Mixed and conflicting bag of policies from ACTRA

The following was posted as a comment to an Hour.ca article about the Network Neutrality hearings.

ACTRA has had a mixed bag of policies. For me the questions are simple: whether it is citizens or some third party that will control the means of production and distribution of knowledge in the knowledge economy. This means that the endpoints of the communication must be under the control of their owners. The networks between should be neutral of any control by the stewards we have allowed to use our airwaves and to put cables above and below private and public property.

ACTRA has indicated support for "Network Neutrality" which is consistent with my views, but they have also advocated for imposing CANCON regulations on the Internet and are in favour of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

CANCON works well when dealing with centrally managed communications where there is limited spectrum and the controllers of that spectrum can have undue influence over what content is distributed over that limited spectrum medium. This doesn't apply to the Internet where it is the audiences that control what they get, not some intermediary. Imposing CANCON on "the Internet" would have the opposite effect to their intent, and make it administratively hard for smaller groups to independently publish online -- putting us back under the thumb of legacy intermediaries.

DRM is misunderstood by non-technical people whose understanding is closer to science fiction than science. DRM is accomplished in the real world by locking down our devices such that the manufacturer, not the owner, is in control of the device. This applies both to the devices used to access content as well as those used by creators to create in the first place. A second lock ties the access to content to specific brands of devices, creating an anti-competitive benefit to those device manufacturers. This creates a powerful intermediary that will have their own interests, not those of creators or audiences, at heart. This harm to creators is much greater than any amount of copyright infringement.