Petition to protect Information Technology property rights

We have other petitions we are sending to the Canadian parliament. Please print and sign all of them.
"It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days."

- Stewart Baker, then US Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for policy, speaking to a group of copyright holders in 2005.

Rather than using the term "digital locks", it may be helpful to understand these as "digital handcuffs". When "technological measures" are applied to our devices by other than their owners, they are like handcuffs being put on without us having committed or even being accused of any offense. We merely want to own and control our own computers, and use them for any law abiding purpose.

Please print and sign the following!

The text of the petition is available in English (PDF)/ English (OpenDocument) or French (PDF) / French (OpenDocument).

Where do I send the signed copy ?

Russell McOrmond is coordinating bringing to MPs to be tabled in the house, so please send to address below. If you have any problems or questions, or want to coordinate handing over a large number of signatures in person, don't hesitate to send us email :

Russell McOrmond (Ottawa)
Petition for Users' Rights, 305 Southcrest Private, Ottawa, ON K1V 2B7
Chris Brand (Lower Mainland, BC)

If you have 25 or more signatures, please instead ask your own MP to present the petition to Parliament, letting us know so we can keep our records updated. The more MPs that we ask to present petitions, the more will have to think twice before supporting a Bill that they know some of their constituents oppose.

Please don't send signatures to the MP without talking to them first. A large number of signatures have been lost in MPs offices where there hasn't been adequate communication ahead of time. Once you have the interest of the MP, sending packages to their parliamentary office is postage free.


Recent news

We have a BLOG topic for the petition which provides additional links.

Some links have not yet been created that relate to the translation of this petition to French.

Please send us feedback via the General Discussion list.

The first batch of petitions was tabled on March 28, 2007 by Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay).

Government "Response"

A response was tabled on May 7, 2007 (Received directly from Clerk of Petitions on Aug 28) to the first batch of petitions.

We have a PDF of the Conservative Government responses to both petitions (as of Aug 28, 2007).

Press

When should people send in signatures?

This is not a one-time event. We have been sending in batches of signatures to multiple members of parliament over a period of time. The more batches we send in, with the more different members of parliament tabling petitions, the more parliamentarians become aware of our perspective on this issue. Please send us signatures as soon as you can, but please take the time to convince friends, family, and other people you interact with to sign as well.

The Issue

While people recognize and will protect their property rights for their homes, cars and other such property, most are unaware of the attacks on the rights associated with information technology.

Imagine the builder of your home or the manufacturer of your car put locks on your doors and refused to give you the keys. They used the keys as a way to only allow you into your home when you have gained their permission to do so, and only under conditions they have set. The builder/manufacturer has made arrangements with other companies such that they will protect the interests of these third parties against you, the owner. The builder/manufacturer has also gone to various governments to make it illegal for you to remove their locks in order to put your own locks on, so that you can protect your property rights.

This may sound like nonsense, but this is what has been proposed and in some cases already passed as law in some countries for information technology such as your computer, your home entertainment system, your digital camera, your camcorder, and your portable media players. They use confusing phrases like "Digital Rights Management" (DRM), Technical Protection Measures (TPMs), the "Broadcast Flag", and something the industry called "plugging the Analog Hole". All of these are attempts to lock up technology which you could otherwise own, and make it a crime for you to use your own locks and/or remove the manufacturers locks.

The petition to the Canadian parliament was authored in an attempt to protect our property rights. Not only should these circumventions of our rights not be protected in law, but we need to have laws to make it clearly illegal for anyone other than the owner of the technology to authorize a technical measure to be placed on the technology.

When I appeared before the Bill C-32 legislative committee on March 8, 2011 I ended my opening remarks with the following:

Any time you hear the word “lock”, you must always ask who manages the keys. It is not the owner that is in control but the entity who manages the keys. 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. In the case of locks on hardware and software, the keys are specifically denied to the owners of the hardware. The purpose of the lock is to lock the owner out of what they own. For no other type of property would this be considered. We would never legally protect non-owner locks to all guns in a country where many are uncomfortable with the mere registration of long guns. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our homes, alleging it was necessary to protect the insurance industry from fraud. We would never legally protect non-owner locks on our cars, allegedly to ensure that automobiles could never be used as a getaway vehicle.

Other related documents

Endorsements

If your organization has endorsed this petition, please let us know.

How many signatures have been received? Did you receive my signature?

We have a separate page that gives a count and some details of the signatures received for the petition for Property Rights in Information Technology. This includes which signatures have been collected and which have been tabled in parliament.

How do I sign ?

The petition is going to be presented to Parliament, so this can't be as easy as we'd like it to be.

The first thing to do is to print out the petition in either English or French. Assuming you agree with it, sign it and send it to the collator nearest you. Please go ahead and ask others to sign, too.

Because this is going to presented to Parliament, there are a few rules that must be followed (See: House of Commons Procedure and Practice: Current Guidelines for Petitions) :

  • The text of the petition must not be altered either by erasing or crossing out words or by adding words.

  • No other matter is to be attached or appended to or written on the petition, whether in the form of additional documents, maps, pictures, news articles, explanatory or supporting statements, or requests for support.

  • Each petitioner must sign his or her own name directly on the petition and must not sign for anyone else. Names should be signed, not printed. Signatures cannot be attached to a sheet (taped or pasted on) or photocopied onto it. If a petitioner cannot sign because of illness or a disability, this must be noted on the petition and the note signed by a witness.

  • The petitioner's address must be written directly on the petition and not pasted on or reproduced. The petitioner may give his or her full home address or simply the city and province.

Note that you also must be a resident of Canada.