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Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore on How Copyright Can Treat Consumers Unfairly

Canadian Heritage James Moore appeared on CBC’s Power & Politics yesterday to defend Bill C-32 and to speak out against the ACTRA proposal for extending the private copying levy (Industry Minister Tony Clement did the same in the Globe).  In doing so, he made the case for why the digital lock provisions in the bill are so problematic (at roughly 1:24:00).  According to Moore:

When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device – and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.

While Moore was thinking of the prospect of additional payments through a levy, the words apply equally to the digital lock provisions that make it an infringement for consumers to circumvent locks in order to watch the movie they’ve purchased on a second device. In fact, in some instances – for example, DVDs with non-North American region codes – it involves infringement for merely trying to access the content for the first time. 

Moore’s point is exactly what many consumers have been saying for months.  When they purchase a DVD, they should have the right to watch the movie on the device of their choice and to transfer a copy onto portable video players or other similar devices.  Unfortunately, Bill C-32 does precisely what Moore warns against – it assumes that all consumers will engage in illegal copying, act as pirates, or seek to steal from others by treating digital locks as paramount to all other rights.  Moore gets the principle right but not the implementation since Canadian copyright law should allow consumers to circumvent for non-infringing purposes.  To do otherwise, is – in the words of the Minister – to treat consumers unfairly.

74 Comments

  1. Morris MP James says:

    Bass Ackwards
    Uh-oh, sounds like even the Honourable Minister may be in opposition to the digital lock provisions of Bill C-32. Well, given his own advice regarding anyone critical of the bill, and I quote:

    “Don’t fool yourself. These voices that are out there, these people that are out there who pretend to be experts that the media cite all the time. They don’t believe in any copyright reform whatsoever. They will find any excuse to oppose this bill, to drum up fear, to mislead, to misdirect, and to push people in the wrong direction and to undermine what has been a meaningful comprehensive year-long effort to get something right. Those people out there who try to pretend that they are copyright experts and they want to amend copyright in a meaningful way, don’t be fooled by some of these people. They don’t believe in any copyright. They don’t believe in individuals’ right to protect their own creations…When they speak, they need to be confronted. If it’s on Facebook, if it’s on Twitter, or if it’s on a talk show or if it is a newspaper, confront them and tell they are wrong.”

    All right, we must confront the Honourable Minister when he speaks, be it Facebook, Twitter, a talk show or a newspaper. Oh, James, you ‘Radical Extremist’ you!

  2. I think that they are starting to see the way the wind is blowing with regards to digital locks and may be changing their tune. Or not, have to see how it plays out in the end.

  3. I don’t think James Moore
    ever really understood the technology he’s been talking about.
    And I think if he understood how what he just said fixes perfectly in the tpm debate, then he’s reverse himself.

  4. Sorry
    should have read he’d

  5. Format shifting
    From the “pits” engraved on the surface of an optical disk to your TV screen and speakers, the “digital” data is suffering a long series of “format shifts” and “copying” through memory buffers, processor registers and I/O devices.

    This is how “digital” works.

    Making “format shifting” illegal would make even a bog standard CD/DVD player illegal.

    This reminds me of those stupid US lawsuits were ISPs were attacked for “copying and storing copies of clients e-mail messages on their own servers”. For Christ’s sake, this is exactly how e-mail works!

    As I’m typing this message, a copy of Michael Geist’s blog page has been made and was stored in my computer’s memory and hard drive cache, and several “format shifts” have been made so that I can see it displayed on the monitor screen as letters and images.

    THIS IS HOW “DIGITAL” WORKS. THERE’S NO WAY AROUND IT. IT COPIES AND FORMAT SHIFTS ALL THE TIME.

    Nap.

  6. So, James Moore admits to being a radical extremist now? Hypocrit.

  7. Yes, confuse and conflate whenever possible, Dr. Geist. Why try to inject any clarity into the discussion. It’s not like it’s your job or anything.

    Endlessly shameful.

    Okay defenders… line up. No crowding. Plenty of room for you all to leap in front of the good doctor.

  8. Ah John, I see you don’t seem to actually have a point. It generally works better when, you know, you actually provide things other than random attacks.

  9. Digital locks are not enforceable through law. There shouldn’t be any digital lock provisions within law period. Unless we all install camera’s in the bedrooms, living rooms, and basements, how exactly could one prove that a digital lock was broken in court? Digital locks are irrelevant to the marketplace and only serve to hurt the creative industries.


  10. @Jason: “Digital locks are not enforceable through law.”

    Some of them are. Brute-forcing passwords to login to RIAA’s computers will fall under “computer tampering” laws and you could get jail time.

    However RIAA would have a very weak case if you were brute-forcing keys on your own computer to get access to content that you have legally purchased.

    That’s why they needed C-32.

    Nap.

  11. I agree with Degan; your all missing the point. To get the point you’ve got to follow the $$.

    If the industry can charge multiple times for the same ‘content’ on different devices then they industry gets the $$.

    But these people who want this levy, well they have the audacity to want to distribute it directly to artists, er sorry ‘content generators’. Well that’s just not right, everyone knows it’s the ‘industry’ that deserves the $$.

    Now don’;t get me wrong, I’m not saying I agree with the levy… but it does seem the lesser of two evils.

  12. War on Something
    This is why we need all these Wars on Something:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/18/1318246/Swedish-Court-Order-Detention-of-Wikileaks-Founder-Assange

    So we could label him a communist terrorist drug dealing pervert extremist pirate.

    Next in the news: police finds drugs, unregistered firearms, illegal copies of copyrighted materials and kid pr0n at Assange’s location. Fortunately communist literature isn’t banned anymore so they won’t need to find any.

