Posts Tagged ‘Cory Doctorow’
Since I am preparing my debut novel for eBook release, I’m trying not to pay attention, yet I find myself reading Russell McOrmond’s Bill C-11 Legisative Committee coverage. Russell is both Live tweeting and blogging about each meeting day. This legislation is simply too important to ignore, not just for me, as a self publishing writer, but for Canada, and the heritage and culture that is so much a part of who we are.
I can’t actually watch the proceedings myself, even though they are being broadcast online by CPAC. Beginning with cable TV coverage, CPAC has provided Canadians with a ringside seat to Canadian parliamentary proceedure since 1992. The problem is that this video is provided onsite in Windows Media Player format.
It seems I can’t watch the livestream of the actual parliamentary committee meetings because I have chosen to use free software. I don’t use Windows anymore, nor do I use any of the various Apple computers. My operating system on *this* computer is Ubuntu, and the one on my desktop computer is Trisquel.
But of course, that’s the point. Proprietary digital devices and content try to force the user to use the software or device specified by the manufacturer. Once you buy into any proprietary system, it is difficult to switch to another. In this case it’s Microsoft, although it could as easily be Apple, or Sony, or any one of a plethora of rich and powerful companies that make proprietary software and hardware.
And why not? Microsoft built the Windows Media Player, and they want people to use it in their operating system.
In the past, circumventing proprietary formats might have resulted in a voided warranty. But it seems to me that Bill C-11 will make it illegal.
I expect CPAC paid rather a lot to be able to license the Windows media player. But since Windows is still the dominant OS, it seems like a reasonable choice to reach the most people. And CPAC wants all Canadians to have access to the video they create. That’s what they do.
And CPAC understands, because it attempts to circumvent the problem by advising us to copy the link below the video into our own video player if we are having problems.
I tried that, but it didn’t work on either the Ubuntu Movie Player or Banshee Media Player. Even so, I wasn’t positive it was a proprietary issue the problem was until a friend tried to resolve it.
Apparently Flip4Mac WMV program converted the proprietary Windows video format to a proprietary Mac video format.
The other solution that CPAC offers is to use a program called VLC. Ironically I used that free software video player back when I still used Windows, but haven’t managed to get it to work in either of my gnu/linux machines.
The long and the short of it is that, because I am not able to run the proprietary Windows Media Player, I am effectively locked out of the digital government video CPAC routinely shares with Canadians.
An Illustration of Bill C-11
In a strange way this demonstrates why legal protection of TPMs — regardless of legality — is the central point of Bill C-11 that has Canadians concerned. As written, Bill C-11 would criminalize Canadians who circumvent TPMs (technical protection measures) even if we are legally entitled to access the content that is locked by these “digital locks”.
Although I’m neither a technical person or a lawyer, I think Bill C-11 would make software like the VLC player illegal in Canada because it circumvents proprietary TPMs.
And Bill C-11 will make both tools to circumvent and the act of circumvention of TPMs illegal.
It wouldn’t matter that CPAC wants to share their content with me, Microsoft would have to grant permission to convert proprietary formats into free formats, or else it would be illegal. Microsoft’s current policies indicate any such permission would be unlikely, but even if it did, the tools to circumvent the proprietary TPMs – like VLC – would be illegal, so I wouldn’t be able to do it anyway.
Lawyers like Michael Geist and Howard Knopf and tech folks like Russell McOrmond, Wayne Borean, Bob Jonkman and Cory Doctorow have said Bill C-11 would not be such a problem if TPM circumvention was only illegal if tied to copyright infringement.
the shape of things to come
But if they pass Bill C-11 as written, it will become illegal for Canadians to circumvent TPMs so we can watch our government in action. Or to back up our software, Or format shift so we can watch DVDs on MP3 players.
Depending on what TPMs manufacturers employ, it may become illegal to read public domain eBooks on our e-readers, or play DVDs that aren’t region encoded. Which would mean that independent film makers wouldn’t be able to put their original movies on DVDs. Independent musicians might be prevented from distributing their original work digitally. The range of consequences are appalling.
How long until it becomes illegal to load free software on our computers?
If Bill C-11 passes, not long at all.
[Edited for readability (replacing a bit of awkward phrasing) but content remains the same.]
Screencap cc-by 1111aether
Against DRM cc-by Nina Paley
Copyright law is in the air in Canada these days, as our government contemplates passing Bill C-11 (the draft law formerly known as Bill C-32)
If you’re wondering why there is such a fuss about copyright, and why it should matter to ordinary Canadians, this is a great place to start on the issue. The highlight of this week’s C-11 coverage was, hands down, Jesse Brown’s interview with Michael Geist.
