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Is Internet Access A Human Right?: The Implications for the Rules of Access

It notes “any restriction to the right to freedom of expression must meet the strict criteria under international human rights law. A restriction on the right of individuals to express themselves through the Internet can take various forms, from technical measures to prevent access to certain content, such as blocking and filtering, to inadequate guarantees of the right to privacy and protection of personal data, which inhibit the dissemination of opinions and information.”

Given this starting point, the report is very critical of government policies around the world. It highlights arbitrary blocking of content in Africa and the Middle East and the imprisonment of bloggers in China, Vietnam and Iran. It notes that many countries have imposed liability on Internet providers if they do not filter, remove or block content generated by users that is deemed illegal. Others have imposed notice-and-takedown policies that often lead to the removal of content from the Internet and which are “subject to abuse by both State and private actors.”

The report is also very critical of so-called graduated response policies that can result in people being cut-off from the Internet based on claims of infringement. It concludes that “cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The link between privacy and freedom of expression is also discussed, as the report notes that governments increasingly use social networks to track individuals and access private conversations. It cites the obligation of governments to adopt effective privacy and data protection laws, including rights of access to personal information and safeguards for anonymous speech.

While the report adopts a critical tone, many governments – including Canada – were quick to laud it and “call on all states to ensure strong protection of freedom of expression online in accordance with international human rights law.” The government response acknowledged the need for free flow of information online and that cutting off users from access to the Internet is generally not a proportionate sanction.

From a Canadian perspective, government policy to date has been largely consistent with the report’s recommendations. Canada has few restrictions on freedom of expression online and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has rightly rejected the prospect of cutting off Internet users and notice-and-takedown as potential policy reforms. The one area of concern remains the forthcoming lawful access initiative, which could result in the disclosure of personal information without court oversight and run counter to the report’s recommendations on the need to ensure appropriate online privacy protections.

136 Comments

  1. So if I don’t pay my ISP and they cut me off, are they taking away my rights?

  2. rightsforall says:

    @Max
    World of difference between a government setting rules to cut off access and a single provider stopping service due to a commercial dispute. Apples and oranges.

  3. The way I see it, Internet access is seen as a middle class luxury by the government (here and elsewhere). A privilege more than a right, similar to the way the government presents driving a vehicle on public roads. Something they can take away at their choosing.

    I wonder how the government would react if ISPs went on strike? Not that its likely or possible but its an interesting through experiment. If they legislated ISPs back to work then they must view the services as essential, no? If not a basic right, it should be viewed as an essential service that needs to have a low barrier to entry and universal access.

  4. Declarations of the United Nations have in the past been cited as the groundwork for creator rights. I do not discount these assertions but am pleased to see some balance emerging to reflect the changes and values of our society.

    While the unlawful use of protected works must be countered, another basic foundation of our society must also be observed, that is the proportionality of judgement. Spitting your gum on the sidewalk is certainly gross but most I think would be opposed to caning as a punishment.

    Deterrence in modern societies is obviously needed or the result can be chaos, yet too large a stick can also lead down that path. Laws and remedies must be seen as fair and just, otherwise society as a whole will decide that such laws are inapplicable and thus unenforceable. When this happens the result is often worse than the situation the laws were trying to remedy.

    I believe this is where we are today in regards to content creation and control. I am not opposed to reasonable copyrights, and I think such concepts can be made to work for the digital era, yet the misapplication of restrictions and the severity of punishments for infringement have seriously backfired.

    I am for both creator and consumer rights, I believe it takes a balance and everyone from the file sharer to the media CEO have had a hand in knocking the scales to the floor. What we need now is a serious evaluation of where we are today and where we need to go as content and creation move into the digital era … new wine in old wine-skins has not worked well so far.

  5. @Max
    “So if I don’t pay my ISP and they cut me off, are they taking away my rights?”

    Of course, you can “choose” to not have the Internet, by not paying, much like you could “choose” to not have electricity. They can’t, under any circumstances, cut your electricity off, if you’re paying for it. The question is whether the same guarantee of access should apply to the Internet. You always have the right of choice…to not get it.

  6. Interesting examination of actual numbers on this issue, by smart lawyer guy James Gannon (published two weeks ago):

    http://jamesgannon.ca/2011/06/06/is-revoking-internet-access-an-violation-of-human-rights/

    Like with hyperbolic claims of jailing grandmothers, it looks like 3 strikes violating human rights is a bit of a phantom menace.

  7. @Degen “… a bit of a phantom menace.”
    As is the the effect of ‘piracy’ on the music industry.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/digital-culture/dwayne-winseck/restrictive-copyright-plays-into-music-industry-myths/article2023845/singlepage/#articlecontent

    ‘Hyperbolic claims’ … heh, that made me chuckle, thanks John.

  8. A natural extension of existing rights
    This is good timing for the UN to present the issue of Internet access as a human right. It’s only natural, as it follows onto Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
    With the Internet becoming increasingly an enabler for grassroot voices to be heard, and with more and more media moving onto the Internet as a delivery vehicle (newspapers, television, books, etc), allowing States to remove a citizen’s Internet access – whether that removal is targeting an individual (e.g. for copyright infringement or political allegiance) or a resource (e.g. blocking YouTube via national firewall) or temporal (e.g. no Internet access for the nation during times of political upheaval) – is a de facto removal of that citizen’s rights under Article 19.
    Had the UN not addressed this, they would in fact be allowing a State-governed loophole to Article 19. Compare the following fictional State regulations:
    * “Because you were caught shoplifting books, you may never again buy or read a newspaper, ever”
    * “Because this foreign publishing house do not publish books at least >50% of which are by Canadian authors, nothing from this company may be imported”
    * “Because you once published a PolSci journal article criticizing government policies, you may never publish anything ever again”
    * “Because the PolSci article you just published caused an uproar in academia, we will shut down all academic journals until it blows over”
    All of which are of course violations of Article 19, but entirely technically possible by UN member states when the Internet is the medium. In many cases states have already gone down these routes, and all of them have had either instances or at least high-profile legislative proposals in the last few years.

  9. It’s strange how Mr. Gannon considers IP rights as a human right but condemns the UN for mentioning graduated response in the same report as government-sanctioned censorship and blocking of the internet.

    Hopefully he’ll do us the pleasure of leaving his comment section open like Professor Geist does for those who wish to have a thoughtful discourse on these subjects.

  10. @Degen
    The difference is, John, that if Shaw cuts you off, you can still go to Telus, or some other provider. So, there is still a reasonable expectation of connectivity if you so desire. If you get cut off by HADOPI, you are completely cut off with little recourse other than appealing the decision. Again, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The argument is that the latter is a disproportionate punishment for MOST people.

    BTW, HADOPI is a poor example and has had little impact on “actual” file sharing..

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110513/02444214261/how-to-lie-with-statistics-france-pretends-hadopi-law-is-working.shtml

    I also read a report a while back, and I wish I could find it again, where a French ISP owner was quoted saying that circumventing HADOPI had become a “national pass-time” in France.

    Again, Netflix, and like services, are the ONLY things that have any solid evidence of deterring piracy.

  11. Searching for the source …
    In ‘smart lawyer guy’ James Gannon’s article he cites the source for his hypothesis, a favorable report from the very commission tasked with the implementation of the three strikes laws in France (strong peer review there).

    Meanwhile in the other major country to pen such laws [UK] the government is making significant pronouncements about the mistake of rushing to such unbalanced legislation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11695416

  12. Devil's Advocate says:

    @Crockett:
    “Gannon’s article he cites… from the very commission tasked with the implementation of the three strikes laws”

    What do you expect from a known legal apologist for the IP industry?

    Notice how he also tries the same spin as Degen, where failure to pay an account is supposed to miraculously relate to the issue at hand.

    Gannon’s also doing his part to contribute to one classic piece of deception everyone should damned-well take note of as well!…

    “…it has never been disputed that intellectual property rights will somewhat impede on an absolute freedom of expression, as do slander and libel laws, rights to quiet enjoyment of property, advertising laws and standards, election regulations, and many other rights and the laws that enforce them. It is inevitable that rights will encroach upon each other.”

    People really need to wake up to the way the whole business of IP has deliberately bastardized and completely confused the term “rights”. In the above quote, he’s doing what the whole industry is doing, by throwing NATURAL rights and IP “rights” into the same mixing bowl.

    Natural rights are inalienable, while IP “rights” are state-granted PRIVILEGES to suppress natural rights. One kind is universally beneficial, while the other continues to prove to be one of the biggest mistakes in history.

  13. Yes, my pretties, when someone presents opinion counter to this blog you must attack fast and hard. Find their link to the IP industry, cast aspersions on their evidence. Then we can all settle back for more of our famous thoughtful discourse. Yesssss.

    Crockett – you keep breaking your own rule about staying on topic. I don’t believe Geist’s posting mentions the economics of piracy and the music industry. I do note however that your Globe link suggests it’s okay for piracy to decimate the recorded music industry because other parts of the music industry are doing okay. Very similar to what IamMe has to say about “terms of use” cutoffs. It’s okay, you can always go to another provider (But what if you don’t intend to follow anyone’s terms of use? What then?). It’s okay if we systematically eliminate the colour green from our spectrum, because there are still all those other colours.

    You guys keep at your logical gymnastics.

    In the meantime, I find interesting Gannon’s point that under both HADOPI and the DEA disconnection must be court approved, and has in fact NEVER occured.

  14. Degen – Nobody has to search for Mr. Gannon’s link to the IP industry, his blog states it clearly. As for his evidence the very fact he has a financial stake in IP laws renders it biased.

    At least Michael’s blog allows you to come here and tell us why we’re wrong, Mr. Gannon can’t even give us that courtesy.

  15. John, you make a few tumbles yourself.
    You did not even address ‘smart lawyer guy’ James Gannon’s lack of research in posting his hypothesis on the success of three strike legislation. Something which seems to gall you in regards to fellow lawyer Michael Geist.

    Or is it you prefer to withhold criticism for your friends?

    He then goes on to predict that this type of legislation will be further adopted around the world when in actuality Canada and most other democracies around the world have come out strongly against it.

    @Degen ” … it’s okay for piracy to decimate the recorded music industry because other parts of the music industry are doing okay?”

    The music industry is not so much being decimated as it is going through market shifts. You will notice the whole music industry has grown by 11% through a period of significant economic turmoil, please explain how that equates to decimation (No Hyperbole there).

    Nothing stays the same John, it’s called innovation and diversification. Live performances have increased in popularity and frequency, and for the younger generation music is now more often listened to in console games than CD players.

    Yes the recorded music industry is declining, but that’s mainly because of shifting habits of consumers to other sectors and their preference for lower profit products such as the single over the album. Again logic and actual research on these issues is helpful.

  16. Flip, tumble, spin.
    @Degen “In the meantime, I find interesting Gannon’s point that under both HADOPI and the DEA disconnection must be court approved, and has in fact NEVER occured.”

    So John, what is the point of pushing a law that is in fact either not going to be used or used disproportionately to the harm?

    That is not only wasteful but degrading to the respect for rule of authority and counter productive to the cause of the campaigner … Something the content industry just doesn’t seem to get.

  17. @Degen
    “Very similar to what IamMe has to say about “terms of use” cutoffs. It’s okay, you can always go to another provider.”

    Was anything I said inaccurate?

    ISP terms of use are not government mandated, nor are they protected by any special legislation. I’m only breaking my “contract” if I violate the terms of use. Also, you must “clearly” violate the terms to be cut off. I’ve NEVER heard of anyone getting cut off for anything other than not paying.

    With HADOPI, DEA, DMCA (Yes, I know it’s not 3X), and similar legislation, guilt is assumed based solely on your IP address, a number which is easily spoofed. You get punished based on an accusation and they NEVER have to clearly show it was actually you (Nor can they). All they have is your IP address. That’s not enough. John, right now…at this moment, I can send you an e-mail and make it come from pretty much any country in the world and I assure the IP address, if you look at the full headers, will not be mine. You can do the same thing with file sharing, web browsing or any other Internet activity. It’s too easy to do and too much at stake to be solely relying on IP address.

    It’s still comparing apples to oranges.

    “(But what if you don’t intend to follow anyone’s terms of use? What then?)”

    So punish the entire population for the dissent of a few? Is that what your suggesting? WOW, what a revelation, that’s consumer-friendly AND bound to generate TONS of sales. *sarcasm* How is this enticing “infringers” back in to the fold? Those who want to infringe and not get caught will find a way and it’s not hard (TOR, i2p, private trackers, VPNs, Proxies, dark nets, etc. etc. etc.). Heavy-handed tactics will just drive more people away.

    The music industry, the movie industry, the book industry, etc, can implement any DRM protections they like and I can choose whether I wish to follow the terms of use or even if I wish to purchase the product. If I get caught violating the terms I should be fined. Such provisions should NOT legislated at the behest of corporate media. It’s the wrong place for such protections and the wrong approach to bring consumers back. So, should I have police oversight to ensure I’m not violating the terms? Should this be at the ISP level? My biggest problem is when they try to tell me how I can use something after I’ve purchased it or, in some cases, how long I can actually keep it.

    On the principle of it, I will never submit to being tracked. I’ll take the performance hit and put everything through i2p or TOR before I’ll allow the government to track me in the name of the media industry. I buy all my media and boycott those I feel don’t deserve my support, but you know, it’s getting more and more difficult to respect an industry that clearly has no respect for me and refuses to innovate…especially in Canada.

    Now, more than ever, people want services, people want convenience…Canada has neither!! The ONLY decent, modern, video streaming service we have is Netflix, with Bestbuy streaming on the way. Both American!!! Where are the Canadian services? Where are the options? Oh yes, we have the Canadian oligopoly and the CRTC controlling the show, trying to keep us in the past…back in the glory days of pre-set programming and cable. I pay $85/mo for my Bell satellite and it rarely comes off Treehouse. It’s a waste of money, but my wife won’t let me cancel it. Prescribed programming is dead to me, it’s inconvenient and unnecessary in today’s market. I will cancel my satellite and get Netflix if my ISP ever boosts it’s bandwidth usage beyond 100G.

    In the media sector Canada is so far behind we’ll probably never get caught up. Shame on us and shame on our media sector for allowing it to happen!!!

  18. @IamME “In the media sector Canada is so far behind we’ll probably never get caught up. Shame on us and shame on our media sector for allowing it to happen!!!”