  13. The problem I have with levies is I don’t think that content creators should get paid because I want to buy a CD (other storage medium) to make a backup of my computer before a reinstall. Nor do I think that they should get paid because the phone I happen to get can play MP3s, when I don’t use it for that. Levies on ISPs I dislike for the same reasons. Levies don’t work because they don’t reflect how things are used.

  14. “…and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate…”

    Says the guy who claims digital locks protect from piracy…

    Oh the irony!

  15. Jason Bonham says:

    When Physical Media Fails
    Last night I tried to watch a copy of Godfather II that I purchased in 2002 or so. Somehow, the label from the DVD has leeched thru and damaged the surface of the disc which is now unplayable. Unfortunately I don’t have a backup copy anywhere.

    So I’m wondering…. do I own a License for the media? (If so, Paramount should have an inexpensive route for me to replace the media – they don’t) or do I OWN the Physical media? (If so, I should be able to do with it what I want – this bill will make backups illegal)

    The Movie companies can’t have it both ways.

    One thing I’m learning tho – Physical Media isn’t a long term investment.

  16. One for the artists/creators
    Here’s how “the industry” selects the best artists/creators to be further published and promoted:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/sec-and-andrew-cuomo-sue-steve-rattner-2010-11

    “At Morris’s request, Rattner arranged a DVD distribution deal for a movie, “Chooch,” produced by Loglisci’s brother, through a Quadrangle portfolio company. Though it was not originally interested in “Chooch,” the portfolio company eventually entered into a distribution deal with Loglisci’s brother, after Rattner had instructed the company’s CEO to reconsider the film, because David Loglisci was important to Quadrangle.”

    Nap.

  17. LINCHPIN
    I’m reading Seth Godin’s book: Linchpin.

    In it he describes that our society is moving away from the industrial era model where products are produced by many individual “cogs” in a giant machine, and moving towards an era where society rewards “linchpins” – people that bring artistic creative value to society and who are irreplaceable. There is no more job security in working a job where you blindly follow rules/orders and work hard to maximize production.

    The RIAA/MIAA is built upon the old industrial model. The RIAA/MIAA is replaceable, the organization as a whole is a cog, not a linchpin. We no longer need the RIAA/MIAA to distribute art, we have (for example) the internet.

    The true social value is in the artists – they are irreplaceable. They are the linchpins. Any legislation which supports cogs and not linchpins is doomed to be overrun by this new social movement of which Mr. Godin speaks. There’s no going back.

  18. Another view of C-32 TPM provisions
    It basically says: “If you’re considering buying a DVD and transferring it to your [laptop/iPhone/network attached storage], please pirate it instead; since you would be infringing C-32 either way, better get it free and without TPM from your favorite pirate site”.

    Nap.


  19. “When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device – and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.”

    Am I reading this wrong? It’s almost a complete about-face. Isn’t this completely hypocritical when compared to his stance on digital locks since C-32 was first introduced? Could it be that he’s finally starting to see the writing on the wall…that what he’s trying to do is unenforcible and will never work. This is completely apparent in the total failure of DMCA in the US and their recent move to loosen up copyright and expand fair dealing along with the move by the EU to loosen up, NOT tighten, controls on copyright there? Perhaps this was always the plan. Shoot for the unrealistic and “settle” for something you’d likely never have gotten if you had started at that point. A dangerous game if it is. I personally think that’s what Access Copywrite was attempting with their new levy. Look how well it’s working for them. If the UofA follows through and pulls out, other large institutions will follow, that will be just the beginning of the end for AC.

  20. Folks, Minister Moore has been saying exactly this, or some version of it, from the very beginning. Try to keep up. He is against an “iPod tax” and for TPM protection — what is understood over here only as “digital locks.” I know it’s complicated, but…

    And Chris A., my point is that Dr. Geist’s job is to research and provide clear, unbiased information on Internet abnd E-Commerce law to the good people of Canada; and not to intentionally confuse and conflate two separate issues within pending legislation. It is my personal opinion that he is not meeting the job description, and I find that… well, endlessly shameful.

    A further point I made is that some of the commenters, in fact many of the commenters on this blog tend to be very reactionary to any criticism of Geist’s writings, and will respond in a kneejerk fashion, criticizing the critic personally rather than providing a substantive rebuttal.

    Clearly, irony confuses you. I’ll be more direct next time.

    But thank you for the invitation to repeat and clarify my opinions.

  21. The Copying Levy solution
    The cost of a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray has two components:

    A) non-creative non-artistic expenses. The cost of the recording studio, the plastic disc, the distribution costs, and so on including the salaries of “the industry” from the CEO to the janitor.

    B) the creative/artistic part. Under the form of the royalties that go to the composer/artist.

    So let’s help the artists. I submit that all discs sold should have 2 bar codes on them. One for A) and one for B).

    If I want to buy the disc and not make any copies (i.e. I will use it as is), the clerk will scan codebar A once and codebar B once. And I’ll get charged lets say $10 for A) and it goes to “the industry”‘s account plus $5 for B) and they go directly to the artist’s account.

    Now what if I plan to make 2 additional copies – one for my car and one on my iPod. I definitely shouldn’t pay A) more then once (since I get only one plastic CD, and I don’t see why a should pay the janitor thrice when he did his work just once). But let’s admit “creative” work is special and I have to pay more.

    So the clerk scans codebar A once and codebar B thrice. I keep the receipt and I have legal proof that I own the original disc and I’m entitled to make myself 2 copies on devices of my choice.

    Hello CRIA, would you agree with such scheme?

