CMPDA/MPAA

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.

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.

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".

When Creativity Goes Digital

The Mark has published my op-ed which replies to the "sky is falling" claims in the article by Barry Sookman and Steven Stohn in the August 6 National Post.

Shortform: I disagree ;-)

Why won't the movie and television studios accept my money?

I would gladly pay a hefty monthly fee for this wonderful service—if someone would take my money. In reality, I pay nothing because no company sells such a plan.

This quote is from a Slate article by Farhad Manjoo. While my personal choice is to simply not watch the movies/shows that are not offered to me rather than accessing them for free, I totally understand this situation. It is frustrating that these companies spend so much money on lobbying incorrectly claiming that infringement is the top reason for downturns in revenue.

Predictable positions from subset of stakeholders at Brussels telecommunication/copyright event.

Michael Geist has posted an article "The Battle Over Internet Filtering" where he discusses a seminar in Brussels on the "telecoms package" currently before the European Parliament. He listed out some of the views of the stakeholders on issues like DRM, "three strikes and you're out" policies ("graduated response") , "technical mandates", ISP filtering/blocking of infringing content, and stronger cross-border enforcement initiatives (ACTA).

Read the rest of this entry »

Where is that "buy me now" button for Copyright?

Much of the copyright debate reads like fiction. People supposedly find content on the Internet which has a "buy me now" button and a "take without paying" button, and they choose the latter. The non-fiction version of this story is very different. For the vast majority of content which people can acquire illegally on the Internet, there is no way to purchase the same thing legally. It is very hard to share the "moral outrage" that some entertainment industry lobbiests have been exhibiting, especially since they made deliberate business choices which caused their problems to be far worse.

Read the rest of this entry on IT World Canada »

51'st State: It's US vs U.S. in the battle for Canadian Sovereignty

Gordon Duggan at Appropriation Art has published a comic (PDF) about Canadian Copyright revision. It is a classic battle of good vs. evil of comic proportions where the "Evil Emissaries of American Interests try to suppress the Fantastic Freedom of Expression Fighters".

The cast of characters is somehow familiar.

Evil Emissaries (Or just misinformed?): Harper, Bush, Prentice, Henderson, McTeague, Wilkins, Feinstein / Cronyn, Schwarzenegger, Glickman, Frith, Oda

Fantastic Freedom Fighters: Angus, Doctorow, Geist, Knopf, Murray, Page, McOrmond

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