Canadian Copyright Lobby Seeking Mandated ISP Filtering

CRIA's Graham Henderson was in Ottawa today together with several other music groups to make their case for immediate copyright reform. Perhaps responding to the recent masthead editorials in the Vancouver Sun and National Post, the group met with the Ottawa Citizen's editorial board which has posted an MP3 version of the conversation. While there are some shots at me (counterfactual information?) and the obligatory distribution of Barry Sookman's attack on me and the Facebook group, there are two story lines that are worth noting (in addition to the ironic use of the CMCC's Feist as the Canadian artist example and the weak response to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's concerns). 

The first is that there is a great deal of common ground between what Henderson, CIRPA's Duncan McKie and the other attendees want and the Fair Copyright for Canada principles.  Henderson and McKie both indicate that they have no intention of launching file sharing lawsuits, which should make the changes to the statutory damages provisions relatively non-contentious (though not a big win for users either).  More importantly, several people in the room say they want WIPO, not the DMCA.  That can be consistent with the Fair Copyright for Canada principles – linking anti-circumvention legislation to copyright infringement, avoiding a ban on devices that can be used to circumvent, and distribution as part of the making available right are all consistent with WIPO implementation.

While that is the good news, the second big story – which can easily be missed if you aren't paying attention – should send a chill down the spine of millions of Canadians. 

Henderson cites with approval several initiatives to move toward ISP filtering of content, pointing to a French report, comments from the UK that such legislation could be forthcoming, and the AT&T negotiations in the U.S.  Later in the conversation, the group is asked what their dream legislation would look like.  The first response?  ISP liability, with the respondent pointing to Belgium as an example of an ideal model ("the file sharing issue will go away there as ISPs take down people").  Last summer, a Belgian court ordered an ISP to install filtering software to identify and block copyrighted content (the decision is currently being appealed).

If this reflects the current strategy – and there is reason to believe it does – it marks a dramatic change in the lobbying efforts.  It suggests that not only are these groups seeking a Canadian DMCA, but they would like Industry Minister Jim Prentice to go even further by enacting constitutionally-dubious legislation requiring ISPs to identify and filter out content that is alleged to infringe copyright.  Such an approach would be an enormous threat to the free flow of information online, it would curtail consumer rights, place new burdens on education and research, and create great harm to personal privacy.  Mandatory filtering sounds better suited to China rather than Canada and one would hope that Prentice and the Conservatives would know better than to jump on the mandated ISP filtering bandwagon as it would undoubtedly generate even greater opposition from virtually all stakeholders.  There would be political risks as well, since it would provide a clear opening for the Liberals to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives on copyright.


  1. Blaise Alleyne says:

    Suddenly, encrpytion software just became a lot more popular…

    [ link ]

  2. Strange tactic
    ISP filtering would not end up being much of a threat simply because it can’t be done. It would be ludicrous, perhaps even rude, to suggest that the people who are calling for it actualy beleive that it would work, so I wonder what their motive is.

  3. Clearly these misguided fellows have such an omnipotent sense of themselves they still believe they are in control. Will some one hit them over the head and tell them it is about what consumers want and NOT what record corporations want and the marketplace took control a decade ago.

    The scary discussion about civil rights and freedoms aside, corporate music’s basic desire (and argument) is to control what you or I do with something we purchase (music). The notion is as ridiculous as buying a frying pan and being instructed on how many eggs to put in it; or a baseball, and told which direction it can be thrown. Ultimately control is with the one selecting and buying, and hopefully as educated consumers we start to look carefully at the music we buy – where it comes from and what their intent is and render judgment as to the risks.

    Since Napster more and more Artists understand the online environment and more Artists are adapting and discovering they too have an option on control in managing their work and its distribution without being told HOW.

    It took over a decade for people to adopt to autos (from horses)… and about the same amount of time for iceboxes to refrigerators. Some of the sellers of horses and ice did not completely go away and continued to vye for control in the publics’ households and you can bet they lobbied the government to ban ford and westinghouse. The point is the lawyer-driven music model will also fade away in time because there is a better convenience, and they are no longer in control… and at that point the major multinationals’ music lobby folks can crawl back into their caves and re-arrange their dinosaur bone furniture!

