News / Video

The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do

With the Canadian version of the DMCA likely to be introduced within the next two weeks, there has a remarkable outpouring of interest from individual Canadians about what they can do to have their concerns heard.  The unfortunate reality is that there is nothing can be done about what the bill will look like when it is introduced – Industry Minister Jim Prentice has simply decided discard consumer, education, research, and privacy interests, ignore his own party’s policy platform, and the cave into U.S. pressure.  Once the bill is introduced, however, Canadians can send a message to their MPs, the Ministers, and others, calling for a fair copyright bill that addresses Canadian concerns (those in Calgary can do so in person on December 8th as Prentice hosts an open house).

Many people have pointed to the my 30 Things You Can Do posting.  I’ve decided to update the posting – and create a short YouTube video – to better reflect the current situation.  I’ve also launched a Facebook group called Fair Copyright.  The next 60 days are absolutely crucial.  If Canadians speak out in large numbers, the government may rethink its current strategy of fast-tracking the Canadian DMCA.

What can you do?

  1. Write to your local Member of Parliament.  Nothing is more obvious or more important. Letters (which are better than email) from just a handful of constituents is enough to get the attention of your local MP.  It is often a good idea to ask the MP to forward your letter to the relevant Ministers.  Contact information for all MPs is available here.  Online Rights Canada also provides an easy way to write to your local MP.
  2. Write to the Prime Minister of Canada.  Contact information here.
  3. Write to Jim Prentice, the Minister of Industry.  Minister Prentice is responsible for the Copyright Act in Canada.  Despite the fact that Minister Prentice trumpeted his pro-consumer approach on the spectrum auction issue, the rumour mill suggests that he supports DMCA-style reforms and has little interest in advocating for consumer concerns.  Minister Prentice’s contact information is here.
  4. Write to Josee Verner, the Minister of Canadian Heritage.  Minister Verner is one of the two ministers responsible for copyright policy in Canada.  Prior Canadian Heritage Ministers have been perceived to be close to U.S. copyright lobby groups and copyright collectives.  Ministry contact information here.  Minister Verner’s contact information is here.
  5. Write to James Rajotte, the Chair of the House of Commons Industry Committee.  Rajotte is an Alberta MP who chairs the powerful Industry Committee.  His committee will likely lead the review of the bill.  If the government tries to fast-track the bill, there will be enormous pressure to limit the diversity of voices before the committee.  Rajotte should be urged to ensure that they hear from all stakeholders and all perspectives. Contact information here.
  6. Write to Canadian Heritage’s Copyright Policy Branch.  The Copyright Policy Branch is home to a large contingent of bureaucrats focused on copyright matters.  Contact information here.
  7. Write to Industry Canada’s Intellectual Property Policy Directorate.  The IPPD is Industry Canada’s counterpart on copyright policy, though it addresses a broader range of IP issues.  Contact information here.
  8. Write to your local Member of Provincial Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly.  There is a strong provincial dimension to copyright reform, particularly given its impact on education, privacy, consumer issues, and property rights.  In fact, some scholars believe that the law may face a constitutional challenge by overstepping into provincial jurisdiction. The provinces have remained largely silent on copyright, yet they may be forced to address many of the unintended consequences that arise from federal Copyright Act reform.  Contact information for Ontario MPPs here.
  9. Write to your Provincial Minister of Education.  The provincial education ministers, represented by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada pursued a disasterous strategy of promoting an ill-advised educational Internet exception rather than emphasizing the need for more flexible fair dealing and limiting the harms associated with DRM.  Having lost badly, they need to step up to the plate to defend education interests.   Contact information for Ontario Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne is here.  For the other Ministers of Education see here.
  10. Write to your local school board or University President. Local school boards can play an important role in the copyright reform process by engaging teachers, parents, and students. Contact information for Ontario school boards here.  Canadian Universities have done little to defend the interests of teachers and students by also failing to defend the need for more flexible fair dealing and the harms associated with DRM.  Contact information for individual Universities here.
  11. Write a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Canada’s international copyright position. Canada has remained disappointingly silent on important international copyright issues at WIPO (for example, see my recent column on the WIPO Broadcast Treaty).  DFAIT should be standing up for Canadian interests at such international meetings as well as during bi-lateral trade negotiations with the United States.  They should make clear that Canada can meet the WIPO standards by doing far less than what is found in the DMCA. Contact information here.
  12. Write to Library and Archives Canada to ask that it support the preservation of Canadian heritage.  The LAC should be a leading voice against the use of DRM that could lock Canadians out of their own heritage.  Earlier this year, new legislation took effect that guaranteed the preservation of electronic books that contain DRM by mandating that they be provided in an unlocked format.  Why should individual Canadians receive anything less?  Contact information here.
  13. Write to the Competition Bureau of Canada.  The combination of DRM and anti-circumvention legislation raises significant marketplace competition concerns.  The Competition Bureau must become engaged on this issue by advocating pro-competitive reforms.  Moreover, it should be investigating cases of alleged abusive use of DRM.  Contact information here.
  14. Write the Office of Consumer Affairs or your provincial consumer protection ministry. The use of DRM raises numerous consumer concerns, potentially requiring specific consumer protection provisions and labeling requirements. The federal OCA can be contacted here.  Provincial contacts here.
  15. Write to your federal or provincial privacy commissioner to ask for their support in protecting your personal privacy against DRM.  Several of Canada’s privacy commissioners have publicly called on the government to address the privacy concerns associated with copyright reform, a position which deserves public support.  In fact, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has argued that the copyright law should be subject to a privacy impact assessment.  There is no indication that this has been done. Privacy commissioner contacts here.
  16. Raise the issue with your local library or school. The library community has been very engaged on copyright and will undoubtedly be a vocal stakeholder for any future reforms. At the local level, libraries can be encouraged to establish copyright policies that fully support user rights and to educate the local community on important access issues. Ontario public library directory here.  Moreover, if you are in school or have children currently in school, inquire how the school addresses copyright issues.  Does it take full advantage of user rights? Is it aware of how the education exceptions may be limited by anti-circumvention legislation?
  17. Join the Facebook Fair Copyright Group.  Canadians are by far the world’s biggest adopters of Facebook.  Join this group and participate in local and national advocacy efforts.
  18. Sign a petition. There are petitions calling on the Canadian government to adopt a balanced approach to copyright here and here.
  19. Add your name to the Online Rights Canada mailing list.  Online Rights Canada is a grassroots advocacy group that brings together EFF and CIPPIC to focus on online rights issues. Mailing list information here.
  20. Ask each political party where it stands on copyright.  The Conservative view on copyright will be apparent with the bill.  The NDP is expected to oppose, the Bloc support (even though the bill will represent a significant incursion into provincial rights), and the Liberals could go either way.  Raise the issue with each party and ask it to prioritize discussion and debate over this bill.
  21. Support music labels that offer their music without DRM or copy-controls.  This one is easy since virtually every Canadian label does not use copy-control technologies.  The exceptions are the foreign labels represented by CRIA such as Sony BMG.
  22. Ensure that your local retailer will accept returns on DRM’d products. Many retailers sell DRM’d products without altering return policies to account for the fact that the products may not function as expected.  Raise this with your local retailer and encourage them to adopt liberal return policies for DRM’d products.
  23. Ask your ISP what it is doing to stand up for your rights. Canada’s Internet service providers play an important role in defending user rights by only disclosing subscriber personal information with a court order, informing subscribers of requests for their personal information, and by lobbying for an expanded fair dealing provision.  Ask your ISP for its policies on these issues.
  24. Participate in a local meeting on copyright. There are a growing number of local “meetup” style meetings that bring together citizens concerned with balanced copyright. If there is a meeting group in your area, go.  If not, get one started.
  25. Support more balanced copyright positions from artists and creator groups.  Many artists and creators are increasingly abandoning policy positions that favour U.S. style reforms and instead embracing a more balanced approach.  If you are a musician, consider joining the CMCC.  If you are an artist, consider joining the Appropriation Art coalition.  If you are a writer, consider pushing for change within Access Copyright.
  26. Use Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons, which adopts a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright provides an exceptional (and exceptionally easy) method of supporting both copyright and access. More information on the Canadian licenses here.
  27. Read license terms. My 30 Days of DRM project focused on the increasing use of contract to limit or eliminate user rights.  Until legislation blocks the use of such terms, consumers should proactively read license terms and reject those that unfairly limit their user rights.
  28. Track media coverage of copyright.  Until recently, media coverage on copyright rarely questioned the sound bites from the copyright lobby. That is changing, but Canada’s media should be challenged when it fails to do so.  Letters to the editor or a op-eds are a great place to start.
  29. Educate yourself.  There are lots of great sources for information on fair approaches to copyright.  In addition to my site – particularly the 30 Days of DRM project and a forthcoming copyright microsite, check out,, CopyrightWatch, CIPPIC, Howard Knopf, and Jeremy deBeer. Another useful source is In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law, a book published last year by Irwin Law under a Creative Commons license. The book, which I edited, features contributions from 19 professors from across Canada.  You can also listen to a podcast version of my Hart House lecture from last year or the podcast of my CFS talk from last month which also touched on these issues.
  30. Educate others.  Once you know more about copyright reform issues, tell others.  Educate friends, family, and co-workers.  Copyright impacts us all.

