Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

Archive for October 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011⇒ I’m In

with 13 comments

Right now I am less ready for NaNoWriMo than even I was for my first time. There have been too many things going on to get properly ready, and there will be too much I have to do through the month. I’m not entirely finished with “Inconstant Moon” (NaNoWriMo 2009) nor is the first draft of “The Girl In The Blue Flame Cafe” (NaNoWriMo 2010) finished so I can get it out to beta readers.

The badge looks rather like a 50's postcard mounted on a stamp that reads: Greetings From NaNoWriMo stamp

I will not have time to blog about NaNo, so don’t look for a NaNoWriMo diary from me this year. If I blog about any non-novelling pursuit it will be copyright, since “Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act” is in the works.

I haven’t even decided which story I’m going to tackle this time, although I’d better pass on the historical novel this time around, since historicals don’t fly right without good solid research, and there simply hasn’t been time. Maybe next year. I’ll be lucky to get the 50,000 words in this time.

But November 2011 begins in a matter of minutes.

Which means it’s between mind bending thriller or murder mystery. Well, Blue Flame is more thriller, so I think murder mystery. Yes. Murder mystery. So I’d better get ready so I can start crafting a murder come midnight. Better grab a beverage. Woody’s I think.

Hah. This is more fun than New Years. :)

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

October 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Bill C-11 ~ this week’s Links #copyright

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Canadian DMCA logoCopyright law is in the air in Canada these days, as our government contemplates passing Bill C-11 (the draft law formerly known as Bill C-32)

If you’re wondering why there is such a fuss about copyright, and why it should matter to ordinary Canadians, this is a great place to start on the issue. The highlight of this week’s C-11 coverage was, hands down, Jesse Brown’s interview with Michael Geist.

The draft C-11 Legislation has been “read” in the House Of Commons, and has now been sent to a Legislative Committee of MPs who will now attempt to clear up any problems. Canadians can now email our concerns to the appropriate MPs.

One citizen shared the reply he received from his MP boing boing

Russell McOrmond posted an interesting article contrasting the Conservative policy on gun registration with their push for digital locks

I’ve added two new blogs to my blogroll on the basis of their recent posts regarding C11.

The Copyright Modernization Act (C-11), Digital Locks and turning ISPs into Gatekeepers One Step at a Time

and
Canada’s copyright reform bill: Desperately seeking economists (and evidence)

Michael Geist is writing “The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter” series in which he shares the stated objections of many varied opponents of the digital lock provisions of Bill C-11:


More Information

If you are looking for more information about this copyright law, you can use the search bar in my sidebar, search the Internet. The draft legislation currently known as Bill C-11 is a word for word reincarnation of what was called Bill C-32 in the last session of parliament, so searching for Bill C-32 will give you a lot of background information and analysis.

The authorities I look to for C-11 information include:

What to do about Bill C-11 ?

with 6 comments

Canadian DMCA logoI should be getting ready for NaNoWriMo. The problem is that the danger to Canadian culture posed by Bill C-11, the so called “Copyright Modernization Act,” currently moving toward becoming law, is simply too great to ignore.

I can’t ignore this and expect to get anywhere with my next novel. So I’ve decided to try to post something about C-11 every day (after making my NaNoWriMo word count :) Because both my self publishing efforts and writing my third novel during NaNo will claim most of my time, these posts will be much shorter than my usual blog posts.

The Canadian DMCA in Today’s News

boingboing logo

Cory Doctorow blogged about the response received by a Canadian citizen in answer to their C11 query from Conservative MP Lee Richardson, a member of the Standing Committee on Industry. Since copyright law falls under the joint purview of the Ministry of Heritage and the Ministry of Industry, Lee Richardson ought to be pretty well versed in this issue. Richardson is quoted as writing:

If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a law suit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved.”

— Conservative MP Lee Richardson
BoingBoing: Canadian Tory MP: Don’t worry about violating our stupid new copyright law, because we probably won’t catch you if you do

Cory Doctorow’s assessment is that this amounts to advice from the Government passing this law is:

“…you should go ahead and break the law because you won’t get caught.”

— Cory Doctorow
BoingBoing: Canadian Tory MP: Don’t worry about violating our stupid new copyright law, because we probably won’t catch you if you do

Now, I am not a lawyer, but if this is not the law’s intent, the law should say so. Just because the copyright holder might choose not to do this, is no guarantee that they won’t.