  4. Futile, but could have amusing results.

    After all, if that were the case and I got a spam email, I’d have to sue my ISP as they’re supposed to filter. If I found my software being pirated, again, they’d be allowing that to happen and it’s much easier for me to sue an ISP in Canada than some funny foreign individual.

    On the other hand, if some downloads some dodgy software or music, and gets caught and sued by the record industry say, they have the great defense that their internet account is filtered, therefore if they can download it, is must be legal as all illegal stuff has been filtered out.

    Somehow I don’t think the ISPs would want that burden or have themselves opened up to lawsuits.

  5. the flip side
    If we assume for a moment that the government would pass such a law, what sort of provision could/would they make for ‘false positives’? I use bittorrent to download all sorts of non-infringing files and I leave them to be downloaded by others for an extended length of time (currently I have available a speech by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the movie ‘Elephants Dream’ and the latest Knoppix and KnoppMyth distros). What is my recourse if some ISP starts blocking that traffic? If the ISPs feel they need to filter all inbound and outbound traffic, it might not even be my ISP that is blocking my file transfer; how would I ever figure out who is doing the blocking, much less convince them to stop?

  6. Ban the Interwebs
    Al Gore called and he wants his Interwebs back!

  7. I’m certain you’ve already seen this, but it appears that the ISP filtering proposal in the UK has been defeated.

    [ link ]

  8. Privacy Commission
    Wouldn’t this be in direct opposition to recent comments from the Privacy Commissioner? Afterall, for the ISP’s to filter, they have to actually be watching what individuals are doing online, instead of simply acting as a portal through which a series of 1’s and 0’s flow. Maybe I’m wrong, but to me, that means that what I do online, look at online, download from the internet is no longer my own private, personal business.

  9. Revolution…
    The world works on several universal laws, that cannot be changed, cannot be bent, cannot be broken. Gravity makes objects come together, Nothing travels faster than light, Every action has an equal and opposite reaction…

    For every new law put in place to control us, there will be a new form of defiance. Filter our traffic, and we will encrypt. Cut off our internet, and we will distribute physical media. And when the laws, when the controls hit critical mass, there will be revolution.

    Almost 40000 Canadians saw their voice heard when they joined a facebook group dedicated to seeing that a Canadian DMCA doesn’t happen. That our copyright laws remain fair, and balanced.

    And so here are my thoughts:

    1. How many times have you gotten an email filtered by a spam filter that you actually wanted? Moreover, how many times have you gotten a spam, when you would have liked it filtered? I’ve worked an a network admin, and I’m an experienced programmer. Take the email filtering problem, and multiply it by 10000. Imagine what would happen when you simply try to download a web page with a copyrighted graphic, sound… What would the web be like with full scale copyright filtering? Because if you think this will stop at the music industry, think again. The movie industry will want their content protected, and then the software industry, and then the graphics industry, artists, journalists, photographers, all wanting to make sure their respective content is protected, all wanting their almighty dollar for what they think their work is worth. All made possible by full scale ISP level filtering. Not music, not graphics, not video, not even plain old text will be safe.

    2. Ask yourself: How many times have you bought your favorite album? I have cassettes of some of my favorites… and then CD’s… but if I want to play it in my iPod, then I have to pay again, but look forward, because technology is ever evolving. What would you pay for the next format? And the next? How many times do you have to pay an artist, a corporation, just to enjoy their music? I purchase albums on a very limited basis. I find much of todays music to be very run-of-the-mill, and only the truly great artists will receive compensation from me. In the past, that was how the good were separated from the great. In the true spirit of evolution, only the strong survived.

    To Mr. Prentice:

    The more you try to control us, the more we will want to be free.

    History teaches us that even a few sound-minded, determined individuals can make a difference. How bout 40000 sound-minded determined individuals?

    So before you do anything hasty, before you introduce legislation that could change the face of Canada as a nation, You have to ask your self one question:

    Do you feel lucky?

  10. Russell McOrmond says:

    Means of production and distribution
    The comments seem to sugggest people don’t believe it is possible to regulate the primary means of production and distribution in the new economy. While it may be opposed to the very definitions of capitalism, this is indeed the direction we are already headed.

    While there will always be a tiny few outlaws getting around bad laws, the vast majority of citizens will just obey whatever the law says. To believe otherwise is to ignore most of human history.

    The primary means of production will be regulated through anti-circumvention legislation, which will disallow us from legally removing foreign locks from our devices.

