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    30 Days of DRM

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    Friday August 18, 2006
    Many people are still in summer mode, but the Canadian copyright rumour mill suggests that there is a lot happening behind the scenes with a copyright bill quite possibly a top priority once the fall session begins in 31 days.  While there was much to criticize about Bill C-60 (the last attempt at copyright reform), given the continuing pressure from the copyright lobby and the U.S. government, I fear that the Conservatives' bill may be far more extreme in its approach. 

    Despite the negative experiences with the U.S. DMCA as well as the recent calls against anti-circumvention legislation from musicians, artists, security companies, librarians, and the privacy community, within the next couple of months Canada may be facing its own DMCA. I remain strongly against such an approach.  We do not need anti-circumvention legislation.  If the copyright lobby wins out, however, the Bill C-60 approach was clearly preferable to the U.S. DMCA which bans devices that can be used circumvent technological protection measures and establishes only a small list of exceptions to a general rule of no circumvention.  If the Bill C-60 approach is rejected by the current government, the debate must inevitably turn to the dozens of exceptions that will be needed to avoid "unintended consequences" and to provide a plausible argument that the bill passes constitutional muster.

    Starting tomorrow, I plan to spend the thirty days before the House of Commons reconvenes to highlight some of the exceptions and limitations that should be included in the event that a Canadian DMCA is introduced.  Each day, I will post a new provision, focusing broadly on marketplace concerns, public protection, and fair circumvention.  The postings will be collected on a single page to form a compilation of DRM policy issues.  Moreover, I'm launching a wiki that will start with the postings and will hopefully grow as interested readers add examples and additional perspectives.

    We should be working on a positive copyright agenda that includes an expanded fair dealing provision, reform to the statutory damages provision, the elimination of crown copyright, and protection from DRM.  Instead, given the strength of the copyright lobby, we may need protection from the next copyright bill. The 30 Days of DRM page and the associated wiki will seek to provide a starting point for the kinds of protections politicians and policy makers should be contemplating.

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    Captain Copyright Goes Offline

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    Thursday August 17, 2006
    Earlier this week, I wrote that if Access Copyright was serious about relaunching the Captain Copyright site, that it would take the site offline while it is being reworked, drop the linking policy, and identify its advisory board that will be asked to ensure that the site is balanced.  Today, it replaced the Captain Copyright site with a single page indicating that the site is offline while it undergoes revision and that Access Copyright will publicly disclose the members of the advisory panel shortly.  Full marks to Access Copyright for taking this step in the right direction.

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    CBC's Contrarians on Copyright

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    Tuesday August 08, 2006
    The Contrarians ran a good program on copyright today (I was among the guests interviewed). You can catch it again on Wednesday at 7:30 pm.

    Update: An MP3 version of the program is now online.

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    The CBC and DRM

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    Saturday July 29, 2006
    Inside the CBC, a new blog on the CBC, contains a discouraging post on the CBC Radio's Internet streaming activities.  The posting includes background information on why the CBC streams with Windows media, explaining that it met the CBC's four requirements, including the availability of digital rights management technologies.  The posting has led to a robust discussion with several critics sounding off on the pro-DRM approach and raises questions about why the CBC has not instead used OGG or MP3 as a more open format.  Tod Maffin, who runs the blog, defends the CBC's use of DRM, arguing that DRM is required under its commercial music broadcast licenses and that the CBC invites lawsuits if it fails to adequately protect its streams.

    While I'm a big fan of CBC's streaming services, the suggestion that CBC must use DRM is plainly wrong. 
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