Archive for November 2011
The rest of the world calls it DRM (Digital Rights Management)
The Canadian government is partial to the term TPM (Technical Protection Measures).
Michael Geist has popularized and may even have coined the phrase digital locks to put a face on the concept, so that ordinary Canadian consumers without law degrees might better understand the copyright law — Bill C-11 — that will change the world on us.
No matter what you call them, these third party locks (what Russell McOrmond calls them) are bad enough for consumers all on their own. The most serious problem with Bill C-11 is that circumventing these things, no matter what you call them, will become illegal.
Even if circumventing them ~ breaking the lock ~ is to do something that is perfectly legal. Like watching the DVD you bought. Or listening to the music file you downloaded. Which is why Napster is shutting down Canadian operations — because of Bill C-11.
These downloads are DRM-encoded WMA files and can be backed up by burning them to audio CDs. Doing this will allow you access to your music on any CD player and generally have a maintenance free permanent copy. If you do not back up your purchased Napster music downloads by burning them to CD and you later change or reinstall your computer’s operating system, have a system failure or experience DRM corruption, then the downloads will stop playing and you will permanently lose access to them.
In Canada, it is not illegal to circumvent a padlock. If I put a padlock on my shed, and it rusts out, it is perfectly legal to take bolt cutters and cut the lock off.
Because the defective padlock is preventing my legal right to access my own stuff.
It is not legal for me to do the same to my neighbor’s padlock. If I were to lop off his padlock to gain access to the contents of his shed, there are hosts of criminal charges that can be brought against me.
Bill C-11 will make it illegal for Canadians to access our own stuff.
Creative work that is not “protected” by copyright is in the public domain. That means that anyone can copy it without fear of legal repercussion. Although terms for copyright are discussed at length in Canada’s Copyright Act” the public domain is not even mentioned.
Originally copyright applied only to the printed word, but it has been expanded to “protect” all of our modern culture; artwork, photographs, music, film, even performance. It used to be that copyright terms were relatively short; most creative work would find itself in the public domain during the lifetime of the creator.
Nowadays, of course, in most parts of the world, ever expanding copyright terms ensure that creative work will only enter the public domain decades after the death of the creator. Some of us are concerned that the reality may be that much of our art and culture will never go into the public domain. The very existence of the public domain is important.
In the tag line for his Digital Copyright site, Russell McOrmond says:
“All Canadian Citizens are “Rights Holders”
He’s right, and it is indeed a much needed reminder, because all too often the public’s rights are overlooked when they are not spelled out in law. The public lacks lobbyists; in a democracy, the government is expected to safeguard the public good.
The Public Domain
The public domain belongs to the public. Any time copyright “protection” is expanded in some way, it is always at the expense of the rights of the public.
Which is why I get so annoyed when I stumble upon creative work in the public domain like this painting “The Empress Comes (or Poppaea Comes)” by George Lawrence Bulleid:
And find such a public domain reproduction marked with a notice like this one:
This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. However – you may not use this image for commercial purposes and you may not alter the image or remove the WikiGallery watermark.
This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.
Once any creative work is in the public domain, it can be copied, and altered by anyone for commercial purposes or otherwise.
That is the point of the public domain.
Attempts to lock up public domain creative work in this manner is called Copyfraud.
Copyfraud is everywhere.
False copyright notices appear on modern reprints of Shakespeare’s plays, Beethoven’s piano scores, greeting card versions of Monet’s Water Lilies, and even the U.S. Constitution.
Archives claim blanket copyright in everything in their collections.
Vendors of microfilmed versions of historical newspapers assert copyright ownership.
These false copyright claims, which are often accompanied by threatened litigation for reproducing a work without the owner’s permission, result in users seeking licenses and paying fees to reproduce works that are free for everyone to use.”
Copyfraud exists because laws criminalizing false statements about copyright are weak.
Or nonexistent, like Canada.
Currently the Canadian government is contemplating passage of legislation to “modernize” Canadian Copyright law.
Yet Bill C-11 does nothing to address the issue of Copyfraud, a practice which inflicts untold harm on Canadians and our culture. Copyfraud prevents Canadians from accessing public domain work we are legally entitled to access. Denying us this access stops us from engaging fully with our cultural history and prevents us from building on our own history and culture.
Archives Canada is a federally funded website that offers to serve as “your gateway to Canada’s collective memory!” It’s a wonderful government initiative to help bring our past alive.
Or so I thought until I clicked through to one of the archives brought together under its auspices, University of Saskatchewan displays copyright statement a blanket “Copyright / Use Restrictions” applied to the entire site.
