Petition to protect Information Technology Property Rights

The Petition to protect Information Technology Property Rights seeks to protect your rights as the owner of information technology such as your computer, your home entertainment system, your digital camera, your camcorder, or your portable media players.

Meeting with Charlie Angus.. and the Fundraiser

I didn't make it to Toronto on March 22 for Mr. Angus' fund-raiser, but I did get to meet with him on the 20'th in his parliamentary office. Reading Ted Schmidt's BLOG post "Charlie Angus for P.M." about the fund-raiser, it sounds like it was great.

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.

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.

No need to worry about "unintended consequences" with the Petition for IT property rights?

As a result of the SlashDot story this morning, a comment was posted that worried about potential unintended consequences.

If our rules are sufficiently different that US companies have a hard time conducting business in the way that they choose to do it, many companies will just abandon the Canadian market, and we get nothing.

I offered the following as a response.

The language used is very specific to avoid the types of problems you have raised.

Sony settles Rootkit case with the attorneys general of Los Angeles County and the state of California

Sony continues to settle cases that come from easily the most nasty piece of malware distributed in 2005/2006, this time with a few US states as reported by Reuters.

The agreement between Sony BMG and the attorneys general of Los Angeles County and the state of California settles a lawsuit charging that the company secretly embedded digital rights management software on CDs that potentially opened the door to hackers.

People need to note that a key part of these cases was a lack of disclosure by Sony of their circumvention of computer security. In the case of "DRM" by Microsoft (so-called "plays for sure" which doesn't play very many places) or Apple (so-called "Fair Play" which is anything but fair) the fact that security is compromised and the the hardware is under the control of Microsoft or Apple, rather than its owner, is considered adequately disclosed. Governments are not protecting the property rights of technology owners, just suggesting that the attacks against their privacy/security/property need to be disclosed.

If you disagree with this abrogation of responsibility by governments to protect our basic property rights, please sign the Petition to protect Information Technology property rights.

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.

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.

Letter from James Rajotte, M.P. re: Information Technology owners

The following letter was received in the mail today from James Rajotte, M.P., and chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU)
It was dated September 27, 2006

Dear Mr. McOrmond:

Thank you for the email and the press release that you sent regarding the rights of Information Technology owners. I appreciate your keeping me aware of these issues.

The issue of copyright legislation will likely be addressed in the House of Commons during this session. When it does, I expect that you will comment on the subject, and I hope you will appear to testify on it.

Why personal ownership and control over IT is critical for our future!

Many of the arguments that are made against technical measures which revoke control over technology from their owners, transferring them to device manufacturers and/or media companies, are economic arguments. I believe that the owners must remain in control even if protecting these basic ownership rights had negative economic consequences. Even if I could be convinced that the rights of copyright holders were protected, something which I do not believe, I would still be strongly opposed to this abuse of technology.

Far too often people distance themselves from technology, thinking that it is a personal choice that they can give up. I remember when author Susan Crean (Also co-president of the Creators Rights Alliance, the hosts of CopyCamp) was asked at a copyright debate in 2002 what she would do if someone else was controlling her word processor, disallowing her to write what she wanted. She stated she would switch back to a typewriter.

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