Posts Tagged ‘WikiLeaks’
Fortunately Bill C-11 has not yet become law.
Unfortunately it is only a matter of time before our majority government passes this misguided “copyright modernization” legislation currently called Bill C-11.
[This is the exact same law that was called Bill C-32 by the previous Conservative Government. Earlier incarnations were known as Bill C-61: An Act to amend the Copyright Act (by the Conservatives), and Bill C-60: An Act to amend the Copyright Act (by the Liberals).]
Although Canadians have mounted waves of opposition against each succeeding incarnation of a “Canadian DMCA,” both Liberal and Conservative Canadian Governments have attempted to pass copyright legislation that’s clearly against Canadian interests. Initially there was only supposition that the various drafts of a “Canadian DMCA” were produced in response to American pressure. After all, the USTR has been spreading misinformation about supposed Canadian piracy for years, in spite of the fact that the American DMCA has not stopped American digital piracy levels from being far higher than ours. Thanks to Wikileaks it is no longer an unsubstantiated guess: the Canadian government wants only to pass a Copyright Law that will make the American Government happy.
Four different Canadian Governments led by our two traditional ruling parties have tried to accomplish this, the previous efforts failed due to a combination of opposition and politics.
But this time it is different: our majority Conservative Government can pass anything it likes.
The only possible way to stop it is for public outcry. The problem is that most Canadians still don’t know this is happening or why it is important or what it will do. The mainstream media coverage has not helped raise awareness because their corporate masters have a vested interest; after all, the MPAA and RIAA (through its branch plant formerly known as CRIA) have a very long reach.
TPM, DRM, Digital Locks
DRM technologies attempt to give control to the seller of digital content or devices after it has been given to a consumer. For digital content this means preventing the consumer access, denying the user the ability to copy the content or converting it to other formats. For devices this means restricting the consumers on what hardware can be used with the device or what software can be run on it.
The single reason that Bill C-11 will be so devastating is that it sets TPM (Technical Protection Measures) as the most powerful element of Canadian copyright law. TPMs (also known as copy protection) are the main weapon used in the DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) arsenal, and are commonly referred to as “Digital Locks” in Canada.
Whatever you call it, it will be terrible for Canadians. It won’t matter if a person has legally purchased a copy of an eBook, game, a movie or music, if Canadians need to circumvent TPMs in order to read, play watch or listen to our own legal copies, we will be breaking the law. If I want to watch a movie DVD on my Linux computer, I won’t be able to. Linux users will be forced to switch to Apple or Windows operating systems of they want to watch their DVDs. If I want to format shift any digital media I’ve purchased so that it will play on the device of my choosing, I won’t be able to without breaking the law.
Does this mean it will be illegal to have my printer’s ink cartridges refilled with off brand ink? Probably. I was foolish enough to buy a printer that has computer chips in its printer cartridges. The chip tells the printer not to work because a certain amount of ink has been used or the printer cartridge is too old. Bypassing that programming may well be considered circumvention of the manufacturer’s technical protection measures. After all, to be protected under the new Bill C-11 Copyright Law, TPMs won’t have to be tied to any actual copyright infringement or criminal wrongdoing.
This is not a good thing for consumers.
Once this law is passed, I imagine that it will be only a matter of time before every digital device and most software destined for the Canadian market will be tightly locked in DRM. Further, as a self publishing Canadian writer, my further concern is also that digital locks may well be used to limit distribution of my own work.
Why did Canada sign ACTA?
The speed with which digital innovation and the Internet have set the world on end is unprecedented; even Malcolm Gladwell, one of Canada’s brightest sons doesn’t get it. So I’m inclined to think that the largest problems is that most of our government doesn’t understand the issues.
It is unreasonable to expect elected officials to understand everything. They are only human, after all, and so they can’t. What they must do, is to find out about each issue as it arises, and the fastest way to do this is to consult with the experts. The problem that has arisen is that the experts governments the world over rely on when forging laws to govern this new technology are the mainstream media. And the mainstream media has a clear and present interest in both copyright and and controlling technological innovation.