    The primary means of distribution will be regulated through ISP liability, with ISPs being chilled by the law and likely disabling most protocols. This will quite effectively bring us back in time, with ISPs acting like Broadcasters and not allowing individual citizen participation in the media.

    Combine the two and it will easily be claimed that any citizen use of encryption is a circumvention tool to get around DRM and ISP filters.

    Please don’t stand back and believe it isn’t possible for this to happen. Please engage now!

    Some reading for those who don’t understand that this is possible: [ link ] Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, by Lawrence Lessig.

  11. I see two main copyright holders groups forming, with opposing approaches. The first group, which includes organizations such as the CRIA, want to drop the levies and make the ISPs a nanny for their customers, making them liable for things that the customers do. Presumably they could sue the ISPs, and the ISPs customers. The second group wants to let everyone have a levy, to the point where no-one can afford an ISP account or purchase an entertainment device… The first seems to represent the marketing lobby, the second the actual content producers (in general terms). The most effective way to implement what the first wants forces the second group to go through the first.

  12. What they really want
    …is money from the ISPs.

    They know by now that filtering can’t work, but if it were mandated then they’d be in a position to sue ISPs or offer them a “licensing deal”. “We don’t want to sue consumers, because they haven’t got enough money. ISPs, on the other hand…”

  13. Unfeasable
    Content cannot be filtered. Most file sharing software is capable of encrypting packets already. Lawmakers are much slower to move than programmers.

    Locks only keep the law abiding people out.

  14. Chris Anderson says:

    Other comments
    There are several comments from this link.

    Here are the first 2 comments that were posted, that were poignant.

    Maybe they can be passed on to those who need to see them.

    [ link ]

    Sue Me by I Violate Copyrights on Jan 22nd, 2008 @ 9:18am

    Hi, I’m Xerox. You can use my product to make illegal copies of books, research papers, photos, drawings. Please sue me because my equipment does not filter copyrighted content.

    Hi, I’m American Paper. You can use my product to make illegal copies of books, research papers, photos, drawings. Please sue me because my equipment does not filter copyrighted content.

    Hi, I’m Kodak. You can use my product to make illegal copies of books, research papers, photos, drawings. Please sue me because my equipment does not filter copyrighted content.

    Hi, I’m Bic. You can use my product to make illegal copies of books, research papers, photos, drawings. Please sue me because my equipment does not filter copyrighted content.

    Hi, I’m Memorex. You can use my product to make illegal copies of books, research papers, photos, drawings. Please sue me because my equipment does not filter copyrighted content.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid politicians.

  15. Darryl Moore says:

    DRM on all media
    Chris, those examples sound ludicrous to you, but big media I’m sure would consider them eminently reasonable if only they were feasible.

  16. Dr. Mike: Was Henderson the only one in Ottawa? Once again you misrepresent what actually took place and who was there. No mention of any of the other groups there — just a focus on the music industry. Do you do that because it serves your particular perspective? Or is because it proves that creators care about their works — unlike Terry McBride’s bands, which just act as a mouthpiece for the man from Nettwerk?

  17. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    Anti-circumvention is bad. Very bad. It essentially means that any large software company can steal small time developer’s code and never be caught, as the only way to prove that the theft happened would be to reverse engineer the suspected software – but reverse engineering would be illegal, so the small time guy only has his code and not enough evidence to get the big time company to caugh up their code to be examined. Of couse, the big time companies could reverse engineer all day long, as no one would be able to beat them in court to prove they did it…

    Microsoft stole Doublespace from Stac and lost the lawsuit, [ link ] way back in the DOS days. Proving the theft in these post DMCA days would actually be illegal…

    That’s one example.

    Another example would be having to take one’s car to the dealership for everything, including an oil change, as the manufacturer/dealership has put a propietary lock on the hood/engine/computer of the car. There goes the little guy!

    Anti-circumvention law would be stupidly easy to abuse and don’t think for a moment that corporations wouldn’t do it – they have already “bastardized” various other laws.

  18. Ray Bradbury says:

    Fahrenheit 451
    Do you remember Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451? In an hypothetical future when books became illegal rebels started to learn them by hart. There will be always a way to fool the system. That is the very reason why mankind is still prospering no matter of all the systems made in the attempt to impair human creativity.