Many people have asked for a short note on why this bill is bad for Canadians.  I’ve obviously written a lot about Canadian copyright and copyright reform, but in my view it boils down to three primary concerns.

First, the bill is likely to include provisions (the anti-circumvention provisions) that have been proven to create significant harm to education, privacy protection, security research, free speech, and consumer interests.  Indeed, anti-circumvention legislation trumps fair dealing, effectively eliminating crucial user rights in the digital era such as the right to use digital works without permission for research, private study, criticism, or news reporting.  The government has emphasized the need to implement the WIPO Internet Treaties, however, those treaties provide far greater flexibility than what is found in the U.S. DMCA.  It can meet the WIPO standard and preserve the copyright balance, but it must reject the U.S. path to do so.

Second, I’m troubled by what is not in the bill.  If Canada is to amend the copyright law, then surely we ought to address issues that affect individual Canadians such as protecting parody, time shifting, device shifting, and the making of backup copies.  We should eliminate crown copyright and restrict statutory damages awards to cases of commercial infringement. Yet none of this will be in the bill.

Third, I’m dismayed at the way this bill was created.  The government last consulted Canadians on digital copyright issues in 2001.  Technology and the Internet have changed dramatically since then, yet there have been no further consultations.  Moreover, there is general recognition that this bill is chiefly the result of intense U.S. lobbying.  The Industry Minister has time to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, time to meet all the major telcos on the spectrum auction issue, yet hasn’t made time to meet with user community on copyright.

Those are some of my concerns – what is in the bill, what isn’t in the bill, and how the bill came about – but I’m hopeful many Canadians will take the time to learn more and express their own views to their elected representatives.


  1. Thank you Mr Geist. Too few people are here to get citizens the information they need. Hopefully enough people will take the time to actually be part of the solution. We truly need more people championing our rights.

    once again, my heartfelt thanks.
    Hopefully to government will listen.

  2. Great article, but I had a lot of trouble following it efficiently due to all the grammatical errors. There are about 6 in the first paragraph alone.

    Thanks for the article,

  3. Drew Wilson says:

    Excellent Stuff!

