October 19, 2011

Fair Copyright for Canada: Alberta Chapter?

The plan to mass message the Edmonton and Calgary chapters through facebook did not go as planned. Facebook for some reason would not send the mass message so it appears the Alberta chapter will remain a dream. I guess the chapters will not be in shape to fight the good fight this time. I will instead comment on the debates that interest me most.

On day one It was interesting to see Mike Lake speak.
Mr. Speaker, I will come back quickly to the conversation around long distance education. It is important to note that the hon. member repeatedly referred to the taking away of rights. Of course, nothing would be taken away. Benefits are being added. Additional opportunities are being added, through this legislation, that simply are not there right now.

We had to strike a balance between creators and the users of the content, and we think we have struck that balance. If we look at the 39 hours of testimony, so far, at the committee stage, we see witness after witness speak to the balance that we have struck with this legislation.

I wish I could have met the guy so I could at least try and show how this bill is not balanced even if it would have been futile.

September 19, 2011

Dark day for Canada

It is a sad day to be a Canadian. The infamous Hurt Locker lawsuits found their way to Canada. The pay up or we sue scheme is here.

I still hate myself for buying that DVD. I will try to not make that mistake again.

September 14, 2011

Ground hog day

New bill, old shit. After many years I figure I am allowed to be a little cranky. Here is a rough draft for the letter.

I have now lost count on how many copyright bills have come and gone. I could go though the same old (but true) arguments that point out the pitfalls of digital locks but it would end up being a cut and paste affair like the plan to reintroduce bill C-32. I will instead point out what is new which is the hard evidence on how un-Canadian the bill the conservative government plans to reintroduce is.

Senior Canadian officials have privately told the Embassy that the federal government plans to hold public consultations on potential copyright legislation this summer. The government hopes to introduce a new copyright bill in the fall of 2009. Industry representatives are concerned that the government is dragging its feet on copyright reform and are calling for the USG to elevate Canada to the Special 301 Priority Watch List.
Addington said the Government had been accused, unfairly in her opinion, of drafting C 61 without public consultation. Therefore, the Government plans to hold public consultations on copyright policy over the summer. The exact form of these consultations has not been determined. Addington stated that the GOC would also use these consultations as an opportunity to educate consumers and "sell" the Government view. These consultations will likely be announced in May or June, she said.

Thanks to WikiLeaks the “made in Canada” bill is definitively shown to not be made for Canadians but for U.S. interests in sections. I am looking for a bill that reflects Canadians ideals which brings me to my question for members of parliament.

Why is bill C-32 being reintroduced as is and not changed to reflect what was learn during committee? What is the point of the committee if it is not to improve upon the bill or future bills?

Thanks for reading.

April 28, 2011

Wikileaks Cable Confirms Public Pressure Forced Delay of Canadian Copyright Bill in 2008

From December 2007 to mid-February, senior GOC officials and well-informed private sector contacts assured the Embassy that legislative calendar concerns were delaying the copyright bill's introduction into Parliament. Our contacts downplayed the small - but increasingly vocal - public opposition to copyright reform led by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. Michael Geist. On February 25, however, Industry Minister Prentice (please protect) admitted to the Ambassador that some Cabinet members and Conservative Members of Parliament - including MPs who won their ridings by slim margins - opposed tabling the copyright bill now because it might be used against them in the next federal election. Prentice said the copyright bill had become a "political" issue. He also indicated that elevating Canada to the Special 301 Priority Watch List would make the issue more difficult and would not be received well.

(Comment: James Rajotte - chair of the Industry Committee, which would likely receive a copyright bill - told the Ambassador on February 28 that the legislation would not have such smooth sailing. End Comment)

"Why don't you do something about it?" I did and I had an effect.

July 2, 2010


The first thing I always need to remind my self before I start a letter is think about what the goal of my letter should be. When it comes to a online consultation my goal is to mention as many things in as short of time as possible because who would really pay attention to a 10 page essay on digital locks in that setting anyways. When it comes to writing a letter to a MP my goal is to not look like a "radical extremist" and to convince the MP that I would be worth while in a meeting.

I think the fact I don't come off as a professional writer actually works out in my favor. Not being in the intellectual property field or information technology field gives me a Joe the plumber edge I try and use as much as possible.

Here is my rough draft. Once again feel free to point out typos.

Back in December of 2007 I only became active in copyright for one reason and one reason only. Digital locks are able lock people away from their own property. Amazon proved that point by having kindles remove, ironically, George Orwell's 1984.

Digital locks have had a long history when it comes to computers. Digital locks have compromised computers, invaded privacy, and left consumers with unplayable content. There are many instance where people have had to remove digital locks because of these problems. To me it has become clear that digital locks themselves and the tools that break them should not be legally protected. Bill C-32 protection of digital locks only exacerbates the problem of abusive digital locks.

Bill C-32's protection of digital locks also adds some more problems to the mix. With a few extra lines of computer code it can prevent a person from exercising their fair dealing rights. For example there is a exemption for backing up under C-32 that gets hamstrung because people cannot break a digital lock without the risk of statutory damages. The result is people are still not allow to backup their favorite DVD.

I could go on with talk about examples of how Bill C-32 will hurt industries and consumers by using examples from the United States but I feel I would be able to do so better in a meeting so instead I would like to talk about the good in Bill C-32.

The separation between non-commercial statutory damages and commercial statutory damages is a important division. This will prevent ridiculous statutory damages awards as seen in the United States with the Jammie Thomas trial. What is missing however is separating commercial statutory damages from non-commercial statutory damages when it comes to circumventing digital locks.

The technology neutral approach taken with Bill C-32 is a vast improvement over naming VHS and CDs by name. This improvement allows the bill to be more applicable in the future when new technology comes.

Allowing non-commercial user generated content is a important part of Bill C-32. This combined with the notice of claimed infringement system will prevent frivolous DMCA takedowns as often seen in the United States.

The expansion of fair dealing to include education, parody, and satire is a great step forward to creating a balance between creators and consumers. What is missing again is the fact digital locks are able to prevent these exceptions and by doing so throw off the balance between creators and consumers.

I am pleased to see that there was no attempt to extend copyright term lengths however I would have liked to see them shortened.

Overall Bill C-32 is a well written bill except when it comes to digital locks where no concessions have been made. I am looking forward to the committee process where hopefully the problem of digital locks being able to override most exemptions will be fixed.

June 30, 2010

The Grind

I have a meeting set up and am having trouble writing a letter to accompany it. I know that the digital lock provisions undercut the majority of the good in the bill but it seems to be harder to put it on paper these days. I can only make a argument so many times before I get tired of it. I don't know how many more times I can talk about how you should be able to back up a DVD so when you give a young child their favorite movie and they eventually scratch it you wont be out a DVD. It is times like this I reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books.

"And I realized that to look out for people when you yourself need to do so, when you have a desire to help, is no great feat. But going out there when you don't want to, when you don't care anymore, that might just mean something"

Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall

Now if you excuse me my often used Orwell's 1984 example beckons.

P.S. To whoever combined the copyright act and how it looks before and after it has been amended by C-32 I would like to thank you[1].

Bill C-32 release day

Bill C-32 release day went much different from Bill C-61. Fair Copyright Edmonton Chapter had a proper looking media release. It explained who were are, what we have done, and how to contact us. There was no question we were prepared this time around. Alas, nothing came of it from our end.

It was interesting to note how the media covered the bill emphasizing the digital locks provisions. It looks like the battle lines have been drawn and it is going to be a heated battle too if Heritage Minister James Moore has anything to say.

Should I dress differently now since I am a radical extremists?