    I guess not, since not only there’s no additional money for them, but it also would expose how little the artists get from the disc price (I guess in real life codebar B would be a couple of pennies).

    Nap.

  22. Dictionary definitions …
    BACKPEDAL – Verb: to retreat from or reverse one’s previous stand on any matter; shift ground: to back-pedal after severe criticism.
    (example): “When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device – and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.”

    FLUSTERED – Verb (adjective): to put into a state of agitated confusion: ‘His constant criticism flustered me.’
    (example): “Yes, confuse and conflate whenever possible, Dr. Geist. Why try to inject any clarity into the discussion. It’s not like it’s your job or anything. Endlessly shameful. Okay defenders… line up. No crowding. Plenty of room for you all to leap in front of the good doctor.”

  23. @Degan
    I wasn’t away that Dr. Giest’s blog should be up to the standards that you would expect from him writing a paper. I suppose that means you’ll be removing the bias from your own blog then?

    As for my reaction, it’s mainly because you don’t actually criticize what’s been talked about in the article, you just criticize him. If you don’t agree with him, explain why. You’ll either get people who agree or disagree with him. Otherwise, all I see is someone who would rather attack the person than the idea, which doesn’t generally go much in the way of actually making me sympathetic to your viewpoint.

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  25. Rebuttal
    NOTE: For kneejerk reaction see my previous post ;)

    @Degen “He is against an “iPod tax” and for TPM protection … Minister Moore has been saying exactly this, or some version of it, from the very beginning.”

    So Johg, grouping ‘Ipod tax’ and ‘TPM protection’ together is this not trying to ‘intentionally confuse and conflate two separate issues’?

    And how can you say Minister Moore has been against TPM from the beginning? He stated in the house of commons last week that ‘Digital locks [TPM] are the central core of this legislation’. Please cite your reasoning for your claim.

    @Degen “commenters on this blog tend to be very reactionary to any criticism of Geist’s writings”

    John, on your blog I think every third sentence mentions Professor Geist … reactionary?

  26. John, sorry for the typo in your name.

  27. Claude Remains says:

    Yet another view of C-32 TPM provisions
    To expand on @Napalm’s point, as I posted on http://tgam.ca/BHNb:
    Who will the digital lock provision in C-32 (superseding “fair use” copying) really benefit? People who now legally format-shift DVDs and such for personal use will become criminals, so not them.

    I expect works that use digital locks will likely be the ones stolen the most, as someone, somewhere will crack any lock as a challenge, and others will make it available, some maybe just as a statement against the use of locks, and many many people will want an un-locked version for simple ease of use. How many will choose an unlocked and free version over one that’s locked, frustrating, and has limited rights, despite a tiny risk of prosecution of an end-user? I’d bet many of those would pay for a legal unlocked (convenient) version if given the choice, so that’s lost revenue.

    And how many “starving artists” who seem so intent on having this provision will actually hire lawyers and benefit in lawsuits about lock-breaking in fair use situations? Honestly, can you really picture yourself better off because you “locked” your work rather than making it available in a way your customer wants it?

    Any digitized work is likely to be made available, locked or not, and infringing uses will be illegal either way, equally prosecutable. Creators will NOT benefit from “locks trump fair use” – that provision is the biggest problem with the bill and the one artists and consumers alike should be against. Use a lock if you want – some situations may even warrant it – but C-32 is out of step with the world in this regard and has to change.

  28. Claude Remains says:

    corrected link
    Sorry – http://tgam.ca/BHNb should work (removed colon)

  29. ‘ …
    Folks, Minister Moore has been saying exactly this, or some version of it, from the very beginning. Try to keep up. He is against an “iPod tax” and for TPM protection — what is understood over here only as “digital locks.” I know it’s complicated, but… ‘

    It’s not complicated at all John. As I said before it’s a matter of whos pocket the $$ is going into. If it’s a levy that wants to distribute diretly to artists, it’s bad. It it’s drm so the industry can sell you mutiple copies of the same item for different devices it’s good.


  30. Claude said:
    “And how many “starving artists” who seem so intent on having this provision will actually hire lawyers and benefit in lawsuits about lock-breaking in fair use situations?”

    Very few. The hope is that the threat of litegation is enough to push an individual in to a settlement. With a few noteable exceptions, such as The Hurt Locker case, most of these cases revolve around p0rnography or similarly stigmatic material. Because of the stigma something like this can leave, it’s vastly more likely someone will simply settle rather than have their names become publically associated with p0rn. In fact, in the last two years, after the RIAA stopped suing people, I’m not sure that any individual has actually been brought to court for refusing to pay the settlement.

  31. Correction
    John, upon re-reading your comment about Morre’s stance on the iPod tax & TPM, I may have mistook your conjunction, if so I retract my comment on that. Yet, it is hard to see how Minister Moore’s comment is not a significant reversal, at least in principle, to his starting position. I can only hope this is a precursor to his listening to the majority of his constituents.

  32. Pirates?
    - for example, DVDs with non-North American region codes – it involves infringement for merely trying to access the content for the first time. 

    … Or to play a DVD on a Linux PC or put it on my home media server, or make a backup that my kids can Scratch without loosing my purchase …

  33. @Crockett
    I think that’s always been his position with regards to things like levies, like Dr. Giest says under the quote. The problem is that it goes against his position on digital locks from the last time I heard about it, but it equally applies there so he may have changed his view. Should be interesting to see how he resolves the two views if they are still different.


  34. d said:
    “It it’s drm so the industry can sell you mutiple copies of the same item for different devices it’s good.”