  19. I believe that filtering effectively copyrighted material is close to impossible. But let suppose that they will succeed on that .
    a) It will be a system as imperfect as spam filters which have made the email system totally unreliable (an unreliable internet will kill any kind of eCommerce).
    b) People are so use to free media fruition that they will shift on less hot and less filtered material.
    c) Underground culture will flourish.
    d) The media industry will compete against underground culture giving away their precious artefacts for free.

  20. “Henderson and McKie both indicate that they have no intention of launching file sharing lawsuits”

    These guys are a riot. We aren’t going to sue, but lets just get these laws on the books anyways for the fun of it…

  21. We must frame the debate
    Russell McOrmond is right. This triumphalism is dangerous. We are deluding ourselves. Most Canadians don’t understand these issues. We worry that the law would seize control of our computers and monitor our communications. How many of your fellow citizens would respond with an uncomprehending, “But artists deserve to be paid!”

    It doesn’t matter if you think the reaction is from someone too old or too uninformed. It is the understanding of those people that will set the course of our laws. So long as all they see is stopping “theft”, we will lose.

    We can’t win on technical grounds alone. Victory seldom goes to those with the technology. It always goes to those who frame the debate. If we cannot do that, we face a new War On Drugs – and it won’t do us much good that the war can’t be won.

    Don’t trust the technology to save us. I ask you: does your cell phone provider let you participate online the way your affordable ISP connection does? Why not? Your phone is a computer – your computer could be just like it. All it takes is the collusion of your government and your ISP. In ten years the Internet could be television. It has happened before. For radio in the U.S. in the 1920s, which had been a decentralized medium for citizens, churches and communities, it was all over in three years.

    We need to reach ordinary Canadians and make them understand why this isn’t about piracy and music. They need to know how this will affect them. It is, as Russell says, about who is allowed to participate in the media – who is allowed to speak.

  22. Re: Means of production and distribution
    I agree that it is ultinmately possible to shut down free communication on the net and it is a fight worth fighting. However, efforts to regulate through anti-circumvention legislation which, as you say, will disallow us from legally removing foreign locks from our devices is useless. Who cares about DRM? It is already being legally circumvented by a whole new generation of people who are producing their own DRM free content.

    Efforts to filter content will have a serious effect on commerce. The web is not structured like broadcasting which has been quite sucessfully controlled for a long time now. Slowing down the net with complicated filtering would be counterproductive to large media companies who are already struggling with lack of bandwith. They need the net to replace TV.

    One does not have to be very savy, nor one of the \”tiny few outlaws\” in order to circumvent privacy restraints. There\’s not only encryption, as mentioned above, SSL is practical here, but what about VPN file transfers? You probably avail youself of all these things without even knowing it. Banning encryption on the net is simply not possible because it would dissalow banking, e-commerce, government and corporate communication, military and law-enforcent communication, etc. Yes, I know there is more to your agrument but it is too abstract to be realistic.

    Most people just use software provided for them and that is all it takes. One doesn\’t even have to start getting into anything like IP camouflage or a million other ideas yet to be provoked. The software will be there and so will the machines. Content filtering just isn\’t possible without seriously curtailing the use of the net and limiting it to a few people. That may happen, but not because of this. The bottom line is that us old farts have to realize that younger people understand computers too. The world is changing and those who wish to control the past will be left to do so.

  23. Pipe Dream
    Almost everything on the web is copyrighted. Go to look around. I’m sure you’ll find a copyright notice there somewhere. i was right it is ” © 2008 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ”

  24. Oh, I just recalled that a significant portion of internet infastructure is paid for by the porn industry and I am pretty sure they’d be a little pissed off if their customers were having trouble visiting their sites and they couldn’t do much about it.

    There are more reasons to not filter the internet then there are to filter it.

  25. *ahem*
    “Written by Daman on 2008-01-22 16:48:19
    Dr. Mike: Was Henderson the only one in Ottawa? Once again you misrepresent what actually took place and who was there. No mention of any of the other groups there — just a focus on the music industry. Do you do that because it serves your particular perspective? Or is because it proves that creators care about their works — unlike Terry McBride’s bands, which just act as a mouthpiece for the man from Nettwerk?”