It is very possible that C-11 is intended as a law to allow Canadian compliance with the dreadful ACTA Trade Agreement.
ACTA is one more offensive against the sharing of culture on the Internet. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an agreement secretly negotiated by a small “club” of like-minded countries (39 countries, including the 27 of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc). Negotiated instead of being democratically debated, ACTA bypasses parliaments and international organizations to dictate a repressive logic dictated by the entertainment industries.
ACTA, a blueprint for laws such as SOPA and PIPA, would impose new criminal sanctions forcing Internet actors to monitor and censor online communications. It is thus a major threat to freedom of expression online and creates legal uncertainty for Internet companies. In the name of trademarks and patents, it would also hamper access to generic medicines in poor countries.”
Although Canadian negotiators were included in the secret ACTA treaty negotiations, sitting members of parliament and the public were deliberately kept in the dark as to what ACTA was about. Although ACTA is supposed to stand for “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agrement” the prime reason for its secrecy was the copyright law provisions.
Among those who are aware of ACTA, its agenda is believed to be that of the American movie and music industries. These Industries have been investing unprecedented amounts of time and money in attempts to coerce sovereign nations around the world to enact copyright laws beneficial to their special interests.
In spite of the fact that the final round of ACTA negotiations failed to achieve consensus in the secret negotiations, some time later Canada went ahead and signed the treaty anyway. The European Parliament signed ACTA a few days after the SOPA protest, but it must pass a plenary vote this summer before it will be official.
Stop The Canadian DMCA
Copyright law has always been concerned with Intellectual Property, but Bill C-11 strays into the realm of physical property. A law that prevents citizens from making personal use of our own legally purchased media on the digital devices of our choices strays beyond the realm of intellectual into the realm of physical property. Making all circumvention illegal is equivalent to putting citizens in jail for breaking into our own home of we’ve inadvertently locked ourselves out.
Bill C-11 is *not* in the Canadian interest.
More information can be found in my Oh! Canada article
“Bill C-11 Backgrounder: A Brief History of the Canadian DMCA” and What to do about Bill C-11 ?
Technical Aspects: check Russell McOrmond’s Conservative Copyright Bill C-11
Bill C-11 Status
Keep up with the status of this problematic draft legislation by checking LEGISinfo.
Today is Julian Assange’s birthday.
Assange thinks human beings have a right to privacy, but democratic governments owe their citizens transparency.
Julian Assange isn’t an ordinary guy, but an innovator. Not mired in preconceived notions, he is a prime architect of WikiLeaks, the first Stateless news organization. WikiLeaks was designed to anonymously accept, vet and publish information that the public should be privy to.
It appears that elements of the United States government prefer to operate without citizen oversight. Some decades past, US government leaks given to Woodward and Bernstein brought criminal behavior in the Nixon government out of the shadows and into the open. For this service to their government and their nation, Woodward and Bernstein were lionized.
Although Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks were well thought of for their efforts in support of freedom in repressive regimes, the U.S. government attitude changed abruptly with the release of the the “Collateral Murder” video where military personnel cavalierly used unarmed civilians for target practice. As far as I know, no attempt has been made to address this problem. The war criminals implicated in the video don’t even appear even to have been reprimanded.
However, Bradley Manning, the young intelligence officer accused of being the WikiLeaks whistle blower, (the modern day equivalent of Bob Woodward’s “Deep Throat”) has been isolated, incarcerated, and held in conditions that suggest attempts to “break” if not “brainwash” the young man. It must be noted that Bradley Manning’s extreme loss of liberty has been effected even before he has been convicted of anything.
Wikileaks, and anyone associated with it, has also come under fire.
Julian Assange, as “the face of WikiLeaks,” has drawn the lightning. Various powerful people have leveled threats against Mr. Assange, including Canada’s own Tom Flanagan, reputedly a friend and mentor of our sitting Prime Minister, who advocated assassinating Julian Assange on Canada’s national public broadcasting network, CBC Radio-Canada. The video of Flanagan’s crime (counselling to commit a crime is in itself a criminal offense in Canada) has been seen around the world. Yet in spite of citizen complaints, petitions and public pressure, no Canadian police force will even bring charges against this well connected Canadian.