    This is not good at all. Consumers won’t stand for this and it will ultimately fail. This does nothing more than create disrespect for copyright. I buy almost everything, but no legislation in the world will make me buy it more than once, unless it’s on my own terms. I own 3 different DVD copies of Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”, but that was MY choice to buy them…the “theatrical cut”, the incredibly RARE “director’s cut” and the “ultimate edition” which was released much later and includes both the “theatrical cut”, the “director’s cut” as well as one or two other different cuts of the movie. I ripped the director’s cut to an AVI, and feel that is my right to do so. I don’t distribute it and don’t sell it, it’s for my own use.


  35. Another bright american idea:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/17/mobile_phone_shutoff_in_cars/

    Looks like there’s a scrambler manufacturer looking for a government mandated market. Like the airport imaging scanners. Electronic voting machines. And our old fav, DRM/TPM.

    Nap.

    P.S. And how do you make an emergency 911 call if you got in the ditch, trapped inside your car which just started to smell like something is burning?

  36. Geist is ballin
    Michael Geist seems to always write my favourite article in the tor star, consistently well done.

  37. if they can, they will
    If they can charge more for format shifting the entertainment industry does, and they will. Regardless whether the position on TPM has changed, @Degan, the Minister is grossly naive if he believes TPM will allow format shifting. It will merely allow the consumer to be charged again for the privilege.

    Perhaps someone should ask the Minister what the consumer will have to pay for our granted privilege that we now enjoy for free. Or, @Degan, perhaps you could…

  38. They can have their TPM’s
    If I can get a refund after watching a shitty movie on DVD or in the theather.

  39. Minister has it backward
    The private copying levy assumes that you’re doing LEGAL copying. It is intended to compensate creators for revenue loss because the government made private copying legal, and in no way compensates them for any illegal piracy, which remains illegal.

    TPM, on the other hand, does assume that the customer is trying to make illegal infringing copies. His argument doesn’t apply to the private copying levy, it only applies to lock circumvention.

  40. A consumer’s hope for a better future for all …
    Do you ever wonder what the real motivation of people who are so adamant about stronger copyright at the expense of consumer rights? Do they just not listen when people explain to them them that stronger copyright will do nothing to fix infringement issues or the disconnect that the public feels? Do they even care? How hard is it to understand if you try to dictate the terms to those you are trying to entice that they will want to have little to do with you? Do Artists not want to be appreciated and respected? Then why do they let their gate keepers create such animosity with their audience in the pursuit of maximum profits. Is it worth it?

    I really have to wonder because there seems to be a real disconnect between those who are the gate keepers of the media and the consumers themselves. There is much angst from those in the creative community who feel their livelihood is being stolen by thieves who care nothing about them. Well there are some like that out there, but there the majority are I think are just regular people those who feel they are being robbed by the same gate keepers who keep whispering tales in their client’s ears.

    I believe that people at their core are basically fair, if they feel they are being treated fairly themselves. Artists have a reasonable grievance against those who take and give nothing back, and rightly so as they are leeches. Is all file sharing bad? Probably not, at least not to the degree that they are led to believe by the gate keepers who’s main concern is their share of the profits. Through their campaign to spread fear, they have achieved an atmosphere of animosity that keeps them in control but alienates the very people artists want to reach and connect with .. their fans.

    It really is insidious and sad, and in the long run bound to fail. I believe there is great opportunity for artists today who could use the freedom from control to reach out to fans on a more personal and organic level. Open performances, viral marketing, social networking … if you connect with your fans then you have a customer for life. How people interact and the activities they participate in is changing at an alarming rate. The gate keepers will tell you that ‘lost profits’ are due to those rotten pirates and if you only scream louder about it then some white knights will come along and fix it all for you with a wave of a legislative wand. It’s just what it sounds like … a fairy tale.

    Artists need to wean themselves from the old tired gate keepers who’s main concern is themselves and a return the good ol’ days of exploitation. Not gonna happen. We live in a changing world, a much more connected, aware and media rich world than the last generation. It’s different and needs different solutions that seem to escape the old generation of gate keepers still in power. Just listen to dinosaurs like Gene Simmons to see the mind set that must fade away.

    I really feel for artists and creators. They are being fed so much misinformation by those who don’t want their gravy train to end. Honestly, I fail to understand the loyalty they have for those who purport to speak for them, when they have often not acted in their best interest. The millions in unpaid royalties, the minuscule percentages they actually do pass on to the creators and the behavior that disenfranchises their customers … what gives?

    Is it the fear of the unknown to step outside the covering of big brother? I can understand that, change can be scary … it can also be the genesis of great things. I really do hope that more artists and creators are able to use the freedom of the information age we live in to gain a greater audience, have a more intimate relationship with their fans and have a greater reward for their talents, both monetarily and professionally.

    Sincerely,

    A fair use advocate who is not a pirate and actually cares about the well being of the artistic community.

  41. Russell McOrmond says:

    Amusing interveiws
    What I found most interesting about the two sets of interviews is that while Heritage Minister James Moore doesn’t understand the technology he is regulating (Leading to the confusion that Mr. Geist has brought to light), the ACTRA members are far further out of touch.

    It was clear from the interview that the two ACTRA members interviewed were just doing their typical jobs: reading words that someone else wrote. It was clear that they have never read or understood current Canadian law, or the proposed modifications in C-32. Their words were as fictional as the characters they play on television.

  42. @Degen
    “It is my personal opinion that he is not meeting the job description, and I find that… well, endlessly shameful.”

    Perhaps you can expand on this, for it otherwise sounds as if you have some sort of unconditional distaste for the guy – as a consequence you discredit yourself.