This archive offers permission “for scholarly and personal research purposes only”, stating that we must first get written permission from the University of Saskatchewan Archives to reproduce, publish or publicly display all materials.
What of public domain material held by the archive?
Canadian heritage is important. Canadian copyright law should indeed have balance, and work to protect the rights of Canadian citizens. It is past time to establish penalties for copyfraud. Perhaps we should establish statutory damages to redress the infringement of the rights of Canadians.
[redacted: see note below]
All Canadians have legal rights to all work in the public domain. Setting those rights down into law would be an excellent way to modernize our Canadian copyright law.
If Canada is modernizing copyright law, it should explicitly make copyfraud illegal.
Protect the public domain.
“The Empress Comes (or Poppaea Comes)” by George Lawrence Bulleid (Public Domain)
Those of you who might have read this article earlier may notice I had originally included a reproduction of a Canadian artwork held by the Saskatchewan archives that I erroneously believed to have been in the public domain. Math has always been a personal nemesis, and I lost a decade in my calculations. Therefore I have withdrawn the image as the work referenced was not actually in the public domain.
However, more than once I have come across public domain works in Canadian archives, presented as though the archive controls the copyright of the work, when it does not exist because the copyright term has ended.
The Occupy Montreal Protest continues, with a recent donation of arctic rated tents. Tolerance seems to be the city of Montreal’s policy.
Today conservative Superior Court Justice David Brown, himself a former Bay Street Lawyer, is expected to decide the fate of St. James Park’s Occupy Toronto encampment.
I understood that judges were at least expected to present the appearance of impartiality, and that a judge that was too close to a case was expected to recuse himself when such conflict arose. since the Occupy movement is a condemnation of the financial policies of Wall Street/Bay Street, it would seem a given that a jurist with a corporate Bay Street background like Justice Brown’s would recuse himself at the outset. Yet he did not.
“Every protest group all of a sudden has its own park. At the end of the day, where do I ride my bike?”
Still, the Justice elected not to evict the protesters on Friday, exhibiting an awareness of the situation on the ground. I wonder if the horrible events of US Davis in California, and the resultant surge in public opinion as a direct result, might affect his decision today. Laws and justice are supposed to reflect society’s mores after all.
hot to handle
The first time I beheld a green pepper was in a home economics in the ninth grade. I thought they were cute; but smelled bad and tasted awful. I have never understood why people like to eat hot peppers, but clearly they do.
One year I grew hot peppers which won first prize in a local fair. I dried some, and canned some as gifts. But the thing I wasn’t prepared for was that just handling them puts the oil on your hands. I learned the importance of thoroughly washing your hands after I made the mistake of picking jalapeño peppers and then rubbing my eyes. It only happened once, and it hurt. I remember the pain very well. Never again.
But it didn’t kill me.
So like most people, I had no idea that pepper spray could be lethal.
It is especially hard on people with asthma because it is an inflammatory agent, and Wikipedia tells us that it can cause “…uncontrollable coughing making it difficult to breathe or speak for between 3 to 15 minutes.”
When I was a child, I didn’t know a soul with asthma. As an adult, they are everywhere. So it seems to me that pepper spraying people is playing with fire.
In other parts of the world, citizens are allowed to carry cannisters of pepper spray on their person for self defence.
Not in Canada; here pepper spray is a prohibited weapon. Unless you’re in law enforcement, then you are allowed to spray it for “crowd control” Pepper spray was lobbed at Toronto’s G20 protesters last year.
This weekend’s inappropriate police pepper spraying of peaceful protesters at California’s UC Davis campus has triggered outrage around the world this weekend.
Pepper spray is increasingly used, not as self defence, but as a means of physically punishing peaceful protesters.
Deborah Blum’s Speakeasy Science article looks at the history, use and effects of pepper spray. It is not a pretty picture.
Pepper spray is banned for use in war by Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of all riot control agents in warfare whether lethal or less-than-lethal. In the US, when pepper spray is used in the workplace, OSHA requires a pepper sprayMSDS be available to all employees.
— Wikipedia: Pepper Spray: Legality
If pepper spray is too terrible to use in war, why are authorities using it on peaceful protesters?
Pepper spray is never appropriate.
Have you every noticed how much publicity material is labeled with
© Copyright ~ All Rights Reserved
I am at the point where I will not include any images in my blogs that lack license information.
Why on earth would I reproduce any promotional material ~ why should I plug your art show, book, movie, music, film premiere, marketplace or anything else, if doing so could result in a fine or takedown?