Currently, Mr. Assange is being held in the United Kingdom under house arrest, with an electronic surveillance ankle bracelet and draconian terms of “bail.”
Ostensibly, this is because Mr. Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors wish to question him. They had previously questioned him, and declined to bring charges. Many people believe the real agenda for Mr. Assange’s extradition is simply a sham to keep him “on tap” until the American government manages to find laws under which to charge him. Failing that, existing American laws, which currently allow protection to news media when publishing material that may have been obtained illegally by whistle blowers, may be changed.
So today, on his birthday, Julian Assange remains a prisoner.
House arrest may not be as bad as incarceration in an actual jail, but it is, nonetheless, a deprivation of liberty.
In spite of this, I hope Julian Assange can have a good 40th birthday, and take heart that many ordinary people around the world support the cause of freedom, and we do appreciate his efforts.
Julian AssangeThis photo by New Media Days / Peter Erichsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Free Bradley Manning photo by Steve Rhodes released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No derivs License
Thanks to my brother, humor columnist, Larry Russwurm, for spotting and photographing the graffiti below in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and releasing the image under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Naturally, while I am working to get Inconstant Moon launched, not only is there a Canadian Federal Election in full swing, but a new release of WikiLeaks cables− in particular the batch on Canadian Copyright pressure− the ones I have been waiting for − have been released.
Canadian DMCA Background
Ever since the United States passed their DMCA, Canadian Governments have been struggling to pass a Canadian DMCA.
First the Liberal Government tried to pass Bill C-60
Then the Conservative Government that replaced them tried to pass Bill C-61
Then the Conservative Government held the Copyright Consultation. More than eight Thousand Canadians responded to the copycon, and their submissions are still online.
The Conservative Government ignored the preponderance of feedback from the consultation and tried to pass Bill C-32
The DMCA is a bad law, and most Canadians that understand copyright issues are very much opposed to a Canadian DMCA.
When you realize that Bill C-60 was tabled by the Liberal Party of Canada, and Bill C-61 and C-32 by the Conservative Party of Canada, it was dreadfully clear that the law’s objectives were the same.
Both the Liberal and Conservative copyright law appeared to be made in the USA.
Now, however, it is no longer just theory.
You can read the cables yourself, here:
WikiLeaks cable Viewer: Canadian Copyright
Michael Geist is understandably working his way through them and blogging his findings
- Wikileaks Cable Confirms Public Pressure Forced Delay of Canadian Copyright Bill in 2008
- Wikileaks on CRIA and the U.S. Government: How They Combine to Lobby on Canadian Copyright
- Wikileaks Cables Show Massive U.S. Effort to Establish Canadian DMCA
Drew Wilson: ZeroPaid:
Russell McOrmond: Digital Copyright Canada
WikiLeaks Central: GeorgieBC
Those of us who suspected this are gratified these manipulations are now confirmed facts.
Thank you WikiLeaks.
There are a whole lot of things to be talked about arising from the tragic events of last weekend. But the thing that cut me most to the quick is the death of that little nine year old child. Probably because I’m a mother. Not so long ago my precious child was nine.
The thought of losing a child is the most terrible fear a parent has. My heart breaks for Christina Taylor Green, and I grieve with her family.
So the whole business of the funeral protest– the very idea of protesting at a funeral is incredible to me. I’ve not heard of any such thing in Canada, although it may happen here, too, for all I know.
Needless to say I was surprised and pleased when I heard Arizona passed a special law outlawing protest near funerals. That helped a little.
Yet the controversy rages still.
Many people are upset because they think it is censorship.
But it’s not. This is a private matter. Privately, parents have the right to decide what their children see, hear and read. Because it is private.
Publicly, parents do not have the power to decide this for others. That would be censorship.
Now, I do think it’s important for people to participate in society. I think it’s important for people to try and effect the changes we think will improve the world. Which is a very powerful reason why I support WikiLeaks. But WikiLeaks has a storm or protest swirling around it too, and for similar reasons.
