Thursday, May 13, 2010

weapons down, please

Last week, I posted about TV writer Denis McGrath’s challenge to those on the copyleft to take more responsibility for the inflammatory and inaccurate rhetoric that seems to sprout up and spread like dandelions whenever anybody in power utters the words “copyright protection.”

I think McGrath highlights a very serious problem for Canadians as we try to figure out how to fit our laws and practices into the digital world – these discussions are necessarily complex and require subtle, good-faith conversation between all interested parties. Sensationalist campaigning and absurd conspiracy theorizing do exactly nothing to foster that kind of conversation.

And yet, those approaches persist. And really, as far as I can tell, they are just getting worse; over-the–top conspiracy advancement is now the banal, unsurprising starting point from which I’m expected to defend my rights as an artist. Have a look at this Vancouver Film School award-winning short “explaining” digital rights management, which is of course a tool of copyright enforcement. I first saw this video on consumer advocate Michael Geist’s blog, where it is advanced as some sort of accurate illustration of real concerns in ongoing copyright reform. Thanks to vimeo for the embed code.

terms&conditions from mediamold on Vimeo.

You may not have heard it, but at the end of my copy of the video the narrator addresses me directly --“John, as an artist, why are you holding a revolver to the heads of innocent consumers? Why, John? Why do you want to shackle the downtrodden book-buyers of the world and force them into a grim, lifeless, Orwellian future? What possible reason can you have for participating in this dehumanizing lockdown of culture? Don’t you like people and freedom, John?”

I tell you, it’s flabbergasting. To his credit, Michael Geist qualifies his own thoughts on DRM with this pre-video passage:

“Note that most of the debate around copyright reform does not argue against the use of all DRM. Rather, it focuses on the need for balance in the implementation of legal protection for DRM, by arguing that existing exceptions (described by the Supreme Court of Canada as "user rights") should remain effective even where a publisher has implemented a restrictive DRM system.”

Of course, that doesn’t stop the comments section of that thread from giving immediate legitimacy to the ridiculous fear-mongering in the video. And that is the very nut of McGrath’s criticism last week, isn't it? Leadership on these ideas does not stop with the embedding of a video. Contextualize (please!), and when that doesn’t take, contextualize again.

I’ve been in this discussion for the better part of a decade now, ever since a colleague of mine showed me this cool site called Napster but couldn’t quite explain to me how the musicians were being paid when he downloaded their songs. I’ve heard all the arguments for open content and unrestricted file-sharing. I’ve read Lessig, Doctorow and Geist at great length. I am aware of the theoretical terrain.

I’ve advanced the professional writer’s perspective (aka, my perspective) here, on other blogs, in many comment streams and in the mainstream media. For my sins, I have been accused of all manner of anti-consumer, anti-user, anti-freedom, anti-democracy, anti-humanity thoughts and behaviors. After all that work to protect my rights, and after all that scorn, my central question remains unanswered – if I’m not allowed to decide if, when and/or how my work travels the various digital highways and byways, how am I being protected as a professional artist? Note, my request is not for control over something someone else has or does or wants to make; it’s for confident control over my own work.

Russell McOrmond, a person I admire and respect despite our ongoing and potentially irreconcilable disagreements over key copyright concepts, can quite dispassionately and with limited rhetoric explain his complex, subtle position on DRM – see for instance, The Two Locks of DRM. I have my disagreements with what he says in that essay (and even more so with how others might interpret his thoughts); nevertheless, Russell’s writing is a far more helpful addition to the copyright reform discussion than the video above. And yet, I see on his own blog today that he likes this video. Sigh. Like I said, potentially irreconcilable.

My own quick thoughts on DRM, by the way:

Attempts to protect or manage digital rights with technology probably wouldn't exist if real value was not being threatened. DRM exists as a proposed solution to a real problem, which also exists. If the problem went away, my guess is DRM would as well. See, no maniacal eyeball watching you from the screen -- just some thoughts about actual copyright concerns.

So, my request for the coming weekend – can we please put away the revolvers, handcuffs, chains, scary-looking safes, and weird dystopias? I promise, if we ever find ourselves in a true Orwellian nightmare, I will fight for the rebel alliance in my Mad Max outfit. In the meantime, can established, professional artists just ask for a law that protects our work without being accused of ruining everything that is fine and good?

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21 comments:

Darryl said...

Hello John, yes I see this video appears to have taken on a bit of a viral character hasn't it?