I have become hyper sensitive in regard to copyright issues, since real or perceived copyright violations can result in a DMCA takedown ~ or worse ~ if these laws like our own Canadian Bill C-11 passes.
If you include original art on promotional material in future without using a Creative Commons License or something similar I simply won’t use it.
In the past, I might have shared promotional material even though it did not have a license explicitly allowing its use, so long as it it didn’t specify ‘copyright all rights reserved’ either. Once The American SOPA (Stop Online Piracy) and the Canadian Bill C-11 come into effect, I will no longer do that on any blog or website under my control without explicit license permission.
Because the price is simply too high.
I seem to have gotten horribly behind on my NaNoWriMo manuscript. Heck, I haven’t even got cover art yet. (Irony: I had basic cover art for the contenders I decided to pass on. C’est la vie.)
If this was my first NaNoWriMo, when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage to write fifty thousand words in the month of November at all, that would have been serious cause for alarm. But for me in the here and now, I’m fine with it. Having done it twice, I am aware that I can do it, and in fact would be able to make the count if I devoted myself to it. So knowing that I may not make the 50k in during NaNovember is in the back of my mind, but just getting a good start on my third novel this year will be enough of a return for my 2011 NaNo participation.
I’ve been to a few write-ins and will attend a few more, and NaNoWriMo can certainly be a valuable experience even if you don’t finish it. This year my region’s ML’s have decided to help our Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph mascot, Orwell the Piggy Bank, to try his hoof at writing a novel. So people are taking turns at writing bits of the chain story for the little oinker. So far, not me. I am so far behind that I can’t afford to write for Orwell, until/unless I manage to get my wordcount caught up. Hah. How’s *that* for motivation
There are just too many other things I have to do this year, particularly in regard to launching its predecessors. What is happening with the new book, “Sans Seraph,” is that the story is coming together and the characters are beginning to grow into their own voices, so that’s alright.
But the first November over-scheduling casualty was the Thursday special feature for the Inconstant Moon blog. Ouch!
That comes from having a too tight time budget, without any contingency to allow for sickness. Although it’s possible to write/blog with some illnesses, migraine is not one of them. So when my brain recovered enough to allow me to turn on a computer last night, I remembered that today was Remembrance Day but forgot my Inconstant Moon Special Feature! I could probably cobble one together in a rush, but since Friday’s half gone, I think I’ll just call it a miss, and undertake not to miss a deadline again.
Today’s email was cause for a happy dance; the New York Times best selling author of LEAST WANTED and IDENTITY CRISIS, hard boiled fiction writer Debbi Mack told me she enjoyed reading Inconstant Moon and has agreed to write a cover blurb! That is fabulous news. It will surely be a terrific addition to the cover art when I release the re-engineered versions (fingers crossed) of Inconstant Moon in December.
[Now I need to go write something on the order of six thousand words.... ]
Byron Sonne says PayPal “felt that it was just too much risk for them.”
Canadian citizens are supposed to have the right to defend themselves when legal charges are brought against us. That’s a pretty standard democratic civil right.
Why would PayPal turn away business like this? After all, it doesn’t do this for free, this is how PayPal makes it’s money. The only thing that makes any sense would be that the American Company has felt Canadian Government pressure.
If that is what happened, it implies government awareness that the case against Byron Sonne has little or no merit. I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me if the government had a good case it wouldn’t stoop so low.
I fear Byron’s case isn’t about what he’s accused of doing so much as it is about the fundamental Canadian freedoms that are supposed to be guaranteed us under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
You can mail donations in the form of cheques, money orders, wire transfers etc. to:
37 Mara Crescent
Donations should be made payable to:
Valerie Sonne, In Trust
You can also wire funds directly to:
Valerie Sonne, In Trust
TD-Canada Trust, 1 Queen St.E & Main St., Brampton, Ontario, Canada L6W 2A7
Branch Transit: 21202
Financial Institution: 004
Just as Important
We need the world to be watching this one. Byron says it best:
I could really use your help in keeping a spotlight on this case. Talk about it. Blog about it. Write letters to papers and magazines about it….
This isn’t just about me, not by a long shot. This is about freedom, this is about justice…. in other words, this is all about you. What happens in that courtroom starting next week will affect you, your children, and your children’s children. Don’t just sit back and let it happen. Get involved and make a real difference. We can do it.”
— Byron Sonne, letter dated 31 October, 2011
The Future of Freedom
The mechanics of our fundamental freedoms will be interpreted and applied in the course of Byron Sonne’s case.
This won’t just affect lawyers and Constitutional scholars. Both the process and the outcome will impact on all Canadians, because the future of our freedom will be forged in that courtroom next week.