship at all between writers and readers. It depicts some rare moment where all the parties involved have the same understanding of the relationship, likely because this is really just a case of John having a conversation with himself.

This conversation is a good example to use to better understand the technology involved, the relationships, and what is the correct law to govern these types of relationships. It is also a demonstration why the existing anti-circumvention provisions within Bill C-32 require major revision in order to not cause massive unintended consequences that will be harmful to the interests of both the writers and readers John was intending to be writing about.

Read full article on IT world Canada's blog...

Why legal protection for technical measures is controversial

For those who will be in Ottawa on Saturday, August 14, 2010, I will be presenting a talk titled Why legal protection for technical measures is controversial at Open Source Technology showcase - SC2010.

Not surprisingly, we will be discussing the USA's National Information Infrastructure (NII) Copyright Protection Act of 1995, the 1996 WIPO Internet treaties, the USA's DMCA in 1998, as well as Canadian bills C-60 (2005), C-61 (2008) and C-32 (2010). If it isn't dead yet, we'll discuss the Orwellian double-speak named Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Digital locks trump Copyright in new "copyright" bill

The latest in a series of copyright bills was tabled on June 2, this one numbered Bill C-32. Like the Liberal Bill C-60 tabled in June 2005, and the previous Conservative Bill C-61 tabled in June 2008, the purpose of the bulk of the bill is to change Canadian law such that Canada can ratify the highly controversial 1996 WIPO treaties. While past WIPO treaties struck a balance between various competing interest, these treaties are seen as giving intermediaries such as publishers and technology companies far too much influence, to the detriment of both creators and audiences.

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

Separating Science from Science Fiction on the Business News Network

Last week I had the opportunity to discuss the new copyright bill on the BNN show Squeezeplay. The other guest was Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill, and the hosts were Andrea Mandel-Campbell and Rudyard Griffiths.

It became obvious during the interview that the hosts had the misconception that they had a creator and a consumer, or even a creator and someone who wanted to infringe copyright. At one point Mr. Griffiths even asked me if I were supportive of the rule of law, which threw me for a loop as I hadn't expected that type of bias. What they actually had was two creators with a different level of technical knowledge, and thus a different understanding of the impact on creators of the policy we were being presented in the bill.

Different people have different expertise

I have been asked by more than one person to comment on a blog posting by James Gannon. The first thing to note is that he appears to be part of the smear campaign against Michael Geist. It is unfortunate that some people in this political debate are lowering themselves to this level.

The other is to note that he is a lawyer, and there is no requirement to take computer science courses in order to become a lawyer. While there may have been no requirement, I consider it an obligation of those dealing with this area of policy to obtain a basic working knowledge of a series of real-world technological measures.

Should the iPad be illegal?

I would like to clarify quotes in two recent CBC articles by Peter Nowak: Copyright bill may spark battle over who owns what and Apple iPad hits Canada amid controversy.

In each it is suggested that I believe that the iPad should be illegal. What I said should be illegal is the application of non-owner locks to technology. I am not concerned with Apples technology, only radical changes to the law that legalize and/or legally protect a form of theft.

Copyright bill may spark battle over who owns what

An article by Peter Nowak for CBC News discusses some of the ownership questions in the copyright debate. While CRIA lobbiest Barry Sookman tries to keep people distracted with the lesser important lock on content (which makes it only interoperable with "authorised" devices), I am quoted speaking about the important property rights issue of non-owner locks applied to devices. Mr Soookman is quoted in ways that suggest a science fiction and not science based understanding of encryption and other such technical measures. He possibly doesn't even understand what he has misunderstood.

There is unfortunately not enough clarity on the separation between locks on content and locks on devices. It is a major step forward that an article for a media outlet like the CBC spoke about both.

A comment to Drew Wilson's response to Denis McGrath on the State of the Copyright Debate

Drew Wilson wrote a response to Denis McGrath's blog article he titled The State of the Copyright Debate. While I commented on Denis's blog, the following is a mildly edit version of what I contributed to Drew's blog.

Fairness in an expanded Private Copying regime for recorded music

No matter what I feel about the Private Copying regime for recorded music, it is clear that the music industry wants this. When I say music industry I mean composers and performers who have come out strongly in favor of the regime. It has become clear that the recording industry can no longer be said to represent musicians or the overall music industry.

I can live with this regime being expanded to devices as I consider it the lesser of two evils: a levy on devices, or non-owner locks on devices. In order for the regime to have any resemblance of fairness it should be obvious that we can't allow both.

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

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