I understand what you are saying about DRM presenting an apparently viable solution to a real problem. I think the point of the video, and of Russell's comments, is that this cure may in fact be worse than the disease, in which case your earnest opinion of the cures side effects may in fact be more enlightening than your view of the cure.

Are issues such as Amazon's taking of customers kindle margin notes, or their remote deletion of already purchased books; Sony's root kits; or Walmart's and Apples shutting down of authentication servers that give customers access to purchased goods; not issues we should be concerned about? Or is it simply that the significance of these issues are less than the significance of the issues DRM is designed to cure?

Do you see DRM as a technology that may actually be able to prevent works from being distributed on the Internet without authors' permission? If not, do you still think that their value to artists out weigh their cost to consumers?

I know you have said that consumers always have the option of not buying these technologies. Voting with their wallets as it were. But have you ever tried to buy a DVD which does not have DRM and region encoding on it? If all media companies climb onto the DRM bandwagen as the movie industry has, is the only alternative for privacy and security minded individuals to opt out of participation in our common culture all together? I'm not sure how realistic an option this really is.

Further comment and insight into how you view this would really be very much appreciated.

Russell McOrmond said...

I am curious to get more details about your disagreements with the two locks of DRM. Are we talking about the technical reality of how these things work in the real world (science, not science fiction), or my views on what I consider the inevitable economic and/or legal outcomes to be (social sciences)?

I don't ask this passive-aggressively as you have suggested elsewhere. I am honestly curious what people think of these things, especially from those who disagree with me and think either of these two forms of technical measures can or will be beneficial to creators.

As an alternative, have you seen LAFKON - An animated short about Trusted Computing, which is far closer to how the technology actually works.

Russell McOrmond said...

Other thoughts:

You take this as a given: "digital rights management, which is of course a tool of copyright enforcement."

I take that as a point that should be debated. I see little practical evidence that this is true of the two locks I speak of (anti-interoperability locks on content, non-owner locks on devices). All I see are lobbiests and technology companies claiming it is true, which is not 'proof'.


"if I’m not allowed to decide if, when and/or how my work travels the various digital highways and byways, how am I being protected as a professional artist?"

This is called Copyright, and contrary to your worries it is not under threat.

We disagree about Fair Use/Dealings and issues around the edges as to what would benefit vs. harm creators. We also disagree on who should be responsible for exercising these rights (IE: copyright holders, communications intermediaries, technology companies, governments).


"DRM exists as a proposed solution to a real problem, which also exists."

We also disagree on the severity of the problem, as well as whether DRM is a solution or something which only makes the problem worse.

I firmly believe, and there has been no evidence given to me to the contrary, that the business methods currently seeing the largest declines would be seeing a similar decline even if no copyright infringement were happening. I am speaking of the proprietary software companies, the major recording labels and the major motion picture and television studios. There are issues and marketplace changes in these sectors that are much larger than the comparatively insignificant problem of copyright infringement. And, many of the proposed solutions to the infringement problem, such as DRM, only make the problem worse (IE: make content less valuable, and thus less likely to be acquired and paid for).

Take the following two articles, put your thinking cap on, and see if you come to a different conclusion than I did. What I see is a television sector (Where McGrath works) heading in a direction that will inevitably lead to the demise of longer-form videos (what we previously called television).


* Canada 3.0 & The Collapse of Complex Business Models

* With TV Everywhere, pay-TV industry seeks to fend off an Apple invasion

Copyright is not the most significant issue facing creators, and the more creators stare at this problem the worse the much larger problems will get.

Andy Kaplan-Myrth said...

You ask "how am I being protected as a professional artist?" Doesn't that question presume the type of answer you're looking for? I mean, if you're looking for "protection", then you're looking for copyright rules... Instead, I would think you would wonder how you can be *compensated*.

You also say "if I'm not *allowed* to decide...". I think the issue is more that you are technically/technologically *unable* to decide how your work travels the internet.

Contrary to what some people say about copyleft community, they mostly do not *start* with the premise that information *ought* to be freely distributable. No, they start with the *recognition* that because of technological realities, technical abilities, and social pressures, digital content simply *IS* freely distributable.

So with that recognition, the question that people are asking on all sides of the copyright debates is, "Given that I'm UNABLE to decide if, when and/or how my work travels the various digital highways and byways, how am I COMPENSATED as a professional artist?"

And this, I think, is a very interesting question that needs serious consideration from all sides. But to treat the issue as though legislation will somehow make digital content NOT travel freely is simply not productive.

