Logic and legal protection for TPMs

I was thinking about this last night after reading another "but we have to have the C-32 approach to TPMs for the creators to get paid" article, and think I found a way to explain my thinking.

Let's divide Canadians into 4 groups based on their ability to bypass TPMs and their respect for copyright law :

Can bypass TPMs Can't bypass TPMs
Respect Copyright law Engineers Comsumers
Don't respect copyright law Pirates Wannabe pirates

The names are just convenient labels to use when discussing each group.

Now let's look at how each group behaves if you make it illegal to break TPMs:

Pirates will continue to bypass the TPMs and infringe, so it won't make any difference to them.

Consumers and Wannabe Pirates will still be unable to bypass TPMs, so it won't make any difference to them.

Engineers won't bypass TPMs that they did before doing so was made illegal. But notice that Engineers were defined as respecting copyright law, so the only time they would have bypassed TPMs before doing so became illegal was to do something that is legal under the Copyright Act.

So the only actions affected by making the bypassing of TPMs illegal are those by people who are able to bypass TPMs, who respect copyright law, and who are doing things that are perfectly legal under the Copyright Act.

Making the bypassing of TPMs illegal has no effect on copyright infringement at all.

At this point, we have to recognise that these categories may not be static. For example, stronger TPMs may push more people to the right of the table above. Greater penalties could arguably push people up. From my perspective, though, as somebody in that top left corner, enacting C-32 as it stands is quite likely to push me down. I have DVDs that I bought legally in Europe and a DVD player that I bought legally in Canada. I have to bypass the region encoding, a form of TPM, in order to watch my DVDs on my DVD player. The Copyright Act doesn't grant any rights to decide when, where, or how I can watch my copies of these movies, so what I'm doing is perfectly legal. But C-32 would change that. The question, then, is whether I'm going to accept the government effectively taking away my property or whether I'm going to continue to break the TPM and watch my DVDs. I rather suspect that the latter is more likely.

So not only will the C-32 approach to TPMs have no effect on infringement, it will actually lead to less respect for copyright law in general.