The draft C-11 Legislation has been “read” in the House Of Commons, and has now been sent to a Legislative Committee of MPs who will now attempt to clear up any problems. Canadians can now email our concerns to the appropriate MPs.
One citizen shared the reply he received from his MP boing boing
Russell McOrmond posted an interesting article contrasting the Conservative policy on gun registration with their push for digital locks
I’ve added two new blogs to my blogroll on the basis of their recent posts regarding C11.
Michael Geist is writing “The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter” series in which he shares the stated objections of many varied opponents of the digital lock provisions of Bill C-11:
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 1: The Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 2: Canadian Consumer Initiative
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 3: Retail Council of Canada
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 4: Canadian Council of Archives
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 6: Canadian Federation of Students
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 7: Canadian Civil Liberties Association
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 8: Documentary Organization of Canada
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 9: Canadian Library Association
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 10: Council of Ministers of Education Canada
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 11: Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 12: Canadian Association of Research Libraries
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 13: Canadian Historical Association
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 14: Canadian National Institute for the Blind
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 15: Canadian Bookseller Association
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 16 – Canadian Home and School Federation
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 17: Film Studies Association of Canada
- The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 18: Canadian Bar Association
If you are looking for more information about this copyright law, you can use the search bar in my sidebar, search the Internet. The draft legislation currently known as Bill C-11 is a word for word reincarnation of what was called Bill C-32 in the last session of parliament, so searching for Bill C-32 will give you a lot of background information and analysis.
The authorities I look to for C-11 information include:
I should be getting ready for NaNoWriMo. The problem is that the danger to Canadian culture posed by Bill C-11, the so called “Copyright Modernization Act,” currently moving toward becoming law, is simply too great to ignore.
I can’t ignore this and expect to get anywhere with my next novel. So I’ve decided to try to post something about C-11 every day (after making my NaNoWriMo word count 🙂 Because both my self publishing efforts and writing my third novel during NaNo will claim most of my time, these posts will be much shorter than my usual blog posts.
The Canadian DMCA in Today’s News
Cory Doctorow blogged about the response received by a Canadian citizen in answer to their C11 query from Conservative MP Lee Richardson, a member of the Standing Committee on Industry. Since copyright law falls under the joint purview of the Ministry of Heritage and the Ministry of Industry, Lee Richardson ought to be pretty well versed in this issue. Richardson is quoted as writing:
If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a law suit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved.”
Cory Doctorow’s assessment is that this amounts to advice from the Government passing this law is:
“…you should go ahead and break the law because you won’t get caught.”
Now, I am not a lawyer, but if this is not the law’s intent, the law should say so. Just because the copyright holder might choose not to do this, is no guarantee that they won’t.
Bill C-11 clearly allows them to sue Canadians.
Particularly when there have been innumerable clear instances of corporate “patent trolls” suing unsuspecting citizens in the wake of the American DMCA and every similar copyright ‘reform’ enacted around the world.
If this is *not* the government’s intent, this part of Bill C11 must be changed.
The Canadian Government should not be encouraging citizens to ignore Canadian law.
what we can do
I believe there are various petitions being gotten up, but I urge all concerned Canadians to tell the government that we do not support the digital lock provisions in Bill C-11. Sending an email is a stronger message than signing a digital petition. The message you send doesn’t have to be long and involved. Just weigh in and tell them what you think before this law is passed.
Write to Members of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-11:
[28 October UPDATE 2011-10-28T15:48:49+00:00]
Dean Del Mastro, Conservative, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
Paul Calandra, Conservative Parliamentary Secretary to the Heritage Minister
Mike Lake, Conservative Parliamentary secretary to the Industry Minister
Scott Armstrong, Conservative
Peter Braid, Conservative
Phil McColeman, Conservative
Rob Moore, Conservative
Charlie Angus, NDP Digital Affairs and Ethics Critic
Tyrone Benskin, NDP Heritage and Cultural Industries Critic
Andrew Cash, NDP
Pierre Nantel, NDP
Geoff Regan, Liberal Critic for Consumer Affairs
As well, you can write to Heritage Minister James Moore
Industry Minister The Honourable Christian Paradis
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and as always, your own MPP [Find your MP]
It is perfectly acceptable to send the same letter to all concerned, and although postal mail is taken more seriously, email is increasingly acceptable, particularly when time is of the essence.
If you have a blog (and if you don’t, it’s pretty easy to start one for free at WordPress) you can post your letter online, making sure to tag it with #C11 and #Canada and #Copyright. Talk to friends and family about this, as well as people in your social networks,because if this law passes as is, it will have serious repercussions to Canadian culture.
If you are looking for more information about this copyright law, you can use the search bar in my sidebar, or you can search the Internet. Bill C-11 is a word for word reincarnation of Bill C-32 in the last session of parliament, so searching for Bill C-32 will give you a lot of information and analysis.
