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


Link Swapping Is A Scam

my reflection in my netbook with autumn foliage behind me

Along with learning about blogging and self publishing, I’ve been learning how the Internet works. In order to do the things I want to do I’ve had to learn how to employ the technology, but I am by no means a “natural.”

One of the most important lessons is to share what you learn with others. I have learned so much from what others have shared with me, that it’s only natural to return the favour. Because I have several web sites and blogs, I’ll often get the same spam for different sites. The one that’s prompted this blog post is the following verbatim reprint of a particular spam email I get periodically for my various blogs and websites. If you get one like this, my advice is:

Don’t do it.

Although I’ve redacted the names to protect the guilty, the rest of the email is reproduced word for word here:


Let’s do a 3-way link swap with your website I’ll give you two links in exchange for one from

3-way linking is a very effective link building strategy. Since you’re getting the links from third party websites, they appear totally natural to search engines. Such inbound links help your website rank higher in Google and other
search engines.

Visit [redacted] to submit your website.


Founder & CEO, {redacted]

This is a scam.

I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m still getting this email, so I’ll try again.

The tip off is that these links “appear totally natural.” It appears to be a way to scam the search engines, but what it really wants to do is scam us out of our good reputations.

When you start creating web content like blogs or websites, you often hear about rumoured — almost magic — ways of getting your website noticed by search engines. Search terms. Meta data. Tags. SEO. Categories. Search Engine Optimization. Everyone wants our web page to be on the top of the Google search, because that will brings readers.

my cat sits on the deck behind my external workstation

Search engines have a variety of ways to decide how to rank web pages, and one of them is based on how many incoming links you have. As long as there has been an Internet there have been ways people have tried to scam the search engines. The reason for this is simple.

If someone types “costumes” in the search bar, if your costume blog is at the top of the list the search engine returns you will get a lot more visitors. If it first appears on page fifty, well, not so much.

The thing to remember is that any search engine is trying to provide every web searcher with the correct website or information they want, as quickly as possible. So search engines are not happy with fake results. I’ve heard tell that Google refuses to index bad actors who do things like salting their web pages with invisible words in hopes of gaming the search engine. If you’re a fly-by-night operator, maybe how you get page hits doesn’t matter. If you are looking for a quick buck and are willing to change domain names more often than underwear, maybe that’s okay. If Google black lists you, you just get a new five dollar domain name from godaddy.

No thanks

When I was starting out, the advice I got was to build solid content. You will get readership if the content is there. If people want to read what you write, they will find you. But it takes time, and a lot of effort.

Murray works at distracting me.

That’s what I have tried to do, because I’m here for the long haul. Web credibility is important. If anything, your online reputation might even be more important than your real life reputation on the Internet. What you put online is the basis of what you are judged for online.

If I were to trade links with this organization, I might get traffic, but is it traffic that will do me any good? Would it be people who actually want to find my blog?

I have worked hard on all of my blogs. So I don’t want people being directed here in error — long enough to discover that they have been deliberately sent to the wrong place. If you trick people to come to your site, even if they might find your content interesting, or even of use, they will be annoyed at having been misdirected, which very likely will not result in a regular readers. That’s important to me; I want people to actually read what I write.

After all, would I really want to direct my readers to web pages that aren’t good enough to attract readers legitimately?

I don’t think so.

Worse, do I want to squander my hard earned web credibility on some scammer?  No way.

Like most good con jobs, this seems to cost nothing, but in fact it comes very dear.  Like many things, quite often anything that sounds too good to be true, is.

The essential backyard writer workstation (cats are optional)
LEFT: Fair Trade Coffee CENTER: Netbook (red tape obscures camera lens). RIGHT: mouse on futuristic mousepad

“Inconstant Moon” ~ update: Libreleft Books Blog

The text Libreleft Books is above the gibbous moon and the text SelfPub below, on a blue field

Everything takes longer than I thought it would. Part of it is the learning curve.

Although I’m working at setting up the Inconstant Moon serialization blog, it is has proved far more difficult than anticipated. XHTML is one thing, PHP is something else again.

