CAAST/BSA/etc

Reports from or about the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) and other regional lobbyists for the legacy "software manufacturing" methods of creation, distribution and funding of software.

Not so special 301 report

The yearly joke from the USTR of their so-called "Special 301 report" came out yesterday. Not surprisingly, they kept Canada on their Priority Watch List in order to keep up their special interest lobbying efforts.

Does this mean Canada is a "piracy haven"? Not in the slightest.

It only means that the USTR continues to echo the unfounded lobbying rhetoric from the IIPA which isn't as interested in promoting the rights and interests of creators and innovators as they are protecting their members from legitimate competition.

Group submissions to C-11 committee : CBA submission in context.

A small group of lawyers have publicly disagreed with the submission to the Bill C-32 committee (the predecessor to the current C-11 committee) from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), an association of approximately 37,000 members that 26 of them are members of. Given the publicity this group has been able to receive, I think it is interesting to look at group submissions in general.

It is not unusual for a subset of the membership of a group who has submitted to these committees to disagree. In fact, that is the norm. This frustrates many people when these associations go into committee and list their membership numbers as if all the members were in agreement with -- or were even made aware of the policy positions of -- the person sitting as witness in committee.

Players or pawns: Big Copyright's war on technology?

One of Canada's best technology journalists, Jesse Brown, interviewed Techdirt.com editor Mike Masnick on the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act. While I agree with most of the discussion, I want to challenge some of the conclusions made at the end of the interview. It was discussed how "big copyright" had a history of lobbying, while tech firms were part of a start-up culture and until recently didn't play that game. This was behind why "big copyright" has been so successful at pushing forward laws which break some of the best features of modern technology, while at the same time not helping copyright holders.

This is based on the idea that there is only one tech sector involved, and that "big copyright" are in control of this game rather than being pawns of a more powerful player.

Falling off the edge of a flat world?

Professor Birgitte Andersen has posted a very interesting response to old-economy industry association critique of studies she has authored.

While focused on copyright, I found the section talking about evidence based policy making vs "intuition" to be useful for all political discussions.

Of course intuition has its place, e.g. for short-cuts or if we do not have concrete evidence to rely on. However, if we are unable or unwilling to free our minds, ‘intuition’ can also imprison our thought and lead to prejudice and ignorance.

For example, although the world seems to be flat (by pure intuition), then falling off the edge of a flat world is not among my fears! Similarly, although it seems that the sun rotates around the Earth (by pure intuition), then research has proven that it is the other way around. However, we shall not forget that after Galileo announced these research results, which were counter-intuitive for the general public and the belief of the Catholic Church, he was forced to retire as a scientist and live in house arrest.

The BSA needs a time machine, not copyright reform

The BSA (Business Software Alliance, or Bad Statistics Alliance, depending on who you talk to) have released yet another one of their comical studies. I have been very critical of these studies (See: Lies, Damned lies, and IIPA/BSA/etc statistics). What I recommend people do is skip to the methodology section and see what they are measuring, and decide for themselves whether what they are measuring is harmful or beneficial for the Canadian economy.

Brian Jackson wrote an article that quotes Michael Geist indicating the study was "shockingly misleading". I will go further and suggest that what the BSA is really asking for is a time machine, not copyright reform.

Read full article on IT World Canada >>

Quebec broke law in buying Microsoft software

A CBC article by Peter Nowak includes:

Quebec's government broke the law by buying software from Microsoft without considering offers from other vendors, the province's Superior Court has ruled.

Should the iPad be illegal?

I would like to clarify quotes in two recent CBC articles by Peter Nowak: Copyright bill may spark battle over who owns what and Apple iPad hits Canada amid controversy.

In each it is suggested that I believe that the iPad should be illegal. What I said should be illegal is the application of non-owner locks to technology. I am not concerned with Apples technology, only radical changes to the law that legalize and/or legally protect a form of theft.

Why do some people claim that Canadian copyright is "weak"?

In a series of postings over the years, lawyer Howard Knopf has detailed how Canadian Copyright law is strong (protects incumbent copyright holders), including many ways that Canadian law is stronger than that of the USA (See: 21 Reasons Why Canadian Copyright Law is Already Stronger Than USA's, 22nd Example of How Canadian Copyright Law is Stronger than US - and Another Possible US Treaty Violation)

I had a recent twitter conversation with lawyer Barry Sookman, who has clients in the recording, motion picture and proprietary software industries. As a response to his tweet, "Canada again named to USTR’s Priority Watch List for weak IP laws", I said "Canada being on the USTR priority watch list for having strong Copyright (stronger than US in many ways) only makes list a joke". He then claimed I was wrong, pointing me his submission to the summer 2009 copyright consultation.

His submission didn't provide me with what I was looking for, which was something as detailed as what Mr. Knopf has authored.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>>

IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

Requiem for Redmond - Free software will kill Microsoft, says former staffer

An interview by Shane O'Neill of Keith Curtis discusses Keith's book book After the Software Wars: proprietary software is holding us back as a society.

As someone who agrees that the legacy sole-proprietor knowledge creation/distribution model is holding us back, and how Microsoft's (lack of a) future is described in the Innovators Dilemma, I suspect I'll find this a great read.

Syndicate content