The authorities I look to for C-11 information include:
- Russell McOrmond’s Digital Copyright,
- Howard Knopf’s Excess Copyright,
- and Michael Geist’s blog.
- Wayne Borean has blogged extensively about this,
- Cory Doctorow has visited the issue in Boing Boing,
- and you won’t want to miss Jesse Brown’s podcast interview with Heritage Minister James Moore on Bill C-32.
When I began this blog a little over a year ago I had no idea about what was happening in the world of Intellectual Property Law. But I’ve been learning. Some of the amazing people and organizations I’ve come across who are spending a great deal of time working to fight against changes that will be detrimental to us all are linked in my sidebar.
One such organization is the Washington based public interest group Public Knowledge, who work hard to defend citizens’ rights in the emerging digital culture. Public Knowledge emailed subscribers asking for suggestions for nominations for their 2010 IP3 awards:
Let us know who you think should be honored for their good work in any or all of the “three IPs”: Intellectual Property, Information Policy, and Internet Protocol. The IP3 awards are our way of paying tribute to the thought leaders who inspired us and our supporters during the past year.”
Of course, being me, even though I am seriously new to all of this, I simply could not resist throwing in my two cents worth. Like this:
I’m willing to bet that Nina Paley‘s decision to fight for “copyleft” by releasing her wonderful animated feature film Sita Sings The Blues under a creative commons license has done more to raise the specter of true independent film making than anything else could have.
Add to that her vocal advocacy for expanded fair dealing and copyright reform, topped by her recent decision to turn down what would certainly have been a lucrative Netflix distribution because they refused to distribute Sita free of DRM.
I believe Nina Paley’s efforts are instrumental in demonstrating the value of legal file sharing which can help to preserve an open Internet.
As a writer returning to writing after a long childrearing hiatus, I’ve been doing a lot of learning about copyright, and Cory Doctorow has become one of my personal heroes. His ability to clearly explain and inform about the history of Intellectual Property, as well as his radical new ideas about IP reform have helped educate me on these issues. Cory Doctorow makes good use of his popular boingboing website to raise public awareness about IP3 issues, as well as his place in the UK’s The Guardian.
Even more brilliantly, Cory Doctorow’s book “Little Brother” brings these issues to life in a fictional world, which more than anything else helps to shine a light on the possible abuses we will face if we don’t pursue “the copyfight”.
More than anyone except my family, Cory Doctorow is responsible for the many long hours I have invested in both IP3 self education and advocacy through my blogs and any other appropriate forum I can find, either on or offline.
A year ago I was learning to make web pages and just starting my first blog. As I learned about the Internet and what you define as the IP3, Professor Michael Geist very quickly became a key source of accurate and informed online information.
Michael Geist’s various websites have both directed me to other excellent IP3 excellent resources, like Public Knowledge, as well as providing me with a strong enough grounding in the IP3 fields to help me to advocate for intelligent copyright reform and against dangerous public policies like ACTA in my own blogs.
Public Knowledge instituted the IP3 Awards to say “thank you” to those who:
“have advanced the public interest in one of the three areas of “IP” –Intellectual Property, Information Policy and Internet Protocol.”
So, two picks outta three ain’t bad for a novice.
And of course, I can still keep my fingers crossed that Cory Doctorow will be the super secret recipient of the “President’s Choice Award” that will be announced at the IP3 awards ceremony in Washington, on October 13th, 2010.
I haven’t heard of the other two recipients, Pamela Samuelson and Susan Crawford, but then I am, after all, very new to all of this. They certainly sound as though they’ve more than paid their dues in the legal and political IP trenches from the PK article.
Congratulations to all on being chosen, and a very special thank you to Public Knowledge for the important work they do.
Just thought you might like to know that I’m not the only weird creator who thinks the idea of copyright needs some help here. So I thought I’d share a few important links:
A blog called Techrisk (The vulnerable information society) Mathias Klang has published a list of books released under Creative Commons licensing cc books.
My brother Larry Russwurm’s blog post this week uses/reviews a creative commons licensed cartoon making software in Playing With Bitstrips.
But the best is from Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues Webpage. because Nina Paley’s explanation of why she had to use the music she did drives home precisely how the changes made to copyright law over the past decades actually impede the creation of art. Because most of us aren’t as brave as Nina Paley.
Most of us make the changes required by copyright law.
Real or imagined or feared, because we don’t have the time or energy or money to fight lawsuits or pay extortionate amounts of money to use the creative works of artists that should have been in the public domain. We just want to make art.
And that is bad for art, bad for culture. For all of us.
Thanks to Adrian du Plessis for directing me to Janis Ian
Thanks to Jonathan Fritz for directing me to the Courtney Love piece