    No, No IamME … it’s our copyright laws to blame! And they only seem to apply to the unfortunately non-existent innovative Canadian services.

  19. @Crockett
    …”what is the point of pushing a law that is in fact either not going to be used or used disproportionately to the harm?”

    That’s an interesting question. Especially if you combine it with John’s observation that there hasn’t been a disconnection based on these laws – yet. I suspect there are some interesting dynamics going on.
    Without speculating too much, I believe more and more influential people are starting to realize that “compromise positions” on fast changing “society behavior” isn’t very smart. What seemed reasonable last year or last month, is frequently seen as shortsighted or stupid today. The internet might be viewed as just technology, but you simply cannot overlook the fundamental changes to society behaviour that it has enabled.

    Getting back to topic, the UN report and recommendations tend to directly counter the direction these laws are pointing. That’s an important observation, and a recognition that times are changing.
    Individual “rights” can be removed for cause, I think the piece missing here is “due process” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. There is also the matter of disproportionate punishment, removal of individual “rights” is a measure for criminal courts, not civil courts. The right to internet access, and anonymity using the internet, is being redefined as a fundamental mechanism for free speech. As such it will be a lot harder to deny or remove internet access. The bar is a lot higher.

  20. It seems even music industry professionals are sceptical of France’s ‘it’s working’ deceleration, not surprising as when you dig into the numbers you see the house of cards that supposition is built upon.

    http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/051611hadopi

    The UK meanwhile is backtracking quickly and the rest of the world declaring themselves to have no part in it.

    The ONLY proven effective method to curb infringement has been innovation. Punitive methods have mainly served to drive people away from legal services. This is not rocket science folks … I fail to see why they continue to beat a dead horse to their own detriment.

  21. Can you imagine in the 80′s and 90′s corporations pushing for laws to ban people from using telephones because you were caught 3 times playing a song or reading a book to someone over the phone…

    Is the internet not a communication tool? I say we take away landline and cell phones as well.

  22. Rights to Life …
    Rights are vertical, not horizontal. Meaning, the right to air & water take precedence over access to land to farm, at present. Internet rights are hardly ‘essential’. In fact, for nearly 4/5ths of the global population they are ephemral. Responsible governments should invest in the means that secure HEALTH – like fresh air and clean water FIRST for their citizenry. To divert funds to a massive investment in a communication infrastucture that primarily ensures governments ascendency & control does nothing to alleviate the burdens of the poor. Rather, if anything, that kind of investment further marginalizes those ‘without access’, amplifying the ‘advantages’ & disadvantages between the ‘haves’ & ‘have nots’. Does the issue of ‘privacy’ have any relevance when those who ‘have’ FORCE their lifestyle onto those who don’t? To my mind, proclaiming this Right is a form of political, cultural & creative oppression. By the way, water pumps cost as little as $5000. They are a priority, a dire need. An iPad isn’t.

  23. @Canadada … Your point is well taken, sometimes we loose perspective.

  24. Sometimes?

    Crockett (and the other pretties), if you have issues with Gannon’s research (other than the fact that he is an IP lawyer… where are we again?), I invite you to share them. Blog comments are not the only form of communication we have at our disposal these days. Gannon has clearly read the relevant laws and terms of use, and the UN report. Furthermore, when he read them, he understood them. I contrast this with Michael Geist’s sad attempts to understand Access Copyright’s balance sheet, or even to correctly attribute a blog posting he wants to purposefully misinterpret.

    And please, this has happened far too often for me to continue ignoring it. It can’t just be a typo. The word is “lose.” You lose perspective; you do not loose perspective. If you COULD loose some perspective on this blog, I’d be forever grateful.

  25. How do I eat this cake?
    John, must we resort to spelling class & juvenile name calling … pretties, really? I thought you said you had standards?

    As for Mr. Gannon’s research yes I do have issue with it and so should you. A cursory search would have found the leading opinion in both the creative and ‘fair use’ camps as to the invalidity of the report (See the links above). You constantly berate Mr. Geist yet fail to hold your friends to the same standard. And I would happy to debate Mr. Gannon on his premise, if only he were gracious enough to allow commentary on his blog as some others do.

    Furthermore, you extol the virtue of the UN rights declarations yet when they run counter to your world view they are conveniently invalid.

    If nothing else John, at least be consistent.

  26. “you do not loose perspective”
    Coming from the man who consistently spells “license” wrong… :)

    “Furthermore, when he read them, he understood them.”

    Understanding them and representing them in a balanced and unbiased fashion are two different things. We all have a certain amount of bias, but Gannon is clearly biased toward the IP side. He leaves out certain qualifying information that brings things in to a more balanced perspective. A couple good examples are:

    1) The disconnect we’ve gone back and forth on. Yes, perhaps HADOPI has not disconnected anyone YET but, without a doubt, it’s coming. This disconnect leaves the user with no recourse for an Internet connection other than an appeal, where the Shaw disconnect is clearly as a result of a contract violation and the user can either appeal or move to a different provider.

    2) Another point clearly left out is the fact that HADOPI, and other such legislation, is not “hampered” by the burden of truth. An accusation is assumption of guilt with no real proof, other than an easily spoofed IP address and sometimes even less than that in the case of the widely abused notice and take-down found in the DMCA. Worse than that, there is no due process, guilt is automatic and difficult to appeal.

  27. Wait, Crockett, are you saying you don’t trust the numbers in the HADOPI report because someone on a blog told you not to trust them? And that is irrefutable proof that James Gannon got his numbers wrong?

    Once again – how many times do we have to go through this? – you misrepresent my opinion before scoffing at it. Where have I said UN rights declarations are conveniently invalid? Gannon’s posting is actually a very subtle examination of an opinion within a report (not part of the Declaration, btw; just a report) unintentionally (or otherwise) trespassing on rights within the actual UN Declaration. Rather than invalidating rights – which is the standard MO here whenever I mention Article 27 (para 2) of the UDOHR – I think Gannon is attempting a good-faith examination of the opinion.

    Is freedom of expression a human right? I sure do believe it is (Article 19), and work very hard to protect it.

    Does Internet disconnection qualify as an attack on freedom of expression? I can’t see how it could be interpreted otherwise.

    Do we as a society sometimes limit an individual’s rights under the UDOHR? Sometimes? No, all the time.

    Are HADOPI et al examples of reasonable limits (especially when compared to ISP practices)? Well, I think you’re saying “No, never! Because a blog told me so.”

    I’m saying – hmmm, good question. We should probably take a closer look at all that, and here’s a smart dude who’s doing just that. If you want to ignore and dismiss him because he obviously disagrees with the dear leader, that’s your choice.

  28. I neither ignore or dismiss him, I just said if you are going to quote him you should at least hold him to the same standards. I invite you too look into the issue of the numbers in this report instead of just taking his word. Independent investigation is always good, I await your analysis.

  29. IamMe,

    Please show me where I’ve spelled licence incorrectly?

    I am a Canadian of European heritage, and so I tend to the British spelling, but I also spend a great deal of time in the States (for my secret moustache-twirling meetings with RIAA). Sometimes it amuses me to use the inferior “license.” Again, typos are one thing, but consistently using the wrong word is just confusing to everyone. No?

    If you folks would rather not strive for proper spelling and clear communication… well, I’m not at all surprised.

    As to the burden of proof, Gannon’s research suggests there is strong court oversight in both HADOPI and the British law. It appears you are… what is the word?… wrong.

  30. Devil's Advocate says:

    “It appears you are… what is the word?… wrong.”
    Personally, I don’t know why you guys even engage this k00k. He’s obviously protected by a very thick coat of self-delusion that prevents any nasty, inconvenient logic or truth from getting through.

  31. Is electricity a human right? If not, isn’t this discussion kind of moot?

  32. Devil's Advocate says:

    Electricity vs. Internet Connection
    @DQuint:

    Not sure where you’re going with that one.
    Even if we assume having access to electricity to be a right, that wouldn’t automatically make having internet access a right by default.

    It may take electricity to power a computer, but it’s not your computer that would be deciding if you can have an internet connection or not.

  33. Fruit fight – Apples vs Oranges
    In reading the back and forth here, and the “source” of the basis of this exchange, I have a few observations.

    – Geist is examining the contents of the UN report, and how Canada’s existing and future policies relate to the report.
    – Gannon is taking a direct shot at the UN report itself, and it’s recommendations.
    I don’t see how anyone could possibly conclude that Gannon is somehow “refuting” Geist in any way. Although both reference the report, the topic focus isn’t related in any way.

    After reading (and rereading) both Geist and Gannon, I have some further observations.

    Although one might wish that Geist had taken a more indepth look into the UN report itself, his observations and conclusions are in line with his focus.

    Gannon has some interesting logic flaws. This is surprising considering his legal background.
    He spends a considerable amount of time conflating disconnection based on a contract vs a legally mandated disconnection imposed from outside of contract terms. As a lawyer he should realize that these are not even close to the same thing.
    He implies that laws like France and the UK are “working”, but the evidence he relies on show no difference between “notice and notice” measures and “mandated disconnect” measures. He even states that disconnection has never actually occurred. How can conclude that disconnect measures are “effective” when they have never actually been used?
    He chides the report as ignoring various country legal measures, implying that individual country “legal precedent” should somehow guide and shape UN reports and recommendations.
    Although he brings up the inherent conflict between various “rights” as defined by the UN, he doesn’t squarely address them. This isn’t a logic flaw, but it is apparent he doesn’t have any better answers than the various legal systems in balancing the shifting “priorities” of the conflicts between these “rights”.

  34. Here are a couple of other interesting thoughts to consider. These come from the joint declaration on freedom of expression and the Internet that Geist has linked to today:

    “Recognising that the exercise of freedom of expression may be subject to limited restrictions which are prescribed by law and are necessary, for example for the prevention of crime and the protection of the fundamental rights of others, including children, but stressing that any such restrictions must be balanced and comply with international law on the right to freedom of expression;

    Concerned that, even when done in good faith, many of the efforts by governments to respond to the need noted above fail to take into account the special characteristics of the Internet, with the result that they unduly restrict freedom of expression;”

    and

    “Denying individuals the right to access the Internet as a punishment is an extreme measure, which could be justified only where less restrictive measures are not available and where ordered by a court, taking into account the impact of this measure on the enjoyment of human rights.”

    The quotes, I think, point to the subtlety of the discussion. Restrictions and justifications are recognized. The rest is opinion.

    Do we allow inmates in our prisons unlimited access to the Internet? If not, why not?

  35. canadadada says:

    … sidebar, but relevant …
    Please consider this article: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.9a529bd9225705d57efe330623713dcd.601&show_article=1

    Note toward the end how Google ‘dictates’ its TERMS of ‘use’ for ‘Street View’. They’ll stop when they are asked to stop but not BEFORE. Again, apropos my earlier point, how many marginalized individuals – clearly without access to the internet – will be able to DEFEND themselves against this invasive ‘top down’ CORPORATE INTRUSION into their lives? Short term it does not benefit them in any real or tangible way. Meanwhile, Google ‘profits’ and continues on its merry ‘imperial’ way … Is Internet Access a Human Right? Clearly Google is a BELIEVER.

  36. Personally, I don’t know why you guys even engage this k00k.
    @Devil’s Advocate
    “Personally, I don’t know why you guys even engage this k00k.”

    I enjoy it. John’s skewed perspective bring my own perspective in to a more clear focus.

    @Degen
    “I’m saying – hmmm, good question. We should probably take a closer look at all that, and here’s a smart dude who’s doing just that. If you want to ignore and dismiss him because he obviously disagrees with the dear leader, that’s your choice.”

    I didn’t dismiss him at all, NOR did I effectively agree or disagree with him. I merely pointed out obvious flaws and/or biases in his representation of the UN report and 3-strikes legislation. In all honesty, I don’t remember if I even read Geist’s original posting on the UN report. Shockingly, I don’t read every posting. Most of the information I read was from the actual report as well as the plethora of information found on Google, Yahoo, Canoe and their related news sources. There are literally hundreds of articles from all over the world about this. You should look them up some time.

    Back to HADOPI. There might be court oversight on the disconnection in HADOPI, but there is no court oversight in the issuance of the warning OR the request for personal information nor is there really any legal recourse for the recipient of the warning…other than an appeal process which most normal people likely couldn’t afford. Guilt is assumed with no real evidence and no due process. Give me an e-mail address John, and I’ll send you an e-mail originating from 10 different countries, all from the same account. That’s just how unreliable the IP address is, AND I will have done NOTHING illegal AND I will have paid no money to achieve it.

  37. Devil’s advocate – without electricity, servers/networks/computers can’t work. So suppose Canada guaranteed access to the internet as right, a la Finland. Could a citizen claim his/her rights were being violated because the state wouldn’t provide access to the resources necessary to avail oneself of that right? i.e., you guarantee me internet access. But unless I pay for it, I can’t access electricity. Ipso facto, access to electricity must be a right too. How about the right to a computer? Do we guarantee that too?

    In a country where water isn’t a statutory right, suggested access to the internet should be is the height of ivory-tower entitlement.

  38. @DQuint
    I think you’re confused about guaranteed access. If you have guaranteed access, it’s still only if you CHOOSE to have it. You are not required to pay for electricity nor more than they are required to provide it if you don’t pay. The same goes for the Internet. You can choose to get access to the Internet, you might not be able to use it without electricity, but as long as you pay your bills, technically, you have access. ISP or the government, for that matter, don’t care if you don’t have electricity since that’s not their business. Guaranteed access only means that IF you want it they are obligated to provide the connection it in some way shape or form. Making sure the necessary infrastructure (Computer, electricity, networking hardware etc.) within your own home is in place is your responsibility.

  39. …”from the joint declaration on freedom of expression and the Internet that Geist has linked to today”

    I, for one, am glad he supplied this link. Food for thought and timely. I don’t note any special bias, one way or the other. in Geist’s commentary associated with the link he supplied.

    …”The quotes, I think, point to the subtlety of the discussion.”

    Yes. And is recognition of that subtlety an indication that you don’t see this in absolute black and white terms?

    Also, the quotes you reference are the introductory preamble to the Adoption of a Declaration. The “meat” is in the Declaration. I am still reading through and absorbing that.

    …”Do we allow inmates in our prisons unlimited access to the Internet? If not, why not?”

    Some we do, some we don’t. It depends on the sentence, which depends on the nature of the crime and the method used to commit it. But this again conflates criminal law with civil law. The example disconnection laws in the UK and France are not under criminal court jurisdiction – at least not yet.

