CIPPIC replies: West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast Green Party candidate

From Andrea Goldsmith:

Music File-sharing: What is your position on the issue of file-sharing in Canada--should it be illegal?

;:Criminal law is a poor way to deal with file sharing and it is a poor way to deal with marijuana. Deliberate violations of copyright law in Canada should be treated as misdemeanors at most, but civil law suits are the best way to deal with any systematic exploitation of artists. Laws to protect artists must be just that, not laws to protect their agents or publishers or heirs necessarily, and the law must protect even more strongly against misleading or abusive contracts that are preventing artists from realizing gains from the art they've created.

Technological Protection of Copyrighted Materials: What is your position on using legislation to prohibit circumvention of TPMs?

;:Technical Protection mechanisms simply trigger an "arms race" that results in splintering standards. The only technical protection that should have status in law is the "watermark" or "signature" mechanism that allows tracing back to the original copy of the version released.

;:Trying to criminalize reverse engineering and certainly trying to make it difficult or impossible to prove these mechanisms are insecure, is undesirable. Rather than focus on the people making the copy, it is wiser to focus on the distribution chain of those who sell bad copies.

Educational Use of Internet Materials: Do you support an amendment to the Copyright Act to allow for the use of freely available materials on the Internet by participants in an educational program?

;:Yes. However, this need not infringe on copyright owners' rights, nor change the legislation. It simply expands the definition of "fair use".

;:Governments should also be full participants in open content projects, like the various GNU Free Documentation License or Creative Commons licensed knowledge bases. Government funding can in some cases be made conditional on the release of research through these "copyleft" licenses.

ISP Liability for copyright infringement: Should ISPs be protected from liability for copyright infringement when others merely transmit copyrighted materials over their facilities, or when others post copyrighted works on websites that the ISP merely hosts?

;:Yes, the ISP is a "common carrier" and can neither refuse service to any legally-behaving party, nor patrol in depth the copyright status of every work they host. ISPs would have greater difficulty refusing service to a member who simply caused others to complain, but, they would have also a full immunity to prosecution if someone was found to be using their lines to do anything illegal. This should encourage them to cooperate in the most serious investigations, such as distribution of actual photographic child pornography which portrays genuine abuse of a confined child, etc..

;:We do not wish to risk the cooperation of ISPs in these essential matters.

What is your position on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's proposed "notice and takedown" scheme requiring ISPs to remove content on the sole basis of alleged copyright infringement?

;:"Alleged" is insufficient, but some sort of notice scheme is reasonable and required when there is good reason to believe the material is in a violation. For instance, if a civil suit is filed or motion applied for, or if the matter has been reported to authorities of any kind including Heritage.

Open Source Software: What is your position on increasing or mandating the use of open source software in government operations?

;:The Green Party supports using open source software to increase overall transparency in government operations. However, of far more importance is the release of publicly funded research and documentation in usable forms, under licences that prevent distortion and inaccurate republication, but which do not restrict commentary or improvement or added-value activities.

;:For some activities, notably those involving international connectivity and use of low cost recycled hardware, free software should be used to help close the "digital divide".

;:Non-open software should generally be under parametric licenses like the many Creative Commons variants, or, tested under a trademarked test suite which applies rigid interoperability standards, such as Java or POSIX.

;:For any research or technology of use in resource extraction, warfare or crime, or with reasonable extensions useful for same, Green governments would likely apply "non-open, non-free" clauses (for instance new clauses added to Creative Commons specifying "green" or "peaceful" use only) to forbid use of publicly funded code or data in projects that harm Earth's biodiversity or human bodies. In some cases, the copyright violations might be the most effective way to force some governments to comply with the restrictions on the illegal behaviour. Also, the signal should be clearly sent that code is not harmless, and not all of it should be "free for any use" whatsoever.

;:Increasingly, political positions are reflected in the code itself, and power concentrates there in its architecture, at least according to legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. We agree with him, and therefore are as concerned about software as about genes or some "better" land mine design.

;:Software is sometimes a weapon against the planet, against people, or against infrastructure. We must be aware of that.

Spam: How do you propose to approach the problem of spam?

;:Strict criminal penalties for unsolicited advertising, coupled with a general disclaimer that commercial protection laws do not apply to any person responding to unsolicited email, period. Campaigns to discourage responding to spam by the public, including publicizing horror stories.

;:Spam is the exception to the ISP's common carrier status: spam forwarding is an activity for which ISPs can be held liable and sued under civil law, and is reasonable grounds for removing accounts.

National ID cards: What is your position on National ID cards?

;:The Green Party feels that a National ID card would be an erosion of Canadian's civil liberties and privacy and are therefore are opposed to such a system.