    Daman, you spit out a few cracks about misrepresenting things, make no effort to factually correct the record or add information and proceed to the insults. Well done. I like the way you twist things into a ridiculous knot. Henderson, a lawyer fronting for non-artists and corporate interests is pitted against Terry McBride’s bands… musical artists from Canada’s biggest and most successful independent record company. In your warped little world Henderson is representing creators while Nettwerk artists are only representing Terry McBridey. Listen up, as an Canadian artist, a stakeholder and a content creator, Graham Henderson does not now and has never spoken for my interests. As far as i can tell he is a paid shill, a mouthpiece for offshore concerns that don’t give a tinker’s damn about the welfare of artists and creators not for the health of Canadian heritage and culture. The laws Henderson is pimping will do grievous harm in areas well beyond entertainment, impacting the education and technology sectors as well as effecting privacy concerns of the citizenry. Unless you have something of factual value to offer, take the convoluted logic of yours and twist it up elsewhere.

  26. Dave Broderick says:

    Copyright laws are intended to protect the rightful owners. Whether it’s literature, music, film, performing arts, software, etc. If I write a book, and some lazy ass dude decides to copy it and distribute 500 copies of it with his own name on it, I’d be pretty pissed off. I don’t care if this guy gets 23 months in jail. I don’t care if he gets sued by my publisher. This is what we call STEALING. This is my work, and you used it w/o my consent, and you made money with it.

    There is a clear distinction between privacy, and copyright. If a record company puts a root kit on the CDs I purchase, or my mp3 files (thinking in the future here) to collect information pertaining to me, then I’d be pissed off. I would hope there would be laws to remedy this. This is not right, and the record company should be punished.
    But, I also agree that a record company has the right to sue an individual if this individual decides to be cool, and to UPLOAD and make the record company’s music available for free to the 100,000/150,000 users on a p2p network. This is not right and this individual should be punished. Now, there is a distinction between “personal use” where I make a CD for my 2-3 friend, and “commercial use” where I make my mp3s available on p2p networks.File sharing is clearly not “personal use”.

    So all you folks there thinking about the consummer rights, think it through. We need laws to crack down on unauthorized distribution of artworks, and laws to protect against privacy breaches. They are two distinct things.

    I like how they misuse the download sales figures from Feist to “prove” that the US has better digital sales figures than in Canada. Nicely ignoring the fact that the record labels have refused to do non-DRM sales in Canada such as those available from

  28. re Calgary
    You are brain washed.. \”make the record company\’s music available for free to the 100,000/150,000 users\”
    The record companies do this every single day and you never noticed ? It\’s called radio… Duh ! Never killed them in the past so why is it killing them now? Maybe it has something to do with them ticking off there customers so they stopped buying there wares. Doing things like getting these stupid laws past when they are a microscopic minority.

    If this law goes threw MUSIC PRODUCERS, MOVIE PRODUCERS TAKE NOTE ! No more will I buy music or go pay to go watch or rent a movie. I\’ll listen to the radio and watch TV for virtually free till you go bust. I\’m already paying some stupid fee on DVD to back up my own damn art.

    The EU has the right idea. ISP Filters & Copyright Extension Defeated In EU

    [ link ]

  29. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    Nothing from my family in 2007
    Last night I realized that for the entire year of 2007 neither my wife nor my self purchased a single CD or DVD. Furthermore, we did so out of the regular course of our lives, rather than through some kind of protest. Plain and simple, it’s not an important part of our lives.

    We rented about five movies, on two occasions, and I purchased three computer games and one game expansion. My wife bought a magazine subscription. We had regular anolouge cable TV and very unreliable wireless internet. We didn’t download a single song/video either, but I did download a few Linux ISO images 🙂 We have digital cable now, which comes with 50 commercial free music channels, which supliments my wife’s radio listening habits. Between the two of us, we have about 40 CDs and 20 DVDs that we’ve collected over the years, so maybe that’s all the content we really need to own (Star Wars, Lord of Rings, and a bunch of video games!).

    Honestly, I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about when it comes to music – it’s just not that important. It’s not my hot, hot friend. Food, clean water, and heat are important. So is a big plastic play house and a tricycle for our daughter.

  30. Dave Broderick says:

    Brain washed? Reality Pete is that Canada is the only country in the western world that doesn’t have a comprehensive copyright law. Yes, radio is free to listen, but some royalties are paid to the artist when their music plays. Different than burning a CD and putting it on a p2p network don’t you think? That was my point and you totally missed it.
    And yes Pete, stay home and watch TV and listen to the radio. Canada nees more people like you.