Bill C-11 clearly allows them to sue Canadians.

Particularly when there have been innumerable clear instances of corporate “patent trolls” suing unsuspecting citizens in the wake of the American DMCA and every similar copyright ‘reform’ enacted around the world.

If this is *not* the government’s intent, this part of Bill C11 must be changed.

The Canadian Government should not be encouraging citizens to ignore Canadian law.

what we can do

I believe there are various petitions being gotten up, but I urge all concerned Canadians to tell the government that we do not support the digital lock provisions in Bill C-11. Sending an email is a stronger message than signing a digital petition. The message you send doesn’t have to be long and involved. Just weigh in and tell them what you think before this law is passed.

Write to Members of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-11:

[28 October UPDATE 2011-10-28T15:48:49+00:00]

Bill C-11 Legislative Committee Chair: Glenn Thibeaultof the NDP has been named as the Bill C-11 Legislative Committee Chair
email: glenn.thibeault@parl.gc.ca

Dean Del Mastro, Conservative, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
email: dean.delmastro@parl.gc.ca
Paul Calandra, Conservative Parliamentary Secretary to the Heritage Minister
email: paul.calandra@parl.gc.ca
Mike Lake, Conservative Parliamentary secretary to the Industry Minister
email: mike.lake@parl.gc.ca
Scott Armstrong, Conservative
email: scott.armstrong@parl.gc.ca
Peter Braid, Conservative
email: peter.braid@parl.gc.ca
Phil McColeman, Conservative
email: phil.mccoleman@parl.gc.ca
Rob Moore, Conservative
email: rob.moore@parl.gc.ca
Charlie Angus, NDP Digital Affairs and Ethics Critic
email: charlie.angus@parl.gc.ca
Tyrone Benskin, NDP Heritage and Cultural Industries Critic
email: tyrone.benskin@parl.gc.ca
Andrew Cash, NDP
email: andrew.cash@parl.gc.ca
Pierre Nantel, NDP
email: pierre.nantel@parl.gc.ca
Geoff Regan, Liberal Critic for Consumer Affairs
email: geoff.regan@parl.gc.ca
As well, you can write to Heritage Minister James Moore
email: james.moore@parl.gc.ca
Industry Minister The Honourable Christian Paradis
email: minister.industry@ic.gc.ca
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
email: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
and as always, your own MPP [Find your MP]

It is perfectly acceptable to send the same letter to all concerned, and although postal mail is taken more seriously, email is increasingly acceptable, particularly when time is of the essence.

If you have a blog (and if you don’t, it’s pretty easy to start one for free at WordPress) you can post your letter online, making sure to tag it with #C11 and #Canada and #Copyright. Talk to friends and family about this, as well as people in your social networks,because if this law passes as is, it will have serious repercussions to Canadian culture.


More Information

If you are looking for more information about this copyright law, you can use the search bar in my sidebar, or you can search the Internet. Bill C-11 is a word for word reincarnation of Bill C-32 in the last session of parliament, so searching for Bill C-32 will give you a lot of information and analysis.

The authorities I look to for C-11 information include:

#Bill C-11 : Transcription: Jesse Brown’s “Digital Lockdown” Podcast

with 3 comments

The impending Bill C-11, “the Copyright Modernization Act” makes me very nervous. I’m a writer, not not a lawyer, nor a reporter, but I’m sure I will be blogging about this in the days to come.

Naturally I was very interested in Jesse Brown’s interview with the University of Ottawa’s Professor Michael Geist, who is unquestionably an authority on Canadian Copyright Law. I started put to transcribe this podcast for myself, but then it seemed silly not to share, since Jesse Brown is cool enough to license his podcasts with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5).

I have added links where appropriate, and I cleaned it up (expunging “ums” not expletives). Feel free to listen to the original Podcast at TVO while reading along. [Note: Any transcription errors are my own.]

title card from podcast

Search Engine
Hosted By Jesse Brown

Digital Lockdown

[cue music]

Jesse Brown
Okay, quick show of hands… Who is against the part of bill C-11 where it says that if you break a digital lock for any reason you are breaking the law?

