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.

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