Petition for Users' Rights

Art Hanger (Conservative, Calgary Northeast) tables signatures for Petition for Users' Rights

Art Hanger, the Member of Canadian parliament for Calgary Northeast, today tabled a batch of 87 signatures for the Petition for Users' Rights. The signatures were colleced in Calgary by Brett Wuth at a talk by Richard Stallman in Calgary on May 18th, 2005 : The Danger of Software Patents.

UK Government thus far rejects calls for DRM ban

An article by Graeme Wearden of UK ZDNet includes:

The UK government has rejected a call for digital rights management to be banned in the UK, but has acknowledged that the technology could undermine consumer rights.

A total of 1,414 people signed an online petition calling for digital rights management (DRM) — which places restrictions on how people can use media such as software or music — to be outlawed.

The government response contained marketing material from the pro-DRM camp, suggesting they are still relying on broshures rather than science for their analysis.

While our Canadian DRM-specific petition to protect ICT property rights have not received as many signatures, our petition for Users' Rights received more with 2,540 physical signatures so far. This larger petition included a call for the Canadian government "to recognise the right of citizens to personally control their own communication devices", which along with anti-interoperability technology is the core of DRM.

The importance of Petitions to Parliament

Each day in mid-morning I check my mail and am very excited when there are signatures to one of our petitions. Having passed 2500 signatures for our Users' Rights petition and 100 signatures for our IT property rights petition, I wanted to write about why petitions are important.

Industry Committee Report recommending ratification of WIPO copyright treaties.

An Industry Committee report on the Manufacturing sector has a recommendation that has nothing at all to do with Manufacturing: the ratification of the 2 1996 WIPO treaties relating to copyright. While a subset of patents relate to manufacturing, I don't see how copyright relates to manufacturing at all.

Manufacturing: Moving Forward — Rising to the Challenge


That the Government of Canada immediately bring forth legislation to amend the Copyright Act; ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT); amend related acts; and ensure appropriate enforcement resources are allocated to combat the scourge and considerable economic and competitive damage to Canada's manufacturing and services sectors, and to Canada's international reputation by the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property.

L'heure est au libre!: Vista, Network Neutrality, and Canadian Copyright revision...

Monday Feb 5 at 11:00 EST on CKUT radio (90.3FM in Montreal, streaming on the Internet, and archives within an hour), Lila Roussel and Yannick Delbecque will be interviewing me on L'heure est au libre. We will be talking about Microsoft Vista (DRM vs computer security), Network Neutrality, and an update on copyright revision in Canada.

Ubuntu Canada Webmaster endorses petitions

The Webmaster for the website has posted an endorsement of our petitions.

Taking shameless advantage of my quasi-editorial position here at, I like both petitions, will sign them myself, and would love to see my Ubuntu LoCo join CLUE in endorsing them. An official decision will probably have to wait until our January team meeting, though. — Brian

Are you part of a group that could endorse the petitions? This is not the organization signing the petition (as parliament only accepts signatures from persons and not groups), but would be your organization saying that it read, understood and recommended that its membership signed.

Calgary petition signatures dropped off with Calgary Northeast MP

Today I dropped off 87 signatures at the office of Art Hanger, MP for Calgary Northeast. Mr Hanger seems to be very engaged with constituents signing petitions, and has a page on his website dedicated to them. These signatures were collected at a Calgary UNIX Users Group event on May 18th, 2005.

Parliament may be going on recess as early as this Wednesday, adjourning until January 29. While the Heritage Minister claimed a copyright bill would be tabled in the fall, it is clear that this can't happen. Hopefully parliamentarians are reading Michael Geist's column which suggests that a smaller package of less controversial copyright amendments would be far more useful than an omnibus bill like Bill C-60 which pretty much everyone had one problem or another with.

Copyright-related Policy summary from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source

CLUE presented its copyright policy summary (HTML, PDF, OpenDocument) to officials at Heritage Canada on December 1, 2006. The proposals include a support for a living "Fair Use" model, as well as an opposition to laws which protect specific brands of technology rather than protecting creativity.

CLUE has endorsed both of our petitions.

Rick Mercer Report sings the Petition for Users' Rights

There was a skit this evening on the Rick Mercer Report titled "38th Parliament, First Session transcripts, sung by a choir" that involved a choir singing passages from the hansard (Transcript of things said in the Canadian house of Commons). One of the lines read was of MP Peter Julian tabling the first batch of petitions saying "The petitioners also call upon parliament to ensure that users are recognized as interested parties and are meaningfully consulted about any proposed changes to the copyright act"

I have to wonder -- is there someone involved with the RMR that would consider talking to us about copyright as "preaching to the choir"? Maybe having the petition sung on national television will convince more people to sign.

Letter from James Rajotte (Chair of Industry Committee)

Enclosed is two letters. The first is from from Mr. Rajotte in reply to the second letter I wrote to him in October.

November 20, 2006

Dear Mr. McOrmond:

Thank you for your email of October 7th and please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

I am enclosing a copy of the government's response to your petition that I presented in the House of Commons on April 25, 2006.

If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Yours truly,

James Rajotte, M.P.

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