Part of what I’ve been wrestling has been my plan to include supporting material, background &tc. for Inconstant Moon. As well, from the outset I have always intended to blog about the experience, in hopes of helping others following this path. Any way you slice it, it is two very different sets of blog pages.

And then, of course, I’m nearly done the first draft of my next novel. As soon as Inconstant Moon is in the can, I’ll be getting back to the Girl In The Blue Flame Cafe. That’s when it It occurred to me that what I really need is a central Libreleft Books blog. It would, of course, provide the perfect place to gather all my self publishing tidbits. So, that’s what I’ve done today… well, yesterday into today. So it’s a beginning, and I am quite sure it will evolve, but it’s just a beginning.

So it isn’t just the learning curve. Not that I needed another blog, or anything…. ;D but the Libreleft Books Blog is begun.

Anyway, the birds are chirping and it’s gotten rather light out there, so I’d really better grab a bit of sleep before getting back to my serial theme.

[I won’t mention that between the computer crash and the upgrade, my serialzation blog seems to have been knocked about… ]

Oh, right; the tentative date for the Inconstant Moon release is Friday May 27th.


Facebook PhoneNumbers & Security

Since I’m finishing my novel and committed to uploading it to CreateSpace Sunday night, I’m *not* supposed to be blogging!

But this is a pretty serious FaceBook privacy breach passed on my by friend Mary, and the sooner people know the sooner they can pull their numbers.

If you’ve ever given Facebook your phone number, it is now published.

ALL PHONE NUMBERS are now on Facebook! No joke …

facebook logo

  • Go top right of your screen –
  • click on ACCOUNT then
  • click Edit Friends.
  • Go to the left of the screen and
  • click the phone book.

Everyone’s phone number has now been published.
Please share this with your friends so they can remove their numbers when changing their personal settings.

Of course, the phone book is only published to *your* Facebook Friends…

AND every app that you’ve allowed to access your friend list now has all of their phone numbers.

This one doesn’t hit me because I never gave Facebook my phone number because I follow:

Internet Privacy Rule #1

Never Give Out Unnecessary Personal Information online.

The ONLY time you need to give out your home address or phone number is if you want someone to call you or mail something or visit.

Just because some website insists on accessing your private information does not obligate you to give it to them. If they insist, you are perfectly within your rights to lie. Give them a phony address (not the address of anyone you know). Change your birthdate, lie about your age. Yesterday I advised one of my my brothers to set up a disposable email address before divulging his real email address to someone he thought may be up to no good. And for years I’ve been telling every one I know — including my child — to lie about everything online. (Even just a postal code narrows your location down right quick.)

Think about it. I don’t have to give my identification to walk into a Canadian Tire Store, so why is it necessary online?

My computer guy advises that the best policy for Facebook is to assume that EVERY bit of information you put there will be written on a billboard for every one to see. Facebook may have privacy settings but no real privacy. Facebook lays claim to everything you put there – it belongs to them. See the movie. And realize that the movie is the sanitized glammed up version.

Online Security is spelled https

FYI: While on Facebook, look at your URL address;
if you see http: instead of https:
then you don’t have a secure session and you can be hacked.

  • Go to Account|Account Settings|Account Security and
  • click Change.
  • Check the first setting (secure browsing)
  • Re-Post for your Friends

FB defaults to the non-secure setting.

Only https offers you a secure internet connection. Which is still not encryption. I’ve been told that the reason https is secure is because it is encrypted.

(If you don’t want Bell using DPI to read your mail or peek in your packets with DPI, you want to go further & use encryption… which I have yet to figure out myself. I’m looking into a thing called Truecrypt.)

[Thanks Mary and Paul!]

Silencing Online Activism: From “Officer Bubbles” to “Free Byron”

maple leaf leaning right

[This is an expanded version of the comment I posted to the CBC’s online article Toronto’s ‘Officer Bubbles’ sues YouTube. Of course, it’s subject to moderation and I have had many comments well within stated CBC guidelines declined. So I decided to post this here as it’s too important an issue to let slip through the cracks.]

The calls for an Inquiry into the G8/G20 debacle aren’t going away, they are getting louder.

What level of ridicule is reasonable?

