Digital locks emerged as one of the first issues discussed last night in one of Canada’s most hotly contested ridings. An all-candidates debate in Kitchener -Waterloo, home of RIM and one of the closest ridings in the 2008 election, moved quickly to a discussion of digital locks and the “PlayBook tax” during one of the first questions on the most pressing issues in the riding.
In response to that question, Liberal candidate Andrew Telegdi pointed specifically to the PlayBook tax discussion and the burden it poses to the area’s key company. Telegdi’s comments struck a chord with both the audience and the Pirate Party panelist, who focused on the broader digital lock concerns. Conservative candidate (and incumbent) Peter Braid noted that he sat on the C-32 committee and that the protection for digital locks supported RIM’s intellectual property. Yet as the discussion continued, it became clear that the concern over C-32’s digital locks is not about RIM’s ability to protect its IP, but rather about the additional layer of legal protection for content that consumers purchase and might want to play on the PlayBook. The debate highlighted yet again how C-32’s digital lock rules stand as the most criticized aspect of the bill that run counter to basic consumer expectations and fairness.
Interestingly, within hours of the debate, former Liberal industry critic Marc Garneau posted a tweet confirming his party’s support for “digital lock circumvention for non-infringing purposes.” The Liberals are not alone in their opposition to the provision as it stood in C-32. The NDP have also confirmed their interest in re-examining the digital lock rules, while the Greens have stated “we consider the digital lock provision in Bill C-32 to be excessively restrictive in that it will not allow students and journalists to properly create and conduct research.”