    Drew Wilson from Noticed my work in your video. Thank you very much for referencing my work in you video! Greatly appreciated! 😀

    -Drew Wilson Writing Staff

  4. Might I add to the list letters to the heads of the opposition parties. Certainly, the first route is to write to the PM and ministers involved, however, given the “party discipline” that is used by all parties these days, simply writing to your own MP, especially if they in the government party, will not be enough if this legislation is not subject to a free vote (how many remember John Nunziata?). The priority should be on getting the bill modified, however barring that it may be necessary to defeat it.

  5. Interesting side note
    An interesting sidenote, have a look at the issues in this link, oh, and have a look at the bio of the author, in light of DRM.

    [ link ]

  6. Graeme Nattress says:

    Last time I wrote to my MP, Polievre Nepean-Carleton, he basically just parroted the government line. He didn’t read my letter, jut saw the work “copyright” and sent a standard response. I wonder if he realizes that in this area, there are a lot of iPod users who legally rip their audio CDs, and would be very upset with him if he criminalized them….

  7. Hi Michael,

    Thanks a lot for your insights and suggestions. I am very concerned with a possible Canadian DCMA and since I live in Calgary, I have taken the initiative to create a Facebook event

    Fair Copyright: Meeting Jim Prentice, the Minister of Industry
    [ link ]

    Host: Friends of Fair Copyright in Calgary
    Type: Causes – Protest
    Time and PlaceDate: Saturday, December 8, 2007
    Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
    Location: Jim Prentice Constituency Office
    Street: Suite 105, 1318 Centre Street NE
    City/Town: Calgary, AB

    (This is a draft description and will be updated frequently with information)

    Ref: The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do?
    [ link ]

    It is important for us, concerned Calgarians, to express our views since the ridings of Minister Jim Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are both in Calgary.

    The plan is for us to show up at Minister Jim Prentice’s Holiday Open House to **respectfully** share with the minister what we think about a Canadian DMCA.

    IMHO, to get our voice heard, and since it is a holiday open house, we should be respectful to the occasion and the other attending guests. At the same time, lets use this opportunity to tell Minister Jim Prentice exactly how we think about a Canadian DMCA, politely, clearly and firmly.

    Important: Please check back on this event frequently for new updates and more information.


    Thanks again Michael for your initiative and I hope you don’t mind me posting the info here.

  8. We need to get this through to the news organizations that this is a BAD thing.

    It seems like when I see something on the news they keep spouting off all the bad numbers that the RIAA/MPAA/CRIA keep feeding them.

    They also never seem to mention how useless DRM and the DMCA actually are and how its only hurting consumers and driving them towards piracy.

  9. Where can we see the proposed wording of this Bill? Do we have to wait until it is introduced to see what it contains?
    Personally, I am putting up all my own video and photographic materials for public consumption via the Internet Archive. It’s not a lot, but it’s something!

    [ link ]

  10. I guess the link got dropped somehow…

    [ link to ]

  11. Little Endian says:

    Some may have missed this:

    [ link ]

    Talk about streamlining a “business model”.

  12. WHAT?

  13. um ok… :S

  14. Why?

  15. firetruck
    THAT’S ALL FIRETRUCKED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. We need to protect modern fair-use such as PVRs, DVRs, copying music from one player to another, etc.

    There needs to be a concept of EQUIVALENT USE where the content is consumed in a manner that is roughly equivalent to that intended. There’s nothing morally wrong with moving content around, especially broadcast TV, to portable devices.

    Also, given that DRM impacts legitimate users more than pirates, we must be allowed to strip it out or be given a full refund for any non-functional media. Even now I have DVDs that malfunction because of too much DRM.

    The bill (if any is actually required – not) should provide several measures that the media holders don’t really like. It needs to provide a balance. If it is written by the conglomerates, then it isn’t balanced. Where’s MY rights? This is a test for a reasonable bill, that the media conglomerates really don’t like parts of it.

    Candians (at least the informed ones) DO NOT WANT to live under an American-style DMCA regime. If we want to be just like Americans, then we will pack-up and head south. If you make Canada just like the USA, then why would we put up with the higher taxes and higher heating bills? It’ll be a case of: See Ya!

    PS: Amusingly, the image text I just had to type in was ‘Qcgag’ (there’s a lawyer joke in there somewhere).

  17. title
    J Harvey-

    “copying music from one player to another” is only fair use if both music players are yours. I’m under the impression that most of the time they’re not– you don’t seem to care about the distinction.. therein lies the problem.

    “Candians (at least the informed ones) DO NOT WANT to live under an American-style DMCA regime.” You can say the same thing about informed Americans as well, or did you actually think American consumers like the DMCA?

    “Where’s MY rights” Do you even know what COPYRIGHT *means*? This isn’t about YOUR right, its about the rights of the COPYRIGHT OWNERS. This law is meant to protect the IP of people you’re currently stealing from. But I guess everything is about you… “Fair Use” is not the same as “Fair Copyright”. Don’t confuse yourself now.

    “we will pack-up and head south” … go ahead, have fun. I’d laugh if you left this country because of all things, you can’t freely record tv shows.

  18. Device Shifting
    @ huh?

    The law that we’re hearing about doesn’t make a distinction between copying from *my* CD to *my* iPod. That’s the problem.

    If the law explicitly protected consumer rights to device-shifting, time-shifting, fair use (parody, commentary etc), and the right to consume media as we choose to, (i.e. we get to keep our right to fast forward on our digital VCR’s), and also explicitly protected our right to bypass digital restrictions on those rights I think you’d find that a LOT more people who find the law acceptable.

  19. Mr
    I live in Hong Kong. I have many friends and business colleagues in China. None of them are the slightest bit troubled by “The great firewall of China”, (the government Internet access control system – reputedly employing 30,000 censors). It’s just too easy to circumvent.

    DRM? The Internet is awash with “cracks”, (circumvention applications), for every DRM protocol and encryption system. For every software engineer writing protection algorithms there are millions writing cracks.

    I would respectfully suggest that Canadian or any other legislation is irrelevant; copyright is in its last throes. I neither applaud nor deplore – I simply tell it like it is.

