July 12, 2012 Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

The decisions in the 5 copyright cases were released by the Supreme Court today. On first glance things went well, with the scope and limits of copyright clarified.

What will be hard for the technical community is to separate the specifics of a technology from how Copyright regulates specific uses of a technology. An example is the separation of a "stream" and a "download" which aren't different from a technological standpoint, but that are being regulated differently. The specific non-technical purpose of the bits being stored or sent from one place to another is what Copyright is regulating, not the fact that bits were stored or transmitted using a specific technology.

Declaration of Internet Freedom

When I read the Declaration of Internet Freedom as an IT property rights advocate, I feel it falls short. That said, I still support the declarations with its existing shortcomings, and "signed" it through the EFF interface.

The right to control how our own devices are used is only mentioned in the context of "privacy", when that is only one of the issues impacted.

To fees on devices the Harper Government says: yes, no,... err.. what was the question?

In a press release and news conference speech the "Harper Government" alleges to not want to increase costs or otherwise devalue the devices Canadians wish to purchase and own. Minister Paradis claimed that "Placing a new fee on devices with removable memory cards, such as BlackBerrys and smart phones, would increase costs for Canadian families and impact the adoption of the latest technologies."

I say claim not because I disagree that devaluing the devices we own is unwarranted and unfair to Canadians, but that the "Harper Government" did far worse within C-11 than they are alleging to "fix" now.

Bev Oda's departure from Parliament

A statement from PM Harper reads as follows

“On behalf of the government, I would like to thank Bev Oda for her hard work and dedication in representing the constituents of Durham, and for her many accomplishments in the ministry. Bev advised me two weeks ago that she had made the decision to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Durham.

"Bev has made a significant contribution to her riding, her province and her country since her election to Parliament in 2004.

Before Canadian Copyright there was already Canadian Copyright

Since Bill C-11 will set back technology property rights, I thought to look back in time for Copyright law. As discussed in the chronology of Canadian Copyright Law, Canada was under the UK copyright Act until 1921 (and thus under the Berne convention from the beginning in 1887). This didn't mean there weren't Copyright related acts to deal with issues specific to Canada, with the largest being our proximity to the "pirate" nation of the United States.

Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights

Yesterday I asked if there were any technical witnesses at the Senate committee studying C-11. I have been pointed to Harry Page, CEO, UBM TechInsights, who appeared before Industry Committee (press release, Hansard from committee, audio/video) and then again at the Senate Committee on June 26'th at the 09:00 meeting.

Double standard on Copyright vs IT Property Rights

In my brief to C-11 committee and in recent presentations I have suggested people compare the attitudes between copyright and technology property rights.  Each of these rights have rightsholders who control various activities relating to their property, and each have people infringing those rights by ignoring that control.

One person who believes copyright should be stronger, but pretty much denies the existence of IT property rights is John Degen.  He appeared before the Senate committee studying C-11 yesterday.  In a few tweets he suggested that as part of the testimony he held up his Kobo and said that he didn't care that the content or tech was locked.

In other words, he chose to waive his right to hold the keys to his property (the Kobo).  He personally didn't feel the need to control what software would be installed on it.

ABC Copyright: slides and YouTube video

On June 4 I gave a workshop at the ABC Copyright Conference titled Access vs. Copyright: Technological measures, Paracopyright, and copyright.  I made my slides available and on June 17'th made an informal recording for YouTube based on the same slides.  Links to both, and to media made of other talks, have now been added to the program.

Summary:  I gave a brief history of TPMs being added to copyright law, then described the two narratives for discussing TPMs: 2-constituency involving copyright holders and users (and a magical incantation on content), and 4-constituency including copyright holders, users, software authors and hardware owners.

Since "digital locks" (technological measures) are often applied to both content and devices, I suggested people compare how the law and various people protect or disrespect the relevant rights-holders.  Each of copyright and technology property rights have primary and secondary infringers, and who is committing these infringements are quite different.

Latest correspondence with my MP, David McGuinty

I've been in communication with David McGuinty on technology law issues since May 2004, prior to the election when he became my MP. The latest correspondence was a package in the mail containing a copy of the official Hansard for Friday, June 15, 2012 with a tab highlighting his intervention on Bill C-11. On the front page was a hand-written note about the intervention, and his suggestion to me that I "keep up your good work".

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