  40. @IamME
    I agree, and would like to offer an additional example that might bring it into clarity.

    The legacy “right to assemble” doesn’t obligate anyone to supply you with cab or plane fare to attend that assembly.

    These “rights” are not an item of entitlement, they are a right that you can exercise. If the individual does not have the means or chooses not to exercise that right, they can still do so if their means changes or they choose differently.

  41. @Canadada

    “To divert funds to a massive investment in a communication infrastucture that primarily ensures governments ascendency & control does nothing to alleviate the burdens of the poor.”

    As opposed to lobbying and diverting funds to invest in monitoring communication infrastructure for corporations bent on limiting people ability to communicate with each other?

    I would have liked to see Degen make a case 20 years ago that someone should have their landline phone service taken away because they shared his book with someone else 3 times.

    Also, some prisons do allow internet for education purposes. But I’d still like you to make a case that a prisoner be banned from making a phone call. I mean, many still commit crimes and such using their phone privileges while locked up.

    Not that sharing a Non-tangable item like an mp3 or ebook is a crime. Tho, I’m sure you would like it to be…

  42. Go Team Go !
    I have often pointed out that, from a technological perspective, the whole concept of the three strikes model is critically flawed.

    First is the obvious inability of IP addresses to identify an actual person, never mind the issues of open public connections or wireless router hacking. Presumed guilt in this context, even if followed eventually by pseudo court oversight, is thus fundamentally wrong.

    Now we have the spectacle of the the data gathering firm employed by the French government being hit by hacktivists, and honestly who in their right mind didn’t see a big red target on these guy’s foreheads.

    But even more troubling, apparently the security on their servers was so bad it was like leaving the door unlocked AND open. The result of this has been the cutting of ties with the data gathering firm and the temporary suspension of the Hadopi program.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13422508

    This comes as little surprise, if something as simple as our own long gun registry is too much for a government not to screw up, how can we expect something as complex as Hadopi to be properly and cost effectively implemented?

    So here we are with another failed attempt by the content industry to competently apply the stick, all the while the innovative carrot [read: Netflix] is steadily displacing the dreaded P2P traffic on the Internet backbone.

    Innovation = 1 Litigation = 0 … Sis Boom Bah!

  43. …’sharing’
    ‘Sharing’ on the internet means nothing if the internet isn’t in one’s life. Millions – MILLIONS – do not have access. Their greater priority are the the essentials of life – enough food, clean water and adequate shelter. From my p.o.v., the current emphasis and ‘outrage’ is not only elitist, but misdirected: a tempest in a teapot. If one third of the energy that is directed here was directed there, collectively we would evolve into a better & more sustainable future. As long as this ‘dialogue’ (and diatribe) DOMINATES public discourse, the schism will widen between those who ‘have’ and those who don’t. The whole situation will become increasingly unstable & unequal. And, by the way, for the record, ‘poverty’ is not a
    ‘crime’… People live all over the globe ‘in poverty’.

  44. @canadada
    No one is arguing this fact, but that doesn’t give the content industry the right to come in run us over either. Keep in mind, the content industry is worth A LOT of money and they have very deep pockets with a great deal of government influence. They don’t give a damn about poverty, the homeless or whether people have the essentials of life. All they’re worried about is the bottom dollar and trying to preserve a business model which was out dated many years ago.

    While I care about the social issues in our society, I can’t focus on that to the exclusion of other issues. Poverty is a BIG issue to be sure, but it’s not the only issue and it would be short-sighted to focus solely on that aspect.

  45. There is fascinating psychology at work here. I state unequivocally that I believe Internet disconnection represents an attack against freedom of expression and STILL I am accused of believing the exact opposite. As well, we have Crockett, the great facilitator of reasoned discussion, celebrating an illegal invasion of private information by “hacktivists,” and blaming the victim of the hacking for being attacked.

    “Well, if you didn’t want someone to walk into your house and steal everything, you shouldn’t have left the door unlocked.” What a swell worldview. When did it stop being the criminal’s fault when a crime occurs?

    Crockett, what is “presumed” about the guilt of a person who has been given a notice of violation? A violation has occurred. If the wrong person is accused because of all those great tricky identity-hiding ideas you have there, that’s not a presumption; it’s a misidentification, and the accused has the right and power to say they were misidentified. What then is “pseudo” about court oversight? Saying something is “pseudo” does not make it so.

    These laws were not brought in to catch kids “sharing” stolen songs. They are mechanisms to discourage large-scale piracy and enabling. Do we not all disagree with large-scale piracy and enabling? These things are, in fact, crimes. Why is it either laws or innovation to you? Why not both?

    Why, in your ideological call for consumer freedom to you have to celebrate systematic, organized law-breaking?

  46. Don’t you have to be a reader to be a writer?
    @Degen “As well, we have Crockett, the great facilitator of reasoned discussion, celebrating an illegal invasion of private information by “hacktivists,” and blaming the victim of the hacking for being attacked.”

    John, please if you are going to accuse me of something at least be accurate, isn’t that what you always say? Nowhere did I ‘celebrate’ hacking, as a matter of fact in a previous post I called these hackers juvenile anarchists who should be severely prosecuted.

    What I actually did say was that it was obviously inevitable, and thus great care should have been taken to guard personal data that supposedly is going to be used in criminal prosecutions. And if you actually read the article you would have seen that the security on the servers was almost non existent. With some research you will find that failure to protect private information is actually a serious issue and fineable offense, as Mr. Crossley’s has discoverd to the tune of £200,000

    The FACT that this care was not given is beyond negligent. And yes John, it would be nice if we could all leave our cars unlocked with our purses on seat, but I’m afraid just wishing for something really hard doesn’t work in the real world.

    You will also notice by actually reading the last line of my post that the ‘team’ I was rooting for was innovation. Should efforts to combat criminal infringement be in the mix as well, in the case of commercial piracy I’d say absolutely.

    The point you seem to gloss over though was that innovation is where the battles are being won, while in my opinion negative effects of non-commercial litigation is just extending the front line ahead of you.

  47. Credit where it is due
    @Degen “Does Internet disconnection qualify as an attack on freedom of expression? I can’t see how it could be interpreted otherwise.”

    Good on you John for recognizing this and willing to take a deeper look into the issues.

  48. My good fellow, I don’t need credit from you or anyone on this site for my belief in the importance of freedom of expression. It is hardly a sudden “recognition,” as you characterize it. I have always believed in it, and don’t think (as do so many here) that the importance of a right is all relative depending on whether or not it might stand between consumers and the things they want to consume.

    As to your smug satisfaction about criminal hacktivists exposing problems with HADOPI, I admire the rationalization festival you perform to make yourself feel better about it all. Any word on how much the hacktivists are being fined, or does that not concern us?

  49. @Degen
    “what is “presumed” about the guilt of a person who has been given a notice of violation? A violation has occurred.”

    But the data they have is dubious at best and often wrong. So, in this case, you’re advocating accusations on shady or dubious data. How many times have you berated Geist, claiming he does the same? “A violation has occurred” but, in your opinion, it doesn’t matter if the one receiving the notice is the one who actually is the violator…as long as an issue is noticed.

    “If the wrong person is accused because of all those great tricky identity-hiding ideas you have there, that’s not a presumption; it’s a misidentification, and the accused has the right and power to say they were misidentified”

    To my knowledge, in any country where a guilty-until-proven-innocent system exists (France, UK, USA, etc.), only one such appeal has been successful, and at great cost to the accused. He was a lawyer or a doctor, or something like like that. Simply put, an average person cannot afford the appeal process.

    “These laws were not brought in to catch kids “sharing” stolen songs. They are mechanisms to discourage large-scale piracy and enabling. Do we not all disagree with large-scale piracy and enabling? These things are, in fact, crimes.”

    Unfortunately, much like DMCA, it’s the “kids” that will ultimately be the final target here. Large scale operations operate in countries that don’t care about file sharing and/or use tools to keep them safe. While, at the same time, those supplying the original content are usually smart enough to also use tools to not get caught. How many large scale operations have such legislation brought down? While it’s not for lack of trying, the only ones that come to mind in recent years are Linewire and Mininova. How many new services have popped up to replace them? 10:1 … 100:1 …?

    “Why is it either laws or innovation to you? Why not both?”

    Both ARE required, but within reason. Extremely heavy laws such as C-32, DMCA and HADOPI, and onerous, expensive licensing regulations such as we have in Canada makes true innovation difficult or even impossible here. Innovation and fast moving technology is where people are spending their money these days…that’s no secret.

    Other than in a monopoly situation, or oligopolies like we have in Canada, all the laws in the world won’t force a person to buy a product they do not want, however, they will find other means to get what they want. Myself, along with many I know, I will import a product from teh US before buying an inferior product here. For on-line digital content, many simply resort to piracy because that’s truly the only avenue available in some cases. If given the choice between piracy and a cheap Netflix-type service, most will choose Netflix. Unfortunate speed and bandwidth are still issues for many.

    I have a question…What’s better, a cheap service, like Netflix, with millions of paying subscribers or no service at all with no paying subscribers? I know many people who exclusively watch downloaded content and don’t pay for a cable/satellite subscription at all because the service is of no use to them. If such content was cheaply available through a reliable on-demand service (With sufficient bandwidth available), most would gladly pay. You could argue iTunes offers most of the content not offered on Netflix, but iTunes is VERY expensive. To buy and download an entire season of a TV show from iTunes is usually much more expensive than to run to Walmart and buy it on DVD. With the DVD copy I have the added bonus of better sound and picture quality, special features, it’s covered under the content insurance on my house, and I have the option to sell it after I’m done. There is no proportionality here. Consumers see this all to clearly. The content industry to willfully blind to the facts.

    This all leads to the reasons behind Internet piracy. The consumer is not solely to blame and should only hold a small portion of blame. Often at the industry encouragement plus the private copying levy, entire generations of users where fostered where unlimited copying is an expected right. This is more to blame than the consumer. Years of ignorance and inactivity from the content industry is much more to blame. No matter who the player is and no matter how self important that player thinks they are, technology progresses. Rights are hard to take back, once given.

  50. Grammar school …
    John, I think you are loosing it, but hold on and I’ll walk you through it.

    In Essay writing the first sentence lays out your topic or premise. This in turn is matched in summary on the last sentence.

    My first line was: Go Team Go!
    The matching line was: Innovation = 1 Litigation = 0
    The team being referred to was ‘innovation’ not the hackers.

    Furthermore, when a paragraph starts with ‘even more troubling’ it is thus referring to the topic of the previous paragraph, in this case the French government being hacked.

    Nowhere did I praise or even condone the behavior of the hackers. Neither am I ‘smugly’ satisfied, I stated that failure to protect private data is a serious issue.

    The only ‘smug’ you are reading is your own bias. Now that we have that out of the way you still failed to address the main premise of the post, that innovation is being much more successful at curbing infringement that litigation.

    And yes John, I do hope the hacktivists are caught and prosecuted as I have already stated, but that does not absolve those who are tasked with safeguarding the personal data they have collected from doing their job, lest they too are found to be liable for criminal negligence … again, read the article.

  51. HADOPI Being hacked
    I don’t think anyone other than anarchists truly advocates such hacking. The point is that given the nature of HADOPI, they’re an EXTREMELY obvious target for such attacks. As a result, they should have had much more robust security in place on their servers than they did/do.

    Like I said, I don’t think many advocate such attacks. But, when such an unpopular organization as this gets attacked, or like that “John Doe” trolling lawyer in the the UK, I think a lot of people end up snickering under their breath…thinking that they had it coming.

  52. There really is no end to the avalanche of justification and groupthink over here, is there?

    I point out and prove example after example of Geist, Knopf and y’all being wrong in facts and numbers, and it’s all “yeah, maybe our facts are not exactly correct, but you know, close enough.” I say “up”; you hear me say “down.” You lecture like pedants, and then get huffy when someone asks you to use language correctly.

    You snicker and say “they had it coming,” when a government or corporation gets hacked, and then try to pretend you’re really just all about innovating to help those who are struggling with technology. You quake with rage at corporate malfeasance, but say “yeah, those organized criminals that enable stealing teenagers are too smart to be caught, so why bother?”

    The most consistent trait over here is a remarkable lack of consistency. How do any of you continue to stand with the moral ground shifting beneath your feet like that all the time?

  53. Sigh
    I, and everyone else here have spoke against the hackers. The one comment before yours says HE IS AGAINST it while speculating that some other people may be snickering under their breath. Well, that is likely a true statement, what of it? What justification are you referring to, how can one justify something they are not advocating? Do you even read the posts? Really John, you are just making things up at this point.

    Show me somewhere here, in THIS discussion, that someone is rooting for them as you suggest? Go ahead, I challenge you directly, prove it sir … I can wait …

    Again, rather than speak to the issues, you have once again resorted to hyperbole and misdirecting outrage. It is your deliberate obscurification when you cannot counter an argument that is the real moral issue here. You never cease to amaze us with displaying the very qualities you so despise in others, in that at least you are remarkably consistent.

  54. Lacking?
    How can there be consistency when we each have our own point of view and generally don’t know each other. It’s not like we collude behind the scenes.

    John you consistently lack understanding of the organization and technology involved, so what’s your point? Perhaps I was overly strong to say they’re too smart to get caught…nothing is totally impossible, given enough time and effort. But for an organized piracy group, say one that rips and releases movies, you’re looking at people and hardware spread all over the world with a full blown governance structure and hierarchy. Just the semantics of organizing international cooperation for tracking purposes will often make bringing down such a group not cost effective. Torrent sites are lower hanging fruit, but again, you’re still faced with arranging international cooperation and have to play by their rules. That being said, the US is driving much of this, and it’s no secret a lot of countries don’t like Americans. I once met an American who sewed a Canadian flag on his backpack when we was traveling in Europe because he often experienced hostility if they found out he was American. He found his trip to be much more enjoyable when people thought he was Canadian. That sentiment is not uncommon. Likewise, when asked to spy on their citizens at the behest of American media, many countries will sooner tell the Americans where to go than cooperate.

    I don’t think anyone here thinks Geist is always right, but your guys, including you, are sometimes wrong or overly biased too.

    And yes, I did snicker and think they had it coming because I believe the 3-strikes legislation to be over the top, disproportionate and ultimately ineffective. However, in all seriousness, the hackers should be found and charged, but so should the company HADOPI hired and perhaps even the French government, for having insufficient security to protect sensitive information. That should be just as serious a crime.