    Maybe the Canadian government could find something better to do with its time?


  20. DRM Problems
    Politicians bend to the will of content lobby because they hear arguments that probably sound like this:
    “Manufacturing is currently under threat from offshore competitors. Increasingly our service economy will also be under the same threat. Our only future advantage will be in scientific and cultural innovation. That intellectual property needs protection or our entire economy will be in danger.”
    That is the argument we have to overcome. For the politicians , capitulating to it means giving up on huge parts of the economy without a fight. Giving the mostly multinational content providers carte blanche won’t help things.

    Encryption based DRM is a good example of causing more problems than it solves:

    -It intrudes on technology. Older hardware can’t use it, current hardware becomes slower and more fragile, and future innovation and design becomes constrained by liability fears. If the content companies get to dictate the inventions of future (like the CPRM locks they almost got put into hard drives) we’ll lose a lot of innovation for much the same reason that centrally planned economies fail.

    -Cultural content is put in a fragile state that can’t be backed up or possibly even played later. It’s hard enough to transfer content out of degrading media. (How many old videos are now on DVD? Can you still use records or 5.25″ floppies?)
    If it also has military grade encryption laid on top of it, that cultural content will be lost at an alarming rate in the future. Some have referred to it as the “Digital Dark Ages”.

    -Copyright expiry is no longer passive. The owners (who are likely middlemen) become the gatekeepers of our culture even if the copyrights have expired because the content is still locked inside an impenetrable DRM system. Will they volunteer to unlock it afterwards? What if they are out of business?

    -General use computers will become locked up appliances, not under the control of their owner.

    -If sources of knowledge like books and research documents become encrypted, our entire civilization becomes less able to recover from a major disaster.

    -The future, brought to you by liability lawyers:
    [ link ]

  21. DRM Problems Cont\\d
    Here are some more issues regarding DRM:

    -To elaborate on the problem of content being still locked up after copyright expiry:
    Economists call this an “unintended benefit”. Since the content owners would be on the winning side of this benefit, it’s probably the reason they are lobbying so hard for it. Their lobbyists probably wink at each other in the halls of government while presenting their case.
    To clarify: Can the government force a company to unlock content that no longer has a copyright? That is… now that anyone can do anything they want with the expired content, can the government force a company to unlock content that now has no owner?

    -The infrastructure, including the “keys” to most of the DRM encryption systems, would likely lie outside of the country, even for content produced in Canada. Would the government be able to force a content provider to unlock copyright expired content in that situation?

    -In some cases like high definition video, there are another set of keys that allow any hardware device to be disabled for future content if the device’s internal key is compromised. This “key revocation” feature is another point of failure in the system. Could it also be used for anticompetitive behavior or a denial of service attack by hackers?

    -The problem of consumers not being able to make one purchase and move the content from one device to another is well known.

    -Regarding encryption based DRM, it’s a lose-lose proposition for consumers and hardware manufacturers in either case where:
    1: DRM hardware and software will be standardized, forcing a cartel-like market on hardware manufacturers. Any manufacturer or content provider that tries to go outside of the system will find their products unusable or unmarketable. This already happened with early high definition TV’s and computer monitors that didn’t have HDCP security in them. After 2012 or whenever the Image Constraint Token is activated, they won’t be able to play any new full resolution Blu-Ray, HD DVD or broadcast content from their analog or non-HDCP digital connectors. (That’s right, your new flat panel TV is actually a computer which runs part of a DRM system.) The hardware manufacturers and content creators will also be hostage to any “royalties” demanded by the master DRM system owners. Could this also be used to lock or price smaller content producers/competitors out of the market?
    At best, a single DRM system also becomes a point of failure that can cause a denial of service if something goes wrong.

    2: There are multiple DRM systems which cause chaos in the market requiring multiple devices to play the same type of content. We are seeing that now with Blu-Ray vs HD DVD (the old Beta vs VHS fight but with DRM on top of it) You need two high definition players in order to play all possible high definition videos. The loser will see their content unplayable in the future when the losing device is no longer made or serviced. (like Beta, laser disk etc.) Consumers won’t be legally allowed to back it up in a non DRM format if we get the same laws as the USA. If the encryption isn’t broken they won’t be able to back it up anyway.

    -A frightening potential problem in the future:
    Will you even be able to play non-DRM content on new hardware in the future? If they win, the next step for the content lobby would be to eventually push for the adoption of hardware that refuses to play non-DRM content. (“We’re sorry but this device won’t play MP3’s because their licensing cannot be verified”, they’ll argue)
    See the link in my previous post if you don’t think this is possible.
    If artists and consumers eventually have to deal with a DRM system, even if they don’t need it, there will be huge problems in the area of free speech, fair use, privacy, security, creativity and innovation. This will especially be a problem if locked up eBooks become popular. Offshore or third party interests would control what can and cannot be published, archived and broadcast.

    This is a complex issue. “A can of worms” doesn’t even begin to describe the future problems regarding encryption based DRM.

  22. rodolphe bourgeoys says:

    the control of knowledge
    A copyright system that does not make exception for science, philosophy, history, law and all the like really is dangerous for equality and sense of a common belonging to a human culture.

    It is hard not to paranoid when one looks at the narowwing grip on information, including knowledge. First, there were books and paper library. Easy to get access to knowledge and keeps one’s intellectual endeveour private. Then, they made the internet popular. Indeed, the internet revolution is almost over and many of us are now dependent on IT. Want to know a definition ? Look it up in a paper dictionary ? No ! Google it up or Wikipeadia it up (some no longer have a paper dictionary !)I hold a Baccalaureate of Laws and I did a CEGEPS in social sciences. In both cases, most of the research courses were spent on uses of internet (e.g. databases, google scholar) and CD ROM use, with paper source almost discussed as a curiosity. Indeed, less and less of library budgets is being devoted to paper books and more and more to diverse subscription to online sources. Now that we are becoming increasingly dependent on IT, they pop-up strict copyright legislation and though DRM system. Some of those DRM systems and of course online “sign-up” sites allow to spy on users’ interests. Add to this that library access to internet are getting increasingly controlled (at least in Quebec): either you must log in with your members username or, if you are a member of the public, you must submit an ID and obtain a temporary username. Internet cafe cost a lot. Finally, add to this that the “Patriot” Act allows FBI to obtain library user file without a warrant (in case you use the old way). We can see the figure of Big Brother lurking on the horizon.