  43. Not just non-North American region codes
    If your primary entertainment system is a Linux based HTPC then it is a necessity to circumvent a pretty much all DRM. DRM is an impediment to me using the device that I choose to use.

    I have a fairly large and legitimate DVD collection. While DRM has always been an inconvenience at least I am legally entitled to try to make it work regardless. Bill C-32 will make it hard for me to FIX what is broken.

    Essentially the digital locks protections would remove the right I have to gain access to works that I own or that I will own in the future. This seems like a pretty big infringement on the rights of consumers. Will we all be compensated for our loss of access?

    This isn’t a copyright issue for me. It is about maintaining my legal right to access works that I have the right to access.

  44. Russell McOrmond says:

    Conflating issues
    John Degen,

    Many of us are not “defending” Michael Geist, but opposing your political positions as we believe they are harmful to the interests of creators. It is unfortunate that you like to conflate these separate issues.

    The critique of the compulsory license from Moore is equally a critique of TPMs, if one actually understood how compulsory licenses and TPMs worked. I know you like to try to write about TPMs, but as a technical person I’ve informed you multiple times that you don’t yet have the necessary understanding. You get your information from lawyers who also don’t understand the relevant technology well enough to analyse the impacts of C-32 on real-world technology.

    Lets flip the channel: Would you support a regime similar to the extended Private Copying regime proposal, but was accountable and transparent to Canadians?

    The belief that if it involves creativity that it must be “copyright” has been a failure of the creative community, and has lead to many proposals that are harmful to the material and moral interests of creators.

    My proposal is here: http://BillC32.ca/5250

  45. @Russell
    Well said!! I’m also from a technical background and sent a similar, though slightly more long winded e-mail off to the governmnt last night. Mine was, however, slightly more accusatory; accusing those who drafted the bill of doing so behind closed doors, ignoring public consultation, bowing to international lobby pressure and, worst of all, doing so without the consult of technical experts to ensure their approach was actually feasible. The result ended up being something that is heavily biased toward industry and ultimately unfair and unenforcible at the consumer level.

  46. Russell,

    It’s far too late in the day for this, but I’m a hopeless optimist so… I think you’d find a lot more patience and willingness to listen on the part of, what do you call us?, “creators of the past” if you didn’t start your proposals by calling us ignorant. Your assumption that people who disagree with you “just don’t understand” is entirely played out.

    I don’t have to have a medical degree to make personal decisions about treatment or preventive strategies, and I don’t have to be a computer scientist (or a computer scientist’s lawyer friend) to know when my rights as a professional creator are being threatened. If you don’t want Eric Peterson to feel threatened (as though a mere, sniff, actor can’t feel when his profession is under attack) stop being so damned dismissive and threatening.

    This is exactly the failure of leadership I regularly highlight in this comment section. You are the folks trying to change minds here. I’m a mind open and willing to accept change. Would I accept suggestions for change from anyone over here after a decade of relentless professional artist-bashing and horribly biased “research and reporting?”

    Dream on.

    I’ve read your proposal. I think it’s worth talking about. When you folks manage to build a table that professional artists actually feel comfortable sitting down at, maybe you’ll get some discussion on it. In the meantime, we’ve all got some ignorant lobbying and shilling to do on behalf of our American RIAA entertainment cartel masters. Oh, and I need to go renew my Access Copyright protection racket insurance policy. So, really, no time.

  47. @Degan
    I think you’d also find far more patience from people like Russel and stuff if it seemed like the creators were at least willing to not treat us like we’re out to get them every step of the way through this.

    It’s really hard to say which side started the whole disrespecting the other first, but it’s really to a point where it feels like people are just bashing their heads against walls when trying to talk to the other side.

    And John, my honest impression of you is that you not only don’t get it, but that you don’t want to. (And before you say it, yes I know I can come off the same way.)

  48. Let’s sheave the knives
    John, it is frustrating that high profile people in the creative sector come out and say things that are factually untrue and obviously read from a **AA script. Such as the ACTRA group mixing up their understanding of the purpose and scope of the current levy all the time asking for it’s expansion. If they don’t want to be called ignorant then they should take the time and effort to really understand the issues.

    Having said that, while people here are concerned about user rights, many are also supportive of creators being treated more fairly by their own industry. I don’t see why it has to be a combative, either or, debate but that seems to be the norm. Opening your salvo on this blog thread by calling the author shameful and then dismissing and further responses up front is not helpful or productive. You say you want Artists to feel comfortable at the table, that’s fine and let’s work on that. But, don’t just call all pro consumer rights people pirates & thieves, it is equally tiresome.

  49. Can no one answer?
    Can anyone provide any examples of how such long copyright terms are beneficial to Canadians?

    Are textbooks relevant for education after 20 years?
    Will Micheal Jackson be inspired to write more songs?

  50. @Degan
    The table where techies and fans and artists can meet and chat as already been tried, see a2f2a.com. A few members of FACT were there (Billy Bragg for example) and the result; these artists didn’t want to be told their ideas were technically impossible. They wanted a “yes we’ll accept a levy” from the fans. They would accept no other alternative.

    Even non-FACT artists shared their success stories without levies and how to change and the result was an inactive site because many artists simply won’t listen.

    When you say “we understand” but then say something following that illustrates “no we don’t understand” it becomes equally frustrating for those trying to explain it to you. We DO understand your desire for compensation for your work! Contrary to the BS in the media, the masses DO want to pay creators, but they have a difficult time doing so (for too many reasons to list here, but being labeled a thief is one of them). Remember, consumers have been gauged and screwed just as much as the artists, only now thanks to the Internet, we won’t be screwed anymore!