    I don’t “pretend” anything…other than perhaps my tone sometimes. You lack the facility to get me “huffy”, I just tend to be long-winded, though Huffy used to make a really nice BMX bike back in the day. You do make me smile though. LOL Admittedly, I have awful grammar, but I’m a computer programmer. LOL

  55. Hilarious

    John thinking hacking is bad, unless of course it’s a corporation using it’s influence with government to get the tools necessary to hunt down those filthy pirates. They aren’t hacking… They are doing for the greater good!

    John, your problem stems from the fact that you just don’t get it. Which is from your belief that so called rights owners should have 100% control of everything they touch.

    Question I’ve been meaning to ask you since I first started seeing your trolling on this site.

    I buy an ipad. I purchase everything you ever wrote. What rights do I have?

    Can I lend out my ipad to anyone and allow them to read it? Can I turn around and sell that ipad with your works?

  56. Crockett,

    You can stop waiting for your proof. See IamMe and Sal, and see yourself when you think I’m not looking. I read all the comments, despite just not getting it.

    Law and order isn’t cost-effective. Haven’t you heard?

  57. …”Law and order isn’t cost-effective. Haven’t you heard?”

    Tell that to the Egyptians or the Libyans. Even your/our government has decided to protect the “lawless ones”.

    I much prefer disagreements using words, to guns. Given the harder choice between guns and civil disobedience, I’ll still take our system.

    John, I know you will complain that this isn’t the same thing at all. To a certain point I will agree with you. But standing by your principles is a double edged sword. “Law abiding citizen”. Who’s laws?

  58. Peek a boo John ..
    I’m not sure why you think people here speak with a collective voice, just because Sal has something that is the opposite of my position, it does not apply to me. The positions you accused me of holding were just plain incorrect, it would be honest of you to admit that.

    As for cost effectiveness that matters in every sphere of our society John, including law and justice. There is something called the law of diminishing returns, look at our own long gun registry as an illustrative example. There are many different types and degrees of law enforcement as well as deterrents or even enticements. Rehabilitation for instance is preferable to incarceration, or are you in favor of the upcoming mega prison projects?

    Again, on topic, I say innovation is a much more cost effective way to combat infringement, but you would have caught that if you were listening.

  59. John automatically believes that I think hacking is good. Where really I’m not saying that at all. Just that there is very little difference between some kid in his basement gaining information and a corporation using it’s influence with government to be allowed to use tools to catch dirty pirates and make them pay.

    But I wish you would answer my question John. It would be nice to hear your stance. Or do you just prefer taking shots at people?

  60. Here’s an intersting thought experiment …
    Let’s put cost effectiveness aside and tackle the problem of shoplifting. We will train and hire a security officer to police the exit of every retail establishment in the country. By virtue of simply being in a store (municipal address) everyone will be searched, both inside and out, before they may exit. Privacy and reasonable grounds will need to take a back seat, and if people eventually stop going to stores … well what of it?

    Certainly this will address the serious problem of theft and financial loss that is decimating the retail sector. How can you place a cost on that?

  61. @Degen
    “You can stop waiting for your proof. See IamMe and Sal, and see yourself when you think I’m not looking.”

    Oh, John, John, John, John. Just because I find something amusing doesn’t mean I advocate it. There’s a BIG difference.

    In the case of 3-strikes, or any graduated response system, I don’t advocate giving people infringement notices and warnings based on inaccurate data. That’s not law enforcement, that’s not imposing order, that’s harassment plain and simple. The whole sector should be looking at the cause of the piracy and trying to fix the root cause, not trying legislate the Internet and bully people which will only have negative effects.

    Now, back to our HADOPI hackers. I don’t know what “proof” you think you have. I say it again, I don’t have to advocate it to get some sort of amusement out of it. For the third time, they should be found and prosecuted for sure, just as much as the agency that was hacked should be brought up on charges.

    “Law and order isn’t cost-effective.”

    But, how much are you willing to spend to find hackers? Millions? Billions? If caught, is it money well spent? Will it prevent future hackers? These are serious questions that need answering.

    No John, unfortunately sometimes it’s not cost-effective. In an ideal world, it would, but this world is far from ideal. There are limited resources and money is even more limited. Let me give you some of my history that might focus my stance on this…

    I had an extended family member who was a child rapist/murderer. He was classed as a dangerous offender and locked away forever. He spent most of his life in a prison mental hospital before finally committing suicide on an anniversary of the crime. What’s the point of revealing this? One less scumbag to worry about and I can have some satisfaction knowing that he’ll never escape and come looking for us…something my wife always worried about. In this case the punishment fit the crime and having never met the man, I can get some amusement out of the poetic justice which has been served.

    The reality is that most of the law enforcement time and effort should be focused on dangerous criminals, human trafficking, child pornographers and the like. I’m not saying copyright infringement is right, but if the police are going to focus on anything, I don’t know about you, but I would prefer them focus on those criminals that are actually dangerous, not on some kid downloading a movie in his basement. With all that’s wrong in the world today, that’s almost a waste of law enforcement time and money in my opinion.

    Who’s more dangerous John, the kids who make up a majority of the “pirates”, most of which who WILL grow up in to good consumers, or someone like my relative, who raped, mutilated and murdered a 4-year-old girl? Where should law enforcement focus?

    I have no respect for anyone who thinks copious amounts of money should be spent on tracking down copyright infringers when scumbags like my relative, child pornographers, human traffickers, or any other violent criminals should be the priority.

    Perhaps I’m particularly jaded on this point due to the effects I’ve seen in my family, even to this day, over 30 years later. I imagine it still affects the 4-year-old victim’s family even more.

  62. Sal,

    I don’t “automatically” believe anything. I draw conclusions based on what I see plainly before me. I contrast that method with whatever you have used to conclude that I believe “so called rights owners should have 100% control of everything they touch.” I have stated here many, many times my respect for the public domain, and my happiness with and use of the fair dealing provision. In other words, no, I do not believe in the 100% control scenario you attempted to describe.

    Here is your opportunity to show me that I am wrong about your attitude toward hacking. My assumption is that someone who equates stealing with “sharing,” and disagreeing with Michael Geist as “trolling,” is likely also to equate illegal trespass with admirable activism.

    oldguy, your totalitarianism reference is insulting to the core. It warrants no response. If you really think there’s a comparison to be made between these situations, then there’s no help for you.

    Crockett, have you been in a retail store lately? You can’t enter or leave without being scanned and photographed in some way.

    Has anyone here advocated for NOT using technology to police technological issues? In fact, isn’t that what you and others demand of the HADOPI tech firm? Stronger technological policing measures to protect personal information?

  63. “Crockett, have you been in a retail store lately? You can’t enter or leave without being scanned and photographed in some way. ”

    Photographed, perhaps. but not searched. They can refuse you admittance if you do not agree to a search on the way in, but there is no way they can force you to submit to ANY KIND of search on the way out. I regularly refuse such requests from security in these stores.

  64. Darryl,

    Why, exactly, are you regularly the subject of a search request? And where do you shop? How many stores are you denied access to?

    You’re right, Crockett. This thought experiment is revealing all sorts of interesting information.

  65. @Degen
    “Has anyone here advocated for NOT using technology to police technological issues? In fact, isn’t that what you and others demand of the HADOPI tech firm?”

    No, I don’t request to be tracked, nor do I generally track anything. I use technology to “track” technological issues, not to police, which implies some so of enforcement. I doe use technology to “secure” my data. In fact I have three firewalls installed to “Protect” my information at various levels.

    “Stronger technological policing measures to protect personal information?”

    HADOPI isn’t using “policing” measures to protect personal information. HADOPI is using “policing” measures to monitor and collect personal information. You use “security” measures to protect personal information. The sole purpose of security is to protect. Policing implies some sort of enforcement of rules. When the data relied upon becomes unreliable, as with IP addresses, that “enforcement” becomes nothing more than harassment.

    There is a big difference between policing and security measures.

  66. Every TigerDirect store I’ve been in has a guard at the exit who requests to see both your receipt and your purchases when you leave. Presumably they are checking to ensure that the cashiers are charging you appropriately. However, their staff issues are not my concern, and I therefore refuse with little objection from the guards (which is good considdering some of the stories I’ve heard)

    Really John, you should get out more.

    So you agree then, that the stores do NOT have any right to search you?

  67. @Degen “In fact, isn’t that what you and others demand of the HADOPI tech firm? Stronger technological policing measures to protect personal information?”

    There is a difference between protecting the personal information you have gathered and using technology to onerously collect the information in the first place, where lies the greater responsibility?

    I am fine with being passively scanned, but you have again glossed over the point of my post which was that at some point the costs of vigilance may exceed the returns. Again, I point to the long gun registry and the future mega prisons to house all the minimum sentence detainees.

    Are the costs and the negative side effects of policing casual copyright infringement worth the cost? I can not absolutely say for certain, but the more onerous the methods the more this question should be considered.

    And again, back to my very original point … Innovation, such as Netflix, has been shown in a very short time to be magnitudes more effective at curbing infringement than all the costly and poor PR inducing tactics that have been tried.

    Should parties who profit monetarily from infringement (possibly even respectable ones like You-tube) be held accountable for their actions … I think so.

    Should there also be intensive and invasive policing of non commercial infringement? Certainly there can be, but it is my opinion that such efforts are actually counter productive in the long run, and that a greater focus on innovation will provide copyright holders with a more positive outcome.

    I do not ask for anything for free which is not offered as such, and I understand there there are a lot of people out there who behave differently. Yet it seems self evident, and has recently been shown to be true, that finding the right mechanisms to deliver the right balance of convenience and value is the most effective tool out there.

    John, I am not against you, creators or even copyright holders profiting from your talents, you have as much right to do so as anyone. I also understand you face some different challenges that may not plague other sectors. Where we seem differ is not if those challenges should be faced, but the type focus that is needed.

  68. IamME, I am sorry to hear of the troubles visited upon your family. I too have had similar issues with a family member (although not quite to the same degree) and have seen the devastation that ripples out in every direction.

  69. ..”oldguy, your totalitarianism reference is insulting to the core.”

    Probably. But effective insults contain grains of truth.

    Consider the differences between a criminal and a terrorist. Their methods are often similar, behaving in ways that break existing laws.
    The motivation of a criminal is personal gain, while those of a terrorist are for a cause larger than themselves. An individual can simultaneously condemn, or even abhor, the methods while still identifying with the cause.
    The difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary is simply perspective, which side you are on, whether you identify with the cause.

    Bringing that back into the perspective here, you will find people that can identify with the underlying cause, while simultaneously condemning the method.
    Your argument explicitly and implicitly implies that identifying with the cause is also an approval of the methods. To paraphrase another comment you have made, “it’s much more subtle than that”.

  70. Rationalization festival! All this weekend! BYOR.

    Actually the costs of policing/securing against “casual” copyright infringement are not high at all. Just apply DRM and most consumers (in fact, 100% of honest customers) will happily live within the parameters of that DRM. Millions of Kindle/Kobo users can’t be wrong. Then you make breaking that DRM against the law and boom, commercial scale infringers are way offside. It’s all so simple, and subtle.

    Oh, I forgot, DRM is evil, like terrorism. Too bad because the Kindle, and Kobo (also DRMed) are such good examples of how innovation is so effective at curbing infringement.

    You guys keep up the festival. I find it more amusing than when corporations get hacked.

  71. @Degen “Actually the costs of policing/securing against ‘casual’ copyright infringement are not high at all. Just apply DRM … make breaking that DRM against the law and boom, commercial scale infringers are way offside. It’s all so simple, and subtle.”

    John, I admire the purity of your purpose to protect the rights of content creators (and please don’t go off on a tangent again about not needing anyone’s admiration from this venue), but you don’t seem to fully comprehend the issues of the continuing significant costs related to litigation programs and technical security.

    Anyone is free to implement these within the confines of the law, I never said otherwise, but if you think slapping on DRM and passing a law is going to close the barn doors (it hasn’t helped yet) you may want to do a little more research into the actual challenges to be faced.

    As to the point of rationalization John, now you are really having to reach for straws. What I actually said, not what you try to write into it, is that innovation is proving to be a more effective method of curbing infringement than policing and litigation, while still accepting these latter methods to be valid resources.

    How that matches anyone’s definition of ‘rationalization’ is somewhat wondrous but if it works for you then so be it, enjoy your weekend and sleep well.

  72. Kindle / Kobo
    I’ve never argued again Kindle and Kobo. eBooks are still a smaller niche market, with only a fraction of the users than that of say digital music or movies, but it’s growing rapidly. That being said, e-books are successful because they tend to be sold for much less than printed books. That is a not a trend generally followed by the media industry. The saving on a digital copy of a song or movie is usually only marginal to that of the physical copy, and in some cases, like some of the content on iTunes, the digital copy is ultimately more expensive. BTW, a lot of people I know buy Kindle eBooks, even without owning a Kindle, then convert them to ePub so they can read them on other devices like the Sony Reader, or iPad, so the DRM is not absolute, but they’re still buying it.

    Kindle and Kobo are supplying a service at a substantially reduced cost to that of the original. If the media industry would do the same thing they would also see great gains. Again, I refer to Netflix.

    Kindle and Kobo are doing it right and addressing “customer needs” BEFORE piracy gets out of control. That’s something the media industry should have been doing 15 years ago rather than trying to find creative ways to stifle the market.

  73. **correction.
    “I’ve never argued again Kindle and Kobo.”

    Should be “against”

  74. …”Actually the costs of policing/securing against “casual” copyright infringement are not high at all. Just apply DRM and most consumers (in fact, 100% of honest customers) will happily live within the parameters of that DRM.”

    The is the fallacious assertion that makes everything that follows invalid. A continually growing percentage of those “honest customers” are not happy with the effects of DRM. I won’t belabor the evidence, it’s there if you care to look.

    Twist and turn John, from HADOPI to DRM. What next? If everyone would simply be “law abiding”, your life would be some much easier, right? But who defines the laws? What do *you* do when you believe a law is unfair or unjust?

    …”Rationalization festival!”

    You’re pretty good at tossing out insults as well. And like all good insults, they contain a few grains of truth. I’ll accept that.

