30 Days of DRM

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.


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    Thanks and a Heads-Up
    My thanks for the heads-up. I hope you won’t mind my linking to this page from my own weblog…?

  2. Is the email verification function working?

  3. thank you
    i will be joining the fight against this.

    the re-election of the conservatives will be very much affected by the choices they make in regards to this issue.

  4. And the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup in 2007.

  5. Great Idea! If on there was time for 365 reasons.

    I will create because the government allows me to. Creativity rationed, government imposed idea scarcity.

    1.) Denying interoperability to build a monopoly that harms competition and innovation. If you use an ipod, windows or unix, file formats are painful.

    2.) Rapidly changing DRM/encryption standards raise costs and long patents/copyrights reduce economic incentive to preserve information/culture. In essence copyrights and DRM are a tax.

    just my 2 cents..

    Is it imagination or did firefox encourage an early release of IE7? browsers were the last decades patent fight.

  6. Adrian McCullagh says:

    One of the real issues that Canada may wish to investigate is the economic outcome of adopting a DMCA approach to copyright. What DRM technology can do is permit cartel like behaviour to be technologically enhanced. I am part of a small team of researchers at the Information Security Institute at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia (we have an ARC grant) and one of our current projects is to identify how technological protection measures can be used to enhance monopolies. There is very little economic research covering this issue. There is also a dearth of indepth legal analysis on the various (there are a myriad) ways in which new technologies under the guise of technological protection measures can be used.

  7. Dale Bolton says:

    Computer Tech
    why do we even need DRM here in Canada? With the levy that we have on recordable media, the artists themselves get more money in levies then they actually make in royalties. Plus the levies are paid out, unlike the RIAA and their withholding of royalty payments. Why should we have to suffer so that companies that have not adapted to the new market place can survive? This is nothing more then a guarantee to these companies that their monopolies will continue to thrive with absolutely no challenge.

    All you need to do is look stateside for all the abuses of DRM and of the media cartels. Media levies are more then enough compensation. If this new bill does pass, then all levies should immediately be removed from all media. Why should I compensate the artist if I am no longer able to make a legitimate backup without being arrested for copyright infringement. Why should I be out all the songs I had purchased online if my ipod or DRM’d to death mp3 player dies and all my songs are on it and I have no proof of ownership other then the huge bill on my credit card.

    DRM does nothing but ensure those in control of the medium continue to stay in control of the medium, even when the medium no longer has a sustainable life. It is almost as bad as the Mickey Mouse Bill the US passed that basically extends copyright for eternity. Nothing will be public domain anymore and you will need to pay for every instance of any copyrighted work you ever say, sing(Boy Scouts of America Lawsuit about Koombya), humm, whistle, dream of, et al.

  8. Eamon McDermott says:

    What can I as an average Canadian do at this point to fight DMCA lookalike legislation?

  9. Here from Slashdot
    I got here from, and will be writing about your 30 Days on my blog shortly. More people need to know what kind of scourge Digital Restrictions Management will be on both artists and consumers.

  10. Not a good idea
    Is this where my tax dollars go? Implementation of a DRM is so backwards thinking. I thought we were progressing, we brought in same-sex marriage, we enjoy a virtually racist-free environment, lots of clean air and water. Now this DRM crap?? We already pay taxes on blank-media, are the record companies complaining they’re not making enough? Well let me assure you, they’re doing just fine. How about giving the citizens some rights as well. Allow us to hear music as it’s meant to be heard, see art as it’s meant to be seen. What do you think Mozart, DaVinci, Tchaikovsky would think about this?