Copy of "free culture" given to Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board

This afternoon I dropped off a copy of "free culture" by Lawrence Lessig with Jeff Legault (Special Assistant - West & North, Office of the President of the Treasury Board). He will then be able to give this to Reg Alcock when he is next at the Ottawa Office.

As indicated in earlier articles, I have met Reg Alcock a few times in the past and discussed these areas of policy. With what is believed to be attempts by newly-named Parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage Sarmite Bulte to fast-track WIPO treaty ratification, it is important for cabinet ministers to know how this policy will affect their departments.

While reading the position on Open Source Software from Canada's CIO branch (part of Treasury Board) a few key themes emerged. These key themes come directly from the Federated Architecture Program and are:

  • Support a full range of business model options and licensing terms
  • The Government of Canada has indicated in its Federated Architecture Plan that it is moving to standards-based formats.

Unfortunately these two key themes are opposed by WIPO treaty ratification. The WIPO copyright treaties were negotiated with the intention of protecting incumbent business models and licensing terms from any form of disruption, including competition. One of the most controversial aspects of the treaties is anti-circumvention (Legal protection for Digital Rights Management) which will contradict any attempt towards free/libre and open vendor-neutral communications standards.

I hope that this book will help Reg Alcock to better understand this conflict, and to then suggest more positive policy directions both domestically to the Ministers of Heritage and Industry, as well as better international policy through letters to the Minister of International Trade, James Scott Peterson.