    Don’t want to sell it at a reasonable price or without lockdowns? Then we’ll get it for free.

    Where does that leave the artist? They can make a decision, support the consumers/fans and try new models or support the rights holders (labels) and go down with them.

  51. @Degen
    “I don’t have to be a computer scientist (or a computer scientist’s lawyer friend) to know when my rights as a professional creator are being threatened.”

    All name calling aside, and I know we’ve not always seen eye to eye, no you don’t need to be a computer scientist. Yes, both you an I understand that your rights, as a creater, are threatened. But, from a technical perspective, the approach is flawed. Pretty much ALL TPMs are easily broken and world wide, breaking them has become as commonplace as recording a show from TV. Tools are readily, and legally, available from dozens of sources all over the Internet. Saying its illegal to break a TPM and actually stopping millions of people from doing it every day are two different things. The approach taken in C-32 will do nothing more than imbitter your paying customers while doing nothing to stop your non-paying “pirates”. Those who are going to take it are going to take it no matter the law, this is most apparent from DMCA in the US and HADOPI in France where overall piracy has increased since passing the laws.

    What, do you think people will suddenly stop doing things they’ve been doing for years? Do you think people will just turn themselves in? Most teenagers these days have known nothing else, they have no memory of a world without the Internet, instant messaging and file sharing. These are your customers of tomorrow!!! Treat them with respect and they will be paying customers for years to come. Treat them all like greedy little children and that’s what they will likely become as adults. Disrespect leads to disrespect. The short answer is that if people don’t feel they’re getting value for their money, they won’t buy your product. Forcing TPMs and limiting rights on your buyers will do nothing more than to turn well intentioned buyers into more takers. The Valve Software Corporation “got” this years ago, eMusic (a newer MP3 download site) gets it, Apple gets it, why can’t others “get it”?

    Yes John, something has to be done, but C-32 is not the answer, trying to force old buisness models onto a consumer base that does not want it can only end in failure. Big content producers should seriously be looking at the Valve Steam model. While not entirely applicable to music or movies it’s still a very successful model for the digital age. Pretty much everything on Steam is available on the Torrent sites, so why do they have nearly 30,000,000 paying customers? In one word…respect. They respect my rights as a consumer and give me a service which I consider to be of value. Ultimately, I think big content producers will have to loose some control if they want to stay alive.

  52. Balance
    The creation of art alone is a sufficient reward for the true artist. If you allow concerns about the value of your art to affect the creation of your art, then you’re not really creating art; you’re a machine creating a product. You’re in marketing.

    Most true artists I’ve encountered sustain themselves financially with ease, with or without TPMs. Their love and passion for their work is contagious, magnetizing, and money-making opportunities seem to spring from the wood-work. However, these artists are passionate to the point that they’d continue making their art if it starved them to death.

    TRUE artists don’t care about TPMs. FAKE artists and those who have a financial investment in the work of true artists care about TPMs. Society doesn’t need fake artists or art investors/promoters.

    Why do we need to strike an EVEN balance on this issue between consumers and artists?

    - There are a lot more consumers than artists, democratically consumers should have a greater voice. Making laws that oppose the desires of the majority in order to “protect” the majority reeks of dictatorship.

    - Art derives its value from consumer demand. We live in a post-industrial age where we value art far more than previous generations. Technology has altered consumer demand (this has happened before). We don’t need rules placed on technology to neuter it and artificially move demand back to what it was before the technological change. The market will adapt (it may be unrecognizable and unprofitable to unadaptive organizations) and there will still be great value in art, it just won’t be the kind of art we had before.

    This is the new way… we can create laws like C-32 with TPMs, but they will be short-lived. We’re in the midst of a cultural revolution and C-32 is too little / too late to stop it.

  53. I believe the minister is against paying extra to the performers/creators (ie the ACTRA lobby) but in favour of locking things for the distributor’s benefit (ie the RIAA/MPAA lobby). Corporatism uber alles!

  54. IamMe,

    I’m a bit confused by your advocacy of Steam. I’ve seen it mentioned here before (video games + me = sleep, so I have no personal experience with Steam), and from the sounds of things they offer a game download service that uses rather traditional copyright and licenses. They also, if I understand you correctly, use TPMs.

    You have identified Steam as a company doing it right, mainly I guess because they make their TPMs as invisible and uninterruptive of your experience and desires as possible, and the price is right.

    So far, there’s nothing about any of that I think should change. I have a Kobo e-reader and a Kobo account. I buy and download Kobo books online, and their user agreement allows me to use to books on my laptop, my desktop, my iPhone and my e-reader. If my wife wants to read the book at the same time I read it, she can be on the e-reader while I use the iPhone.

    Yet Kobo uses TPMs to define their place in the market (a growing and ever more competitive market). I find Kobo’s TPMs inoffensive as do all their other paying customers (presumably).

    I’m guessing both Kobo and Steam would like to have their TPMs protected by law. I think they should have that right. Does that automatically mean Steam will go after kids on torrent sites? No, but it does give them an extra force of law to go after malicious, intentional, commercial infringers of the very consumer-friendly service you love.

    You seem perfectly willing to own a copy of a Steam game, as I am willing to own a copy of a Kobo book, without needing to own the un-TPMed copy.

    Someone tell me (please) what in this scenario that both you and I seem to endorse is “fascist.”

    Let the good companies like Steam and Kobo do it right and win customers, and let the bad companies who misuse TPMs do it wrong and suffer the market fallout. We as a society can do just that without removing a company’s or an artist’s right to protect their property.