Ahhh.
Okay we’ve got the Liberal Party,
we’ve got The NDP,
we’ve got a bunch of Associations,
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries,
The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright,
The Council of Ministers of Education,
Documentary Organization of Canada,
Canadian Library Association,
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association,
The Canadian Federation of Students,
The Canadian Teachers Federation,
The Canadian Council of Archives,
The Retail Council of Canada,
The Canadian Consumer Initiative,
The Provincial Resource Center for the Visually Impaired,
The Canadian Historical Association, and, oh yeah, Canadians.
Just about every Canadian who bothered to chime in about this said they did not like the digital locks provision.

Okay. So that’s one side of it.

Now put up your hand if you like the idea that breaking a digital lock for any reason should be a crime.

Just The Conservative Party of Canada.

The thing is, that’s sort of the only hand that matters.

They have a majority, they can kind of do what they want. And they’re gonna.

Bill C-11 as it stands, is probably going to be a law pretty soon. And now it’s time to talk about what that means.

And who better to help out with that than Professor Michael Geist. Michael, welcome back to the show.

Michael Geist
Hi Jesse.

Jesse Brown
Bill C-11 is being debated in parliament, we’ve got the other parties coming out against it, we’ve got the Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights encouraging people to come out against this… is it just too late? I mean, you heard Minister Moore on this program. He did not sound like a man who is going to change anything fundamental about this. Is the digital locks issue set in stone?

Michael Geist
I think pretty close to that. At least that’s certainly what the minister has been saying, and you know it’s a new environment of course politically where we’ve got a majority government. And while it’s heartening to see how the opposition parties have coalesced around the digital lock issue, unequivocally, that they can’t support the bill with the digital lock provisions in the way that they are currently structured, it seems to me at this point in time that it may be past the point of no return. The Government making clear that its not looking to make fundamental changes to digital lock provisions, or frankly much else in the law.

Jesse Brown
It’s kind of bittersweet, isn’t it? I mean the other parties have never been clearer, they’ve never understood the issues better… they’ve never been more forthright in what they don’t like about it and what they can’t support — at the moment when their opinion matters least.

Michael Geist

I think that’s right. I mean I think it is good there is that growing recognition within the Canadian Public, where you see so many groups that have come out to express concern, as well as politically, at the same time if we hold the government to their word that they’re not gonna make any big changes, there are of course some good things in Bill C-11 as well.

Around fair dealing, around the role of Internet providers, around statutory damages, some of those issues have been subject to very misleading attacks by a number of groups, and so I think it’s heartening that they haven’t resonated. In fact, I’d go even further, its clear if you see the reaction from the opposition parties, that they really haven’t picked up on many of those issues either. I think they recognize that the government actually does strike a pretty good balance on many of those other issues. The one place where the government hasn’t done so is on the digital locks and its disappointing we’ve come this far and there is that opportunity with so much awareness of the problem, frankly its just as disappointing that a fix here is relatively easy. One that would allow for compliance with our international obligations that would be consistent with what we’ve seen in a lot of other countries that would give legal protection for digital locks for those that want it, but at the same time would respect the rights of users, whether we’re talking about consumers, educators, or even other businesses.

Jesse Brown
I brought it up directly with the minister. I said why not just make it illegal to break a digital lock if you’re breaking it for the purpose of infringing, and he pretty much ignored the point.

Michael Geist
well, there isn’t a solid answer to it. As you may know, I was able to obtain under the Access To Information Act, both the internal clause review of the bill, as well as well as fifty pages of government speaking points. And what you find is there isn’t a good answer from the government, other than ‘we think it’s the right balance’. But when you start pointing to significant issues that exist within the bill, real problems, there isn’t a good answer, you know.

Is there a good answer to why those with perceptual disabilities – the blind – may find themselves locked out of works where there is a digital lock, because the current exception that’s in Bill C-11 is so restrictive talking about not being able to unduly impair a TPM – a technological protection measure – such that the blind find themselves locked out. We’ve seen a number of those groups speak out about that issue. I don’t think there is a good answer for that.

Is there a good answer for why researchers who aren’t in the narrow scope of security research, may find themselves locked out, because there’s an exception for security research, but not research more generally. I don’t think there’s a good answer for that.