    We should be wary of control of knowledge and arts even if limited to capitalist ends (as opposed to the aforementionned Big Brother). A world in which it is necessary to pay to learn something or get acquainted with culture is a world where inequalities will go deepenning tremendously. It is a world in which a minority of all-knowing and all-seeing people control a vast majority of near total ignorant. It is a world similar to middle-age where a fey learned cleric controled masses of ignorant and devil feering people. That precisely is one reson why English Philanthropist influences by the Enlightenment donated large sums of mony to start what is now know as a “public library” where everyone can learn for free.

  23. rodolphe bourgeoys says:

    Why should they be better that in the ol
    A question left unanswed and that strikes me is the follwing: why should copyrights interests be better protected now than in the old days. At the era of paper books and tapes, everyone could photocopy a book or copy a tape. If the internet is such a problem, why should we have a digital copyright control system that goes beyong what IT are responsible for ? Prohibiting private copy is like prohibiting someone from lending his copy to someone else.

    Furthermore, people are likely to disregard such rules massively. It is widely known thet if you refuse to lend your CD or share your copy because of copyright rules, your friends will look at you with disbelief and tell you a “F*** you, what kind of friend are you !”. All that such legislation do provide efficiently is a reason to suspect everyone of crime and a pretence for investigation and black mail by law enforcement. Like “oh, you do not want to tells us about your friend ? well, oh, what do I see there…a bundle of illegally burned CDs! Still want to protect your friend ? He’s better be worth it !”.

  24. Copyright what?
    Copyright restrictions like this help no one, not even the ‘stupid corporate pricks’, the artists/content creators or the consumer.

    That coming from someone in all 3 positions. 🙂

  25. In response to your three main concerns, I totally agree yet my main concern is the appearance of giving in to pressure from the US and copyright holders (read CRIA, RIAA, MPAA). There heavyweight tactics in the US would leave one to believe they must be exerting significant pressure on Canada to fall in line. I would hope that Canada would set more of an example in the world rather than follow the poor example set by the US.

    In all of this, I can’t help but feel that everyone, including consumers and governments, are making up for lack of foresight and flexibility in the recording and movie industry. Let’s face it Napster happened what 6, 7 years ago. They’ve had time to adjust but let’s face it, it’s cheaper to higher lawyers than convert your whole business model. And, by the way, why can’t I download movies in Canada via legimitate channels even when willing to pay for it? Get that done first before you start trying to change copyright laws.

  26. Canadian or criminal?
    Dear Mr. Geist,

    Thank you for stepping up to the task of raising our awareness level on important issues such as this. If there was a single, defining Canadian characteristic it might arguably be our national complacency. I think a number of concerned parties were counting on that. We simply cannot afford to sit idly while foreign interests push our leaders down a path that quietly removes the very rights and freedoms that our fathers fought to preserve for all Canadians.

    [soapbox on] One must really think about what is at stake here. On the one side we have the lobbyists waving around the flawed data, foisting a collection of policies that if enacted could turn a very large number of Canadians into criminals with one stroke of the pen. In the other corner we have those who seemingly prove the very allegations that are being made; adding such comments as\”if it\’s free I\’m gonna keep on DLing it, lol\”. The answer clearly lies somewhere in between and both sides need to educate themselves.

    I was fortunate to attend annual Microsoft OEM briefings in Redmond, for about a decade. In 1995 Bill articulated his vision for \”metered, pay-per-use Microsoft software\” delivered over broadband internet to every home. This is a vision that was most obviously shared with the other \”digital custodians\”; the Rupert Murdochs; the MPAA members; BIll\’s other golf partners. Just think of it. Songs and TV programs and movies that you pay for everytime you view or listen, delivered instantly over pay-per-packet metered and traffic-shaped networks, but hidden somewhere between the endless drone of advertisements. Your every use is metered. Your identity is known. Every mouse click is tracked. Yes, it\’s clearly not safe to underestimate corporate greed and this is the new horizon that we are marching inexorably towards.

    I think about the albums that I purchased thirty years ago. I paid for those same songs again (and again) when they came out as remastered editions or on pre-recorded 8-track, cassette and CD. When I purchased those albums there were no rights retrictions. If I connect my turntable to my computer, convert those songs into MP3s, process them with SoundForge and load them onto my iPod have I commited a criminal act? Have I not paid enough for this one song (or that one) by now?

    Am I permitted to watch those old betamax versions of \”Midnight Special\” kicking around in boxes in the basement? If I preserve those old tapes on DVD, is it the \”act of digital conversion\” that is what the lobbyists are against? If it is solely for viewing alone in the privacy of my own home? If it is written onto a blank DVD for which I have paid another copying levy? [soapbox off]

    What marvel, this digital age.

  27. Bernard Lang says:

    From France …
    In France we have had our own DMCA, called DADVSI, 2 years ago.
    My association AFUL was part of the fight against that law. Documents are available in French at [ link ]
    We also tried to make a freedom preserving contribution to a more recent, and dangerous, initiative to curb illegal exchange of works over the Internet :[ link ]
    As a member of a national body on copyright, I have heard only one fairly general consensus about our DADVSI law : it is ridiculous.
    The music industry, as you know, is giving up on DRMs : they are the best reason anyone can have to use illegal copies, even at a higher price.
    The real motivation for all this is to help the USA control the culture dissemination channels. The protection on DRM is also a new form of patenting, without the constraints and time limitation of patents. Indeed, the reactions of the US commerce secretary during the discussion of the law can only confirm that assessment. And official from the government have confirmed pressure from the US State Department on the French government.
    And one thing is clear : it is not meant to benefit artistic creation and artists.