Weapons down. I totally agree. But then let's talk about how to support artists and how to transition the industry into the digital age.

Anonymous said...

Hello John, I would interested in your take on how DRM can work when there are different copyright time periods for the copy right holders in different countries. Elvis Presley's materials is protected for 99 years in the USA while in Canada and the EU that same material is now out of copy right protection. It would appear that the country with the most restrictive copyright laws will own the playing field.

John said...

I will try to frame an answer that goes some distance to addressing all the comments so far.

First of all, I love the theory -- clearly not as much as Russell loves the theory -- but I am happy to put my theoretical thinking cap on when I have the time. But the crux of my personal concerns with copyright is not theoretical, it is pragmatic. I perceive an immediate problem, and I would appreciate a solution.

No, I don't think legislation will fix things. I think practice and time will fix things. But legislation defines the field we all play on. Read my copyright submission from last summer. Geist's is more detailed because that's his job, but we don't disagree much. Our disagreements on paper are in degree - for instance, it's all well and good to want a flexible fair dealing that frees teahcers to teach without fear of breaking the law, but if that expanded provision takes too much away from creators (a viable educational market for copyright protected material, for instance) then it is too flexible. I don't see where Geist talks about "too-flexible" fair dealing, and that ommission concerns me, since I think scholars should be pretty exhaustive in their analysis.

It's not that I don't see the potential for damage from DRM suggested by the video, or by Russell's trusted computing video or his ideas; it's just that I think it is terribly inaccurate to reduce the debate to the level of "yes to DRM, or no to DRM." We live in a society full of regulations -- and so a regulated DRM seems entirely possible to me. Geist even goes into some detail about that in his copyright submission, and again I wouldn't necessarily disagree with it in principle, just in degree (most likely).

Andy, I appreciate your words, but it might be unfair to ask the professional creator community to reframe their discomfort en masse. It's sort of like telling a very shy person -- "yes, everyone goes around naked these days, that's just how it is, so you need to stop fearing your nudity and just ask yourself 'how can I get the same confort from nakedness that I used to get from clothes?'"

That, as I see it, is a huge part of the problem in all this. Doctorow's favorite adjective is "stupid" as far as I can tell. Even Russell's questions tend to imply that the person being question really doesn't understand what's being discussed. There's a defintie coercive, pushy quality to the invitation to join a happy digital utopia. I'm not being blamey about this (here, no... elsewhere, yes), but when has the argument "you just don't understand why this is good for you" ever worked in any human situation?

This applies to Geist as well, IMO. Today he reposts his copyright submission to prove how reasonable he is. Last week he accused a federal minister of telling everyone to STFU, and lapsed back into his "crusader against DMCA" persona. Which Michael Geist are professional creators supposed to trust? -- and frankly, if he can't see that there's even a difference between the two personas there are even larger problems.

I get that the technology carries with it it's own realities and defintions, but that works in both directions. Calls to have e-books work for consumers exactly like dead tree books used to work completely ignore how different e-books are. A dead tree book cannot be infinitely and perfectly copied and distributed with a few keystrokes. New rules need to apply to new things.

That's all for today, I'm afraid. All booked up with other interesting events. Thanks for your comments.

John said...

Oh, and thanks Russell for pointing me to that video. Somehow it managed to get me to this Jack Black video as well, which just made my day.

This dude is so smart he can produce a message both sides of the debate can claim for themselves depending on personal levels of irony. No rocket sauce, hilarious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LkWKvMCzqA&feature=related

Russell McOrmond said...

"I perceive an immediate problem, and I would appreciate a solution."

If we define the problem as "how do creators get paid for their valuable contributions to society", we still don't agree on the nature of that problem.

The greatest problem facing creators isn't infringement, but "not for sale". You believe that everything is already licensed in ways people want to pay, meaning no solution to these two different problems will be compatible.

As much as I respect Michael, he is the first to admit he does not have a technical background. This means that his views on how to regulate DRM are based on the same misinformation from the DRM suppliers as those who want strong legal protection for DRM, and the makers of that Gun-slinger action video you dislike.

There is no reason to create new forms of regulation for DRM. Existing laws are largely sufficient. One of the flaws in current Copyright law is that they are overly complex, and in dire need of clarification and simplification. We should not abuse alleged problems in Copyright law to make other laws unjustifiably complex as well.

a) Existing provincial property law should protect owner locks, and prohibit non-owner locks, whether on digital or analog/traditional property. There is no justification to create new relationship types here, and all the legitimate relationships are already handled under sale, rental and other existing models.

b) Existing provincial eCommerce laws should protect "membership required", digital signatures, and other such technical measures. It should be easy to prosecute people who falsify identity or otherwise access members-only sites without proper authorization.


