Posts Tagged ‘Digital Rights Management’
The majority of those Canadians who took my unscientific poll understand (or think they understand) what DRM is.
Yet very few taking my poll had any idea what TPMs are.
Friday May 4th was the International Day Against DRM. Although Canada has been talking about changing copyright law for well over a decade, DRM (Digital Rights Management, or Digital Restrictions Management) isn’t even mentioned in Bill C-11, the draft legislation currently before parliament.
Interestingly enough, many Americans are just as confused by the acronym TPMs as Canadians are, because, especially in the tech sector, TPM is more often an acronym for Trusted Platform Module.
If you search for “Technical Protections Measures” on Wikipedia, you will be redirected to the “Copy Protection” page. And oddly, although people talk about “Technical Protection Measures” the language in Bill C-11 is actually “Technological protection measures.”
Wikipedia will tell you that there is no “Technological Protection Measures” page, but provides a list of search results. Unsurprisingly, the first on the list is the Digital Rights Management page, which is appropriate since “Technical Protections Measures” or TPMs are pretty interchangeable with DRM.
`Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems …
(3) As used in this subsection–
`(A) to `circumvent a technological measure’ means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
`(B) a technological measure `effectively controls access to a work’ if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
Bill C-11 defines TPMs thus:
“technological protection measure” means any effective technology, device or component that, in the ordinary course of its operation,
(a) controls access to a work, to a perform- er’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording and whose use is authorized by the copyright owner; or
(b) restricts the doing — with respect to a work, to a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording — of any act referred to in section 3, 15 or 18 and any act for which remuneration is payable under section 19.
Short answer: TPM is Bill C-11 legal language for DRM.
If Bill C-11 becomes law as written, it will become illegal to circumvent DRM, even if the DRM is “protecting” work that does not infringe copyright. Work that is in the public domain. Work that qualifies as fair dealing. Work that is licensed to share. Work that doesn’t infringe copyright.
Bill C-11 will give DRM super powers in Canada.
If Bill C-11 becomes law, I expect DRM will appear on everything destined for the Canadian market.
WSIC (Waterloo Students for the Information Commons) has set up a DRM/TPM wiki
Forget that TPMs/DRM/Digital Locks have radically shifted the foundations of property law … legal precedents that have evolved over centuries.
Or that Bill C-11 will make circumventing digital locks illegal. Even when copyright is not being infringed, so Canadians can be prevented from using/watching/playing/reading the software, movie, music or book that we have legally purchased. It will even be possible for manufacturers to prevent us from accessing works that are in the public domain.
Don’t worry that C-11 has within it the legal authority to stifle innovation, and worse, impede Canadian Independent production by raising artificial barriers. Artificially making it difficult or impossible for Canadian creators to self publish our own work.
The worst thing about digital locks is that most people don’t even know they exist and worse,
most Canadians won’t even realize they are breaking the law.
Although I dislike polls on principal, I did a few this past week to try to get a handle on the the issue. So I asked a “question” on Facebook, and got a few replies before deciding to give PollDaddy a try. I asked the same set of questions in both places so would be able to combine the results.
Keeping it simple the first question was “Do you know what DRM is?”
DRM has been getting a bit of press every year. Even so, nearly 30% of my respondants don’t know what DRM is.
Although self publishing authors have been able to choose whether or not our digital editions would be encumbered by DRM for some time now, most mainstream publishers have routinely applied DRM to all their offerings. Baen Books has been publishing DRM free for 13 years, and J.K.Rowling‘s Harry Potter ebooks were launched DRM free through her Pottermore site earlier this year. Just this week science fiction publisher TOR announced that it would be going DRM free.
DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management,” although I’ve also read “Digital Restrictions Management” and “Dishonest Relationship Misinformation,” all of which refer to digital controls placed on media and devices that control how the consumers who purchase them can use them.
The right to read – publishers who drop DRM
Imagine if each book in your library had a padlock with a different key for every single book. DRM – Digital Rights Management or Digital Restriction Management – are such padlocks. Not the best library solution you have heard of? Well, you are beginning to get publishers on your side. eBooks published by science fiction publisher Tor UK drops DRM. Tor UK, Tor Books and Forge are divisions of Pan Macmillan. They are not alone – science fiction publisher Baen Books, genre publisher Angry Robots, and even J.K. Rowling offer her Harry Potter books DRM-free. If you know of other publishers, please add them below. Protecting the right to read, we need to encourage publishers who drop DRM and use the open ePub-format and buy our books at their stores.”
