Canadian Digital Security Companies Warn Against Anti-Circumvention Laws

Many of Canada's leading digital security companies, including Third Brigade, Certicom, VE Networks, and Borderware Technologies, have issued a public letter to Ministers Bernier and Oda on copyright reform.  The letter, signed by Brian O'Higgins (widely regarded as a world leader in authentication and digital security issues as a founder of Entrust and Third Brigade) makes a powerful case for why anti-circumvention legislation would be harmful to these innovative Canadian companies.  Moreover, the letter closes by noting that:

"In our view, debates over copyright policy have focused myopically on the demands of the multinational content industry, and not enough on Canada's needs for laws that foster innovation and security in a digital environment.  Canadian innovators rely on the unacceptably narrow defence of fair dealing for the legality of reverse engineering and  security research.  Our American competitors face no such uncertainty with respect to the broader US defence of fair use, which clearly captures reverse engineering.  It is time to address this competitive disadvantage by harmonizing fair dealing with fair use." 

By my count, in the past two months we have seen Canadian musicians, artists, students, librarians, privacy commissioners, museums, and now security companies all speak out against anti-circumvention legislation.  I don't know what the Conservative minority government will ultimately do with the copyright file, but I do know that when dozens of organizations representing millions of Canadians speak out on this issue, the days of one-sided arguments from the copyright lobby are over.


  1. Agreement
    “the days of one-sided arguments from the copyright lobby are over.”

    Indeed they are and it’s a welcoming and badly needed thing too. 🙂

  2. Zealot #70926297 says:

    I am very glad to see such a widespread response to the copyright issues, each using public letters to speak of their issues. This brings clarity to the need for fairness in the new copyright laws.

  3. DRM protest
    Slashdot is reporting on an organized DRM protest today.

  4. URL for protest
    The url was stripped from the HTML in my last post.

  5. Can the government hear the balanced mes
    The article states that “the days of one-sided arguments from the copyright lobby are over”. There may be an alternative view being presented, but is the government listening. They can technically “hear” the argument, but if it doesn’t influence their action, then the message is for naught. The lobby process is nefariously silent and its results don’t present themselves until it’s too late.

    The music industry has perfected their style of silent back room lobbying … while the technolgy companies are not aligned. They will deliver product that conforms to what ever rules the government imposes and there is little upside to getting involved.

    The big question is how will the ministers and the bureaucrat running the process act based on the counterpoint message. Lobbyists work the bureaucrats and own their mind share. Bureaucrats draft the legislation, sit on the committees and run the process. It takes a strong minister to change that path.

    Public statements are nice, but if they are not followed up in the backrooms, amounts to nothing less than showcasing.

    So let’s hope that the groups presenting a counter point to the music industry are organizing for the long run lobby process, and let’s hope that the minister is listening, and that the bureaucrats hear a bit of the message too.