  28. Music as a loss leader
    It is quite clear by now that most people aren’t willing to pay for music that they can get for free. Laws, DRM and propaganda have utterly failed at reducing piracy or bringing up sales of CDs. I think that the bands and record companies have no choice but to make music free – with ads of course – but completely free to download in whatever non-DRM format you please. Obviously this wouldn’t make any money, but it would help promote concerts, which are extremely profitable. Tens of thousands of fans, for example, are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to see the Spice Girls in Toronto, making millions of dollars in revenues per show. Record companies and artists need to stop fantasizing that they can continue to make millions on recorded music and instead realize that recorded music is best used as a loss leader to promote far more lucrative live concerts.

  29. Emmahim
    I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck you were talking about !!!
    Anytime you use an acronym, you need to write out the full title when you first use it.
    What is DMCA ? What is DRM ? There are almost a dozen of these acronyms – again, what the heck are you talking about ?

  30. TIME TO ROCK says:

    on may 15th a rally will be held for net neutrality
    on parliament hill perhaps we can combine some efforts and make this a massive MOTHER OF A RALLY.
    3 weeks to plan your trip
    time to get the lead out

    mr. geist i also had hte idea that everyone going had to make a mixed music cdr and place them somewhere in ottawa
    ( idea copyright– LOL — The Hour HOST G.S. )

    btw everyone if you get a call as to whom youd vote for say liberal ( vote for ndp if they can win , liberal if they can win )

    Anything BUT COnservatives

    TIME for the 60% that dont vote to get heard
    the reason prentice does this is that the adscam of the PC party (in/out) is going to nuke htem and they know it so pass as much crap as they can.

  31. illiterate says:

    so what DO you write to all those people
    it’s great you’re suggest to write all these people who should care about their constituents, but what exactly would you tell them? “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (Beale in Network: [ link ])??

  32. Manuel Erickson says:

    Will someone PLEASE explain what the letters \”DMCA\” stand for? Thanks.

  33. Nathan Wainwright says:

    DCMA – Digital Millenium Copyright Act

    [ link ]

  34. themusicgod1 says:

    make sure that what you’re doing makes
    this list may be getting outdated if the dmca is tabled in the house of commons today. Make sure you apply pressure to the right leverage points.

  35. stupid question
    this might be a little off the topic here but i was just on e-bay and i noticed that there was digital images of money and stamps is this forgery by canada’s new proposed law ? and a host of other material that is copywrited is also displayed there (and for sale) i also see computer games , audio books ect ect. how can anyone sell something they don’t own? will the government shut down e-bay too?

  36. Thank you.
    Hey Michael:

    Not sure if you read these, but I just wanted to say thanks. Thank you for advocating for the rights of Canadians. Thank you for helping all of us understand the implications of this legislation. You deserve the Order of Canada.


    John et al.

  37. One more..
    Thanks !

    Let’s make sure our voice is heard and this never passes !

  38. Kirk Bannister says:

    The Copyright amendment
    Yes here is an Email which I sent to the PM office yesterday on June 12,2008 where I clearly express my concerns over this bill:

    To Mr. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

    As a Canadian Citizen, I am angry, that you will use our hard earned Tax Payers money on a simple useless bill to reform the copyright law. This new proposed legislation is not a Canadian issue, but an American dictated issue. Since when has Canada become a dictatorship. This law is not only going to hurt good decent people, but yourself and your party in the next federal election. Canada is not a member nor a state in the USA, it isnt the 51st state. We are Canadians, 100% Canadians, I didnt take an oath to become an american citizen, but did you. Canada has one of the Strongest Copyright Laws in the world, why do you feel like it needs to be changed when it is just fine the way it is. I dont mind paying a levy tax that supports the artists in the music and motion picture industry on all CD/DVD media, TV’s, Home Theater units, certain computer hardware/software, etc, just to have to right to download from the internet. The internet was created to allow people to connect with one another throughout the world, and to share, upload, and download. Taking away people’s rights is wrong. Canada was not founded under a Dictatorship, but as a Democracy, and to let the United States interfere with our countries beliefs and policies is Wrong, like it says in our national Anthem “the true north strong and free”. Introducing this American dictated law certainly takes away that meaning. If your looking for a re-election to become Prime Minister again, I would not, and I strongly say I WOULD NOT introduce this law now nor in the future, cause you will severely tarnish the PC party and its reputation, just like Brian Mulroney did when he introduced GST.

    I would like to see our money spent on other issues, such as catching online predators that prey on the weak and children, building new Jails to support the ever demanding prison population increases, more money to our police forces accross the nation, education, healthcare, infostructure, issues like that, which are important, not on this copyright law which isnt an important issue and never really has been. If your going to let the USA walk all over us, or the european union, then maybe we should give up our constitution, and become puppets of the United States, which is basically what you and your party have become. Everytime a canadian made bill is introduced, the united states steps in and makes us get rid of it, cause they dont like what it means for them, like the Maurijuana bill that never got passed through parliament, Cause the USA saw it as a security threat to there country and citizens.

    If this Copyright bill gets passed through parliament and becomes law, as a Canadian citizen I will have lost all faith in the PC government, and refuse to vote your party back into power again. I wasnt born as a Canadian to vote in American puppets as our leaders, only true Canadians as leaders. So please as a Canadian, learn to stand on your own 2 feet, and make decisions based on Canadian views, and not other countries, stop letting the USA hold you and your party up and getting them to dictate there views to you, your party, and the rest of CANADA.