  75. Pedant -noun
    … “one that does not know how to think out of his Profession and particular way of Life”

    Hmm, other than myself that reminds me of someone I know …

  76. That’s good, Crockett. You’ve learned how to use a dictionary.

  77. Drat, John! … I was going to look up the word dictionary, but I couldn’t figure out how.

  78. Darryl,

    Isn’t it interesting that stores frequented by tech “experts” feel they need to employ guards against stealing?

    Seems they really know their customers.

    No guards in bookstores. Never been searched leaving the art gallery.

  79. John, it is interesting how you try to change the topic with irrelevant inferences rather than admit anyone else has a point, or even worse. That you are wrong.

    Sad.

    But interesting.

  80. Quality should be rewarded …
    http://airlockalpha.com/node/8569/scifriday-want-to-stop-illegal-downloads-provide-options.html

    Game of Thrones is undoubtedly one of the best written shows on, well anywhere, at the moment and that is just not my opinion as the ratings are through the roof. The show was even renewed for a second season after the airing of only the first episode. Contrast that with shows that struggle to get a second season, if one at all, right down to the last wire.

    In my opinion no media, that is not under some type of open licence, should be obtained without proper payment. So it is with great trepidation when I see something as well written and entertaining as this show being illegally downloaded. Come on people, quality comes at a cost so lets support it!

    Having said that, I agree with the above article that it’s innovation and options that can offer more of a return for the producers of this show. Here is my situation for instance, I live in rural Canada where there is no cable and I choose not support Bell and Shaw for reasons that to most here will be obvious. Fortunately, there is a good independent ISP in the area for my broadband.

    This leaves me with few options to watch the show, I could of course use P2P, ‘message boards’ or a digital locker service but I refuse to do so. Fortunately, I have a brother in law (with a satellite dish) who shares my good taste so we watch the show together. Yet, if the episodes were available for download legally I would purchase them, if for nothing else, just to support the show.

    There are of course economic considerations at play, will episode downloads take away too much from monthly subscriptions? That is possible but unlikely for the reason mentioned in the article. Is there concern that if individual episodes were made available that they be pirated and shared … oh wait, right, never mind.

    More choice, varied delivery, greater convenience and plain old value are the cornerstones of digital media’s future. I applaud those who are takings these truths to heart and reward us as they are rewarding themselves.

  81. Darryl,

    What am I wrong about? That stores already employ sophisticated security measures on their customers as a matter of daily business, without imposing any of the extreme measures posited by this blog’s panic merchants? I’m pretty sure that’s an unchallenged fact, TigerDirect’s problem with your shopping habits notwithstanding. I have never been searched leaving any store, anywhere, ever.

    Crockett,

    See, here’s the only place we differ in your Game of Thrones example. You say you have “few” options to view the show, and I say you have options. Convenience is never an excuse for willful law-breaking, and for disrespecting and trespassing on the rights of those who have created the work you want to view. Get all blamey on the producers and distributors all you want, but the fact remains that the work is out there and can be accessed legally. The rest is just excuse-making and rationalizations for terrible behaviour.

    It’s great that you encourage consumers to pay for the product and to access it legally, but both you and the article you cite continue to blame the victims of piracy for their own piracy. Why does it have to be “sure, piracy is bad, but…” instead of “Piracy is wrong and NOT the answer.” What kind of absurd worldview finds excuses for robbery?

    “I wanted it and couldn’t get it as conveniently as I wanted” will never work as an excuse for stealing.

    Sal,

    Copyright is at its core, about copies. If you want to include the value of your legally purchased works into your iPad when you sell it, go ahead. That’s a choice you make. If you sell copies of those works with your iPad (while retaining original copies elsewhere for your continued use, you have broken copyright law. You don’t have the right to sell copies of your copy. Only the rightsholder has that right.

    This is really NOT as complicated as y’all make it out to be. Stop stealing and selling copies you have no rights to.

  82. @Crockett
    “Yet, if the episodes were available for download legally I would purchase them, if for nothing else, just to support the show.”

    Therein lies the problem in Canada. First-run content available on so-called premium US channels, such as HBO and AMC have extremely limited availability in Canada. As you say, there is no legal way to download it. I would have to spend an extra $20/mo to get these channels on Bell and I simply don’t watch that much TV. Unfortunately, shows like this, Dexter, Walking Dead and others on these channels, the best way for me to get them is to ignore the show now and get it on DVD when they come out.

    I would absolutely pay to watch or download such things, but there is a limit to how much. Other than certain things, directly from certain broadcasters, the last time I looked on iTunes, really the only place to get downloadible first run shows in Canada (But not HBO shows), it was something like $3.49 per episode. For older seasons, it wasn’t much cheaper and was usually much cheaper to just go out and buy the DVDs.

    There is something wrong when that’s the case.

  83. @Degen
    “You say you have “few” options to view the show, and I say you have options.”

    Here’s a question that has plagued our embattled ISP market as of late. At what point do the “options” become blatant gouging?

    King of Thrones is available to me, if I want to pay $20/mo for the entire premium package that HBO belongs to on Bell. Sure that is an option, and is literally my only option where I live. What if I only want that show? I’m not paying $20/mo for a bunch of content, most of which I care little to see. So, my only other legal option is to wait for it on DVD. What are the real effects of this decision?

    Waiting for it to come out on DVD does not help ratings and does not help the show get renewed, it doesn’t help the actors or any of those working on the show. It’s probably even more damaging to the show’s chances of renewal than illegally downloading it since I’m not watching it. At least illegal downloads show real-time activity and is some indication of interest in the show.

    So you say there are options. I agree with Crockett, that there are not enough legal options within the realm of affordability. If affordable options were available, more people would buy the content instead of download it illegally. Netflix proves that beyond any shadow of a doubt!!!

  84. John, you missed the point again …
    @Degen “I wanted it and couldn’t get it as conveniently as I wanted will never work as an excuse for stealing.”

    Of course its not, I agree with you there, full stop.

    The sad truth though is there are many who don’t agree on that point, so what do you do? You can write them off, sue them, cut off their access but will any of that put more money in your pocket?

    I am not advocating infringing behaviour, rather trying to find ways to mitigate it. My premise is more options and added value will draw people away from using the non legal alternatives.

    So the question is what are the reasons for not offering that choice? You are right that stepping on creators rights is disrespectful, but so is not providing the services that people are asking you for. Any relationship is a two way road, and this one seems to be going through separation on the way to divorce. It is naive to think that a relationship breakdown is the fault of only one partner.

  85. More thoughts …
    For the purpose of this post lets assume that regardless of any amount of DRM, laws or litigation that are applied, some will always find a way to around them. I don’t condone such behaviour, nor participate in it, but it also seems to me that tightening the screws on this segment of the population will produce little blood and will likely solidify their defiance.

    One then has to ask themselves, what are their goals in tackling the issue of non-commercial infringement? Is it to maintain the sanctity of copyright, certainly that is a consideration. Is there a desire to punish those for their moral infraction and affront to the artist, this too is an understandable reaction. Or, is it a more practical desire to improve the bottom line of the creators & copyright holders? I would suspect the reality is some combination of the above three.

    What then is the most effective way to reach these goals? I suppose that will depend on the weight given to punishment over mitigation, but from a perspective to actually decrease infringement I would suggest innovation to be the most useful tool.

    Innovation should produce the following effects. First it will remove the excuse that people use to justify their infringement such as the product or service is not available, or not available in the format they desire. If it also brings increased convenience and value to the customer then it will give people even more incentive to turn from using infringing methods, which in comparison are both cumbersome and hazardous. The tail effects of this will be an increase in respect for copyright as people no longer feel the need to bypass restrictions they feel are unwarranted. This in turn will create a healthier environment for creators, improved relations with their fans and increased returns for their efforts.

    Conversely, an increase in restrictive laws and access coupled with overly punitive remedies will, in my opinion, foster an already unhealthy environment where we will continue to play a technological cat & mouse game were no one is the winner.

    I do not claim to have all the answers, but the tactics I have seen from the content industry in recent years have, by anyone’s honest assessment, been very ineffective and even counterproductive. Currently though, we are seeing services such as Netflix showing great success, not just in generating income for copyright holders, but also displacing traffic on the internet backbone that has traditionally been used for infringement.

    Innovative and popular services that quickly decrease infringing activity while generating significant income and improving customer relations … now what is not to like about that John?

  86. Crockett,

    None of this is anywhere near as simple as you make it sound, and it’s just silly to generalize about “the content industry.” It’s not that I miss your point; it’s that I don’t really see it as a point. You need to understand that none of this is theoretical for me or my colleagues. This is our world and our business.

    It’s very easy to SAY “don’t worry about all those people stealing from you – don’t bother calling the police or locking your stuff away — just innovate.” It’s nowhere near as easy to actually be the one being robbed and to listen to such a very uncomforting theory… especially when you actually ARE innovating. Even less easy when “scholars” run around telling everyone not to worry about your industry because it’s doing just fine, even as they hold the back door open for those walking out with our stuff.

  87. @Degen “It’s nowhere near as easy to actually be the one being robbed and to listen to such a very uncomforting theory… especially when you actually ARE innovating.”

    You are right John, none of this is simple, and it probably does sting. You are morally and emotionally correct to want to punish those who are taking from you, but is that the wisest path to take? And if it is, to what degree? At which point does it become counter productive?

    This is why there needs to be many different points of view brought to bear. I stated above that I do not have all the answers, but I think I do have a different perspective than you or your colleagues, as you do of mine.

    It is a fact that innovation is proving to be the main solution to the problems you are facing. Has costly litigation and significant punitive damages against non-commercial infringement made a significant dent? With this in mind is it unreasonable for me to recommend you put the lions share of your efforts into innovation with the goal of developing a broader and more stable marketplace?

    Possibly surprising to you John, but we have similar goals in mind. I understand infringement makes not only the creator poorer, but all of us who miss out on the future creativity that this is impacting. As too my views you may not “see this as a point” and that “nothing good can come out of this blog”, but just maybe, a more open mind might actually lead to a more workable environment for everyone.

    Here’s hoping.

  88. Hey John, in the spirit of cooperation and harmony … here is a display of geek and artist coming together.

  89. hmmm
    Degen said: “None of this is anywhere near as simple as you make it sound, and it’s just silly to generalize about “the content industry.””…”don’t bother calling the police or locking your stuff away — just innovate.”

    I never heard anyone say innovation would be easy. On the contrary, innovation tends to come with growing pains and bumps along the way. Everyone I’ve heard only said innovation was the only thing that has proven affective.

    However you’ve stated that DRM is the magic bullet that will cure everything. From your posting above…

    “Just apply DRM and most consumers (in fact, 100% of honest customers) will happily live within the parameters of that DRM.”

    This is just a delusion and a gross simplification, even more so than claiming innovation is easy. You’re completely off your head if you think people will suddenly stop removing DRM so they can do things like copy music to their iPod or back up a DVD to a media server. Yes, 99% of all commercial DVDs are encrypted. If anything, for those who MUST stay 100% legit, they’re going to get irritated and buy less content because they don’t want to be locked in by DRM. Yes, I know Kindle and Kobo are exceptions, as is Steam, but there are other reasons those services are successful.

    In general, history has shown us that people do not take well to DRM schemes. It’s failed in music, movies, computer software and most other areas that have tried it. Legislating it won’t help since it’s completely unenforceable at the civil level. You can’t force someone to buy something they don’t want and people don’t want DRM. Added to that, you can’t control what people do to something in their own home.

    DRM did not help stop piracy in the US, DMCA did not help stop piracy in the US (though it did have all kinds of other awful fallout), litigation did not help piracy in the US. If anything all these things made for smarter pirates and increased piracy. So why are the piracy stats at an all time low in the US? Well simplify it down to two main reasons, one good and one bad.

    The Good:
    Unlimited Internet combined with Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, iTunes and many other such services provide consumers with viable, low cost, alternatives. Why go through the hassle of finding a pirated version when a legal version is cheap or free and only a few clicks away. You might object to the low cost. But you know, if it were me, I would rather sell 10000 copies of something at 25 cents than 100 copies at $10. People are more likely to experiment, often spending more overall, when the cost is low.

    The Bad:
    As previously mentioned, all the failed attempts at stopping piracy has forced pirates to be smarter and more resilient and to use more robust techniques to hide their tracks. Many Americans use a tool called a “seedbox”. This is a server used to download and seed torrent files. Ideally it is set up in a country that cares less about file sharing issues. The user downloads torrents to the seedbox then the files from the seedbox to their own machine over SFTP or some other secure file transfer method. VPN and proxy services are widely available and can be used for similar tracking evasion and to access geo-blocked content. None of this will be counted in the US piracy stats.

  90. @crockett
    “Hey John, in the spirit of cooperation and harmony … here is a display of geek and artist coming together.

    NICE…reminds me very much of Mike Oldfield.

  91. Recent encounter and discussion
    I was visiting a friend at the hospital yesterday. She had go down for some tests, but I stuck around the room for the 45-60 minutes it would take. The patient in the next bed started to chat with me. He had been listening in on our conversation and found what he considered a fellow “old geek”.
    He has been in the creative industry all his working years, he is 62 years young. Scriptwriting, broadway type plays, music, and a wide variety of activities. Very widely accomplished. He had pictures of himself and Bob Hope and James Garner in his “stuff”. He considers himself computer savvy, but realized that I knew more and wanted to just chat.
    The conversation wandered a lot, but eventually I observed how much society has changed because the tech. He reached down to a laptop his brother had brought in, and showed me his brother had added 200+ movies and TV shows to the hard drive for his hospital stay. He stated they represent freedom to him, freedom of choice, more than he had ever had in his life. I asked how many had been downloaded vs how many had been ripped from DVD’s, and he opinioned about 70-90% must have been downloaded. I pointed out that kind of thing is probably copyright infringement, and he paused for about 3 seconds and then stated (exact words), “those assholes at the top just gotta die out”. We drifted into ideas on how this activity could be made appropriate, with much the same observations as we see in this blog.
    Eventually we discussed how he could move his 1500+ DVD library onto a single server at home, and the technology to easily use it afterwards. He was very interested, and amazed that the price of such tech was “ridiculously cheap”. Outlawing DRM removal doesn’t scare him one bit.

    This is a 62 year old creative type that has spent his life in the industry. Notice where he thinks the current direction things are heading, vs where the industry would like to point us.

    This pattern isn’t unusual, perhaps my technical bent brings the discussion that direction. But from my perspective, I rarely personally encounter anyone that is staunchly in support of DRM restrictions. They don’t really want to infringe, but they want that “freedom of choice”. They have tasted it (perhaps via file sharing), and refuse to give it up. Even creative people that make/made their living from the creative arts.

