A short lived celebration

I celebrated Public Domain Day by sending a letter to my MP (David McGuinty in Ottawa South) and Senators for Ontario and Ottawa to highlight the public domain and the separate problems of Paracopyright.

Meera Nair wrote an article on how this may be a short lived celebration in that there is a desire as part of Trans-Pacific Partnership to extend the term of copyright from death+50 to death+70 years.

Is C-11 consistent with a "low-tax plan for jobs and growth"?

I often joke that copyright policy is as complex, understood, and as exciting, as tax policy. Most Canadians would prefer not to talk of either, and those of us who find either exciting are in a small minority Holidays I reflect on this oddity, given my favorite topics are some of the least interesting for most people I would visit.

I thought it would be interesting to start 2012 with a discussion of other ways in which there are similarities between tax and copyright policy, and look at how politicians and other people treat each.

Players or pawns: Big Copyright's war on technology?

One of Canada's best technology journalists, Jesse Brown, interviewed Techdirt.com editor Mike Masnick on the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act. While I agree with most of the discussion, I want to challenge some of the conclusions made at the end of the interview. It was discussed how "big copyright" had a history of lobbying, while tech firms were part of a start-up culture and until recently didn't play that game. This was behind why "big copyright" has been so successful at pushing forward laws which break some of the best features of modern technology, while at the same time not helping copyright holders.

This is based on the idea that there is only one tech sector involved, and that "big copyright" are in control of this game rather than being pawns of a more powerful player.

House stands adjourned until Monday, January 30, 2012

As the Hansard reads, Parliament is now adjourned until Monday, January 30, 2012.

MPs are in their electoral districts, which is the best time for people to contact their MPs and let them know what they think about Bill C-11.

Most MPs, regardless of party affiliation, remain focused on how TPMs may circumvent fair dealings. While this is appropriate when discussing use control TPMs, access control TPMs in C-11 presumably regulate activities never before contemplated in Copyright law.

Conservatives believe this is something where consumer choice can solve any problems, not recognising that much of the harm from abuses of TPMs impact people other than the copyright holder and their audiences.

MPs remain largely unaware that there are 4 classes of owners impacted by Paracopyright, not only the familiar two which the Copyright portions of the bill impact.

Discussing NDP MP and party leadership candidate Romeo Saganash's Copyright article

When I noticed Mr. Saganash's tweet about his Huffington Post article, I replied to say that while I didn't agree with everything he wrote about Bill C-11, I was glad he noted the harm to creators and owners from TPMs. I suspect it would be worthwhile for me to unpack that comment.

In a reply to Mr. Saganash, Jason J Kee disagreed with the suggestion that most countries don't prohibit circumvention for non-infringing purposes. I believe this reply conflates two very different types of technological protection measures included in Bill C-11: use controls, and access controls.

Bill C-11 house debate day 7

On December 12, 2011 we had the seventh time when the House of Commons debated Bill C-11 (at Second Reading). I didn't write about the 6'th time as it was simply a vote on an amendment that was deferred from the 5'th day of debate.

The debate started with Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC, MP for Oak Ridges—Markham) giving a short promotion of the bill and then moving a motion "That this question be now put."

A free culture trip through Kobo land

This year finally the kids are getting ebook readers for Christmas. So far I have been holding off from purchasing such devices because of the Digital Restrictions Management which is associated with them.

My opposition to them changed somewhat when I found that one of my favorite book publishers (O'Reilly) does not use any DRM and they actually trust their customers enough to take their word for it when they state that they already own the paper copy of a book so that they can then qualify for a $5 upgrade to the digital version. And these are not cheap books often between $50 and $100 per copy. This has bought a lot of good will from me, and when I am looking for technical books in the future (which I do frequently) I will certainly try to give preference to O'Reilly.

Supreme Court: playing games, sampling music, or eating ice cream?

I visited the Supreme Court today as that series of Copyright related cases are being heard. Today we heard arguments from the appellants, respondents and intervenors in two cases: Entertainment Software Association, et al. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Rogers Communications Inc., et al. v. Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada and Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, et al. v. Bell Canada, et al.

While I found hearing the arguments first-hand in the court exciting, I won't be commenting on those arguments or the specifics of what is before the court. The court will be ruling on how these fact patterns are to be interpreted under current law (legislation and caselaw). Since Bill C-11 impacts the specific sections under discussion this interpretation of the law may be short lived. More interesting may be a discussion of the the underlying policy question , including what I wish the law would say, as opposed to what current law or C-11 says.

Why Heritage Minister James Moore is wrong on Bill C-11 "technological protection measures" (TPMs)

I received a reply from Heritage Minister James Moore dated December 2, 2011. I'm not certain which letter it was in reply to, but it could have been my Who is the Candice Hoeppner for information technology owners? letter I sent to all Conservative MP's back in May/June.

While I am posting the full text of his reply, I wanted to offer a quick response explaining why I think he is wrong on the impacts of the "technological protection measures" aspects of Bill C-11. (See: earlier article for a description of real-world technologies being discussed)

Would Dr. Colin Carrie be as cavalier about pharmaceuticals or medical devices?

Prior to entering Parliament as MP for Oshawa, Dr. Colin Carrie co-owned and operated a chiropractic and wellness clinic in Oshawa. I suspect it was the fact that he worked in the medical profession that his misunderstanding of so-called "digital locks" in the C-11 debate has bothered me so much.

I have to hope if we were talking about a pharmaceutical or medical device, he would have analyzed the issue far more closely. My hope is he reconsider his current dismissing of this important issue, given the underlying policies we see in the Paracopyright part of C-11 will have impacts in areas as serious as medical devices.

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