Wednesday, December 01, 2010

ultimate copyright cage match

The Thrill on the Hill

Time: Today, December 1, 2010 at 3:30 EST

Place: Room 253-D, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Event: Copyright Throwdown - successive witness hearings before the C32 Committee

On the Card:

Giuseppina "Pina the Pulverizer" D'Agostino -- IP Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. Author of Copyright, Contracts, Creators: New Media, New Rules

Michael "The Phantom" Geist -- consumer advocate, blogger, and occasional law professor at the University of Ottawa. Editor of From "Radical Extremism" to "Balanced Copyright": Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda

Barry "The Bruiser" Sookman -- Partner, McCarthy T├ętrault, past chair of Canadian Bar Association ― Computer and Computer-Related Technology section. Author of the comprehensive Sookman: Computer, Internet and Electronic Commerce Law (2000-2009)
View this battle royale live online at the Parliamentary website.

I am going out right now to buy popcorn. That is exactly how copyright-geeky I am.

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(Peace Tower photo - and a beautiful one at that - courtesy of tekdiver on Flickr - licensed under a CC Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic licence)


Anonymous said...

not a great day for the phantom. got suplexed, a lot. he's the one in the red pants (see link below) refusing to admit that, as currently drafted, the proposed addition of fair dealing for the purpose of "education" would certainly deprive professional creators of income they currently earn (and rely on).

props to all 3 witnesses for the passion and knowledge they brought and shared in the cage today (and especially the pulverizer for imparting creator perspective).


Author: Blake Arledge, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Unknown said...

Had a doctor's appointment, so I missed it. I should go back and watch it, but I'm behind in my writing already.

Damn, just not enough hours in a day.

Crockett said...

John, I had a bar of dark chocolate to keep me awake. Still, it is most surprising that I was able to sit through two hours of parliamentary television without falling asleep ;)

Well, you can certainly see the various interests being represented today. Sookman for business, Geist for users and Pina D'Agostino for creators. Sure there was some give and take among them but on the whole all the main stakeholder views were there.

Sookman made a point about TPM being needed to enable new business models. Citing for example something being released as a subscription or rental at a lower price point could then be 'stolen' by by passing the TPM. I can agree with this scenario being unworkable without further clarification, yet the other side if the coin is full priced media (DVD etc.) is still encumbered by the same TPM, the content industry can't have it both ways. A solution could be to specify what types of tpm would be circumvent able and/or for what purposes. Of course another way would be to only put TPM on price discounted/subscription media, but I do not trust the content industry to enable any fair use unless forced to do so. Sookman also cited the UK approach to copyright control and ISP liability, ignoring the recent declaration by parliament that they actually got it wrong in their recently quickly shoved through legislation and need to revisit the topic altogether.

Crockett said...

Another strange thing that Sookman said was as the bill is written it would enable people to 'side' shift media under fair use. In other words to give media away to others. I fail to see this interpretation, but am open to it being explained. D'Agostino was mostly pushing against the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category. She cited the need for greater clarification as she felt the current wording was too open. Geist suggested codifying in the six step test that the Supreme court had laid out, but I got the impression that was not good enough in her view. She then asked for a provision for some type of further outside input after the crafting of the legislation. In this I agree that there does need to be some more specific language in regards to the fair dealing provisions (and not just in regards to education), and would suggest a much more frequent review schedule than the proposed 5 years which is a geological length of time in matters pertaining to copyright and advancing technology.

Crockett said...

Geist of course brought up the digital locks provisions and realistically stated that the vast majority of users are going to ignore them if they are too restrictive to perceived fairness and flexibility, leading to a further eroding of respect to copyright as a whole. In this regard I can whole heartedly agree. There seemed to be much concern, especially from the Quebec MPs as to a loss of income to artists per fair use. Geist honestly answered that there would be some instances that this would be the case. I would like to expand on that though, there is already a loss of income due to infringement and IMO greater fair use and value added services would not add to those losses but rather equalize or even abate the losses as consumers recognizing good will on the part of the media industry and would then be willing to return to more legal solutions. The suggestion for greater penalties and tougher legislation, while sounding good, has been proven to be ineffective in other regions of the world and I do not see why it would be successful here.

All in all, a good debate and hopefully with goodwill and good effort a bill that is at least acceptable to most can be crafted.

I have many more thoughts on what was said but I will leave room for others to comment, plus the chocolate bar is wearing off ;)

Gruesome said...

"Citing for example something being released as a subscription or rental at a lower price point could then be 'stolen' by by passing the TPM."
Crockett, Barry uses this example all the time. It's extremely flawed and a great example of either Barry not understanding the technology or Barry twisting things to half truths.
What has been proposed for consumers is the right to break locks for fair dealing purposes.
Every scenario Barry comes up with is not fair dealing. Renting is not owning and therefor breaking the TPM would still be illegal.
You'll notice that Barry never gives an example that would be considered Fair Dealing by most people ie format shifting.
Barry will never get up there and say "We have to protect new business models like having people pay for a movie on their ipod, and then of course on their dvd player and if they watch it on their tablet, pay again.
Every single example Barry gives is never one covered under fair use, it's a slight of hand lawyer trick.

Chris A said...

But of course it's close enough that it looks like it would be unless someone points out that it's wrong. I tend to agree that the rental one does not remotely apply to the bill at all.

Unknown said...

Barry doesn't understand technology. He's totally hopeless at it. And he isn't at all happy that I've been pointing that out, he tried to block me on Twitter, which of course just doesn't work.

Geist is a typical academic. He doesn't understand business, or the arts.

D'Agostino doesn't understand technology. She also doesn't understand how culture really works.

In other words, all three of them are less than useful.

No one has pointed out that there is no evidence that Bill C-32 will do any good for anyone. It may, or it may not. We just don't know, because the studies haven't been done.

What I strongly suspect, is that Bill C-32 is the first step to the large 'content' organizations attempting to lock out smaller competitors, like the DMCA was in the USA. In other words it has nothing to do with protecting the artists, and everything to do with protecting the Big Four.

Sandy Crawley said...

@Mad Hatter,

Well, well. Seems to me you dismiss some pretty keen minds. Your entropic view is , shall we say, less than enlightening.

Maybe when you're writing assignment is finished you can take a moment to explain, for example " culture really works."?
I promise to pass it on to D'Agostino so she can be "useful" in future.


You sum it up well.