A great many Canadian citizens (not to mention a great many international Internet users) witnessed Officer Bubbles attempting to intimidate a protester. And although the protester complied— she put down her dangerous bottle of soap bubbles— within moments she was arrested anyway.
[View this video in OGG format:]

L - R Bubble blowing female protester stands in front of Female officer,  Male camera wielding protester stands directly in front of Officer Adam Josephs
Clearly Officer Bubbles knew he was on camera

There were cameras everywhere.

Officer Bubbles certainly knew he was being recorded when he took his stand. The protester
with a camera stood directly in front of him—
close enough to reach out and touch.

And Officer Bubbles had his 15 minutes of fame.

But now Officer Bubbles wants to protect himself from harassment?

reports: ‘Pay me $1.2M’ Officer Bubbles tells YouTube

A National Post article lauds this lawsuit, believing Officer Bubbles’ attempt to intimidate by lawsuits is a blow for… accountability?

Will the courts allow citizens to be stripped of the right to comment anonymously? If you make an anonymous comment expressing your disagreement with a situation like this, can you be sued? Is an opinion slander? Or since it’s published online libel?

Anonymity can be a powerful tool for good. Whistleblowers can leak information that their consciences dictate ought to be public which often serves the public good.

Must we guard our opinions, and take care not to voice them for fear of litigation?

Using lawsuits to squash the cartoons that ensued is a terrible precedent for the future of free speech and free expression in Canada.   It’s interesting to note that Officer Bubbles is not attempting to take down the video. After all, it really happened.

The fact is he spoke and acted, knowing he was being filmed.   Performing his professional duties as an officer of the law, on a public street, as a matter of public record. Officer Bubbles is a public servant interacting with a member of the public.   In this context, Officer Bubbles should be no more immune from depiction in political cartoons than the Mayor or the Prime Minister?

June 2010 poster: Toronto Resist G8/20
Many citizens protested the G8/G20

I must have dozed off at the part where they made political cartoons illegal in Canada. Is that in Bill C-32?

silencing dissent before it happens

Meanwhile, there is another protester that there is no video for.

This protester was arrested before he even had a chance to protest the G8/G20 — before it even began — apparently on the basis of Twitter remarks which led to a search warrant. The result is that Byron Sonne was arrested, and languishes in jail some four months later, denied bail by a Justice of the Peace.

Malcolm Gladwell may not believe in online activism, but Canadian police services take it seriously.

A Justice of the Peace isn’t a lawyer, or a judge.   This is a political appointment. I have to wonder if a Justice of the Peace, an appointed position not requiring formal legal education, is the right person to be making decisions about who is or is not entitled to bail?   It’s bad enough that in criminal offenses, the decision as to whether a defendant can walk free between accusation and trial may fall victim to a JP’s personal bias.
But to have political appointees ruling on the liberty of those accused of political offenses during peaceful protests is simply ludicrous.   A Justice of the Peace appointed by the government of the day can hardly be expected to be impartial, especially in cases of political dissent.

Many laws have built in latitude enabling them to cover a range of infractions. There is certainly latitude in every one of the charges brought against Byron Sonne, allowing the exercise of a great deal of discretion.
This certainly becomes an issue in a world where a soap bubble is adjudged a weapon by the forces of Canadian law enforcement.

There can be no democracy without dissent.

Peaceful protest is legal in Canada … isn’t it?
Or has dissent become a criminal offense?

Free Byron

ACTA is…

I have written a lot about ACTA mostly in my other blogs. But this little film distills it’s into an easily digestible morsel which beautifully explains what the fuss is all about.

It’s important to spread the word.

The world wears Mouse ears and reads ACTA attacks Internet is the La Quadrature Du Net ACTA Logo

ACTA Stop the Kraken

For free software users I’ve loaded the highest quality
ogv version I could get here

along with a smaller version here.

And this is the transcript of the text from the film.

Or you can watch it on YouTube

[Thanks Wayne & ppi!]

OGG transfers via TinyOGG
Released under a Creative Commons
Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike License (CC by-nc-sa)
Video & Audio: Anonymous
Music by Wasaru – New Andromeda Theory

Creative Freedom

NOTE: although “published” I will be working on editing & adding to this post through the day.