    Mr. Kirk Bannister
    Calgary, Alberta, CANADA

    Now here is an Email I recieved today from the office of the PM:

    Dear Mr. Bannister:

    On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to thank you for your e-mail, in which you raised an issue which falls within the portfolio of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry. The Prime Minister always appreciates receiving correspondence on subjects of importance to Canadians. Please be assured that the statements you made have been carefully reviewed. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to Minister Prentice, so that he too may be made aware of your comments. I am certain that the Minister will give your views every consideration. For more information on the Government’s initiatives, you may wish to visit the Prime Minister’s Web site, at

    L.A. LavellExecutive Correspondence Officerfor the Prime Minister’s OfficeAgent de correspondancede la haute directionpour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

    This email was not what I was expecting, especially after I clearly called them American Puppets. If they really do care about the Canadian public I was hoping for more of a rude reply back for speaking my Mind.

  39. Content Discontent
    Hmm, let’s see, how many letters am I supposed to write to protect basic rights? How many hours will this cost me?

    Purchasing content is all about cost. If it costs me too much money, I don’t buy it. If it costs me too much time to try to protect my post-purchase rights, I don’t buy it.

    I don’t NEED the content they’re trying to peddle with über-restrictions.

    Let’s go down the list:
    – Can’t back up my CDs? Won’t buy anymore even if the quality is better than downloaded.

    – Can’t back up my DVDs? Won’t buy anymore, just rent.

    – Blank media levy (tax)? I guess I won’t be paying that anymore.

    – Can’t timeshift? Won’t rent a PVR anymore. I won’t go back to watching live TV after having a PVR so I’ll just return my HD PVR and SD digital terminal to Rogers. But that leaves me with crappy analog TV, so what’s the point. Might as well cancel my cable TV entirely.

    – Can’t device shift? Guess I won’t be buying an MP3 player or video player again. The free content available now doesn’t motivate me to upgrade.

    – Legally downloaded content too expensive? Won’t buy it. $2 for one episode of a TV show? Insane! $1 for a single music track for which you can only get a 30 second preview? Insane! Can’t watch or listen to it on a different device? Insane!

    Yes siree, this copyright fiasco will only result in further losses to the content providers and companies peddling their content. I figure the hit to Rogers alone over the course of the year would be enough to wake them up.

    Then there’s the lost GST and PST to the respective governments from the lost PVR and DVD rentals, cable subscriptions, and physical device and media purchase amounts.

    Yup, I can live without the purchased content and stick with the free audio and video podcasts I’ve come to love. I’ll spend less time in front of the boob tube and have more money in my pocket.

    Gee, I guess the feds really are working on my behalf (sorry if I just made you snort your coffee through your nose).

  40. I have big concerns about writing letters. Its proven to be ineffective and we do not have any suggestions to change the bill contents through influential musicians or even content creators. We need a public face who can speak to the government about the bill with these petitions if they are still being done. We’re in need of uniting together to discuss the differences on copyrights with all sides. We saw the tv/movie content bill being discussed on the committee of Ottawa. This need to be done again.

  41. Copyright
    All this nasty copyright stuff means I can’t rip work from my favourite artists. That sucks. Why should I have to pay for it?

  42. Anonymous says:

    Yes, my comments are ambiguous, and sarcastic…

    You might as well shut down all the libraries. After all, you can read magazines, newspapers, and even BOOKS there. You can even borrow a book and read it to you child at bedtime!! Wowser! That constitutes a Public Performance! And you can borrow a DVD, and then watch it twice. You can have your friends over to see it, and now you’ve engaged in another form of public performance. Nor can you loan it to your friend. And don’t even think about having a friend over to watch the hockey game with you, as that constitutes “piracy of TV signal” and public re-broadcast.

    And you cannot possibly re-sell a store-bought CD or DVD, because really, you don’t own it. See you in court!

    Such stupidity! And all because of greed! What is the world coming to when everybody tries to sell things but still retain ownership of them. How can you sell it but still keep it? How can you intend to keep it, but offer it for sale, and then still want your guaranteed income from it protected? I say, if the whole concept of competition is going to work, then whoever can “sell” something at a cheaper cost than someone else is the one who deserves to sell it. And as buyers, we should be concerned with getting the most from our dollar. And since money is the bottom line anyway, if it’s not profitable to do something, why try to keep on doing it? Move on.

    Royalties: Getting paid perpetually for something done once. I say, “Want to get paid again? Do it again. Or do something else.”

    Copyrighted photographs: You can’t take a picture of that, because I already did.

    Intellectual Property, and Patents: You can’t think of this, because I already did.

    Such absurdity. The stupidity of greedy, power-hungry people will never cease to amaze me.

    Why not make disposable single-use Books, magazines, CDs and DVDs. Or better yet, go back to the days when the ONLY way to see a show, or hear a musical performance was to go to a theatre. Oh wait, I can see the headlines already: Man arrested for copyright infringement after describing to his friend what the show was about. OR: Man arrested for bypassing copyright protection because he made a musical instrument knowing that others could copy and reproduce the sounds of another artist.

    Where is the sense? Where is the thing called intelligent life? Not here, I guess.

    Fair-use??? Bah!

  43. You think this is bad
    You think all this is bad wait until you get a load of the adaptive blue ray DRM technology. Where they can code it a report back feature which basically tells them when a code is compromised also tell them what your doing how many movies your view and what your doing and if you stop this spying device your get prosecuted under bill c-61 laws. Check out the technology standard for blue ray its all adaptive code with java guts. Privacy out the window all protected because of the wonderful lap dogs in parliament.

  44. Just to follow up
    BD+ was developed by Cryptography Research Inc. and is based on their concept of Self-Protecting Digital Content.[50] BD+ is effectively a small virtual machine embedded in authorized players. It allows content providers to include executable programs on Blu-ray Discs. Such programs can:[47]

    * examine the host environment, to see if the player has been tampered with. Every licensed playback device manufacturer must provide the BD+ licensing authority with memory footprints that identify their devices.
    * verify that the player’s keys have not been changed.
    * execute native code, possibly to patch an otherwise insecure system.
    * transform the audio and video output. Parts of the content will not be viewable without letting the BD+-program unscramble it.

