Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 28, 2006 as Content Blocking a Can of Worms More than a decade ago, John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, coined the phrase "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." Last week, the Canadian […]
Archive for August, 2006
Reverse engineering is the scientific method of taking something apart in order to figure out how it works. Reverse engineering has been used by innovators to determine a product's structure in order to develop competing or interoperable products. Reverse engineering is also an invaluable teaching tool used by researchers, academics and students in many disciplines, who reverse engineer technology to discover, and learn from, its structure and design.
The need for a reverse engineering provision therefore follows from some of the discussion last week – it is pro-competitive as it facilitates the creation of compatible devices as well as greater competition in the marketplace.
While there may be general agreement on the need for a reverse engineering provision, it is essential that Canada avoid the U.S. DMCA approach which has been widely criticized for being too limited in scope and thus woefully ineffective.
Peter Suber reports that the EU has taken another step forward with its ambitious digitization program. Where is a much-needed Canadian strategy backed by government support?
The approach in Bill C-60 was to limit (the government believed eliminate) the need for circumvention rights by creating a direct link between circumvention and copyright. Bill C-60 only made it an offence to circumvent a technological measure for the purposes of copyright infringement. In other words, if you had another purpose – for example, protecting your personal privacy – the anti-circumvention provision would not be triggered.
If the new copyright bill adopts a U.S. style approach, then a crucial part of the discussion will be whether the government has identified all the necessary rights to limit the harms associated with anti-circumvention legislation. While these rights might be characterized by some as exceptions, I think they are more appropriately viewed as circumvention rights, analogous to the Supreme Court of Canada's emphasis on user rights.
Privacy protection is an obvious example of a circumvention right.