Posts Tagged ‘Technological Protection Measures’
“Wasn’t the whole purpose of copyright to allow artists, musicians, and authors to make a living?”
Although the privilege of copyright was granted to writers (and later extended to other creators), they had a very limited ability to make copies. A writer could copy the manuscript by hand and sell copies to anyone they met. The printers had the expertise and the control of the expensive equipment, so right from the start the creators were disadvantaged, writers had no choice but to assign this “right” to the distributors.
Although the supposed justification for copyright is to allow creators to make a living, in practice the monopoly allowed the Stationers (or Booksellers, Printers, Publishers &tc.) to generate revenue and control publishing. Copyright succeeded so well for so long by giving the appearance of existing to benefit the creators. Creator support ensures that the market – the audience – honours copyright.
As time went on, creators wound up with ever decreasing power over this supposed privilege, while the distributors — now called publishers — accrued more and greater power, which they used to dictate terms to creators. The problem was that printing was only part of it; the distribution network was the other side of the equation.
More and more of our cultural pursuits have come under the “protection” of copyright. The music recording industry is the worst for creators, as many (most?) musicians were forced to give up their copyright in order to secure a recording contract. For all but the biggest stars, the effect is to thrust most recording artists into indentured servitude. Because of this, more and more musicians choose the independence now possible with affordable recordings and Internet distribution. Before the Internet, CRIA controlled the recording industry in Canada; but 30% of the Canadian Industry was independent by 2010. It isn’t piracy that threatens the legacy distributors, it’s competition.
In today’s Canada we also have a proliferation of copyright collectives which have devolved onto yet another “middleman” with a hand in the copyright till.
The only way for creators to access the funds owing them as a result of the copyright monopoly is by way of copyright collectives, which is why copyright collectives lobby for stronger, longer copyright.
Perhaps initially these collectives actually represented the interests of creators, but judging from the lobbying they engage in today, it seems pretty clear these collectives are primarily interested in their own needs.
Making it appear that copyright benefits the creators is a great way to have creators support
Both the technological revolution ushered in by plummeting copying costs and the Internet threaten the corporations and copyright collectives. Corporate interests want to regain absolute control of their industries while copyright collectives want to regain absolute control of their respective workforce. Both are threatened with obsolescence due to rapid growth of independent creators that threaten the old fashioned business models.
In response to this threat both special interest groups have been lobbying governments around the world to use legislative means to turn back the hands of time. Canada’s draft copyright legislation new copyright legislation will vest absolute power in Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) and give in to these demands with Bill C-11, which is ironically called “The Copyright Modernization Act.”
[This is the second in my C-11 Copyright Series. Canada’s majority government is poised to pass Bill C-11, the co-called “Copyright Modernization Act” in spite of unprecedented Canadian opposition. The tragedy is most Canadians are unaware of copyright issues and don’t yet realize the growing impact it exerts over our daily lives.
This is the second in my C-11 Copyright Series:
Nora Young interviewed CIPPIC’s David Fewer on her CBC Spark program, and one of the points that they discuss is the worry that TPMs (digital locks/DRM) will stop Canadians from doing “what we what we would ordinarily be allowed to do under fair dealing.”
But it is more than that.
Fair dealing is only part of it. Under Bill C-11 TPMs will stop us from doing things we are legally allowed to do, including things that have nothing to do with fair dealing.
If it is illegal to circumvent TPMs, Canadians will be prevented from accessing content that is in the public domain, or work that has been licensed to share. This is already happening now.
As a writer, I’ve been appalled that books in the public domain have been locked behind TPMs. Bill C-11 will make it illegal to circumvent this kind of TPM. Even using a pen and paper to hand copy the words of a public domain work like The Happy Prince if TPMs are present, will be copyright infringement – and illegal – when Bill C-11 becomes law.
Bill C-11 will make it possible for Microsoft to prevent people from replacing the Windows Operating System that comes preloaded on most computers with free software of our choice ~ like Linux. So Bill C-11 could very easily be used to kill free software in Canada.
Even worse, if it illegal to circumvent TPMs, it will be possible to prevent Canadians from accessing content that is our own.
When my sister first got Windows 7, the software wouldn’t allow her to transfer photos of her own kids, from her own digital camera, to her own computer. That’s a real life example of how TPMs can go terribly wrong. Because the assumption behind TPMs is that we are all infringing copyright, so the default is always maximum. Had Bill C-11 been the law at that time, my sister would have had to break the law to circumvent the TPMs (that wrongly accused her of copyright infringement) to transfer her own photographs — which she unquestioningly owned the copyright for — from her own digital camera to her own computer — both devices being her own physical property.
Just now I’m reading Lawrence Lessig’s “Free Culture,” where he writes about the MPAA argument that Intellectual Property should enjoy the same level of protection that physical property does.
“Creative property owners must be accorded the same rights and protection resident in all other property owners in the nation. That is the issue. That is the question. And that is the rostrum on which this entire hearing and the debates to follow must rest“
— Jack Valenti, MPAA president quoted in Lawrence Lessig’s “Free Culture”
But Bill C-11 goes far beyond equality, and clearly tips the balance so our physical property rights are overwhelmingly quashed in favour of the rights of Intellectual Property owners.
So it isn’t a very big jump to see that Bill C-11 will have the capacity to suppress independent creators from releasing our own work, because we won’t have the keys to the digital locks.
Enabling technology to enforce the control of copyright means that the control of copyright is no longer defined by balanced policy.
— Lawrence Lessig, “Free Culture“
The majority of those Canadians who took my unscientific poll understand (or think they understand) what DRM is.
Yet very few taking my poll had any idea what TPMs are.
Friday May 4th was the International Day Against DRM. Although Canada has been talking about changing copyright law for well over a decade, DRM (Digital Rights Management, or Digital Restrictions Management) isn’t even mentioned in Bill C-11, the draft legislation currently before parliament.
Interestingly enough, many Americans are just as confused by the acronym TPMs as Canadians are, because, especially in the tech sector, TPM is more often an acronym for Trusted Platform Module.
If you search for “Technical Protections Measures” on Wikipedia, you will be redirected to the “Copy Protection” page. And oddly, although people talk about “Technical Protection Measures” the language in Bill C-11 is actually “Technological protection measures.”
Wikipedia will tell you that there is no “Technological Protection Measures” page, but provides a list of search results. Unsurprisingly, the first on the list is the Digital Rights Management page, which is appropriate since “Technical Protections Measures” or TPMs are pretty interchangeable with DRM.
`Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems …
(3) As used in this subsection–
`(A) to `circumvent a technological measure’ means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
`(B) a technological measure `effectively controls access to a work’ if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
Bill C-11 defines TPMs thus:
“technological protection measure” means any effective technology, device or component that, in the ordinary course of its operation,
(a) controls access to a work, to a perform- er’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording and whose use is authorized by the copyright owner; or
(b) restricts the doing — with respect to a work, to a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording — of any act referred to in section 3, 15 or 18 and any act for which remuneration is payable under section 19.
Short answer: TPM is Bill C-11 legal language for DRM.
If Bill C-11 becomes law as written, it will become illegal to circumvent DRM, even if the DRM is “protecting” work that does not infringe copyright. Work that is in the public domain. Work that qualifies as fair dealing. Work that is licensed to share. Work that doesn’t infringe copyright.
Bill C-11 will give DRM super powers in Canada.
If Bill C-11 becomes law, I expect DRM will appear on everything destined for the Canadian market.
WSIC (Waterloo Students for the Information Commons) has set up a DRM/TPM wiki