Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freedom of digitalization...

I've been trying to keep up with Canada's new DMCA bill (C-61) but it's difficult. Almost any time I read or hear about it there's so much jargon and I don't have the patience to deal with it or filter through it.

I have never had C-61 explained to me in a reasonable way, but I don't have to be a politician to know that this bill is absolutely ridiculous and needs a lot of work and a lot of input from Canadians.

A very good friend of mine wrote Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, with both standard and very unique concerns about Bill C-61:

"...for someones mp3, video and whatever collections, one can't really tell. For example I have a ADC membership from Apple that enables me to download software, thus I may not have discs, or ever will have discs but the copy is perfectly legal. But how will I prove that at the border? or my mp3 collection that I have had for years based off of cd's that I have owned in the past and may no longer own today? It is all fuzzy and not sound to do this, and in the end looks like a waste of time and clogging our legal system.

"Secondly, I work in the realm of internet security and I typically have materials that are used to attack websites, but I am on the protective end, so I have or try to have what the offenders are using in order to be proficient.

"So for me this is a scary thought because I could be fined for legally possessing material, and in the end being fined and potentially having my hardware and data destroyed in a needless search, let alone the privacy infringement and trade secret material I may have at any given time."

Masse wrote back with some very interesting things to say:

"Recent reports confirming that the government is in secret meetings to negotiate the terms of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is yet another example of the way this government is allowing U.S. corporate interests to lead Canada around by the nose. These secret ACTA talks in Geneva are likely to result in treating children who trade songs for their iPods like members of international counterfeiting rings; institutionalize the mandatory snooping of personal Internet use; legislate the seizure of personal computers at the border to search for copyrighted materials; and make it easier to use heavy-handed lawsuits against individuals as a tool to prevent file-sharing.

"Unfortunately, the government has completely ignored calls to bring forward reasonable copyright legislation. In fact, this bill is worse than originally feared. There is no evidence of an attempt to strike any reasonable balance that would protect either artists or consumers. Instead, we are faced with a full capitulation to the U.S. corporate lobby that will pave the way for the criminalization of perfectly reasonable behaviour (like format shifting of most legally purchased content)."

I'm still trying to learn more about Bill C-61. It could very well be the most important piece of legislation Canada has seen since the Charter.

Read up on the subject and if you feel strongly about it, take Brian Masse's advice:

"I would strongly encourage you to stay active in this fight by putting the heat on the Ministers of Industry and Heritage, the Prime Minister, and the leaders of the other opposition parties. Whether you call, write, email, or all of the above, your participation will be important to making our opposition to this bill impossible to ignore."

Thanks, Mark.


Jenny P. said...

Mike, read a lot of boing boing or at least all the post by corey doctorow and michael geist.
Or geist's blog does a good job at explaining it.
Also, this is an interview with minister prentice by cbc's show 'search engine.'
The questions came from people asking practical implications of this bill and how it will effect communication as we know it.

Michael said...

I've read Boing Boing, but they don't give a standard explanation of the bill, but they do a great job of covering what's going on with it.

I've heard Prentice on CBC radio and I don't trust his answers. I probably need to just take an afternoon to read the bill over.