  55. @Degen: “I’m guessing both Kobo and Steam would like to have their TPMs protected by law. I think they should have that right. Does that automatically mean Steam will go after kids on torrent sites? No, but it does give them an extra force of law to go after malicious, intentional, commercial infringers of the very consumer-friendly service you love. ”

    Then why not just make the law refer strictly to “malicious, intentional, commercial infringers”. So there would never ever be any misunderstanding.

    Nap.

  56. Or, you could just try to not misunderstand.


  57. @Degen: “Or, you could just try to not misunderstand.”

    I’m confident that “the industry” will make every effort to misunderstand to the maximum extent possible.

    That’s why any law has to very clear and specific.

    Nap.

  58. @Degan – TPMs
    Which is fine. None of that makes TPMs remotely need legal protection. At least not nearly as much as they are getting. If artists was to use TPM, they are free to if they want. I should also be free to break it for non-infringing copyright purposes if I want. All the TPM provision needs is that modification (and the removal of the provision that makes tools illegal, or at least a lot more clear on what they mean by it). And then artists and creators can live happily ever after with regards to that part at least.

    (Yay progress!)

  59. Not that complicated
    John, no one here is saying get rid of TPMs. Just don’t make it illegal to bypass them for non-infringing use [NOT for infringing uses or Commercial uses or to copy and give away]. Why is the creative industry so against that? How is that stopping an artist’s right to protect their property? I would really appreciate your thoughts on this John, because I don’t think we are actually disagreeing, which would be nice for a change.

    TPM will not stop piracy, at all. So no point in expanding on that red herring.

    The other point which has been said so many times already, is the media industry must start treating their customers with respect .. period. That’s it .. that’s the solution. Customer service, fair prices, flexible products. For instance, with an original DVD purchase, if one was allowed to make a backup, load it onto their home server, transfer it to their iPod then there would not even need to be the troublesome TPM in the first place. This is a marketing and licensing issue, not a legislative one. But selling a product with unreasonable limitations and no other way to get it, is going to lead people to place less value on it than more. I don’t think that is what you want.

    Adjust your business models to meet customer expectations and you will have a healthy industry. Not complicated. We all win and can be friends.

  60. As much as you may not want to take advice from anyone here John, here it is, and with good will.
    John, for your information …

    Steam has very little TPM in it’s business model. The only check is done when you boot your computer (and start the Steam service), after that you can run your programs and access the value added steam services. If you decide to turn off the steam service or your internet connection goes down, you can still play your games, just not access the other services.

    Consumers, by purchasing through Steam, rather than a boxed software item are loosing the ability to resell the game when finished. The prices on Steam though reflect this as they are often lower than the retail version. The consumer wins by lower prices, added value services and a secure backup system for their purchase.

    The same computer games that are licensed through Steam are easily available from the same infringing sources as media. Which make you wonder why people are … FLOCKING to Steam!

    It’s BECAUSE they are offering flexible products, fair prices and great customer service. If the media industry did the same they would have similar success and the long sought decrease in piracy that they say they desire.

    Are they doing this? For the most part no, at least most of them are not. Most music finally is available DRM free, video though is mired in the past. Books are experimenting with solutions while trying to deal with an explosively rapid shift from print to digital.

    The bottom line I think is this.
    - TPM will never stop those who choose to infringe, it’s not enforceable in today’s open technological easily dispersive information age.
    - The only way to maximize profits for creators is through top tier customer service to generate good will and loyalty.
    - The alternative way to minimize profits for creators is to disenfranchise consumers through aggressive and adversarial behavior.

    I say this all John not to try and take away anything from artists and creators or to stamp on their rights and freedoms. Only to, in a honest effort, try to get them to understand they are on bad path and there is a better way, for everyone. Really there is. It’s just going to take courage, some strong effort and a willingness to change.

  61. addition
    I meant to add the comment on the second paragraph that the creator wins by not loosing sales to the after-market, which is quite large and affects them more than piracy.


  62. @Crockett: “John, no one here is saying get rid of TPMs. Just don’t make it illegal to bypass them for non-infringing use [NOT for infringing uses or Commercial uses or to copy and give away].”

    C-32 already makes it illegal to copy for infringing uses, with or without TPM. So why do we need to mention TPM at all?

    Nap.

  63. N@Napalm

    C-32 already makes it illegal to copy for infringing uses, with or without TPM. So why do we need to mention TPM at all?

    Because the distributors/label/and flavor of the month artists want you to buy a new version every time a new media type comes out.

    I personally don’t even care anymore how this passes. Last movie I went to was The Road that was it no more movies in the theaters for me. I haven’t bought a “new” cd probably for 7 years, I have 100′s of cd’s to keep me listening till I die. I do still buy cd’s and dvd at pawn shops but it they try to stop that I’ll just stop buying any manufactured music/movies. There’s so much music under CC out there now that there’s no need for me to look for commercial acts.


  64. @end use: “Because the distributors/label/and flavor of the month artists want you to buy a new version every time a new media type comes out.”

    Well, last time they tried (anyone remember DVD Audio and SACD) it didn’t exactly fly. Consumers preferred the convenience of a standard CD that plays in all their devices to the technical superiority but limited compatibility of the new formats.

    The irony is that this limited compatibility was a result of the DRM technologies included in the new formats.

    Nap.

  65. RE: As much as you may not want to take advice from anyone here John, here it is, and with good will.
    Crockett Said:
    “Steam has very little TPM in it’s business model. The only check is done when you boot your computer (and start the Steam service), after that you can run your programs and access the value added steam services. If you decide to turn off the steam service or your internet connection goes down, you can still play your games, just not access the other services.”