  92. @Degan
    “I have never been searched leaving any store, anywhere, ever.”

    Apparently you never shop at Costco. Cause they require you to let them see what you’ve bought when you leave.

  93. Sorry folks, but when the 62 year-old “creative type” in the hospital makes an appearance, I have nothing more to say. Clearly, you refuse to understand that this is about radical legislative change and the institutional removal of individual rights.

    Nope, the words o’ wisdom of a sick old dude with a laptop full of contraband trump all facts. Thanks, oldguy. I’m sure you’ll be congratulated by your fellows here for staying right on topic.

    Cue the slow, sad soundtrack.

    “Would you deny a dying man the chance to watch a movie…”

  94. @Degen
    I don’t think OldGuy was advocating anything, only sharing details about a conversation he had. If anything he was supporting copyright by pointing out the obvious infringement. How does this warrant your obvious attack on his character? John, you’re so jaded you can’t even see when people are supporting your position. It seems you MUST try to find something negative in everything. How is this constructive or helpful to any meaningful conversation?

    Though all the while you support DRM and heavy handed legislation while completely ignoring the facts. These are well known, established facts that even you cannot dispute.

    Crockett said:
    “It is a fact that innovation is proving to be the main solution to the problems you are facing. Has costly litigation and significant punitive damages against non-commercial infringement made a significant dent? With this in mind is it unreasonable for me to recommend you put the lions share of your efforts into innovation with the goal of developing a broader and more stable marketplace?”

    IamME said (Slightly rephrased):
    “** DRM did not help stop piracy in the US – APPROACH BASICALLY ABANDONED (Other than simple encryption) and I’m talking mainstream media, so don’t try to drag Kindle and Kobo in to it as a distraction.

    ** DMCA did not help stop piracy in the US (though it did have all kinds of other awful fallout such as copyright trolling, John Doe law suits and notice and take-down being heavily abused) – Even the one who created the legislation publicly admitted DMCA has failed in it’s intended task.

    ** Litigation did not help piracy in the US. – APPROACH BASICALLY ABANDONED other than John Doe lawsuits for certain movies.

    If anything, all these things made for smarter pirates and increased piracy. So why are the piracy stats at an all time low in the US? We’ll simplify it down to two main reasons, one good and one bad.

    The Good:
    Unlimited Internet combined with Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, iTunes and many other such services provide consumers with viable, low cost, alternatives. Why go through the hassle of finding a pirated version when a legal version is cheap or free and only a few clicks away. You might object to the low cost. But you know, if it were me, I would rather sell 10000 copies of something at 25 cents than 100 copies at $10. People are more likely to experiment, often spending more overall, when the cost is low.

    The Bad:
    As previously mentioned, all the failed attempts at stopping piracy has forced pirates to be smarter and more resilient and to use more robust techniques to hide their tracks. Many Americans use a tool called a “seedbox”. This is a server used to download and seed torrent files. Ideally it is set up in a country that cares less about file sharing issues. The user downloads torrents to the seedbox then the files from the seedbox to their own machine over SFTP or some other secure file transfer method. VPN and proxy services are widely available and can be used for similar tracking evasion and to access geo-blocked content. None of this will be counted in the US piracy stats.”

    John, c’mon, you’re all about facts, give us one, just one example in mainstream media (Again, not eBooks), of anywhere DRM, legislation or litigation has made any verifiable significant dent in piracy. I can’t think of any. Support your position!!!

  95. IamMe,

    I have stated many, many times that I think much DRM will be abandoned as the marketplace settles down and piracy becomes less of an accepted practice (no thanks to y’all). My point is that we don’t address the wrongness of a crime by making it easier to commit.

    Your same line of logic could be used to argue that we should eliminate speed limits altogether. After all, people still speed, in every limit zone, and now (thanks to technology) often while texting. Do we solve that problem by saying “oh well, there’s no point trying to enforce this stuff anymore”?

    You may have such a low opinion of human nature that you think efforts to address piracy need to be abandoned, but I don’t. I also don’t accept your assertions that because DRM, the DMCA and litigation did not STOP piracy altogether, that they have been useless in the fight. Far from being indisputable, your claims do not mesh with facts:

    http://jamesgannon.ca/2011/06/16/swedish-copyright-reform-proves-ability-to-deter/

    If the Swedes can make this stuff work, anyone can.

    I’ll say again, this is about an attack on individual rights — rights you all enjoy yourself (for the time being). If you would look up from your laptops full of pirated movies for a few seconds, you’d see important rights of yours being sucked out the door.

    BTW – I love this tactic – “give me an example (except for the example you have already given, which I arbitrarily reject because it appears to refute my position)”. Great stuff.

    Kobo, Kindle, the NYT paywall subscription endeavour. These are the (innovative) way back for cultural media. Partnered with strong enforcement, and responsible education (the opposite of what occurs here), I see a bright future.

  96. “I’ll say again, this is about an attack on individual rights — rights you all enjoy yourself (for the time being).”

    Indeed, like the right to watch DVDs on my computer with the software of my choice. The right to record television shows without needing to get the producers permission first, or pay extra to the cable company for the privilege. The right to jailbreak my cellphone, so it can run my software.

    These are the rights which I see are under attack which, I readily admit, are different rights from what John is talking about. The question is, what happens when the rights I value come into conflict with the ones John values? Your answer to appropriate copyright reform will depend entirely upon how you answer this question.

    Since these are diametrically opposed views with little or no middle ground, I see no answer that will satisfy everyone, and as such no end to piracy, and no end to industry calls to ‘fix’ copyright.

  97. @Degen
    “BTW – I love this tactic – “give me an example (except for the example you have already given, which I arbitrarily reject because it appears to refute my position)”. Great stuff.”

    I have never rejected Kindle or Kobo, and Steam is another great example of a successful service that uses strict DRM. Also, somewhere in this thread have even commended them on getting on top of things and striking the right balance BEFORE piracy got out of control. I’m focusing on mainstream media simply because that’s where the problem has long been allowed to develop.

    As for the Gannon article. Good on Sweden and rightly it’s the pirate SITES that SHOULD be afraid and targeted. Cut off the source and the users will follow. Punishing individual consumers serves no purpose other than to create hard feels and bad press, as the RIAA has clearly proved.

    BUT, I would point out that the article also specifically states, “…emergence of new, licensed content channels.”. What’s this? Innovation? This is something we’re seeing very little of here in Canada, which is a large part of the problem. To date, only Netflix has dared venture North. Pandora was here until is was chased out by the CRTC. Both Pandora and Netflix said low bandwidth caps, and expensive, complex licensing were the biggest barriers in Canada, not piracy. Adding DRM, levies, tariffs and even more legislation in to the mix will only make that trend worse and further embitter Canadian consumers.

  98. @Degen
    The Swedes have always be a forward-thinking nation.

    Spotify,
    ungap,
    WiMP,
    Amazon video streaming (Formerly Lovefilm),
    Vidzone,
    Bambuser,
    Voddler

    are just a few of the streaming services offered in Sweden. This is far more than what’s offered in Canada and I’m sure my quick little Google search failed to turn up many others that would be available in Sweden.

    Here’s a good article on telecom/high-speed Internet competition in Sweden…

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jun2008/gb2008069_092802.htm

    It’s no wonder piracy rates are falling in Sweden. Again, I ask, where is the innovation in Canada? Where is the forward thinking in Canada?

  99. IamMe,

    I have always been talking about large-scale industrial infringement. I don’t care about the 62 year-old with his laptop in oldguy’s imagination. I care that Google rakes in advertising dollars from enabled pirate sites.

    When have I ever argued that innovation would be a bad thing? The Swedish example shows that innovation goes hand in hand with strong enforcement — which is EXACTLY what I call for.

    You guys need to stop arguing against the ghosts in your own head and try to see what’s really happening here at michaelgeist.ca. You live on a blog that forcefully calls for legislative changes aimed at removing individual rights. During the copyright consultation, Michael Geist worked hand in hand with admitted pirates to game the feedback. Darryl, in his wisdom, seems to think that infringing on your individual rights is HIS right.

    That’s where you are right now. That stuff can’t be sugar-coated with touching stories about dying jingle composers

  100. “Darryl, in his wisdom, seems to think that infringing on your individual rights is HIS right. ”

    Yup, and that is as opposed to John who thinks thinks that infringing on your individual rights is HIS right.

    Hey wait a minute….

  101. John, are you going to offer any court oversight?
    @Degen “If you would look up from your laptops full of pirated movies for a few seconds”

    - Is it any wonder that people are wary of the Orwellian laws being proposed when such attitudes of presumed guilt are the norm?

    @Degen “piracy becomes less of an accepted practice (no thanks to y’all).”

    - Whoosh! This whole conversation has been about moving people away from ‘piracy’ to legal alternatives, which surprisingly must be made available in the first place. Sweden has many innovative services while Canada is still mired in the backwaters …

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canada-slips-further-in-innovation-rankings/article2077788/

    @Degen “because DRM, the DMCA and litigation did not STOP piracy altogether, that they have been useless in the fight.”

    - Shutting down torrent sites I think is great, bravo! These fall under the category of ‘commercial piracy’ because they are profiting (through ad revenue) of others work. Continue to do so just as I have advocated through this entire topic. But be aware that another torrent site, possibly two, have already popped up to replace it. One should consider treating the cause of the problem, rather than just going after the enablers.

    - I have also never advocated for the complete dismissal of DRM, innovative services such as Netflix and Steam for instance must use this to make their models work, and it is well received by those who use these services. Restrictive DRM that inconveniences customers and makes people want to find a way around it, is actually counterproductive to making ‘piracy becomes less of an accepted practice’.

    @Degen “If you would look up … for a few seconds, you’d see important rights of yours being sucked out the door.”

    - Which rights are those John … Rights to privacy, due process, presumed innocence & burden of proof? Yes, I see them whooshing by every time a bottom trolling lawyer in the name of ‘battling copyright’ sends out 1000′s of ‘John Doe’ pay $5000 to make this go away settlement letters.

    John, I could go on and on, but it has become even more apparent in these last few days that you care not to discuss in good faith any solutions outside your own narrow view. Does it surprise you that people here are supportive of torrent site shutdowns and promoting legal alternatives, or must you still convince yourself that “nothing good can come from here” and that piracy is alive and well “no thanks to y’all”. Let not the light of reason blind you from enmity.

  102. “- I have also never advocated for the complete dismissal of DRM, innovative services such as Netflix and Steam for instance must use this to make their models work, and it is well received by those who use these services. Restrictive DRM that inconveniences customers and makes people want to find a way around it, is actually counterproductive to making ‘piracy becomes less of an accepted practice’.”

    Indeed, the issue is not with DRM, the issue is with laws protecting DRM. They should not be necessary as we already have perfectly good laws protecting copyright, and the negative effect on consumer rights and competition make these laws a cure which is worse than the disease. If John is right, and most law abiding citizens will live within the confines of imposed DRM, then he should agree that such laws are unnecessary.

  103. @degen
    YES!!! Strong enforcement, but at the large-scale infringers and large-scale infringement enablers only (Torrent sites, for example). We have consensus!! YAY

    “You live on a blog that forcefully calls for legislative changes aimed at removing individual rights.”

    Which rights, exactly, are Geist calling for to be removed?

    As I read it he’s fighting to maintain current rights such as the right to privacy and free speech, both of which are threatened by the upcoming Lawful Access bill. A bill so invasive, so poorly thought out, that it prompted every privacy commissioner in Canada to sign a joint letter expressing their concerns. CAIP, the NDP Party, Open Media, among others have all voiced concerns about the need, cost and implications of such a bill.

    I like my anonymity, I know my handle “IamME” irks you. I could change it to something else if you like, I also use Samael quite often…then you can call me Sam. LOL Staying anonymous keeps my opinion unbiased. Yes, it’s my “opinion” which will have certain bias’ due to my technical background and age…much like your creator/arts position gives you certain bias’…I don’t know your age.

    How about C-32, most people agreed, including Geist as I remember, that it was generally acceptable to leave the anti-circumvention rules in as long as it was amended so that DRM could be circumvented for “lawful purposes”. I hardly consider this unreasonable or an erosion of rights. With anti-circumvention rules, it takes away my right to protect my investment with back-ups. Another right Geist is fighting to protect.

    What about Access Copyright? What rights was he trying to take away here with his commentary? If the new tariff is really that fair and balanced, why are more and more institutions walking away, the University of Saskatchewan being the latest?


  104. Darryl said:
    “Indeed, the issue is not with DRM, the issue is with laws protecting DRM.”

    Agreed. I would also take it one step further say it’s how the DRM is implemented and that certain technologies work better with DRM than others. Streaming and software work quite well with DRM. Purchased eBooks, movies and music do not work nearly as well, be it on-line or otherwise are either easily cracked to make them portable, or locked in to certain devices which makes them useless to certain percentages of the population. ebooks now, they have found an interesting balance. They have a DRM that is generally easy to crack, yet people still accept them and allow themselves to be locked in to certain devices. Why? Because the market was brought under control before being allowed to get out of control.

  105. Crockett,

    What you interpret as presumed guilt was a reference to oldguy’s mythical laptop full of pirated content. Sorry to confuse you with direct references from the comment thread. To answer your panting question – no, nothing I read on this site surprises me. I have seen the most amazing contortions of position over here to try to get around the fact that y’all excuse infringement (and btw, as long as THAT remains true, you can’t really expect me to thank you for helping). How could more of the same surprise me? Down is up over here. Whoosh yourself, Mr. Apologist.

    IamMe,

    I am irked? I don’t care who you are or how you rationalize the cowardly hiding of your identity. Doesn’t bother me at all.

    Darryl,

    Has that repeating-what-the-other-dude-says thing ever worked for you? Like ever? Anywhere? Content belongs to the artist. You buy a copy that contains limited rights. Those rights do not include any of the ones you feel like claiming after the fact of the sale. I can’t take away a right from you that you never had in the first place.

    Yes, protect the dear leader again everyone. He can do no wrong.


  106. “What you interpret as presumed guilt was a reference to oldguy’s mythical laptop full of pirated content.”

    If you didn’t see it yourself, it’s hearsay…hence presumed. There’s no stretch here.

    “I don’t care who you are or how you rationalize the cowardly hiding of your identity.”