  45. Some clarification
    In response to Huh?

    “copying music from one player to another” is only fair use if both music players are yours. I’m under the impression that most of the time they’re not– you don’t seem to care about the distinction.. therein lies the problem.

    – How very narrow sighted of you. As other have pointed out, what about ripped CD’s for your iPod. I have large CD collection and every CD I own is on my iPod. It didn’t get there by me downloading the album from iTunes…

    “Candians (at least the informed ones) DO NOT WANT to live under an American-style DMCA regime.” You can say the same thing about informed Americans as well, or did you actually think American consumers like the DMCA?

    – Are you making a point here? Should Canadians not protest some absurd law because Americans live under a similarly absurd law?

    “Where’s MY rights” Do you even know what COPYRIGHT *means*? This isn’t about YOUR right, its about the rights of the COPYRIGHT OWNERS. This law is meant to protect the IP of people you’re currently stealing from. But I guess everything is about you… “Fair Use” is not the same as “Fair Copyright”. Don’t confuse yourself now.

    – Actually this is about everyone’s rights, the copyright owners and the citizens of Canada. Unduly restricting the rights of citizens in favor of small private interests is absolutely about MY rights too.

    Secondly, you are making an error in your logic. Copyright violation and piracy are not the same as stealing, regardless of what anyone tells you. To steal something involves taking something from someone. Simply making a copy of something is NOT stealing…

    But the “lost profits” you say? Consider this, people will take something for free that they would not buy. If you don’t believe grab a package for of cheap Bic pens and stand on the nearest street corner trying to sell them at $2 a piece. Chances are you’ll stand there for quite awhile before you’re rid of them. Now try handing them out for free. I’m am not trying to say the piracy has not impact on sales. I’m just saying that not every act of piracy is a lost sale and NO ACT OF COPYRIGHT VIOLATION IS THEFT. Please, if we ever hope to have an intelligent conversation about these issues we need to at least be able to define the acts being committed.

    “we will pack-up and head south” … go ahead, have fun. I’d laugh if you left this country because of all things, you can’t freely record tv shows.

    – Laugh away for someting like that. I find it less funny when people leave because they’re sick of having their elected representatives strip away their rights.

  46. The age of cynicism…
    Dear Michael,

    reading this list darkens my heart. I’ve already written a letter to my local MP, and he actually responded to me explaining how copyright reform was necessary. And this is the guy from the opposition! (fyi, was from Gilles Duceppe’s office).

    Writing to Prentice and Harper feels so utterly futile. It is so clear that their interests are with big corporations and monocle wearing fat cats. I just can picture them enjoying putting my letter in the shredder as they sip their distilled baby tear schnapps.

    All embellishment aside, isn’t it clear that the struggle is that of democracy vs plutocracy? Very few people would actually be in favor of DMCA style law in Canada except for the top monopolies that profit from it.

    So how is the democratic process supposed to save us? Had Harper had the majority he needed, this bill would most likely have passed.

    I sigh a long breath of desperation. Praying that the monocled (un)gentlemen will be affected by the current economic melt down…

  47. PS.
    Just to clarify, Duceppe’s office responded saying that Copyright reform as envisioned by Prentice was necessary.

  48. John Campbell says:

    I think that working people should stick together and say we are not going to allow the Goverment to steal from us any longer. We had enough.What working people can do is start by taking 1 day a month off without pay. If thats not enough then you go 2 day’s then 3. Here are some places the Goverment can cut cost Past MLA’S GETTING PAID FOR THE REST OF THERE LIFE THAT IS just plain STUPID.(10 past mla’s making $80,000 a year is stupid added it up). Social services can go. If you want to play adult games then YOU take on adult responsibility. Do not ask the Goverment to STEAL from me to give to you. I would have no problem with the Goverment taking $3000 a year any more then that is greed.Then the goverment can keep control of were the money is going.

  49. capital B.S. from the U.S. as usual
    there is another example of the big bad bully of the south trying to force Canada into doing whats in THEIR best interests …

    makes me barf but makes me remember of someone who once said “people deserve the goverment they elect” – what about governments that trick their way into power …

    to hell in a hand basket we go

  50. people don’t know
    The problem is that people in Canada does not know what the Goverment is doing, and thats why people like me pay way to much to the Goverment. The sick thing is I can’t do nothing about it.

  51. Taxes
    I think that working people should start getting together and going over the things that are not needed. 1)ei The Goverment takes this momey from us with out me saying its ok. and if I had enough of my job and move on, I can’t get my money that they just take with out asking. I paid into this for 25 years That is Bull sh–. I see The Goverment doing nothing for me but steeling my money and I’m sick of it. 2)WELFARE NOBODY SHOULD GET A FREE RIDE THOUGH LIFE ON MY $. With lower Taxes alot lower, then when someone needs a helping hand then their family will have the cash to help them. That way these people can’t waste my money on smoking ,drinking and doing drugs or going to bingo. The goverment can’t figure out that the amount of walfare people is going up all the time, pretty soon their will be more people on this then there are working people and then what? We do not need to spend billions on SUBS that killes Canadians. If I did something at my job that costs someone a live I would be charged. I think it is time for working people to step up and have a say were our money is going. The Goverment does not have my best interest in mind.

  52. The Goverment
    Is there anyone out there that is SICK of the way the Goverment just steals your $?

  53. we deserve rights
    STOP THE DMCA. we desreve these rights because we cant just spend that much money its not fair to us because of canada`s econimical loss and we`re losing jobs and money. we deserve these rights becausse everybody`s equal and we`re just as equal as to everyone

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