    I both agree and disagree with this statement. While fundamentally true, this is what Steam evolved in to. Steam was originally designed to strictly be a distribution method for software updates. It quickly became a method for stemming piracy and as become one the strongest and most effective anti-copying software methods in use today…and holds approximately 70% of the game download market. Why? For all those good reasons Crockett mentioned. Most people, including me, aren’t wholly against TPMs, in fact, most people don’t even know or care what they are…as long as they work. Bioshock was a prime example of a TPM that did not work. 2K Software, who released Bioshock, lost millions in revenue because of their overly strict and buggy TPM. Everyone who was in to that sort of game wanted Bioshock, but so many people were afraid to buy it, or worse, bought it and returned it demanding a refund, due to the TPM. I played a hacked version of the game rather than the retail version, simply because it actually worked. People just want things to work properly and to be treated fairly, what they consider to be fair, not what some corporate exec considers fair. If that can be achieved with TPMs then all the power to them. Valve/Steam understands this.

    Crockett said things with much more eloquence than I. This was the point I was trying to purvey.

  66. What if the key doesn’t work?
    I paid for music from Napster.ca after they went “legit”. I had about $100 worth. Something went wrong with the DRM and I couldn’t access any of it and after a short time my MP3 player wouldn’t play it either, even though it was bought outright, not rented. I called Napster. After an hour on the phone they said they couldn’t fix it, so I was out of luck. Goodbye $100. No compensation offered, though I did get a few words of sympathy.
    If we aren’t allowed to break the locks, the legislation has to create an obligation to fix things if the lock jams and the consumer can’t access what was paid for.


  67. Eric Lawton said:
    “I paid for music from Napster.ca after they went “legit”. I had about $100 worth. Something went wrong with the DRM and I couldn’t access any of it and after a short time my MP3 player wouldn’t play it either, even though it was bought outright, not rented. I called Napster. After an hour on the phone they said they couldn’t fix it, so I was out of luck. Goodbye $100. No compensation offered, though I did get a few words of sympathy.
    If we aren’t allowed to break the locks, the legislation has to create an obligation to fix things if the lock jams and the consumer can’t access what was paid for.”

    This is exactly why I remove any DRM as soon as I buy any such music. I keep the original “garbage” WMA files, but only use the MP3. None of the WMA files for music I purchased have ever been played…ever. In fact, I made sure I had a tool in place to remove the DRM before I made any purchases. Even now, they’re under no obligation to replace lost media. Check our eMusic or Puretracks, they both offer limited re-download rights specifically for such circumstances. Everything on eMusic is DRM free and generally encoded at a higher quality than Napster or Puretracks. It’s also half the price (Average 49 cents/song for the most expensive package), but it’s subscription based and the library is more limited, although they’re supposed to be adding a ton of stuff this month due to a change in how fees are assigned.

  68. Pandora’s Box
    Here’s what C-32 would enable:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/19/davenport_lyons_sra/

    Nap.

  69. A fool and his money are soon parted …
    @Eric – I can understand your frustration, something similar happened to me which eventually led me here.

    In some cases, and then only in a very limited manner, can I see the need for TPM when using a subscription service. If nothing else to verify you are the subscriber. Other than that TPM does nothing but inconvenience the customer and nothing to deter a infringer. Passing laws that say otherwise will not change anything, it only takes one determined hacker and any media is then out in the wild. Shuttering websites or trolling protocol types will only give rise to other methods. It’s an unwinnable battle, better to fight for the hearts and minds through providing better service and value.

    A little less greed and a lot less foolishness on the part of the **AA would have resulted in their clients being much better off than they are today.


  70. Crockett said:
    “A little less greed and a lot less foolishness on the part of the **AA would have resulted in their clients being much better off than they are today.”

    A Newfie friend of mind would say, “Truer words naire spoken.”. And, really, who do we have to blame for the situation the **AAs are in? Metallica, as far as I remember, were the first creator body to attept and win legal action against filesharing when a demo version of the song “I Disappear” was leaked to Napster before it was officially released on the Mission Impossible II soundtrack. Metallica opened the gate and got the ball rolling. Where would be today if they had invested an equal amount of time, money and effort into embracing the technology instead of fighting it? Metallica are just as much greedy little children as Kiss, but they’ve had enough sense to put a muzzle on Lars. In contrast Gene Simmons is the poster-boy for anti-innovation. As with all dinosaurs such people will become extinct and things will evolve.

  71. You pay twice regardless if you follow the law
    You buy a DVD, you paid for the right to access the content by purchasing the DVD. However, you own a computer, no TV, and you want to watch the DVD, you can’t. Unless you pay for PowerDVD or something equivalent. It isn’t free, it comes with hardware but the license to read DVD’s is covered by the cost of the software or hardware!

    If you’re a GNU/Linux user, you are SOL because legally, again if you really wanted to follow the law, you cannot watch the DVD you paid for the right to watch. Just like Windows, you require the software to decode the DVD encryption. Of course it’s avail for free with GNU/Linux but you have to search for it.

    The point is, you’re already paying twice to access the content thanks to digital locks and it is already illegal to create the DVD Lib file for GNU/Linux unless you pay the license.

    But the content industry doesn’t care do they, and so even if this bill passes, no one will care either and the locks will be picked as they always are. Some will get caught, most will not. And an even lower percentage of the masses will pay for content!

  72. Mplayer
    Windows or Linux, it plays the most difficult to playback DVD’s ;-)

  73. fox hats
    “It is my personal opinion that he is not meeting the job description, and I find that… well, endlessly shameful.” NFL Hats

    Perhaps you can expand on this, for it otherwise sounds as if you have DC Hatssome sort of unconditional distaste for the guy – as a consequence you discredit yourself.