Is there a good answer for why, in the United States there’s now an exception, specifically for picking the digital lock on a DVD in certain circumstances, but we don’t find something similar in Canada. I don’t think there’s a good answer for that.

And I guess ultimately if there a good answer why many countries New Zealand. Switzerland, and many others that have recognized that you can be compliant with the WIPO Internet treaties and link it directly to actual copyright infringement, well no, there isn’t a good answer for that either. Which is why the government typically simply goes back to talking points which said this is our balance, take it or leave it.

Jesse Brown
We needn’t play naive here; we know what the real reason is. It may satisfy WIPO to have a more lenient approach to legitimate breaking of digital locks, but clearly our government does not believe that it will satisfy the Americans and they’re going to bully forth with this.

Lets assume that they do, it’s pretty likely that’s gonna be the case, what happens next. What are the copyright implications of the Supreme Court of Canada finding that linking is not publishing. What happens when you talk about an ISO Hunt type website that links to torrent files that might be infringing, but itself does no infringing. Or for that matter Google through which you can find a lot of torrent files that contain copyright infringing material.

Michael Geist
Right. well, let’s start by saying that I think this decision that involved p2p.net and the potential liability for linking was a great decision from the Supreme Court of Canada and I think one of the things that we’re seeing from the court is a recognition of the real critical nature that the Internet plays for freedom of expression more generally, and what it’s willing to do, and we certainly see it in this case and I think we see it in some of the court’s other discussion, is that they are really willing to give specific protection for the speech that can occur online because it recognizes just how integral it has become for so many people, certainly for communications for culture and commerce but for basic freedom of expression and to protect those rights that are so central and fundamental within a democratic society. In recognizing that the Internet itself and that activity on the Internet has to be protected.

There are some pretty big implications there. I mean when you think for example of some of the proposals in other countries that have sought to kick people off the Internet based on a number of allegations of infringement. That’s to say you take that kind of proposal which is not on the table right now in Canada, but we know some of the rights holders would like to see it brought to Canada, this is a Supreme Court of Canada that you get the sense they would simply laugh that out of court. That it would not withstand any sort of Charter scrutiny given the strong link that it sees between the Internet itself and freedom of expression. So I think in that sense it’s very good.

More directly or more immediately we’ve had a number of proposals put forward that seek compensation for essentially the act of linking to copyright content. Through Access Copyright for example. Their proposal has argued that linking to content may fall within its tariff, as though we’re dealing with some sort of reproduction of the work. I think if you take a look at the analysis that we’ve had from the Supreme Court here, where it’s very clear that it does not believe that a link amounts to a reproduction, or a republication rather, in the context of defamation , I think a similar kind of analysis might well come into play if you start talking about if from a copyright context.

Jesse Brown
I mean, they were really explicit. You know, like (A) Linking is not publishing and (B) if you were to deem it so, the Internet wouldn’t work. How can you hold people accountable for what lies on the other side of a link, it can change and people have no control over that.

Michael Geist
The Court totally understood both how information is disseminated online,how the Internet functions, and that central role that linking plays. So in that sense it was very good. And note that there are three decisions, there’s the one that’s adopted by the majority of the court, and then there are two concurring decisions each actually adopts different standards when it comes to potential liability for linking. So all agree that as a basic premise linking shouldn’t bring liability but then they get into the question of what if. Under what circumstances might linking rise to the level of potential liability, and the one that the Supreme Court ultimately adopts or that the majority of the court adopts is the one that has by far the highest threshold. One that seeks to protect as much as possible that freedom of expression online, saying yes at the end of the day you still go after the person who is responsible for the defamatory speech, that’s where responsibility lies, not with someone who has linked to this content.

Jesse Brown
Okay, but how do we reconcile that with Bill C-11 which states that if a website’s primary purpose is to enable copyright infringement it doesn’t matter whether or not that site itself infringes, it is subject, it’s breaking the law, it’s breaking Bill C-11. So I mean it seems that the precedent that’s just been set is in some sort of conflict with that piece of legislation.

Michael Geist
I don’t know if its in conflict, but obviously its not wholly consistent. I mean what the government is trying to do in C-11 is establish a very tough rule that goes after these sites, the so-called ‘enabler’ sites.

