Fight Canadian Copyright Reform

Below is a letter sent using the Online Rights Canada webpage regarding potential changes to copyright law that might introduce the Canadian version of the DMCA. I don’t normally get that involved in politics, but when I hear about changes such as this, I get riled up. Imagine not being able to legally rip your music CD’s for use in your iPod? Imagine not being able to use your VCR to record TV shows? Imagine it being illegal to make fun of an ad or a song by using part of it in your parody?Imagine this happens because some company (US based or otherwise) buries some wording in a multipage EULA?

From BoingBoing regarding the Canadian DMCA:

It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses.

Currently there exists in Canada a levy on all blank media (including iPods), that is supposed to help reimburse artists whose music is not purchased legally. Everyone pays this levy regardless of how they obtain their music. Why does the law need to change?

I’ve read some theories that feel these changes will pave the way for the RIAA to start suing Canadian consumers who have downloaded music. Nothing like gnawing off the hand that feeds you.

I sincerely hope that the politicians seriously consider what this will lead to. There have been two other politicians who lost their jobs because they tried to introduce such legislation.

Here is the letter that was sent.

December 8, 2007

The Honourable Keith Martin
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sir,

I am a constituent who cares about Canada’s cultural policy, and I am
writing in regard to legislative proposals for “copyright reform.”
During the last Parliament, Bill C-60 provided some very sensible
approaches to this complicated topic, but it also left room for
improvement. As you consider the issue of copyright reform, I hope
that you will work to ensure that any new legislation is not a
regression from the sensible policies set out in Bill C-60.

In particular, I do not believe that “digital rights management”
(DRM) technologies should stop the public from making lawful uses of
their legitimately acquired media. Publishers using DRM push aside
the delicate balance between copyright and the rights of the public –
a balance set according to an assessment of the public interest by
legislators – and replace it with one-sided rules that reflect
publishers’ private interests. Even artists disagree with publishers’
anti-consumer use of DRM, as evidenced by the recently formed Canadian
Music Creators Coalition. Therefore, as in Bill C-60, new copyright
reform legislation should not make it illegal to circumvent DRM for
lawful purposes.

I am also concerned that the use of DRM can threaten computer
security and consumer privacy, as in the recent Sony-BMG “Rootkit”
fiasco. When content companies routinely use technological measures
to control how people enjoy entertainment in the privacy of their own
homes, I think we need protection *from* DRM more than we need
protection *for* it.

These concerns are shared by a substantial and growing number of
informed Canadian citizens. I hope that you will take them into
account when considering any changes to Canadian copyright law.
Thank you very much for your time.\r\n


Greg Fox

Surreptitiously Copyrighted

It amazes me to no end how greedy and stupid record companies have become, and how ignorant they seem to be of the facts. Why would any company or store knowingly punish their customers?

If you haven’t been following the online uproar recently, Sony has released a bunch of CD’s that contain more than just music. These CD’s surreptitiously install evil software onto windows machines even if the user declines this. The software opens up backdoors into the computer, and hides itself from the operating system. This introduces huge security vulnerabilities, and many also consider this spyware. Sony claims that they do nothing with the data they receive, but my thoughts are that they do nothing now. This is all in a misguided attempt to prevent people from ripping the music and sharing it. Yes, they are trying to prevent the people who actually bought the music from using it the way they want to.

I spend a lot of money on music, only so I can be treated like a thief? I buy a product, and the seller assumes I will do the worst with it? Backwards in my mind. Some CD’s get it right though. Bonus material on a disc, and access to content online using the CD as a key are a couple ways to entice people to purchase the CD. I have several CD’s like this. Very nice. That is the way to treat someone.

The latest thing I have read about is record companies shutting down websites and software developers that distribute lyrics for songs. I’m sorry, but that is asinine. The record companies claim they are infringing copyrights. Read here for some background. While I understand that songs and music are copyrighted, whatever happened to treating customers respectfully? I don’t see how these lyrics providers could cause less albums sales? Quite often lyrics aren’t provided in CD’s. Band websites quite often don’t have this information. Why can’t a third party provide it? Someone clue me in to why record companies feel this threatens them and their industry?

I like supporting the artists, but I hate supporting crap like this. Most of the money that I pay for a CD does not go towards the artist. Some of the money that I pay will go towards badly designed DRM, and lawsuits. That sickens me. Almost to the point where I want to stop buying CD’s. Do you think the record companies realize this? I doubt it. Frustrating.

As a photographer I also have to consider my own artwork. I know I would feel disgusted if people were stealing my products. However, I would never pollute my products with something to destroy someones computer. I wouldn’t try to shut down peoples interaction with my product because someone might do something wrong. I recognize it is a thin line, but I think that record companies are on the wrong side. Unfortunately it is going to take something big to make them change their ways.

Durable Ringtones

drying out
I don’t understand the latest rage in cellphones. Cameras. I want my cellphone to place calls. I want my cellphone to place good quality calls. I want my cellphone to be durable. I want basic text messaging. Most of all I want my cellphone to be inexpensive.

I don’t want to surf the web. I don’t want to take pictures. I don’t want to view and modify email. I don’t want to play games on it. I don’t want downloadable ringtones that sound like the latest populare tune. I am not the target market.

drying out the other way

You know what? That doesn’t bother me. The underlying story behind cameras with all the gizmos it the usage fees. Cell companies don’t mention how much it costs when advertising cameras these fancy phones. If SMS is $5 a month, how much are they going to charge for mailing pictures and movies over their network?

Even with a basic plan I pay more than I want to with my cellphone. Some day I am going to sit down and look at my usage of the cellphone, and maybe make the decision to go to prepaid. I can still get the features I want, but it might cost me less.

Why am I like this? Well, my cell phone is a communication device, not a PDA, and definitely not a camera. That is why I have a PDA, and a camera. I like having seperate devices. One reason I like the seperate devices is that I feel no fear throwing my cell into my pack when I go riding. If I had one of the PDA/cell/camera combo units that cost upwards of $650, I would never take it riding. It would lose its usefulness for me. My camera is small enough that I can carry it almost everywhere I go.

Besides, have you seen the quality of the pics a cameraphone can take? I haven’t seen any that don’t look grainy. I prefer good quality over bleeding edge. I don’t view it as a tragedy that I carry multiple devices with me.

Like I said, I am not the target market, even though I love gadgets, and I am a pretty techy person.