Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

C-11 ~ Copyright Fallacy #4

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CLAIM: Piracy costs Hollywood Money

Hollywood spokespeople are always telling us piracy costs them money. In spite of reports and studies showing Hollywood makes record profits in spite of (and, some suggest, because of) “rampant piracy”.

Wild numbers are cited, but I’ve not seen credible evidence of these claims. Worse, what they most often call “piracy” these days is not commercial bootlegging, but non-commercial sharing.

But this is Canada.his was I can skip

What has Hollywood got to do with us?

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) exists to promote American Trade.

In recent yearts, the USTR works tirelessly to influence governments around the world to re-write their country’s copyright laws to benefit the powerful movie and music industries. Using the spectre of “lost profits” and “piracy” they constantly lobby for tougher and tougher copyright laws. Yet the numbers they quote seem pulled out of thin air. I have yet to see any credible evidence to back up their arguments.

Are Canadians Pirates?

Canada is, in fact, the home of the Pirate Party of Canada, which is a legitimate, recognized registered political party. Yet in spite of the name, the PPoC doesn’t advocate piracy, it advocates copyright and privacy law reform. Reform that would benefit people and culture — the public good — over corporate special interests.

But there are American Pirate Parties too…. At the Federal level there are two: the American Pirate Party, and the United States Pirate Party. And there ere are even Pirate Parties in several American states.

Yet year after year, USTR assertions paint Canada as a “haven for piracy.” In spite of the fact that Canada’s incidence of piracy is not only far lower than piracy in the U.S., but has been consistently dropping.

flags including pirate flags

This is a battle of public relations ~ propaganda, even ~ being conducted by the American Department of Trade. The point is that there doesn’t even have to be any truth to USTR assertions; just including Canada on the “USTR 301 Watch List” lends authority to the allegations, no matter how spurious.

The USTR’s goal is to ensure that the United States benefits most in any and all trade. The annual release of the USTR Watch List is designed to lend credibility to rumour and innuendo designed to improve the American Trade position.

Canada is a different country — a sovereign nation — we get to make our own laws. Canadian copyright is “only” 50 years after the death of the author, making it onla little harder for the US to treat Canada as its own fiefdom.

The USTR has been pushing succeeding Canadian Governments for a Canadian DMCA, and with the passage of Bill C-11 into law, they’ve got one. Most Canadians are unaware of the increasing sway copyright law holds over our lives. Those who do opposed Bill C-11.

But the government passed it anyway.

The problem I have with Bill C-11 is that it extends well beyond WIPO requirements; in fact, the scheme it would create would be among the most restrictive schemes anywhere in the world.”

Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May

The worst part of Bill C-11 is that it will protect manufacturer’s “Technological Protection Measures” or TPMs at the expense of personal property ownership. It will make it illegal for Canadians to break a digital lock for any reason.

What they call “modernization” of Canadian copyright law will legally protect the software and hardware we own — from us.

Our computers, ipads, kindles, wiis, smart phones, mp3, cd and dvd players &tc. — the machines we own — will be able to prevent us from reading books, playing games, movies and music.

Books, games, movies and music that we’re allowed to use under the fair dealing provisions of this same copyright law will be denied by the digital lock provisions.  TPMs will be able to prevent us from accessing reading, playing, watching and listening to books, games, movies and music that we own, or would otherwise be legally allowed to access because they are licensed to share or in the public domain.



Canada’s majority government passed Bill C-11 in June, 2012, transforming the co-called “Copyright Modernization Act” into “The Copyright 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 fourth in my C-11 Copyright Series:

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

July 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Posted in copyright

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