I’ve argued that we already may have laws that can deal effectively with those sites. In fact there is already an ongoing lawsuit the Industry has brought against ISO Hunt and so there is still issues around authorizing infringement which apply whether or not we’re dealing per se with a link We could get into a debate as to whether or not links alone are enough to authorize infringement, but where you’ve got a site that seems to be by its design designed to support infringing activities, the case that would be brought would probably involve more than just pointing to the linking activity but rather the structure of the search, the way in which it has been designed to try to rise to the level of authorizing others to infringe. The truth is, we don’t fully know yet where courts would land on these issues. On the enabler provision it’s still not a part of the law, and in the cases against ISO Hunt the Industry has for so long dragged its feet seeming content to score points for the politicians by saying Canadian Law is Weak, we need legal changes, although quietly on the side, continuing to pursue legislative legal remedies using the law as it currently stands.

Jesse Brown

Now, there’s another part of this where the courts may find issue with C-11. There’s a possibility if a case were to be brought to the Supreme Court of Canada that was arguing that the prohibition on breaking digital locks is a violation of our Charter Rights, the court might find that is true. Is there any indication of where they would stand on that? Do you think that a precedent setting case like that is likely once this bill becomes law?

Michael Geist

It’s an interesting issue and I don’t think so much that it is a matter of Charter Rights but rather a violation if the Constitution in terms of the division of powers. And the argument here, and I think its a good one, is that the way the Constitution is structured, Copyright is the responsibility of the Federal Government but Property and Civil Rights fall to the Provinces. So long as you’ve got provisions that are clearly about copyright, this is something that obviously falls within Federal jurisdiction and they can legally legislate.

The problem the Government may face when it comes to the digital lock provisions as they are currently structured, is that they seem to be far more about property rights, what people can and can’t do with their personal property that they’ve purchased than it is about copyright. In fact, as part of that Access to Information request that I obtained from the government, there was a clause by clause analysis of the legislation, and the government is very very clear in that you don’t need an actual copyright infringement to violate the digital lock rules, and the traditional defenses that exist within the Copyright Act also don’t apply when somebody breaks the digital lock rules. So if we’ve got provisions here where we’re not talking about traditional offenses under the Copyright Act and we’re not talking about traditional defenses under the Copyright Act, that doesn’t sound very much like copyright at all.

Jesse Brown
Give me an example. Are we talking about like if I were to break a digital lock on a DVD or if I were to unlock a cell phone how does that have anything to do with copyright, is that what you mean?

Michael Geist

That’s exactly what it is. We’re talking about access in the case, let’s say, of the DVD and its the Copyright law not the Access Act, and so the Copyright Act deals specifically with copying and reproduction of works. This ventures far beyond that into people’s rights to access materials, in this case the use of the property they have purchased. The copyright holder of course owns the right in the underlying work, the intellectual property that exists within the DVD, But you still do have some rights over the physical DVD that you’ve purchased and the notion that one can exclude access part of that is pretty far afield from conventional copyright.

Now if the government would follow the recommendations that we’ve seen from so many groups, that say create a clear linkage between breaking a digital lock and an intent to infringe, well then it does start sounding again like copyright, because now we are talking about people who are breaking copyright rules and the digital locks are there to support those basic policies about insuring the copyright act is effective.

But the way the government has structured the law right now, is that they’ve moved pretty far away from traditional copyright, it really is into the realm of traditional property rights. It’s all about what consumers can and can’t do with their property irrespective of whether someone might be infringing copyright or even irrespective of whether or not they’ve got an appropriate defense of fair dealing or otherwise. And so I think it is entirely possible once this becomes operational, and we face the prospect of some actions brought against people, that we’ll see groups seek to clarify whether or not the provisions as currently structured even pass muster from a constitutional perspective.

Jesse Brown
And this is not sort of you know, lawyeringness, or a kind of niggling detail, our rights over our private property are pretty essential in any democracy. These are constitutional rights. The circumstances of where this would get fought I suppose would be if you found the right case, say a blind person who buys a book that is not available as an audio book They break DRM in order to feed it into a text to speech program so they can actually enjoy what they bought. There is no question of illegal reproduction, certainly not commercial, That might be a case that you know some interested lawyer who knows about these things. maybe yourself might actually make an issue out of it and take it to the courts and then that would challenge the bill itself.

