C-11 ~ Canadians Don’t Know From TPMs

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?”

pie chart 61.9% voted "Yes" 28,57% "No", the rest don't know.

DRM has been getting a bit of press every year.  Even so, nearly 30% of my respondants don’t know what DRM is.

I think it was just this past year that animator Nina Paley turned down a Netflix distribution deal for her animated feature film “Sita Sings the Blues” because Netflix would only carry it with DRM.

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.”

Haakon Meland Eriksen

To understand why mainstream publishers are beginning to reject DRM read Charlie’s Diary: More on DRM and ebooks

My first Day Against DRM was in 2010. And May 4th — Friday next week — is this year’s “International Day Against DRM — May 4, 2012

My second Poll question was “Do You Know What Digital Locks Are?”

Pie chart: 36.6% Yes 36.6% No and 27.7% Not Sure

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?”

pie chart: 77.27% said NO 9.9 13.64% were NOT SURE and 9.09% said YES

Wow.

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.

<hr.
[Correction of fact: "Technical Protection Measures" has been amended to the term used in Bill C-11 "Technological Protection Measures"]

Netizens Day

netizens

— citizens of the Internet —
It’s long past the time when the natural rights of netizens were claimed.

screen capture of what my site will look like when it goes dark

Wednesday January 18th marks an Internet wide protest made by netizens who have vowed to make our sites go dark for some or all of the day.

Here are 10 reasons you should take action against SOPA

There are a ton of websites going dark include, but are not limited to Identi.ca, Wikipedia osnews, Tor, Tumblr., Cheezburger, Reddit … and many of us ordinary people are doing it too (or trying).

Even though I am a Canadian. these laws will impact badly on Canada and Canadians, so I plan on joining in the protest, as are many people all over the world.

How to do this:

How to: ‘Go dark’ on Jan 18 to fight SOPA/PIPA has info on making your WordPress or Facebook page go dark

If you host your own website and have access to your index.html file, you can replace it temporarily with the code found here:

https://github.com/zachstronaut/stop-sopa/blob/master/index.html

I do realize that the ability to participate is predicated on being able to handle the technical stuff. Not everyone can do it… I have been playing around with it and been unable to make the index thingie work on Russwurm.org … so maybe I won’t be able to get it done. I never did manage to make the banner work on my Tumblr page either.

We’ll see. If I can’t manage it, I will think of something.

Because it is time. We can’t let this one go.

Whatever happens, forever more, January 18th will from henceforth be NETIZENS DAY.

Stand up for Netizen Rights!


Here’s a terrific SOPA Protest song: The Day the LOLcats died:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p-TV4jaCMk

Thanks to 1111aether for coining the phrase NETIZENS DAY.

no cyber-censorship, please

Today on Identi.ca I said:

When I was young, freedom wasn’t such a big issue.
Life experience has shown me how really important freedom is.

That is so true. Freedom is important to me on many levels: as a citizen, as a parent, and as a writer.
But the Internet is ultimately a series of tools:   hardware and software strung together. The problem is,
of course, that tools can generally be used for good or ill. Which is why we must all strive to ensure it stays free. That means all of us, not just programmers but all of the users.

World day against cyber-censorship

Reporters without Borders are very concerned with freedom. Naturally. It’s hard to do a good job of reporting without freedom, which is why Reporters without Borders is holding the 3rd annual:

World day against cyber-censorship

Visit the Reporters without Borders World day against cyber-censorship webpage.   The site has been mirrored to allow netizens in blacked out countries to access this information at http://12march2011.org/en/

The site has goodies such as a map showing global geographic boundaries incidence of cyber censorship and the pièce de résistance the 2011 The Enemies of the Internet list.

I have to admit I was more than a little surprised to find the United States absent after all their efforts to take out WikiLeaks. The fact that the United States is not on the list is most likely due to the strong freedom advocacy offered by freedom fighting organizations like the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Public Knowledge (PK), and KEI (Knowledge Ecology International).

Twitter tightens its grip

Ironically, today readwriteweb brings word about Twitter’s decision to cut out 3rd party developers. Existing apps will be allowed to continue… on probabation. Last week my favorite writing live chat on Twitter didn’t work because none of the various third party apps people use to make live chat work could log in. Some of the regular participants gave it up because Twitter does not lend itself to live chat. In the light of this new announcement, the chat problem probably resulted from changes made to the Twitter api to discourage 3rd party apps.

My personal recommendation is that no step is to small to be the first step into freedom.

If you use Twitter, set up an account on Identi.ca.

Setting up on Identi.ca is very much like setting up on Twitter, and you can link Identica to Twitter to stay in contact easily enough. Identi.ca will automatically send your notices and local “@” replies to Twitter, as well as subscribe to your Twitter friends on Identica. [Hint: it is best if you can use the same @name on both services.]

At least for now.

Twitter can pull the plug on that at any time. That is one of the biggest problems with proprietary web platforms… some one else owns it, controlling your access, as well as having access to all of your information. Proprietors like Facebook (or Darth Vader) retain total control, and can alter the rules in a flash.

identi.ca logo
identi.ca logo

Unlike Twitter, Identica is a service that makes up the central part of a growing federated network of microbloggers using the open source Statusnet software. Because the number of individual hostings of StatusNet is growing all the time, Identica far freer than Twitter in much the same way that a federated network of mirrors allowed WikiLeaks to survive the onslaught. You can set up your own, or connect to Identi.ca on their site or download the free version to use on your own. I strongly recommend that anyone concerned with net freedom should set up their microblog home on Identica.

personal security

For some excellent ideas on how to protect yourself, I recommend reading Identi.ca netizen @jimmorgan’s blog about his foray into security: Tor, XMPP, GPG, Internet security

copyright

Copyright is another incredibly important issue, particularly as the copyright maximalists are pushing for laws that allow copyright to be used as a tool of censorship. For some insight in why this is a problem in the here and now, I highly recommend watching the important film RiP: A Remix Manifesto I have much more to say about copyright, but the main thing is that it is an issue that we need to rethink. Allowing corporations to impose laws about how we access our own culture is both disturbing and detrimental to the common good.

freedom

I have been compiling lists of free culture and Creative Commons options available in the sidebar as I come to them. If you find any such links that you’d like to share, please forward them to me. Allowing corporations to control our freedom may in fact be worse than allowing governments to do so. Big Brother may in fact be wearing mouse ears. We must stand up for our rights, and encourage others to do the same.

We all must do whatever we can to fight for our online rights.

[and now back to editing/proofing my novel]