Double Standard: Bill C-11

“Bill C-11 contains an “enabler” provision which currently states, “It is an infringement of copyright for a person to provide, by means of the Internet or another digital network, a service that the person knows or should have known is designed primarily to enable acts of copyright infringement if an actual infringement of copyright occurs by means of the Internet or another digital network as a result of the use of that service.”  — Russell McOrmond Is Bill C-11 related to SOPA/PIPA?


If it’s an infringement to provide a service the person knows or should have known is designed primarily to enable acts of copyright infringement IF AN INFRINGEMENT OCCURS…

Wait: does that mean it isn’t an infringement if no one actually infringes?

brothers keeper

Hum.  It appears that Bill C-11 is straying pretty far afield for copyright law.  And sounds pretty dependent on what other people do.

from elbow to clenched fistIt is reasonable for me to be responsible for my own dog, because I have control of my own dog. If my dog bites the letter carrier, it is my responsibility.

But I would not be liable if someone else’s dog bit the letter carrier.

Or what about “the person knows or should have known” …. Well. We all make mistakes. Who can know what anyone else will do?

If rent out a building to a tenant who cooks up methamphetamine in the basement, or takes pot shots at passersby out the window… is this then my responsibility?  After all, it’s my building. It’s in a bad neighborhood so I should have known renting it out might make it possible for badguys to do bad things.

Think about it.

“…the person knows or should have known is designed primarily to enable acts of copyright infringement…” If the design of the thing is to primarily enable bad things… why don’t we make laws like that for anything in the real world?


revolver in a caseMany perfectly respectable stores like Canadian Tire sell guns. In a pinch, you could use your handgun to drive a nail, but that isn’t what it was designed for. A gun is a weapon that is clearly designed to put holes in things. Quite often, guns are used to put holes in people. And guns can and are used in a commission of a crime far more serious than copyright infringement.

Yet no one is suggesting gun manufacturers be held responsible for crimes committed with the guns they made.

In the real world, this kind of preventative lawmaking is not the practice in Canada.


a baggie of tea stands in for marijuana, on a pizza box, with matchbook. Recreational drug use has been illegal in Ontario throughout my life, yet there are whole stores devoted to selling the attendant paraphernalia. It is perfectly legal for “head shops” to sell hookahs and bongs openly on the main shopping street of law abiding cities like Waterloo. And these devices are most certainly designed to enable acts of illegal drug use.

Any tool can be used for good or ill, as Cory Doctorow recently pointed out with his suggestion that wheels should be outlawed since wheeled vehicles allow criminals to flee from the scene of the crime. A hammer is a wonderful tool for driving nails, and yet a simple hammer can double as an effective weapon since it is easy for anyone to wield.

In the real world, we don’t arrest people for thinking dangerous thoughts or manufacturing goods or creating a service that someone else might use to break laws. We don’t hold innocent people responsible for the crimes of others.

The legal standards for citizen protection must be the same both online and off. Yet Bill C-11 lowers standards for citizen protection in Canada.

And that’s wrong.

Image Credits
gun by Whizzer released under a creative commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5) License

All other images are my own, released under a Creative Commons Attribution license by laurelrusswurm


3 thoughts on “Double Standard: Bill C-11

  1. One thing that NO ONE seems to address in any way shape or form is that the original file sharing tools necessary, DRM circumvention, step by step instruction, comparisons and ongoing encouragement were provided by Cnet or ZDnet owned by CBS-Viacom with partnerships and of course download PARTNERSHIP with Disney , AOL ,MSN ,NBC and all of the rest of the delightful cabal behind SOPA, PIPA, ACTA , …bill C32 and now bill C11 !!! Now how could this not make these clowns liable for the very thing that they are working over time to have the peasantry tossed into jail for also wouldn’t providing the tools necessary, step by step instruction, comparisons and ongoing encouragement be legally regarded as IMPLIED CONSENT or at the VERY least entrapment? Just askin. It would seem to me that the first stop of call for artists to receive (deserved ) compensation would be the media companies that worked so hard to create, distribute,and encourage the very file-sharing tools they now decry
    So to sum up after SOPA ,it’s evil twin PIPA and any politions or companies supporting them were given a reception much like a porcupine in a hot tub.The very groups that originally provided the tools necessary, step by step instruction, comparisons and ongoing encouragement for citizens to download media from the internet have brought their act north (with of course arm twisting by the VERY government down south that had there ass handed to them for this VERY same thing)and are now pushing the government of OUR country into handing over defacto control of the net and arranging to incarcerate ANY of OUR citizens for using the VERY tools they worked so very hard to get into use…Am I missing anything ? WoW!!!

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