When you hear "fair dealings", you seem to think of institutional exceptions. I believe we should abolish institutional exceptions entirely, replacing them with flexible fair dealing applied to everyone equally. This is a much more radical approach than you have articulated.

When I talk about flexible fair dealings, I am talking about those things which most people already justifiably believe are legal and which do not harm (and in most cases help) creators.

I'm thinking of exceptions necessary for follow-on creators *such as* criticism, review, news reporting, and parody.

I'm thinking of exceptions necessary to make Copyright respectable in the eyes of average citizens, and content valuable enough to consumers to pay, *such as* time, device, and format shifting. Copyright does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation, and the more copyright encroaches on private activities the less respectable it will be seen, and thus the less it will be respected.

I can give daily examples in my life of infringing activities that should be carved out of copyright.

When I buy DVD's I device and format shift to put onto the devices I own. If I couldn't shift, I would not have purchased in the first place. Ignoring the edges of copyright is the only way I can justify paying for content.

If the Television industry gets their way I won't be able to record programming on VCR/PVRs. The result? I'll be watching less television, and paying for cable will be even harder to justify than today. Given I'm not alone in this feeling, I am certain that this will cause even more damage to the television industry than is already happening today.


We see some serious problems that need solutions. There are a lot of changes being proposed that will mean less money in the pockets of creators.

I believe what the groups you trust are calling for in Copyright reform will result in less money in the pockets of creators. They gave up their voice in this round of the Canadian Copyright debate by focusing on opposing flexible fair dealings - two strikes against creators actually getting paid.

John said...

Russell,

As usual, I don't have a dispute with your premises (mostly), but I don't always follow you to your conclusions. And that's okay -- that's what the legislative process is for... finding a way to maybe get close enough to both our conclusions.

There is danger in reframing my position. I certainly never see it done accurately. Today, Geist calls this posting "blame the user." I don't "blame" anyone, certainly not good-faith users of creative content. I am not anti-consumer. That would be silly. Rather than blame the user, this post expresses disappointment in enablers and the blame-inciting inaccuracies they enable. Who could deny that the revolver film does anything other than "blame the publishers." It's explicit.

So, I don't believe "that everything is already licensed in ways people want to pay," at least that's not how I see my position. I agree with you that no "buy Now" button is a problem, but I probably don't agree that adding a buy now button is the simple solution. Buying online has to be tied to the same level of security as buying offline, IMO, and I think we need to excuse publishers for wondering if DRM provisions are not one way to do that. Notice I am not expressing certainty that they are -- rather I am saying it behooves us to give the established content producers a chance to securely adapt within a regulated environment (no scary eyeballs). Their investment in culture and creativity must not be so easily disgarded and, to McGrath's point, disrespected.

I see you chat a bit with Ms. Atwood on twitter. If there's an incumbent in CanLit publishing, it is she. If there's a more open mind on just about everything, I haven't met it. And yet, she enjoys, and should continue to enjoy traditional publishing support and protection through copyright. All I'm saying.

Except, no, I don't think of institutional exceptions when I hear fair dealings. I get the difference. I want to make sure educators get the difference too, and considering the advocacy on those two issues, I think I'm right to be worried.

Darryl said...

Buying online has to be tied to the same level of security as buying offline, IMO, and I think we need to excuse publishers for wondering if DRM provisions are not one way to do that. Notice I am not expressing certainty that they are -- rather I am saying it behooves us to give the established content producers a chance to securely adapt within a regulated environment

But John, if they really want to go down this road, is there anything in the law now that prevents them from doing so? I don't think so. DRM really has nothing to do with copyright. It is about enforcing contracts. As such if they want to put all sorts of draconian restrictions on the media and the devices they can do that now in a contract, and contract law will protect them. It does require a bit more work and investment on their part, but isn't that the price of doing business?

The issue is does protection for DRM have any business being in copyright law? If we can agree that it doesn't, and that there are other ways for publishers to use and protect DRM, then I think everybody here will be a whole lot happier.

Russell McOrmond said...

"There is danger in reframing my position. I certainly never see it done accurately. "

I understand your feelings. In my blog posting you made reference to I clearly say, "While I applaud the quality of the video and the clarity of the message, I don't agree that it is a correct depiction of DRM."