It all boils down to one thing.
the difference between public and private
Many people say WikiLeaks is bad because it makes private things public. But I disagree.
WikiLeaks has not sought to make private things public. In fact, over and over again, WikiLeaks has indicated that they support individual privacy.
What politicians say and do in their line of work may be concealed, or secret, but they are public employees engaged in work for their government.
Governments are not human beings, they are public institutions. There can be no privacy there, because privacy is a human right.
Politicians are public servants. That makes them accountable to the public. What they do on their own time is private— as long as it does not impact on their work.
When anyone takes any job, they are accountable to their employer. If sales clerk steals from her employer, she can’t claim privacy as a shield. If a minister absconds with the church bank account, he can’t claim privacy as a shield either.
why peaceful protest?
The point of peaceful protest is to effect public change.
It is appropriate to protest bad government decisions on the steps of the government buildings, because it draws the attention of both the government and the public. Public pressure can then be applied to the issue and government (in a democracy, anyway) will listen to the citizens and act in the public good. Or in a non-democratic nation the government will arrest and carry the peaceful protesters off to jail to suppress dissent, and then perhaps the neighboring democratic countries will protest, and thus effect change.
It is appropriate to protest bad corporate policy in the street outside the business, making it difficult for employees and customers to get in or out to do business with the corporation. Since corporations are artificial constructs incapable of human ethics, they can only be influenced solely by the bottom line.
Corporations and government both operate in the public sphere, and the greater public does indeed have a stake and should have a voice in what they do. Change can sometimes be effected this way.
But a funeral is not a public thing.
Funerals may appear to be public because they occur in public venues and can travel on public thoroughfares.
But a funeral is a private thing.
A funeral is part of a private human practice that has grown up out of the universal human grief process.
Funerals exist to allow people an opportunity to cope with and live through their personal grief. The proceedings and ceremony often spread into the wider community to allow other human beings to provide their personal support. People share their personal feelings and support each other. So although a funeral may have the appearance of a public event, in reality it is a private part of the healing of the survivors.I have attended many funerals in my life. Some for aged relatives whose passing was expected, others not.
I’ve supported people I care about and attended funerals for people I didn’t know well.
Last year I attended the most difficult funeral I’ve yet had to attend. It wasn’t unexpected, but it was devastating nonetheless. I still can barely think about the loss of my older sister, Lynda, who had such a great influence on me.
This loss has scarred my soul and will never entirely heal. But the funeral helped me to wrap the personal loss in a special place in my heart, and to take comfort from friends and family and the extended community. Inclusion of the human community in the grieving process does not negate the fact that it is a private thing. The human privacy of a funeral expands to include all the humans so affected.
The only appropriate demonstration for a funeral is the demonstration of grief as part of the human healing process.
When you protest near a government, you do so to tell the government to hear your idea, and hopefully change. When you protest near a corporation you tell the people who set its policy it is on notice. But what are you protesting at a funeral?
The people attending a funeral are too enmeshed in grief to be able to hear ideas. Protest will interfere with their grieving process, and thus inflict harm on them. Which is wholly inappropriate.
The most that will be accomplished would be to make the funeral attendees forever an enemy of the ideas of the cause the protest espouses. Which is wholly ineffective. Exploiting the grief of the mourners at a funeral is, at best, in bad taste. It is certainly not a place for public protest.
Sometimes, there are important points that need to be made in public about death. Sometimes we need to publicly talk about issues and ideas surrounding a death. But still, the funeral is not the place.
No nine year old child should ever die like this.
Christina Taylor Green’s life has been ripped away from her. Her family and community will be devastated by the loss of this beautiful nine year old child. They need the opportunity to grieve in peace.
There is nothing stopping protesters from holding their own public memorial service, or rally. Then it would be an appropriate public thing.
Protesting at a private funeral can only further harm the people who are already harmed, exploiting the tragedy. Some people seek to do that. Even though it harms the public good.
Human society allows government the facility to enact laws so that it can support the public good. And sometimes it happens that governments do just that.
This is one of those times. Bravo Arizona.