    Ahhhh, I’m touched. LOL

    But, of course, it’s still a complete evasion of my primary question,

    “Which rights, exactly, are Geist calling for to be removed?”

  107. Ghost of Whitey says:

    Cowardly identities
    Hey Degen – since you think IamMe cowardly hides his identity why don’t you also take on that old Strunk & White poster who anonymously posted here for years? I guess you think he’s cowardly too.

  108. IamCOwaRD ;-) says:

    Strunk & White
    Perhaps Strunk & White was actually Strunk & White. Perhaps Degen wears both hats, perhaps perhaps I do, or even Geist. We can never know for sure, but that’s what I love about this type of forum. I could tell you my name is Peter McKay or Sarah Clark. You’d then have the satisfaction of knowing my identity, but it’s still really artificial since you can’t know if it’s really me. I’ve gone by many names on-line. Sometimes real, usually not. It’s really a personal choice and depends on my mood at the time.

    Unlike Degen or Geist, most of us do not hold public positions, so a real or fake name means nothing when it cannot easily be substantiated. I could just pick any random institution in Canada and look up the directory and use a name there. Or use Canada411 and pick anywhere in Canada to find a name. All real names of real people, but is it me or you or your neighbor? Or, I could use my own, and it would be just as believable.

    So am I a coward, as John would like to believe, or am I one would simply like to believe that in such a forum one doesn’t need a face to have a credible opinion. I certainly didn’t use an alias when I sent a letter the committee on C-32 discussing some of the issues with the bill. HAHAHAHA

  109. IamCOwaRD says:

    @Degen
    “I have stated many, many times that I think much DRM will be abandoned as the marketplace settles down and piracy becomes less of an accepted practice (no thanks to y’all).”

    DRM does NOT have to be abandoned, but it must be used correctly and make the user experience better to successfully be adopted by consumers. Legislating it’s protection is wrong and should be part of the EULA, which is just as illegal to break and just as unenforceable.

    “My point is that we don’t address the wrongness of a crime by making it easier to commit.”

    Sometimes you do…or there abouts anyway. Make it easier than piracy and cheap and people will flock to it. Netflix is a prime example. But you don’t want to hear about innovation right? LOL We’ve all heard how we’re so innovative with Kindle and Kobo, which most will concede is true. What about the vastly larger sectors of Internet delivery, music, movies, and television? Where are we innovating there? We’re trying to keep innovation out with things like UBB, heavy legislation, levies, tariffs, while at the same time not producing ANY of our own products.

  110. @Degen
    ..”oldguy’s mythical laptop full of pirated content.”

    Which part do you consider a myth? The laptop? The pirated content? The conversation? Or the chance encounter I had with someone that spent their whole productive life in the creative industry?

    Sorry John, they are all true. They are one of my observations of social and individual trends. It was very recent, and close to topical for the direction this discussion has taken.

    Perhaps my technical bent draws me into these discussions, or with the people that view things that way. But they are my observations, and I am finding them to be a fairly common viewpoint. The rational for each may vary, but the directions and results are similar.

    Your inclination to call them a myth, or a fabrication, says more about you, than it does about me. We all tend to measure others by our internal yardsticks. I’ve been sometimes frustrated and occasionally angered by your comments, but I have never considered you to be a liar.

  111. ” I can’t take away a right from you that you never had in the first place. ”

    And that is precisely why there will be no resolution to this issue. You don’t even see how legal protection for DRM infringes any rights.

    The funny thing is, the more you disregard and run roughshod over other peoples rights (whether you acknowledge they exist or not), the more those people will get fed up and start to resort to whatever means necessary to restore their rights including piracy.

    May I bring you back to the one and only foe or yours that you’ve ever shown any respect for.

    http://johndegen.blogspot.com/2010/05/weapons-down-please.html?showComment=1273858099979#c757370366488082340

    “When I buy DVD’s I device and format shift to put onto the devices I own. If I couldn’t shift, I would not have purchased in the first place. Ignoring the edges of copyright is the only way I can justify paying for content.”

    Russell, who has always preached against piracy and has agreed with you on a great many things, has himself ignored the “limited rights” granted to him and turned to copyright infringement because of the lack of respect shown for his rights as a user. If Russell is to become a copyright infringer, then honestly, must not most everyone else already be?

    Surely it is important to have copyright laws that are seen to be just, otherwise people will simply ignore them and they will be very difficult to enforce. You ignore user rights and tangible private property rights at your peril.

  112. …”innovation goes hand in hand with strong enforcement”

    Where is your evidence? You need a counter example to make that point. A place with weak enforcement, and a lack of innovation because of it.

    Sorry John, every example I can find seems to indicate that innovation manages to continue in spite of strong enforcement.
    I won’t go so far as to say that zero enforcement will be the most conducive to innovation. Weak enforcement, or enforcement of commercial scale infringements alone, seems to be the most conducive to general innovation.

    You appear to be making the mistake of “if a little is good, a lot must be better”. You can try your own experiment with water sometime.

  113. Here is me … excusing infringement …
    @Degen “I have seen the most amazing contortions of position over here to try to get around the fact that y’all excuse infringement (and btw, as long as THAT remains true, you can’t really expect me to thank you for helping).”

    @Crockett “Shutting down torrent sites I think is great, bravo! Should parties who profit monetarily from infringement (possibly even respectable ones like You-tube) be held accountable for their actions … I think so.

    @Crockett “I personally pay for all my content and encourage others to do the same”

    @Crockett “I understand infringement makes not only the creator poorer, but all of us who miss out on the future creativity that this is impacting.”

    @Crockett “Innovation, such as Netflix, has been shown in a very short time to be magnitudes more effective at curbing infringement than all the costly and poor PR inducing tactics that have been tried. ”

    @Crockett “You are right John, none of this is simple, and it probably does sting. You are morally and emotionally correct to want to punish those who are taking from you, but is that the wisest path to take? And if it is, to what degree? At which point does it become counter productive?”

    @Crockett “It is a fact that innovation is proving to be the main solution to the problems you are facing. Has costly litigation and significant punitive damages against non-commercial infringement made a significant dent? With this in mind is it unreasonable for me to recommend you put the lions share of your efforts into innovation with the goal of developing a broader and more stable marketplace?”

    @Crockett “I am not advocating infringing behaviour, rather trying to find ways to mitigate it. My premise is more options and added value will draw people away from using the non legal alternatives.”

    John, I tried to find a place where I said content owners should not have the right to go after non commercial infringers, but I just couldn’t find one. What I did say was I thought it to be counter productive and to instead focus on the more effective innovation to take away the incentive to do so, allowing that litigation & sanctions to still be valid but less effective alternatives.

    If your desire to punish your customers (even if they deserve it) exceeds your desire to improve the the lot and success of creators then you are free to continue on your narrow point of view path. It does show poorly on you though to accuse people to be liars without proof, paint all with the same brush just for participating in this blog and plain just making things up about people because you can’t accept their points to be valid.

    No I don’t fit into your “y’all excuse infringement” category, but I do see the world as it is instead of the way you wish it to be. I laud your ability to mentally reside in a world were all is right, good and all play the rules. I wish I could hang there with y’all, but solutions for the real world will not be found there.

  114. …”Actually the costs of policing/securing against “casual” copyright infringement are not high at all. Just apply DRM and most consumers (in fact, 100% of honest customers) will happily live within the parameters of that DRM.”

    And then you say later on:

    …”I have stated many, many times that I think much DRM will be abandoned as the marketplace settles down and piracy becomes less of an accepted practice (no thanks to y’all). My point is that we don’t address the wrongness of a crime by making it easier to commit.”

    Given the current state and direction of society, can you predict when the market will “settle down” and DRM will drop out? What exactly will bring that about?

    Personally, I don’t see that happening. I don’t see 100% satisfaction with DRM, nor do I see the market “settling down” inside of my lifetime, or even yours. Not until it so transformed, it won’t even be the same “market”.

    And who is to say if the “market” (society) isn’t already in the process of redefining itself? When any upstart or individual can use technology to bypass 70% of the “industry”, isn’t it time (way past time maybe) for a reevaluation and reinvention?

    Have you considered the effects of cheap 3D object printers on society? On 3rd world countries? On small industry? On creativity? On innovation? On our legal structures surrounding “intellectual property” of a much different sort? How outlawing DRM removal would affect this? Internet access? It’s coming, within your lifetime.

    One of the things us old timer geeks observed, is the world just isn’t the same as it was a short 20 years ago. We do things differently, we value things differently, our personal views are different. Not everything is good or bad, but it is all different. It’s hard to decide if we are happier or better off, but we wouldn’t trade what we have now either. You can’t put the genie back into the bottle, and the whole world is thinking up new wishes.

  115. Closer to being on topic, or at least related. Interesting observation here.
    I’m sure IamME will see the indicators, and probably Crockett. I might be able to predict John’s reaction, but won’t bother.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/28/radical-hackers-lulzsec-governments

  116. First comment, why Steam works with DRM. Steam works simply because while it has DRM, the additional benefits of being able to buy your game ones and download it on to any computer (or if you need to reformat) without having to worry about either the disks being lost or limited install attempts as well as the rights protection not completely screwing up your system to the point where you might actually need to buy new hardware (which has happened to some people) makes the DRM is has not seem important. Probably why the Kobo and Kindle work so well, but I have no idea how they work not owning either. iTunes, not do much because you have a limited number of “authorized” computers, but most music is DRM free these days since they realized that it doesn’t actually work.

    Secondly, @oldguy, that is certianyl an interesting article. And I tend to agree with him. Though it’s a feeding thing. Governments work to try to control the Internet, people retaliate against them which the governments use as an excuse to step up their control, causing more backlash. Personally, I don’t see it ending all that well for either side or anyone caught in the middle.

    Of course I also see a dark future where the world is owned by corporations rather than governments, and any thought of the middle class is gone. But I may just be pessimistic.

  117. oldguy,

    You’re right, let’s keep this observational. I once had a conversation with a grizzled old computer tech-guy. No-one could ever say he “didn’t understand the technology,” or didn’t favour innovation over enforcement. His career WAS innovation, and his brilliance shone through in his many accomplishments. I wasn’t sure how much longer the guy had to live, and I kind of felt sorry for him because of the way he talked about his many old friends in the business who had, in his mind, taken the wrong path. Struggling to make himself understood before it was too late, he leaned into me, held my gaze with his piercing eyes and warned me about

    “…the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it’s now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

    Then he leaned back, a small grin grew on his worried face and he looked longingly out the window as he continued

    “…it ought to be possible to find a humanistic and practical way to maximize value of the collective on the Web without turning ourselves into idiots. The best guiding principle is to always cherish individuals first.”

    That old hippy was Jaron Lanier, inventor of virtual reality technology, and author of You Are Not a Gadget. I met him at U of T this spring.

    Crockett,

    If it makes you feel better about yourself, I encourage you to continue to find quotations from yourself in which you do not blatantly excuse infringement. I’m well acquainted with the rhetorical construct, “I’m not excusing infringement, but…” I think I first heard it from the dear leader himself, many years ago. Wasn’t convincing then, either.

    Proposing to take rights from creators and hand them to consumers so that they are no longer, technically, infringing is really not the same as working against infringement. It is – what’s the expression? – forcefully calling for legislative changes aimed at removing individual rights. That’s it. It’s also excusing infringement, just through the back door, which is sort of the cowardly way, wouldn’t you agree?

  118. strunk&white says:

    IamCOwaRD,

    The lady dost protest too much, methinks.

    Me, I embrace my cowardly nature. It makes me feel all powerful, like those anonymous dudes who intend to change the world through hackery.


  119. Oldguy Said:
    Closer to being on topic, or at least related. Interesting observation here.
    I’m sure IamME will see the indicators, and probably Crockett. I might be able to predict John’s reaction, but won’t bother.”

    The taking down of LulzSec will ultimately work against authorities since it will just further enrage those sympathetic and more groups will spawn out of the aftermath. Hackers, crackers and the like have always been and will always be ahead of the game when it comes to using and exploiting technology.

    Oppression breeds resistance, enough oppression causes revolution, causing more oppression. It degrades in to an endless cycle until the entire system becomes chaos and ultimately crumbles. Personally, unless world policies change drastically, I think this is where we’re headed with the Internet. We’re already getting in to the first real stages of revolution, with Wikileaks, Anonymous and the likes. More oppression follows with 3-strikes, lawful access, loss of privacy and due process, guilty by default, freedom of speech is being eroded all over the world, and so much more.

    It won’t be the “Great Firewall of China” anymore, it will simply be the “Great Firewall”.

  120. It looks to me like the anonymous IamCOwaRD just equated the enforcement of law against a group of other anonymous folks who hack, steal and release personal information with “oppression.”

    Looks like excusing infringement; smells like excusing infringement…


  121. @strunk&white
    “The lady dost protest too much, methinks.”

    LOL It was no protest, I was just being facetious.

    Degen said:
    “Proposing to take rights from creators and hand them to consumers”

    With C-32, if one decides to use DRM, consumers lose ALL their existing rights as outlined in the bill…most disturbing to me is the EXTREMELY important right to protect my investment. If DRM is applied, I cannot legally back up downloaded content, hence I cannot protect it, nor will any content insurance cover such loss. Under what responsibility is the content owner to replace lost content in the case of a total system failure? NONE!!!! The responsibility should flow both ways. More control in the hands of creators means they more accountable for their actions. I spend A LOT of money on media and I should not be expected to repurchase content that I was not allowed to protect in the first place…that’s almost extortion. I have some CDs that are are over 20 years old, and you know what, they’re still protected by my house insurance. I will never accept the premise that a creator or anyone else should be allowed to have their cake and eat it too. DRM and anti-circumvention essentially gives creators that right. On the other hand, with anti-circumvention creators who use DRM are essentially saying their wares are disposable. Disposable wares have little or no value.

    I can give you a long list of rights consumers lose with C-32 and why each is important, not only related to DRM. NOW, explicitly, no evasions, no beating around the bush, no vagaries…what existing rights are creator groups losing? You keep vaguely saying they’re losing rights, but refuse to give specific examples. What rights are being handed to the consumer? As I see it, in the absence of DRM, creator groups have less rights under C-32, with longstanding, illegal, practices such as format and time shift made legal. This wasn’t Geist, this was our illustrious government and these are the only rights I see lost. Also, these are rights that should have been either controlled or handed to the consumer decades ago, when many of us here were still children.

