CIPPIC was established at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law in the fall of 2003, and has offices in the law building at the University. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the law professors, law students and other staff at both the University of Ottawa Technology law and CIPPIC for all the help they have offered me over the years. They have allowed me to sit in on classes, attend the Torys Technology Law speaker series and other events, and have always been available when I needed to have points of law explained to me. This is an amazing and open group of people, and I am very thankful to live in Ottawa and to have been granted access to them.
I have known David Fewer for many years now, and was honoured to sit on the same panel with him. He was a great witness as always. CIPPIC isn't a group that looks at technology law from only one perspective, and has provided considerable assistance to people from a full spectrum of stakeholders in the copyright debate.
I feel an affinity for that viewpoint, especially in my roll as policy coordinator for CLUE which has members ranging from software users who have never written a line of code to people who intimately understand the internals of the Linux and BSD kernels and others that make their entire living through authoring software.
I cannot evaluate my own performance, and will leave that for others to add as comments.
I will make note of procedural issues. I was not certain that I would be invited to speak to the committee in person, but since I live in Ottawa I offered to be a stand-by if this was possible. The invitation to appear before the committee was made mid-afternoon yesterday. This will likely have meant that committee members received my brief (and translation) later than that, with it being unlikely any had time to read before committee.
I believe I saw the signs of that in a question from Ms. Lavallée who appeared to have skimmed and read my views on education institutional exceptions backwards. She believed that I thought that educational institutions paying creators was a government program masquerading as copyright. The English text reads, "I consider education institutional exceptions to copyright to be a government program, paid for on the backs of copyright holders, masquerading as copyright."
If briefs were available to committee members well in advance, including for people who were not yet scheduled to speak, it is possible that we would have had a more engaging dialogue. While we don't agree on methods, Ms. Lavallée and I both believe that creators should be receiving better compensation for their valuable contributions to society. Had she had a chance to read my brief, we might have been able to discuss some of the modern alternatives to the methods used in the past that appear to no longer work as well.
There wasn't a second panel, and after a brief discussion of inviting Gary Fung, the owner of ISOhunt, the meeting went in-camera.
I took an opportunity to check to see if there was commentary on the meeting in twitter. The most interesting came from an pseudonymous blogger using the @CopyrightCanada account.
The most telling was: "Note to McOrmond: TPMs protect artists/rights holders, just as locks protect your house"
This shows a clear lack of understanding of how the relevant technology works. This was tweeted after I gave my Protecting property rights in a digital world introduction which offered details on the questions of what is locked, who owns what is locked, and who maintains the keys. As I said in the introduction there are locks on content and locks on devices.
The following from my introduction may be the most important for the recording industry: "In most real-world examples of technical measures, copyright holders do not control the keys to locked content. They are sometimes but not always given the choice about whether it is locked or not, but not much control beyond that."
The locks on my house have keys where I as owner decide who gets keys. I am legally protected as the home owner to change the locks on my home, in case there is any question that a third party has obtained access to the keys.
Locks in a typical DRM system have locks on content and locks on devices where neither the copyright holder (owner 1) or the device owner (owner 2) are given keys. This is the opposite use of keys than locks that protect ones home.
It is very unfortunate that the recording industry is unwilling to hire any independent technical consultant so that they can do this analysis themselves. Non-owner locks on content and devices harm the interests of all the owners I discuss in my presentations: copyright holders, owners of tangible media, most software authors and device owners. The only beneficiaries of these non-owner locks are those few anti-competitive technology companies that maintain the keys.
It is unfortunate that the person posting via that twitter account hasn't disclosed their name. I have always had a problem with anonymous/pseudonymous participation in public debate. They can nit-pick the commentary of others, but are unwilling to expose themselves to being legitimate participants and have the same transparent and accountable public scrutiny of their own ideas: past and present.