Cover art for my novel locked in a jail cel secured with a padlock marked with the copyright symbol
Bill C-32 would lock up my novel

Copyright is a big issue for me, and seems to crop up more often than not all through this, my personal blog.
Because of Bill C-32 and ACTA, my Oh! Canada blog also has an increasing number of copyright posts. And of course since copyright is being used to attack net neutrality, it also features in my tech issue blog StopUBB.

As my personal Software Freedom Day initiative I’ve decided to begin compiling a list of important information about copyright law. As a writer, I am passionately opposed to Bill C-32, the supposed copyright reform currently before the Canadian Government. Written as though by foreign special interest groups, if passed Bill C-32 will place horrendous barriers to Canadian artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, citizens, and students through it’s ironclad protection of DRM/TPM.

This law will make it possible to stop anyone who uses the Internet or other digital means to distribute/disseminate/share their own creative work. Currently 30% of the Canadian recording Industry is Independent of the big labels. This renaissance of Canadian culture could be stopped dead by Bill C-32. This is bad.

For me personally, passage of Bill C-32 would impede my ability to self publish and distribute my novel.
Copyright symbol with maple leaf

Copyright Links: Bill C-32

My initial StopUBB summary: Copyright Modernization Act: Bill C-32

One of the leading copyright authorities and resources is the University of Ottawa’s Professor Michael Geist who always makes available a good translations of copyright legalese that might be used to choke Canada’s creativity.

Russell McOrmond is my other leading source for copyright information and analysis although he’s not a lawyer, he is very knowledgable about copyright issues. McOrmond’s Digital Copyright provides a Conservative Copyright Bill C-32 page which guides visitors through the Copyright Bill C-32 issues.

Practicing Canadian IP Lawyer Howard Knopf provides insight into copyright law in his blog Excess Copyright

Like me, Wayne Borean is affected by copyright issues on a number of fronts. He’s been putting together some excellent material in the copyright segment of his blog Through the Looking Glass.

Other Great Sites that discuss Copyright issues:
Question Copyright
Project Gutenberg News
Gutenberg Canada
boing boing
Public Knowledge
Knowledge Ecology International


TechDirt always has lots of good coverage, but I particularly liked this one TechDirt: Canadian Music Industry Spokesperson Claims User Generated Content Supports ‘Piracy’ since this is what I believe to be the real purpose: to stop people from putting their own content online. The growth of independent creativity is cutting into the bottom line of powerful corporations.
Jesse Brown is a good resource in general; this copyright podcast highlights the idea that Canadians are tired of fighting the same issue over and over again.Search Engine with Jesse Brown: Audio Podcast #43: So Bored of Copyright
CBC online is the only mainstream news media to cover StopUBB issues. Along with the other mainstream media they seem willing to cover some of the Bill C-32 issue, although none of them seem willing to cover ACTA. I think C-32, the UK Digital Economy Act ( DEAct) and the American Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) are all “warm-up acts for ACTA. One of the key stumbling blocks to completing the ACTA negotiations is that each country will have to alter domestic law in order to be able to ratify it. The DEAct succeeded remarkably well in passing domestic law even worse than ACTA requires, which is why UK

It is disturbing that this has been revealed: Michael Geist: “We Don’t Care What You Do, As Long as the U.S. Is Satisfied”

Michael Geist: DMCA-Style Reforms: “Not a Reasonable Policy To Foster Innovation or Respect for Copyright”

Unexpected Effects

One of the byproducts of laws like this one that have been playing out in the UK (Digital Economy Act) and the USA (DMCA) has been the rampant often specious lawsuits which often have no merit, but can be very profitable when used to extort people into settling them from fear. We can assume that this is one of the things Canadian will have to look forward to as well.

Of course since these negative effects have already happened as a direct result of the American DMCA and the UK DEA, should the Canadian government pass Bill C-32 it will be way past “unexpected” when the same effects ensue here.

Which is why I wanted to include this link The RIAA? Amateurs. Here’s how you sue 14,000+ P2P users

Why I don’t Like DRM:  DRM is BAD


Thank you, Nina Paley, for this cartoon which made my day: