Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category
“In Brazil the Redemption through Reading program has been created with the intention that prisoners will not only improve their literacy skills but so that “a person can leave prison more enlightened and with an enlarged vision of the world”.
— Alex Hundert
It’s bad enough that there is no longer any funding for librarians in Ontario’s public school system.
It seems to me that people in jail should have as much access to books as possible. While in jail, inmates occupied in reading may well be improving their minds, possibly improving their literacy, maybe even learning empathy. At minimum, they are occupied. I’m guessing inmates who read in jail are less likely to re-offend on release. Are Canadian jails and prisons intended to punish or rehabilitate?
The following four articles by writer Alex Hundert, a political activist currently serving time, writing from jail.
As a lifetime reader and writer, I am appalled.
Regardless, it seems nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment to deny prisoners access to reading material.
School children at least have other options. Prisoners do not.
the cart = a library trolley carrying as many as 150 books which makes the rounds through the jail to deliver books to inmates
MDWC = Metro West Detention Centre aka “the West”
A friend shared this list on Facebook, and at first it sounded right, but then it didn’t.
5 Simple Rules For Happiness
- Free your heart from hatred
- Free your mind from worries
- Live simply
- Give more
- Expect Less
I wish I could go along with it, but I can’t, really.
Because, you see, I did all of these things so I could stay home to raise the world’s greatest kid. And I did (and it was worth it!) But in that short time when I wasn’t paying close attention to the world, or allowing myself to worry about the things I couldn’t change, the world has gone to hell.
Although a lot of people date the problems we face now to the fall of the Twin Towers, I think we were on this path long before. The Twin Towers simply offered an excuse to suspend the rights and liberties people used to have. I think that the real problem for the west began with what should have been a good thing: the fall of the Berlin Wall and everything that went with it. That seems to have freed up our supposedly democratic western governments to cease to even pretend to serve the the people.
- Free your heart from hatred ~ YES: this is unproductive
- Free your mind from worries ~ NO: if we bury our heads in the sand, we can’t correct the problems that should worry us
- Live simply ~ YES/NO not at the expense of living fully
- Give more ~ YES: to family, friends, society, those without ~ NO: to corporations
- Expect Less ~ WRONG!
If we expect less, we will get less.
We deserve *more*
including (but not limited to:
- more clean air,
- more clean water,
- more responsible environmental stewardship,
- more government transparency, accountability and responsiveness,
- more protection of our civil rights,
- more accessible education,
- more inclusion,
- more understanding,
- more empathy,
- more privacy,
- more culture,
- more choice,
- more dignity,
- more respect
- more tolerance,
- more sharing,
- more kindness,
- more protection of society’s weakest members
If we all expect less, our government allows big corporations to continue to take more and more,
- poisoning our environment,
- tossing aside human rights, and
- bankrupting our economy.
We need to insist on MORE, because our kids are worth it.
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.
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.]
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now, there’s another part of this where the court’s 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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
That’s absolute;y 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.
Well, this is soon going to be over and then it’s just gonna be beginning.
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.
I hope you’ll be willing to take us through that when the time comes. Thank you as always for your time, Michael
It’s my pleasure, Jesse. Take care.
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 email@example.com 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]
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.
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.
My son tells me that the answer to any question about Canadian authors in Reach For The Top is always “Margaret Atwood.” Which means that Margaret Atwood is a famous writer. And it is no doubt that Ms. Atwood’s famous support has helped the Project Democracy website convince people to vote the way someone else tells them to. Perhaps Ms. Atwood should go read her own speculative fiction and think about root causes that lead to dystopias. Voting for what you don’t want certainly seems to me to be the first step along that slippery slope.
vote like a pirate?
I wish Canada had proportional representation. If we did, I might be able to vote for everyone I wanted to.
[To find out about electoral reform. take a look at the non-partisan Fairvote Canada]
I might be able to vote for a Pirate Party Candidate. The Pirate Party is a newly registered Canadian Political Party, running on a platform of Copyright reform & Access to Culture, Privacy, Patent Law reform, Net Neutrality, Open Government and Open Access. The Pirate Party will not be able to form a government during this election because they have only fielded ten candidates.
Even so, if there was a Pirate Party candidate running in my riding, that is where my vote would be cast. Because digital issues including Canada’s digital economy, privacy and civil liberties need to be addressed by people who understand them. And it has become horribly clear that the entrenched parties’ understanding of these issues is faulty at best. It might not be such an important issue except that our recent governments have demonstrated their unwillingness to listen to or learn from citizen input on these subjects, but rather to create legislation favoring American Corporate interests.
I have spent a great deal of my time over the past two years writing about Usage Based Billing. The CRTC is not following its ostensible mandate to safeguard Canadian consumer interest. To some extent this is because Canadian Law doesn’t require it.
The former Conservative government’s response to unacceptable CRTC rulings was to intervene situationally, rather than to fix the problem by fixing the law. [Had it been a majority government, there might not have been any intervention.] Doing an end run around a bad law and leaving the bad law in place is not good governance. Dissolving or at least reforming the CRTC to include technically informed members as well as consumers instead of Bell Canada staffers would go a long way to achieving true net neutrality which would support Canada’s ability to compete well in the global economy.
The neighboring Riding of Kitchener-Waterloo is fortunate to have Steven Scott running as a Pirate Party candidate. I would vote for him if I could.
deciding how to cast my vote
Personal privacy is important, so I was pleased to witness my child’s refusal to answer a party canvasser who demanded to know how he would vote. As bad as our system is, we do still have a secret ballot. No one has the right to know how anyone will vote.
In my riding, I have four candidates to choose from. Anyone who has read anything I have written about Canadian politics would be justified in thinking I will not be casting a vote for either the Liberal or Conservative candidate. Even so, for every election I make up my mind anew.
As seems to be the case in every riding for this 41st Canadian election, the Conservative and Liberal party are attacking each other more than actually offering any solutions. When one considers that the past actions of these two parties are responsible for many problems we face:
- erosion of universal health care (in 30 years I’ve only ever seen health care cuts)
- erosion of democracy (G20, Byron Sonne, premature prorogation, contempt of parliament)
- taxation imbalance between corporate taxation (near non-existent) and citiizens (crushed by ever increasing burden)
I’m not voting for
My Conservative Party incumbent, who uses his past life as a Christian pastor as an badge of morality while allowing impropriety in his office, then compounds the problem by not taking responsibility.
My Liberal Party candidate who spent more time finger pointing than convincing me he would do a good job in office.
My Green Party candidate who is too new and shaky on his party’s platform. Being a self-confessed SUV driver did not help.
My NDP candidate is also new, but by way of contrast Lorne Bruce not only knows the party platform, he clearly believes in it. Instead of talking without substance, he stays on point.
I think that he will get things done and consider the wishes of constituents. We need a responsive government that serves Canadian interests, not a sock-puppets that will ram through American dictated legislation like Bill C-32. I think the NDP may be able to do that. What I do know is that they can’t possibly do a worse job than our previous governments. And they support electoral reform. Which is why the NDP’s Lorne Bruce will get my vote in this election.
That’s me, making my own choice.
In a democracy, we all do. Our system is broken, but it is important for Canadians to get involved so it can be fixed.
It’s interesting that citizens are beginning to realize that we don’t have to vote for candidates we don’t believe in.
Today is Election Day.
All Canadians should vote.
And if you can, bring a friend.
Between trying to get my debut novel, “Inconstant Moon,” ready to launch, computer technical difficulties, and the current federal election (I’ll be posting an #elxn41 piece to Oh! Canada later today) it would have been easy to forget all about Earth Day.
The weather is fairly miserable this year, but it is still an important day. One of the common themes in science fiction read in my youth was the caution that if we mess up the planet irreparably, without space travel humanity will be, ahem, screwed. Personally, although I am in favor of space travel, it is still important not to destroy this planet. Even if I could move to Mars or the Pleiades with Desdemona, I’d still want the option of coming home to visit.
Earth is my home.
As it is home to other forms of life.
One day a few years back I found a baby chipmunk stumbling around, wandering into the street. A closer look showed that his eyes weren’t open yet. A few days before I’d seen a dead chipmunk on the side of the road, so it was a very good guess that this little guy was an orphan.
So I brought him home.
Amazingly we managed to raise him. I had been advised to start him on goat’s milk with acidophilus to help digest it, and that did the trick. As he got older, I fed him husked sunflower seeds and grass &tc. but his favorite was tender dandelion greens, which fortunately were not covered in pesticide in my yard. So Chippy Baby grew up.
Chipmunks live underground, but ours was raised in a hamster cage with a climbing tube. He could sit at the top of his cage and look around, secure from being picked up by human hands.
When he told us it was time to go, we released him.
Happily he survived, and can be seen checking on us from on high.
Happy Earth Day.
All other photographs are by laurelrusswurm released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License
January 31st, 2011
To: The Legislative Committee on Bill C-32 (CC32)
As a writer, one of the people copyright law is supposed to serve, I’m concerned with effects of Bill C-32 on my ability to use technology to create and disseminate my work.
I was willing to trade my creative sovereignty for the opportunity to have my work produced and distributed on television when I was young, because it was the only game in town. That was then. Today, advances in digital technology and the Internet have made a host of new options available to creators. And even though Canada’s current copyright law is problematic, Creative Commons has introduced work-arounds which make it possible for creators to release our “Intellectual Property” as we see fit.
Canada’s current copyright law is harmful to me as a creator, and there is evidence that it is harmful Canadian culture as a whole from aspects like copyright terms that are so long they are detrimental to both creator and public interest. Yet Bill C-32 doesn’t reduce copyright terms or protect the creator’s right to share.
There is also no justification for the existence of Crown Copyright in a democracy. Why doesn’t Bill C-32 follow the good American copyright example of releasing of government funded work directly into the public domain (on the understanding that taxpayers have already paid for it)?
Culture grows through sharing. It used to be Canadians bemoaned the lack of a Canadian “identity.” This cultural void was certainly tied in to the limited exposure Canadians had to our own culture since a few corporations controlled all of our culture.
Today’s combination of hardware, software, media devices, and the Internet makes it possible for creators to create and distribute our work directly to our audience. The new technology has been an incredible boon to both creators and consumers.
The independent Canadian music industry is ushering in an incredible golden age, in spite of the CD levy which penalizes independent creators. Canadians are leading the world with Independent music production and distribution. And nobody is looking for a “Canadian Identity” anymore since Canadian culture is thriving– through sharing– on the Internet. For the first time in more than half a century, Canadian musicians don’t have to sign away the rights to their music to get recorded and distributed.
Special Interest Groups
The major record labels find this a problem because as more musicians choose independence, the established record industry loses market share. CRIA used to own 99% of the recording industry. Now they’re lucky if they have 70% of it.
It’s a challenge for corporations. Historically it would have led to corporate adaptation or demise. Today’s conglomerates have instead chosen to influence legal change.
But copyright law should not be employed to force creators into unsatisfactory arrangements in an attempt to prop up an industry unwilling to adapt.
What is Copyright Law Supposed to Do?
Isn’t copyright supposed to recognize and support the creator’s authorship?
Where did the idea that copyright law was somehow responsible for monetizing the ‘intellectual property’ industry came from? It makes no sense at all. Isn’t it customary for Industry to establish business practices through negotiations and contracts?
If we are to accept this as a valid premise, and proceed to impose Bill C-32 legislation that runs contrary to societal expectation, why stop there? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to apply the same thinking to all other Canadian business endeavors? Instead of contracts and negotiation, the government could legislate precise terms for all industries. The government could set the rates of pay for each job, define the responsibilities. Is that what we want? I suspect we don’t. Why is copyright treated this way?
The needs and best interests of corporations are almost always very different from the needs and best interests of human creators. Copyright should not be transferable, certainly not to corporations. At most, corporations should be limited to licensing copyright for a limited time. A great many of the current problems with copyright law are directly attributable to undue influence of corporations and copyright collectives. We have seen little or no input or consideration for the two most important copyright stakeholders: creators and citizens.
Like corporations, the interests of copyright collectives can differ from the interests of the people who are members. But if membership needs would be better served by removal/reduction of the collective, the existing collective will work to ensure continued existence, even if it is contrary to the best interests of the membership.
Yet some copyright collectives have been vocal in claims they speak on behalf of their entire membership, while others have claimed to speak for all Canadian authors.
There has been copyright collective support for both the CD levy, as well as expansion of it, as well as opposition to the expansion of fair dealing in Bill C-32. That isn’t surprising because the collectives benefit financially from both of those misguided initiatives. That is my perspective as an independent writer, consumer and parent.
Technical Protection Measures, Digital Rights Management, Digital Locks
Regardless of what term you choose, digital locks should not fall under copyright jurisdiction for the simple reason that creators have no control over them.
As written in the current incarnation of Bill C-32, technical protection measures are the most important provision.
This effectively strips all authority from creators. Because creators– and most especially independent creators– don’t hold the keys to these locks.
As an independent writer I oppose digital locks that can be used against me.
Digital locks can be employed to prevent my utilization of digital media, devices or Internet protocols to distribute my work as I see fit.
The freedom technology has lately made available to creators will taken away by Bill C-32.
As a consumer I can’t support a law that allows digital locks to prevent citizens from legitimately using media and devices. It should be illegal for digital locks to impede access to digital material that is in the public domain.
Made In Canada?
Canadian cultural sovereignty should belong to creators, not corporations.
There have been some very persuasive arguments that Bill C32, like Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 before it, has been written to appease our American neighbors. In itself, sacrificing Canadian sovereignty to appease foreign interests would be problematic enough if Canadian copyright law were made to conform to the contours of the American DMCA.
Worse: Bill C-32′s digital locks go far beyond the terms of the American DMCA provisions, so it would not simply be a case of leveling the playing field, Bill C-32 as will effectively put Canadians at a distinct disadvantage.
Iceland is contemplating putting all Icelandic literature online to foster and spread their culture. I submit this would be a better model for copyright emulation than the American DMCA.
The American DMCA contains provisions for mandatory adjustment every three years, and over time it has in fact been lightened up as unintended consequences have been addressed. Yet Canada’s Bill C-32 simply contains a suggestion to look at it every five years. In terms of the speed of digital change, 5 year suggested revision term is horrendous. Bill C-32 would require annual review as a feature.
Copyright needs to be simple enough for all citizens to understand, because more and more people are participating in our shared culture. Many artists believe things must change. The existing law is too strong, but rushing to enact legislation as flawed as Bill C-32 because we are tired of copyright is not the answer.
There are many reasons to use Free-Libre Open Source software for our endeavors. Yet the primacy of digital locks will impede access to such software for all of us.
I want to be able to make my work freely available. My right to do so should not be sacrificed to special interests. Canadian copyright law must support all Canadian creators, even those of us who believe in the importance of sharing.
I cannot support Bill C-32 as it is.
Perhaps I could if you were to remove TPM/DRM/Digital locks altogether. Some people think amending the Bill to permit circumvention for lawful purposes would solve the problem. I disagree. I don’t think consumers should have to circumvent digital locks. If digital locks are applied, it must be up to the parties holding the keys to guarantee the locks will be opened for lawful purposes.
Thank you for the opportunity to be heard. I will of course post my comments to my personal blog. [ http://laurelrusswurm.wordpress.com/ ]
Laurel L. Russwurm
CC: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper email: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca
CC: The Honourable Tony Clement email: Clement.T@parl.gc.ca>
CC: The Honourable James Moore email: Moore.J@parl.gc.ca
CC: The Honourable Michael Ignatieff email: Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
CC: Legislative Committee Members
(Charlie Angus email: Angus.C@parl.gc.ca , Sylvie Boucher email: Boucher.S@parl.gc.ca , Peter Braid email: Braid.P@parl.gc.ca , Gordon Brown email: Brown.G@parl.gc.ca , Serge Cardin email: Cardin.S@parl.gc.ca , Dean Del Mastro email: DelMastro.D@parl.gc.ca , Marc Garneau email: Garneau.M@parl.gc.ca , Daryl Kramp email: Kramp.D@parl.gc.ca , Mike Lake email: Lake.M@parl.gc.ca , Carole Lavallée email: Lavallee.C@parl.gc.ca,
Dan McTeague email: McTeague.D@parl.gc.ca and Pablo Rodriguez email: Rodriguez.P@parl.gc.ca )
CC: Harold Albrecht email: Albrecht.H@parl.gc.ca
[Image Credit: the copyright jail from Question Copyright Sita Distribution Project remixed with my “Inconstant Moon” cover art by laurelrusswurm]
I remember being shocked when a vet told me that cats who are allowed out doors on their own have a 3 year life expectancy. Even just for short bits. Because outside is dangerous. So we were resolved that the kittens would be indoor cats. The only time they are allowed out is in harness. This also ought to be much safer for squirrels and chipmunks and birds.
They were still quite small last winter, so although they’ve looked out the window at it, they’d never been out in snow. Still, our kittens have been lobbying to go our doors. There has been the odd escape attempt, but so far they’ve been easy to catch. But they see all the other critters out there, including neighbor cats. And of course squirrels and chipmunks and birds. So they’ve been out on harness this past summer, but this is the first time they’ve been up close and personal with snow.