To understand why mainstream publishers are beginning to reject DRM read Charlie’s Diary: More on DRM and ebooks
My second Poll question was “Do You Know What Digital Locks Are?”
Anyone who has been following the Canadian government’s push for copyright reform will have been hearing and reading about digital locks for more than a decade. Canadian governments have been trying to change the Copyright Act since the American government passed the the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). The first attempt at a “Canadian DMCA” was the Liberal Bill C-60, and when the Conservative Party formed the subsequent government they carried the torch with Bill C-61, then C-32 and now C-11. But until now Canada has been blessed with minority governments. Unfortunately, now that we have a majority government determined to appease the Americans there is every reason to believe that this time it will pass, even though the majority of Canadians oppose the digital lock provisions.
And you guessed it, a “Digital Lock” is another way to describe “DRM.”
The final question in my poll was “Do you know what TPMs are?”
Bill C-11 doesn’t talk about DRM or Digital locks, but rather TPMs, which are “Technological Protection Measures”.
Technological Protection Measures take a step beyond digital locks, or DRM, because they encompass DRM/digital locks but can also be applied to non digital locks.
Some appliances or hardware are screwed closed with specialty screws that require proprietary screw drivers. Without the proper screwdrivers, these things can’t be opened to modify or repair them. Since this is a “technical protection measure”, it is reasonable to assume that Bill C-11 will make it illegal to repair any such equipment unless you have the proprietary tools.
This is a Poll
I’m not a professional pollster and my poll sample is very small. With only 22 responses, it isn’t very scientific poll. Still, it gives an idea. Because I’m a free culture advocate, a lot of the people who read my blogs or talk to me online, or even read my novel are going to be much more aware of these issues than the average Canadian. So I’m surprised; I would have expected more people to understand the terms. Or at least think they do.
77.27% said they don’t know what TPMs are.
[Correction of fact: "Technical Protection Measures" has been amended to the term used in Bill C-11 "Technological Protection Measures"]
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.
Bill C-11, the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act” will not actually modernize Canadian copyright law.
Instead, if this law is passed as it stands, it will harm my interests as a creator, as well as Canadian culture and heritage.
I’m working hard to master eBook conversion of my debut novel, so I have been valiantly trying to avoid looking at what’s happening with Bill C-11 (an exact revival of Bill C-32, which was itself the Successor to Bill C-60, or Bill C-61). No matter what number, nor which political party is driving it, in every version this law has been a Canadian DMCA.
I became interested during the Canadian copyright consultation when an unprecedented number of Canadians responded to the Government’s call for input into the new draft copyright law. To be fair, this new incarnation actually does do some of the things that Canadians asked for. The problem is that it won’t matter because chances are good we will never be able to make use of these benefits because they will be blocked by what are sometimes called “digital locks”. Or Digital Rights Management (DRM), or Technical Protection Measures (TPM).
It doesn’t matter what you call it.
I thought you might be interested in the best summation of the worst problem with Bill C-11 [the emphasis is my own]:
… the keys to the locks are held by someone other than the owner that is what is locked.
It is not the owner of the copyright that has the keys (to the lock on the content or the lock on devices),
and it is not the owner of the device that has the lock on the device.
It is the device manufacturer and/or software distributor that controls the keys.
In any type of lock, digital or otherwise, it is the interests of the entity with the keys whose interests are protected.
— Russell McOrmond, Digital Copyright Canada: Bill C-11 debate day 1
This is what will make it far worse for Canadians and our culture than what American’s have had to cope with in the original DMCA.
It will be illegal to break the digital lock, even if you have the right to access the content. Bill C-11 will make digital locks the single most powerful element in Canadian copyright law. Copyright will be subjugated to software and device manufacturers. It won’t be publishing companies that decide what books Canadians can access, nor the writers or even the readers of those books.
The company that distributes the software or manufactures the device will hold the keys to copyright law.