Michael Geist
I think that would challenge those specific provisions. So I would seek to argue that the particular provisions around digital locks are unconstitutional because they are ultra vires the federal government. In other words, provisions that involve property and civil rights, and do not directly involve copyright, are beyond the jurisdiction of the purview of the Federal Government.

There’s an easy way of course to fix that and make this legislation a bit more bulletproof against a constitutional challenge and that’s to create a link to copyright. As we’ve been discussing now, despite the fact that so many groups and now all the opposition parties have been calling for exactly that kind of remedy the government has been loath to move in that direction.

Jesse Brown
What will be the impact for average Canadians in the period of time shortly following the passing of this law. Are we going to see the same kinds of lawsuits that, I mean, Minister Moore like to say that the Industry is done with that kind of lawsuits that the Recording Industry Association filed against, I don’t know, 30,000 individual file sharers, teenagers, single moms… Of course the movie industry seems to be moving in that direction. The Hurt Locker down loaders faced lawsuits like that. Are we going to see that in Canada? Is that how this is going to hit home for people who have not paid the closest attention to this up ’til now?

Michael Geist

Well, you know, the odd thing about this legislation is that the way that it gets promoted is so often around things like peer to peer file sharing but C-11 has very little to do with peer to peer file sharing.
The practical reality is that similar legislation has been in place in the United States since before the advent of Napster and so the notion that suddenly new digital lock protection are going to provide the kind of protections that are necessary to eradicate infringement online is just patently false. And I think everybody knows it. I spent sometime this week at a conference with a series of European experts are here and no one’s talking about digital locks. In fact in Europe a number of countries have implemented it in different ways, in some ways different than the United States has implemented it. Digital locks aren’t ultimately about dealing with peer to peer and they’re ultimately not about these sorts of lawsuits.

And so, once the legislation is passed, we’re going to see a real impact. Whether its in education, or in other places where the rules won’t be clear, that many of the traditional user rights or exceptions, around research, or around private study, or in criticism review, potentially even around education itself, if that becomes part of the law with C-11. There, once there’s a digital lock in place, those rights cease to apply and I think that’ll have a pretty dramatic impact.

Now, there’s a lot of other good things that will come into the legislation, in terms of clarifing legalization of recording television shows and back up copies. Extending or expanding some of the fair dealing rights. I think all of that’s great. But at the same time those digital lock rules will have that immediate impact. As for the prospect of lawsuits, the Industry stood up before the committee just a few months ago, just before the bill died, and was unequivocal when asked directly about the prospect of new file sharing lawsuits against individuals, and said they have no intention of doing so and just within a number of months, we now know that lawsuits have been filed with three major ISPs in Canada, and of course if those are successful, even with the changes to the statutory damage provisions in the bill, even with changes that create a cap for non commercial infringement, the door is still open to see more of these kinds of suits.

Jesse Brown

You know, I feel that most Canadians, for personal use, are going to continue to do whatever they were doing before, if in fact they are aware of this bill is a law or will soon be a law or not. It’s really at the institutional level, the universities and companies that just want to avoid liability in any way that they’re going to stop doing a lot of things that they have been doing.

Michael Geist

That’s absolutely right. And in fact I’ve been asked many times since both Bill C-32 and C-11 about that ability to enforce and I think it is true that practically speaking, most individuals are going to be very tough to stop them from picking a digital lock, the tools are out there, even though this will make the distribution of those tools illegal, and further, its arguable that there are no real damages here either, especially if they are simply seeking to access their own works that they purchased.

But where the rubber will hit the road, where the enforcement will not only be possible but probable, and where it will have a real impact, is frankly, as usual, on the good guy. On the people who are actually going out and buying licensing, trying to make use of materials, and they suddenly find now that where there are locks there are going to be restrictions.

Where you’ve got someone who is sight impaired who wants to ensure they’ve got access if the publisher isn’t making it accessible, and where its behind the lock, they’ll be prohibited from going after it, and there will be large institutions that might want to try to do that on behalf of their users they won’t be doing it.

In larger education institutions where you’ve got teachers and students who want to engage in remix and multimedia presentations and they need to be able to break a digital lock in order to do that, things that are legal as the law currently stands, that too will stop, because the guidelines I think will be unequivocal when presented within those institutions they want to stay on the side of the law and what they will do is make it clear that they can’t engage in that activity.

