Below you will find:
- What is wrong with this proposed law?
- Where the law fails consumers
- What can you do if you disagree
- Recent articles and feedback on the proposed new Copyright Bill
- Additional Background - how far the music and film industries will go
- Other Related
But before I begin, why am I writing this in a blog with a Scouting focus? Well the simple answer is that Scouts should do the right thing. In order for them to do the right thing they need good guidance and they need to understand the issues. One of our Scouts could become a future Prime Minister (at least 6 were Scouts). One or more of our Scouts may have to deal with outdated laws and conflicted interests. And before that, as all of our Scouts grow up they will have to learn to live with our laws; whether fair or unfair, and they may want to voice their own opinions on those laws.
At the heart of the issue is the balance between consumers and the producers/distributors of Intellectual Property or IP. Specifically IP includes things like books, magazines, music, and films. For years there have been battles between those controlling IP, those stealing it, and legitimate consumers who all too frequently get caught in the middle.
Organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are in the forefront of these battles which are both legal and technical.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is one of the most despised
I'm fairly certain that most people don't condone the outright theft of music and film for commercial gain. But the public perception of things seem to become a lot more cloudy when the issue becomes non-commercial sharing.
Let me be very clear, amassing a large collection of music, film, and other content without paying for it is wrong. And sharing that collection with the world is also wrong.
Buying music or video, recording it and then reselling the original is cheating the system too. This will be illegal under the new law.
So a key question becomes what is the boundary of reasonable fair use? Where is the balance? And how as consumers can we protect our rights?
Recent history has shown that the organizations controlling IP will aggressively pursue their interests and use every tool available to them. In the extreme, they and their agents have violated the copyright and licenses of others and they have been acused of violating other laws to serve their own interests. If only their voices are heard, consumer rights will very easily be trampled.
What is wrong with this proposed law?
While some of the clarifications are welcome, other provisions in this new Copyright Bill (C61) are not. Not only is it unbalanced, it appears to effectively remove the key idea of intent through anti-circumvention provisions, and will likely bring Canadians the same kind of legal harassment that has been seen in the US. This will go far beyond the issues of downloading and uploading.
Balancing the rights of the producers, distributors, and consumers of content is a tricky job. Commercial piracy is a large problem that needs to be addressed. The problem of downloading and file sharing is trickier to address without harming Canadian consumer rights.
While this proposed update to our copyright laws gives consumers some rights, it takes away a great deal more. We will be able to:
- Change the format of are old (analog) recordings to newer devices
- Use PVRs and VCRs to time shift view programs
- We will NOT be able to do any of this for protected digital format which means we will not be able to move or copy protected CDs, DVDs, or individual songs and films
- We may be prohibited from backing up music kept on computers (or restoring content after loss).
- We may not be able to move content from obsolete formats to newer ones.
The Bill fails consumers who have purchased legal copies of copyrighted material in several ways. Broadening the scope of the Bill in the following areas would address these failings:
- Backup Copies
- Non-infringing Non-commercial Uses
- Format Shifting
If you wish to take action against this proposed law and get your voice heard, please see:
Advanced Audio Coding or AAC). Unfortunately there seems to be no legal unprotected video content available.
Recent articles and feedback on the proposed new Copyright Bill
- A great Editorial Cartoon, by Patrick Corrigan, The Toronto Star, June 15th
- Ottawa gets tough with illegal downloaders, by Matt Hartley, The Globe and Mail, June 12th
- Copyright bill's fine print makes for disturbing reading, by Michael Geist, National Post, June 12th
- Troubling details in new downloading law, by Michael Geist, The Toronto Star, June 13th
- Pros and Cons to Canada's new Copyright law, by Christina Spencer, The Toronto Star, June 13th
- Voices on Copyright Change, reader feedback, The Toronto Star, June 15th
- New copyright bill a step backward, letters to the editor, The Toronto Star, June 14th
- The Canadian DMCA - The Actual Text - Music - Sony Rootkit Legalized, an analysis of the Bill, by Drew Wilson , June 13th, (note: at ZeroPaid is a site promoting P2P filesharing)
- A music consumption survey conducted for British Music Rights indicates that 73% of the population in the UK wants legal filesharing. See this. This study also offers insights into why people download and share.
- What's new in the Copyright Bill? Discussion with Ottawa Law Professor Jeremy deBeer on Wednesday June 18th, The Globe and Mail - Update: This story has drawn huge attention on digg, here (but you may want to hide profanity) .
- Sony authorized and distributed CDs that included software known as a root-kit that damaged the functionality and security of computers playing the CD. The software is arguably criminal in several jurisdictions, may have violated copyrights, and is the subject of lawsuits.
- Sony Secretly Installs Rootkit on Computers
- The Sony Rootkit Saga Continues
- Sony's DRM Rootkit: The Real Story
- And on a similar note, KaZaA sues RIAA for copyright infringement
- The technology and methods used to bring about DCMA take-down notices and lawsuits has been shown to be flawed. Researchers at the University of Washington tricked the process used by the MPAA/RIAA and others to issue over 400 take down notice for printers which are incapable of downloading or sharing content. See Framing Computers Under the DMCA.
- A number of lawsuits brought by RIAA have missed their targets and brought bad press:
- RIAA lawsuit hits family with no computer or Internet access
- RIAA withdraws $300m lawsuit against innocent pensioner
- Oklahoma woman takes sue happy RIAA to the bank
- RIAA ordered to shell out $100k for P2P witch hunt
- RIAA drops claim that grandmother stole online music
- RIAA tried to shake down 10-year-old daughter, suit claims
- Music Industry lobbyists wanted use anti-terror laws against downloaders, see European Terrorism Law and Music Downloaders.
See articles by Bruce Schneier:
See these articles by Professor Ed Felton of Princeton:
- Whitepaper Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA
- A summary of DMCA issues and cases, here.