  122. @Degen
    “It looks to me like the anonymous IamCOwaRD just equated the enforcement of law against a group of other anonymous folks who hack, steal and release personal information with “oppression.””

    YIPPEE, that IS basically what I said. I’m glad even you can read the obvious. I’ve not excused anything though. Other than getting some idle amusement out of it, where have I ever stated I condone such actions? I simply point to the fact that such actions will only foster further resentment in such groups and among the public, ultimately strengthening those groups causes. It’s counter-intuitive to say that law enforcement should ignore them. However, sometimes, again counter-intuitive, it’s actually counterproductive to the overall goal to enforce the full extent of the law.

    Law enforcement does this ALL THE TIME by cutting deals and dismissing charges to bring down bigger fish. John this is NOT a difficult concept to understand, as usual, you’re being obstinate just for the sake of.

    Unfortunately, John, the tools that are being used in the fight against these groups and IP infringement are starting to flow over and infringe upon the rights of the law abiding citizen. The lawful access legislation is a prime example. There are no end of article discussing concerns over the privacy and overarching legal implications. Real-time tracking and spying, with no just cause, with no court oversight. This IS oppression and affects everyone in Canada with an Internet account. Sending people subpoenas and generic pay-now-or-we’ll-sue-you letters based solely on data that is easily spoofed and often incorrect IS oppression.

  123. “Name the rights being taken, but don’t name these ones because I don’t accept they are your rights.”

    You guys sure like to set a lot of rules when you argue.

    Simply put, anytime the user wishes to claim a use that has not been specifically granted throught the All Rights Reserved notice, they are stealing rights that belong to creators. Read your Copyright Board. They explain it very well. It is the user’s responsibility to seek permission.

    Geist regularly advocates for just this kind of rights grab, whether it be “expanded” or “flexible” fair dealing, or whether it is just the “right” to make back-ups. Consumers don’t have these rights. Those uses need to be permitted by rightsholders.

    Do I really have to keep explaining BASIC copyright law here, on Michael Geist’s blog. Isn’t that his job?

  124. @Degen
    “but don’t name these ones because I don’t accept they are your rights.”

    I never said they were my rights, basically what I said, was don’t bother mentioning them because I’ll mention them for you. I also specifically said they were currently “illegal” activities, but that they should have been dealt with decades ago, before the industry allowed them to become a commonplace practice, and often encouraged, in the case of music and TV. Industry ignorance and short-sightedness is not my problem.

    You gotta stop reading in to things man.

    I’ll say it again, and this is my opinion, but I know I’m not alone, without the “right” to make back-ups or some other facility to get replacements, in the case of lost data (See the Steam model), a digital product under the influence of DRM is WORTHLESS. But this is just one of many issues with the upcoming legislation.

    “Consumers don’t have these rights. Those uses need to be permitted by rightsholders.”

    And when it comes to digital media, this is where current (Including C-32) copyright is fundamentally flawed. There is a serious gap when trying to apply rules intended for physical media to something as intangible as a digital download. “All rights reserved” on physical media (Tape, VHS, CDs, DVDs, BDs) doesn’t give me the right to make back-ups, agreed, but I still have the right of first sale, I can loan it to a friend and also have the right to have it protected under the contents of my house insurance. With digital, under DRM, there are no such provisions and really no rights. No way to recoup money, no way to protect money spent. The balance of power is tipped too far toward the industry, which is why people are fighting back. The demands are not reasonable.

    I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on digital music, some even with DRM. Tell me John, is it a reasonable expectation that I should want to ensure that music is not lost. Is it reasonable for the industry to tell me that it’s illegal for me to protect that investment without giving me some sort of facility to replace it? If I can prove I’ve taken appropriate precautions to protect the data (Without making backups), is it reasonable to expect me to have to repurchase it if it gets lost due to data corruption or some other sort of catastrophic event, say a house fire? I really want to hear your opinion on this!!!

  125. …”I once had a conversation with a grizzled old computer tech-guy. No-one could ever say he “didn’t understand the technology,” or didn’t favour innovation over enforcement.”

    Did you happen to ask him about how effective DRM can be in controlling access to works? What did he say?

    ..”the appeal of a new online collectivism…thrust upon us…in various historical periods…re-introduced today…doesn’t make it any less dangerous”

    I think I captured the essence of that paragraph. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    The beauty of the internet is that it isn’t a “collective”, but more like a loose democracy. With the freedom to go off and try new things on an individual or small group basis.
    Although there is a “collective” element to the internet, this isn’t the same as what you have seen historically. It is a measurement of choices, it isn’t a mandate to behaviour.
    The internet enables a kind of fluid and active democracy, popular choice, the like of which has never been seen before. But it doesn’t restrict a subset from going off and trying different things either. There are rules, but the only hard and fast ones are mandated by technology capabilities. The interpersonal and social ones are constantly evolving and changing.
    Although I would like to see certain behaviours constrained, as would many of us, those maverick individuals and groups are also required for vitality and branding of new paths – even if many of them ultimately end up wrong. There are dangers to this approach, but it also drives innovation and creative thinking at a pace never before seen in history. In the sense of a society, the internet isn’t planned, it grows and evolves. Prune the mistakes, after you learn from them. Fertilize the successes. But each member of that “democracy” forms their own opinions of what constitutes a success or failure. The “collective” is a societal bellwether, for good or bad (which is often subjective). And it never seems to forget.

    …”it ought to be possible to find a humanistic and practical way to maximize value of the collective on the Web without turning ourselves into idiots.”

    That sounds like social planning, and that’s not the way internet interaction works. It’s piles and piles of different ideas and attempts. Take the best from each and try again. If out of every 1,000,000 “attempts” we find one keeper, it means the system works. And because it isn’t planned, we find lots of things we would never consider otherwise.
    Perhaps if you thought of the “internet” as a highly creative autistic child, that “thinks” hundreds of times faster than you can, you might find a way to relate. It’s not really accurate, but there are parallels.

    …”The best guiding principle is to always cherish individuals first.”

    This has been sound advice down through the ages. No argument there. But cherish doesn’t mean you agree with them, or let them have their own way. That just spoils them.
    The human mind is the only truly infinitely renewable resource. Being infinite, we can afford to squander a lot of it exploring apparently dead end paths. Or following up on interesting side effects. Shaping it or molding it, limits it.

  126. I feel just fine about myself John, but thanks for the encouragement.
    @Degen “Crockett, If it makes you feel better about yourself, I encourage you to continue to find quotations from yourself in which you do not blatantly excuse infringement.”

    John, I do not excuse infringement, we just seem to differ in the approach to reducing it. I would certainly be ecstatic to see it disappear all together, but I am not naive enough to believe that this is ever completely possible.

    I have of course in the past stated that backups should be allowed, and I’ll accept that we disagree on that, but as for this discussion we are focusing on digital file sharing and approaches to reduce it.

    So please John, if you can scour your recollection and point me to where I am blatantly excusing infringement I can make that correction.

    Much appreciated.

  127. Guys,

    You ask questions; I answer them. You don’t like my answers; so you ask new questions and demand new answers. This stops being fun for even the most patient industry shill. It’s clear to me you either don’t understand the very basics of copyright law, or you do sort of understand them but stubbornly refuse to accept them.

    I think it’s actually a little bit of both, with a bit of weird “hey, I’m not the bad guy here” insistence thrown in.

    If you all want to follow oldguy’s romantic lead and view infringers as “maverick individuals and groups… required for vitality and branding of new paths”, you’re welcome to it.

    Mavericks… innovators… I reserve those words for admirable folks who bring positive change. People like Jaron Lanier, in fact.

    Petty thieves don’t really qualify.

  128. @Degen “You ask questions; I answer them.”

    I ask questions; you ignore them … or make accusations you can’t back up. Still waiting on that.

    @Degen “It’s clear to me you either don’t understand the very basics of copyright law, or you do sort of understand them but stubbornly refuse to accept them.”

    It’s clear to me you don’t understand the very basics of market driven economies, or you do sort of understand them but stubbornly refuse to accept them.

  129. @Degen
    I understand all too well. With digital media, copyright holders are trying to take away my rights. Either the price has to come WAYYYY down or creators must make concessions to accommodate these lost rights. These are undisputed rights I currently hold with physical media and I will not stand for it, nor will anyone else I know. This is reality!!!

    If you want to view the world through Utopian glasses and believe people will simply fall in line, enjoy it while you can, because you are a fool and in for an incredibly rude awakening in the coming years. That’s simply not human nature.

    When pushed and bullied or if something comes their way that they deem to be unfair or unjust, people will not just fall in line like good little lemmings. Of course, a few will fall in line, in general, most will run and hide, while a few will fight back. The last 15 years, or so, have shown that all too clearly.

    You mention “positive change”, but positive change for who? You’re looking at positive change for the few (Creators) at the cost of the many (Consumers). Most TRUE visionaries consider positive change to be to the betterment of society as a whole with negative impact on the few.

    Much of what’s coming with C-32 and lawful access will be perceived as a negative change by the majority of society, what do you think will happen? I guarantee most of what’s in C-32 will be ignored since it’s generally looking to control habits which have been entrenched over 2 generations…regardless of what copyright says, it will be perceived as unfair. While, at the same time, those who care about privacy will be looking to circumvent the provisions in lawful access…it will be perceived as unjust. This is human nature. Bring on the law suits, bring on the John Doe letters!!! It’s worked so well in the US and UK!!!

    Human nature and consumerism dictates the market path of the future, not outdated laws, corporations or politicians, and not even politicians controlled by corporations. It’s only a matter of time before your world of strict copyright crumbles under the weight of consumer pressure.

    Copyright is necessary and a good thing, too much copyright is damaging to everyone and ultimately dangerous. Perceptions of what is too much differs, but consumers are who buys your products, so I would argue consumers really set the level to which they’re willing to be controlled. Set too many controls and restrictions and they will walk away, looking for alternatives, be it legal or otherwise.

  130. @IamME “Set too many controls and restrictions and they will walk away, looking for alternatives, be it legal or otherwise.”

    This is what John and his peers either don’t understand or erroneously think they can control. When you point this out to them they come back with ‘you are excusing infringement’ or ‘taking away our rights’.

    It is easier to understand their positions when, as you say, viewed from a Utopian perspective. Their ignoring of societal shifts and market diversification will continue to put them at loggerheads with the general consumer, which unfortunately in the end will be self defeating.

  131. Crockett,

    The assumed cleverness of repeating my own words back to me with a subtle change has never worked for Darryl, or any other piracy apologist who pulls it out of the free culture handbook. I don’t recommend it as a tactic. Makes you look unimaginative.

    I completely accept that consumers will walk away from too many controls and look for alternatives. The honest ones with principles will look for legal alternatives. Others will not care about legality. What’s not to understand?

    Of course, you ignore the fact that your idea of too many controls is not everyone’s idea of too many controls. So, start there and try to figure this all out again, okay?

    Knowing that some unprincipled consumers with ridiculously skewed ideas of consumer “rights” will take any excuse to jump to illegal acquisition (a.k.a. stealing), doesn’t mean we have to accept that outcome. Do you accept looting as a natural outcome of political demonstration? These days it seems to happen as often as not. Should we just accept this as the new normal?

    The riot is over. The digital candy store will have its locks restored. I, for one, look forward to a return to responsible consumerism.

  132. @Degen “I, for one, look forward to a return to responsible consumerism.”
    John, I too wish for this, but as for this thread I think it has come to the point were we are not going to successfully exchange any other ideas.

    I will finish with this, even though we disagree on tactics it is still my motivation to see a healthier marketplace were creators are better compensated for their works and users have the usage rights they desire with as little intrusive (and preferably beneficial) DRM as possible. I see innovation as the key to achieving this while you prefer to place a stonger emphasis (than I) on control and penalties.

    If we can at least to agree to disagree on that point it will be a good place to end.

    And John even though we do get frustrated with you, as you obviously do with us, I do appreciate our discussions if for nothing else than it brings some clarity to the varied positions of this debate.

    Have a good Holiday weekend, enjoy some hot dogs & fireworks as we celebrate this wonderful country.

  133. …”Mavericks… innovators… I reserve those words for admirable folks who bring positive change.”

    Define “positive change” in absolute terms please. I can’t think of a single definition that isn’t subjective, even if the majority might see it that way. Perhaps you have one.

    Although I have my personal definitions concerning what is a “positive change”, I don’t jump to the assumption that my definitions must apply to everyone, or even the majority.

    I think part of our impasse is how we view “innovation”. I don’t think of innovation as being “planned”, any more than you can “plan” an accident. You discover them, perhaps as an interesting side effect of something else. You can plan how to develop or exploit an innovation, but you can’t develop a plan to create one.
    For that to work, you need those mavericks. Even the failed ones. They supply a rich source of side effects, you just have to look for them.

  134. @Degen
    “Of course, you ignore the fact that your idea of too many controls is not everyone’s idea of too many controls. So, start there and try to figure this all out again, okay? ”

    I, however, did not ignore this fact…

    “Copyright is necessary and a good thing, too much copyright is damaging to everyone and ultimately dangerous. Perceptions of what is too much differs, but consumers are who buys your products, so I would argue consumers really set the level to which they’re willing to be controlled. Set too many controls and restrictions and they will walk away, looking for alternatives, be it legal or otherwise.”

    What happens when “honest” consumers “with principles” come to the conclusion the controls and/or restrictions are unfair or unjustified? Oh wait…that’s already happened when “honest” customers were buying CDs with DRM some years ago now. How did that turn out? Millions in lost sales causing many to get fed up with the industry and to resort to piracy to get music they could actually use.

    Respect is a two way street. If you don’t respect my rights, why should I respect yours?

    Tell me John, at what point does infringement become a right? Never right? What about when 50% of the people are doing it? 80%? 90%? How about close to 100%? I’d bet the infringement rate is close to 100% in some cases, such as recording TV shows and format shifting music, which is currently copyright infringement. Are all these people ‘unprincipled consumers with ridiculously skewed ideas of consumer “rights”‘ or might there be something wrong with the law(s) and/or the business model where the industry just might have the “skewed ideas”?


  135. I should be clear before John jumps all over me. I’m NOT condoning infringement, but when infringement reaches a certain level, I believe the business should be forced through legislation to objectively reevaluate their models because something in the model is failing. If such an evaluation was done 15 years ago, give or take, perhaps the music industry wouldn’t have made the largest blunder in the history of entertainment and we’d all be in better shape today.