This Post is a copyright violation

At least it would be if we lived under the repressive system of American Intellectual Monopoly laws. Why? Because I've posted the secret code that will unlock any HD-DVD made to date

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USTR 2007 Special 301 Report: accepting the good while rejecting the bad.

Often debates about Copyright, including recommendations from the United States Trade Representative in the Special 301 report and the 1996 WIPO anti-Internet treaties, are discussed in an all-or-nothing way. While ratification of the treaties would be an "all" situation and thus should be rejected (we have no obligation to ratify these treaties), that isn't to say that all clauses of these proposals should be rejected.

The real story behind China's PCT situation

An article in Intellectual Property Watch by William New talks about how Open Source, Standards Get A Boost In China. Moving away from western dominated business models (Over 50% of worldwide royalties flow into the USA) is seen as key to moving forward in the knowledge economy. This needs to be understood when evaluating recent attacks by the US government (embarassingly joined by Canada) against China's protection of so-called "Intellectual Property". This is a matter of anti-free-trade protectionism of US dominated business models, not a protection of authors or inventors rights. We need to remember, as PCT lawyer Howard Knopf reminds us, that the USA seriously breached international legal copyright obligations, as adjudicated by the WTO and still flouts international copyright law.

(Also published by p2pnet)

EU will not join in China WTO piracy suit

An Economic Times of India discusses the recent spat between the US and China around royalty-based industries.

BEIJING: The European Union will not join a US complaint to the WTO about piracy in China despite agreeing with its substance, a senior European official said on Thursday, saying talks were a better option.

It is important to remember that China, like most of the countries representing the most population, is a supporter of the WIPO Development Agenda and the promotion of alternative methods of production, distribution and funding of knowledge. This is in direct opposition to the industrial-era tied US policy.

The problem here isn't the slow movement of China to increasing its trade deficit with the USA on intangibles (The USA is already the recipient of over 50% of all world-wide royalties), but the slow movement towards the adoption of post-Industrial methods of production such as commons-based peer production.

Writers' Union speaking out, but will they say anything helpful?

With all evidence now looking like a spring election is unlikely, you can expect lobbying efforts to increase until Ottawa actually introduces their promised new copyright legislation.

The Writers' Union of Canada, who unfortunately I do not see as being friends of writers, is planning a press conference in Ottawa on April 16th to push their view of copyright upon the Government. Unfortunately their view is probably not in line with what most people who read and contribute to this site consider to be a positive change.

WTO Ruling: The U.S. Lost Again. What are the best remedies?

An article by Hartley Henderson for Majar Wagar talks about yet another case where the US has lost a WTO case, but seems likely to ignore the ruling. Fortunately there is discussion of what to do as a punishment against the USA, something that the Canadian government didn't seem to want to follow through with.

When Information Production Meets the Computer Network

Last week I wrote an article trying to make sense out of the music industry, and a recent copyright board decision. In Montreal the conversation of music came up at the FACIL event, and I explained how I see the decline of the revenue and influence of the recording industry not as a threat to the interests of musicians, but as something positive that will benefit composers and performers both financially and otherwise. I truly believe we are in a market transition where industrial methods of production, distribution and funding of creativity will be de-emphasized in favour of alternative methods.

I am currently reading Yochai Benkler's book The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, and I thought it might be interesting to offer his summary of the issue.

Canadian Copyright, Kyoto, Cacaphony, Conflation and Confusion

Always an interesting read, the latest BLOG posting by PCT lawyer Howard Knopf talks about all the special interest lobbying from the USA and the misinformation they are spreading.

I can only conclude that there is a very deliberate and highly organized attempt to confuse and conflate counterfeiting and piracy on the one hand with legitimate grey market goods, user and artist friendly fair dealing exceptions and freedom from oppressive DRM and TPMs on the other hand. Credulous journalists and politicians are the targets.
Canada meets or exceeds its international legal obligations. Canada has not ratified the 1996 WIPO treaties and is under no obligation to do so. Signing a treaty is like dating. Ratifying is like marriage. We’ve gone on a date with the WIPO treaties. That’s all. Some have urged that we do more. But many observers would seriously question whether it was even a good date or a bad one.

Doctorow VS DRM: Who You Got?

Fellow Canadian Science fiction writer Ryan Oakley posted a blogTO message about Cory Doctorow.

I was surprised when I saw Cory Doctorow speak about Digital Rights Management at Ad Astra. He's a man with a lot of passion, humour and smarts. The smarts and humour, I knew about. It was the passion that surprised me.

Can't Blame Canada For Counterfeiting

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Homepage version) focuses on recent claims regarding counterfeiting in Canada. The column notes that based on recent media coverage, people unfamiliar with Canada could be forgiven for assuming that all Canadians sport pirate eye-patches while searching for counterfeit treasure. In response, it points to a law enforcement study obtained under the Access to Information Act to argue that the reality is that counterfeiting, though a concern, may not be as significant a problem as lobby groups suggest.

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