And so the sad part of all this, one of the sad parts about all this, is that where this will hit most directly, are on the people who are the most likely to want to be compliant with the law. And its in the one place where there are some of the best advantages of using these kinds of new technologies and providing new levels of access, new kinds of creativity and yey what the government is going to be doing
stopping some of it dead in its tracks.

Jesse Brown

Well, this is soon going to be over and then it’s just gonna be beginning.

Michael Geist

I think that’s right. It’s the beginning in terms of some of the legal questions and issues about the bill, and incredibly, it is very likely to all start again with a new piece of legislation now on IP enforcement, that may well be introduced weeks after this piece of legislation passes through the parliamentary process.

Jesse Brown
I hope you’ll be willing to take us through that when the time comes. Thank you as always for your time, Michael

Michael Geist
It’s my pleasure, Jesse. Take care.

[cue music]

Jesse Brown
Search Engine is produced by me with help from Luke Simcoe and a community of listeners who, unlike me, know their Charter from their Constitution. Email me at jesse@jessebrown.ca Check out the blog, its at t-v-o-slash-searchengine The videos which are going up all the time go up at YouTube-dot-com-slash-t-v-o-searchengine and I’m on Twitter @jessebrown

this program is released with a Creative Commons License. Go ahead and link to it, I promise not to switch it with anything nasty. The next podcast will be up on Tuesday.

[bring music up and out]

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

October 26, 2011 at 12:16 am

Link Swapping Is A Scam

with 5 comments

my reflection in my netbook with autumn foliage behind me

Along with learning about blogging and self publishing, I’ve been learning how the Internet works. In order to do the things I want to do I’ve had to learn how to employ the technology, but I am by no means a “natural.”

One of the most important lessons is to share what you learn with others. I have learned so much from what others have shared with me, that it’s only natural to return the favour. Because I have several web sites and blogs, I’ll often get the same spam for different sites. The one that’s prompted this blog post is the following verbatim reprint of a particular spam email I get periodically for my various blogs and websites. If you get one like this, my advice is:

Don’t do it.

Although I’ve redacted the names to protect the guilty, the rest of the email is reproduced word for word here:

Hello,

Let’s do a 3-way link swap with your website http://russwurm.org. I’ll give you two links in exchange for one from
you.

3-way linking is a very effective link building strategy. Since you’re getting the links from third party websites, they appear totally natural to search engines. Such inbound links help your website rank higher in Google and other
search engines.

Visit [redacted] to submit your website.

Thanks,
[redacted]

Founder & CEO, {redacted]

This is a scam.

I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m still getting this email, so I’ll try again.

The tip off is that these links “appear totally natural.” It appears to be a way to scam the search engines, but what it really wants to do is scam us out of our good reputations.

When you start creating web content like blogs or websites, you often hear about rumoured — almost magic — ways of getting your website noticed by search engines. Search terms. Meta data. Tags. SEO. Categories. Search Engine Optimization. Everyone wants our web page to be on the top of the Google search, because that will brings readers.

my cat sits on the deck behind my external workstation

Search engines have a variety of ways to decide how to rank web pages, and one of them is based on how many incoming links you have. As long as there has been an Internet there have been ways people have tried to scam the search engines. The reason for this is simple.

If someone types “costumes” in the search bar, if your costume blog is at the top of the list the search engine returns you will get a lot more visitors. If it first appears on page fifty, well, not so much.

The thing to remember is that any search engine is trying to provide every web searcher with the correct website or information they want, as quickly as possible. So search engines are not happy with fake results. I’ve heard tell that Google refuses to index bad actors who do things like salting their web pages with invisible words in hopes of gaming the search engine. If you’re a fly-by-night operator, maybe how you get page hits doesn’t matter. If you are looking for a quick buck and are willing to change domain names more often than underwear, maybe that’s okay. If Google black lists you, you just get a new five dollar domain name from godaddy.

No thanks

When I was starting out, the advice I got was to build solid content. You will get readership if the content is there. If people want to read what you write, they will find you. But it takes time, and a lot of effort.

Murray works at distracting me.

That’s what I have tried to do, because I’m here for the long haul. Web credibility is important. If anything, your online reputation might even be more important than your real life reputation on the Internet. What you put online is the basis of what you are judged for online.