In other words -- good artistic work, but must be labelled fiction and not non-fiction.

"I think we need to excuse publishers for wondering if DRM provisions are not one way to do that."

The problem with this is the same problem I had with the video: dangerous if people ware basing their "wondering" on a fictional understanding of the technology involved. We are also not talking about wondering: this is something already deployed, already causing harm, and publisher lobbyists are advocating for legal protection of this harm.


If you have a fire and want to put it out, don't you want to know if the liquid you are about to pour on it is water or gasoline? Isn't that a critical ingredient in the "wondering", long before you start to pour?

That said, I still don't think it is something that should be up to publishers. Basing business models on non-owner locks on devices is building businesses on a form of theft. I may want to put padlocks on your door and charge people to enter your home, but the law shouldn't protect my business, but should clearly prohibit it.

The same is true of anti-interoperability locks on content. This would be comparable to insurance companies declaring that they won't insure a home or contents where the owner retains the keys. Only houses where a chosen set of home builders retain the keys would be insured. Do you believe that this is reasonable and should be allowed? Then again, this isn't comparable as copyrighted works aren't as substitutable as insurance companies. It's not like I have a choice of where to shop for works from an author I enjoy if the author isn't making it available to me in a reasonable manner.


It is not technology or any alleged lack of regulation that is holding back established content companies to adapt to changes in the marketplace. In fact, most of the proposals to radically change copyright law will only delay any adapting. In the meantime they will continue to use invalid statistics to claim harm from infringement when those statistics don't differentiate between infringement, legitimate competition, market transitions, harm from DRM, and "not for sale".

Pieter Hulshoff said...

Dear John,

The problem with DRM is that it is incapable of what you want it to do, and is at the same time abused by copyright holders to do what it is not supposed to.

Let me be clear about this: DRM is, by definition, incapable of preventing copyright infringement! Cory Doctorow, as much as you may disagree with some of his points of view, held an excellent speech about this: http://changethis.com/manifesto/show/4.DRM. Taking this is a given, why would you be interested in paying for the "privilege" of using such technologies?

At the same time we see the failures of DRM: Movies on dvd/blu-ray that refuse to play, because the DRM implementation of the player isn't up to date or because the TV does not support HDCP. E-books that disappear from Kindle devices. Games that refuse to play, because Windows Live is not supported in your country. Sony rootkit debacles, etc. The list goes on and on. Why would you subject your loyal customers to such problems? DRM does not hurt the pirates; it just turns your fans against you.

What's worse, legislation like the DMCA makes illegal for customers to work around the problems caused by DRM to enjoy their legally purchased materials. No wonder people hate this legislation even worse than the DRM that spawned it.

Certainly, copyright infringement can be a problem these days, but DRM is not the answer. The best ways are still to connect with your fans, and give them reasons to buy your works. Even the best copyright regime imaginable in a perfect world won't help you against the competition of all the different forms of entertainment on the market today. There are many artists thriving in the market that new technology offers them; be one of them.

John said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I'm way too busy these days to address every single point, but let me repeat something I have already said...

I get the theory. "DRM can't work." "Non-owner locks." Etc.

I'm not saying those theories are wrong. I'm saying they are theories.

If they're right, and they have the kinds of impacts you are predicting, no law protecting DRM will stop society from making the necessary adjustments. If on the other hand, the theories are not as devastatingly accurate as you think they are, and some form of regulated DRM (as suggested by Geist himself) can function with efficiency, then the investors in this business need some legal framework to protect their investment. At the moment, as the CCER illustrates by its very existence, that framework is too shaky to trust.

I've said all along that these changes will be evolutionary, not revolutionary. If DRM really is a vestigial organ, it will shrivel and die on its own. We don't need to slice it off for the sake of revolutionary theories.

Pieter Hulshoff said...

Dear John,

Thank you for replying in spite of your busy schedule.
I get the theory. "DRM can't work." "Non-owner locks." Etc. I'm not saying those theories are wrong. I'm saying they are theories.

If you mean that DRM can't work because people will reject it, it can be considered a theory. The statement that DRM by definition cannot function to prevent copyright infringement is not a theory, it's a cryptological fact, as any mathematician will tell you. If you provide a possible attacker with the message, the cypher and the cypher key, then it's only a matter of time (usually days, sometimes weeks, but rarely months) before your work is available without the DRM.