If I were to trade links with this organization, I might get traffic, but is it traffic that will do me any good? Would it be people who actually want to find my blog?

I have worked hard on all of my blogs. So I don’t want people being directed here in error — long enough to discover that they have been deliberately sent to the wrong place. If you trick people to come to your site, even if they might find your content interesting, or even of use, they will be annoyed at having been misdirected, which very likely will not result in a regular readers. That’s important to me; I want people to actually read what I write.

After all, would I really want to direct my readers to web pages that aren’t good enough to attract readers legitimately?

I don’t think so.

Worse, do I want to squander my hard earned web credibility on some scammer?  No way.

Like most good con jobs, this seems to cost nothing, but in fact it comes very dear.  Like many things, quite often anything that sounds too good to be true, is.

The essential backyard writer workstation (cats are optional)
LEFT: Fair Trade Coffee CENTER: Netbook (red tape obscures camera lens). RIGHT: mouse on futuristic mousepad

updating

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I just updated my Writer Page on my personal website. One of the cool things about the Internet is that things can stay online (presumably) forever.

The page referred to is a static page, and is actually where I keep my online curriculum vitae.

The top bit isn’t a web blog, it’s supposed to be a snapshot update of where I am.

I’m still working on eBook formatting for Inconstant Moon.

I know, I know, what’s taking so long?

Well, besides all the other distractions, I’m trying to work out how to do this using XHTML via Sigil. It may not work. But if at all possible, I want to do it right. Don’t worry, I’ll blog it in my Libreleft self publishing blog so it won’t take this bloody long for you.

Of course, there’s also copyright in the air (our friends in Ottawa are contemplating passing the incredibly bad for Canadian culture — not to mention incredibly bad for Canadians — Bill C-11.

And I’ve not been getting much sleep, since I need to get my ducks in a row by the first of November for NaNoWriMo. And I haven’t even decided on the ducks.

So why mess with the web page? It was really outdated, and messing with web pages is yet another wonderful way to procrastinate. Of course I had to fiddle with the NaNoWriMo badge too. :)

I’m about to head out to Planet Bean to not only stock up on Fair Trade Coffee, but to actually sit down in their little cafe and enjoy one made by one of their baristas for the first time. Of course, it will have to be decaffeinated at this time of day…

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

October 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s wrong with Bill C-11

with 10 comments

Bill C-11, the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act” will not actually modernize Canadian copyright law.

Instead, if this law is passed as it stands, it will harm my interests as a creator, as well as Canadian culture and heritage.

Canadian DMCA logo

I’m working hard to master eBook conversion of my debut novel, so I have been valiantly trying to avoid looking at what’s happening with Bill C-11 (an exact revival of Bill C-32, which was itself the Successor to Bill C-60, or Bill C-61). No matter what number, nor which political party is driving it, in every version this law has been a Canadian DMCA.

I became interested during the Canadian copyright consultation when an unprecedented number of Canadians responded to the Government’s call for input into the new draft copyright law. To be fair, this new incarnation actually does do some of the things that Canadians asked for. The problem is that it won’t matter because chances are good we will never be able to make use of these benefits because they will be blocked by what are sometimes called “digital locks”. Or Digital Rights Management (DRM), or Technical Protection Measures (TPM).

It doesn’t matter what you call it.

I thought you might be interested in the best summation of the worst problem with Bill C-11 [the emphasis is my own]:

 

the keys to the locks are held by someone other than the owner that is what is locked.

It is not the owner of the copyright that has the keys (to the lock on the content or the lock on devices),

and it is not the owner of the device that has the lock on the device.

It is the device manufacturer and/or software distributor that controls the keys.

In any type of lock, digital or otherwise, it is the interests of the entity with the keys whose interests are protected.

— Russell McOrmond, Digital Copyright Canada: Bill C-11 debate day 1

This is what will make it far worse for Canadians and our culture than what American’s have had to cope with in the original DMCA.

It will be illegal to break the digital lock, even if you have the right to access the content. Bill C-11 will make digital locks the single most powerful element in Canadian copyright law. Copyright will be subjugated to software and device manufacturers. It won’t be publishing companies that decide what books Canadians can access, nor the writers or even the readers of those books.

The company that distributes the software or manufactures the device will hold the keys to copyright law.

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