As such, arguing for legal protection of DRM, when all it does is prevent loyal customers from enjoying their legally purchased works in the way that they expect to be able to, is bound to meet opposition, which in a democracy might not be beneficial. People like me would be unlikely to even be entering this debate (and I do quite a bit of political lobbying these days) if these laws did not prevent me from watching my legally purchased DVDs etc. on my Linux computer or from playing my legally purchased games, because Windows Live is such a complete failure.

If your DRM is non-intrusive, you didn't need it to begin with, and if it is it's likely to be a target of much frustration with your fanbase. It's simply a waste of money and effort, but one you're free to try as you please. Just don't expect the rest of us to root for legal protection of said DRM.

For clarity: I'm a full-time hardware designer, part-time Open Source software developer, and part-time musician. Copyright is certainly very important to me, yet I still oppose this legislation. It's not a solution to any problem; it's a problem in itself.

Russell McOrmond said...

"I'm not saying those theories are wrong. I'm saying they are theories. "

I think you are confusing two different things.

One is the science behind how non-owner locks on devices and anti-interoperability locks on content work. This is not theory, but science. You ignore this knowledge at your own and others peril, and make anything else you have to say about the technology itself fit into the science fiction rather than science category.


The second is the economic theories behind the potential impacts of these real life technologies. Here we can debate, look at statistics, interpret statistics in different ways, etc.

You also need to realise that the problem you are trying to solve, reducing copyright infringement in order to better pay authors, fits into the "theory" category.

So, and I realise we disagree, the problem you are trying to solve is theoretical while my problem is based on the practicalities of a set of real world technologies.

I'm not dismissing the importance of the theory you are concerned with, but I do note that you tend to dismiss the education behind the real world technology that I'm speaking of.

Russell McOrmond said...

"then the investors in this business need some legal framework to protect their investment."

The answer to this is simple: No.

There should be no legal framework to protect the investment of people and/or companies whose businesses are based on theft. I'm sorry that you appear to have become an apologist for a form of theft, or think that theft is an experiment worthy of trying in order to stop -- what again exactly?


Or, are those of us with the math and/or science background to understand cryptography committing the sin of trying to bring science to a political conversation?

Sorry: The world is flat, climate change was made up by the insurance industry in order to justify raising rates, and it is possible to lock digital content in a way that is technologically able to be accessed in authorised ways but not infringed.

*sigh*

The Mad Hatter said...

John,

I'm curious - have you actually read the WIPO Treaty segment on DRM? You can find it here:

http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/wct/trtdocs_wo033.html#P87_12240

Note that article 11 says that only authors can authorize DRM.

Wayne

John said...

Wayne,

Your link didn't work for me, but I think your reference is to this section of the WCT:

Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law.

Now, I'm no big city lawyer, so you're going to have to point out to me where it says "only authors can authorize DRM."

If you need to go and get a law degree first, I can wait.

The Mad Hatter said...

The only party mentioned for the use of DRM are authors. Therefore no one else can add DRM to an author's work without the author's permission.

If the WIPO meant the distributors/publishers to be able to use DRM, they would have been mentioned in the text about it.

Russell McOrmond said...

Mad Hatter,

We can't rely on the WIPO treaty language. Many technology people in the USA did back in the late 1990's, and out of that they got the DMCA. Canadians will be infringing or not based on the language of our Copyright and other acts, not treaty language.

If we were going on the treaty language, I would be unconcerned with legal protection for technical measures. It would not protect a new "right of non-interoperability" as that is not a right "under this Treaty or the Berne Convention". It would also not protect non-owner locks on technology, as that doesn't relate to Copyright at all.

From that language expect that technical measures would form part of the remedies section of Copyright, offering statutory damages in situations where a technical measure was circumvented in order to infringe copyright (the technical measure used as indication of intent). That is not, however, even remotely close to what the Liberals, Conservatives or Bloc have articulated thus far.


The problem is, people without adequate technical knowledge (and with the "help" of monopolists in the technology industry) are creating bills out of the treaty language. What we end up with is something that doesn't remotely resemble a reasonable interpretation of the treaties, and yet they are alleged to be enabling legislation for these treaties.


Similar issues with "rights management information". When I first read about this from the treaties I was supportive, until I heard lawyers talking about concepts entirely foreign to what I would consider rights management information.

The Mad Hatter said...

Russell,

I am advocating to using the treaty language to change the bill when it is published. James is already aware that this bill will be the center of a firestorm, but I believe he's going ahead anyway with the digital locks (this is a guess based on something he said).