  31. And if I could pay for music at the same bargain bottom price that radios “pay” for airplay, I’d have spent $100 on music instead of the many $1000s that I have paid for records, tapes and CDs.

    Radio airplay prices show the true worth of music, and it’s not worth very much. There’s an over-abundance of music – everyone seems to think they’re a pop star and the industry is vastly over-valued.

  32. Proposed EU ISP filtering and copyright
    Proposed EU ISP filtering and copyright extension shot down
    [ link ]

  33. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    Dave Broderick Wote:
    “Reality Pete is that Canada is the only country in the western world that doesn’t have a comprehensive copyright law.”

    That’s proletarian bullshit.

    Please do not profess to others about that which you are obviously ignorant.

  34. Re Calgary
    Just because other counties are stupid doesn’t me our country has to be equality stupid. Yes I agree we need more people that think like me cause if they did and where not sheep like you we would not be wasting our cash on stupid unworkable ideas like this and would instead be feeing the poor and educating them. It boils down to they might win the battle but they will lose the war. You remember righteous Calgary person every time you click on a link on the web YOU are making a illegal copy of somebodies copyrighted work.

  35. Dave Broderick says:

    R. Bassett Jr Wrote:
    “That’s proletarian bullshit.
    Please do not profess to others about that which you are obviously ignorant.”

    So if you profess to be that smart, then tell me when was the last time our great Canadian government has actually done something about copyright law, prior to last month?

    And Pete, if you’re going to blog, argue the idea that one brings to the table. Don’t attack the person. It just makes it more constructive…

  36. Re RB jr
    Have you not been paying attention? They just did it a few years ago. Now I get to pay some stupid fee on cd’s to backup mt own art. They also extended copyrights. I was not trying to attack them I was just pointing out that radio and tv has been doing the same thing like forever. Read the riot act right here:
    [ link ]
    I’m not sure I’m not a lawyer but I’m guessing 1997. It’s on this blog somewhere. Go read.

    Here read this then go turn yourself in at the nearest RCMP station:

    “infringing” means

    (a) in relation to a work in which copyright subsists, any copy, including any colourable imitation, made or dealt with in contravention of this Act,

    I’m sure there is something on your computer that will fit that description. You might not have to turn yourself in though cause if they block all copyrighted work all that will be left on the web is the free stuff like my stuff. Even CNN is copyrighted. Remember that point.

  37. The easiest fix to all these copyright issues is to return to a 14 year lifespan on copyright. Then, 90% of the issues will simply go away.

    And, people will still keep producing art and IP. It’s what we do. Artists have never been rich, they do it as labours of love. Plus in todays world they have to compete with art from everyone around the world, and the massive overabundance of it.

  38. Mhaman
    Step to the front of the line. ! You have the correct idea.

    Sorry I have to discuss the issue here cause Facebook does not like my name for some reason and refuses to let me sign up.

  39. Chris Brand says:

    Dave Broderick : “Copyright laws are intended to protect the rightful owners.” is not really true. The fundamental purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation of cultural works. Ensuring that creators get paid is the means to that end. Another purpose of copyright is the “moral rights” side that you allude to with “with his own name on it” (mixing the two just serves to muddy the debate).

    “when was the last time our great Canadian government has actually done something about copyright law” – that’s easy to answer – June 1 last year, the camcording bill. Before that was Bill C-60 in 2005 (which died on the order paper), before that was bill C-36 in 2003. Before that was bill C-11 in 2001. All those post-date the US’s DMCA. If you believe that our copyright law has been left to become outdated, you’ve been listening to the wrong propaganda.

    Personally, I agree that filesharing is a problem, albeit one that is greatly exaggerated. I do hope that we don’t end up in a situation like we have with radio, though, where the rightsholders get royalties on something that is so valuable to them that they’re willing to illegally pay radio stations to play their music (the most recent payola prosecution was of Sony in 2005, I believe). I suspect that in the long term, filesharing will be looked upon in the same way – as advertising paid for by somebody else. Your distinction between “personal use” and “commercial use” is interesting. I agree that filesharing is “clearly not personal use” but on the other hand, it’s also clearly not “commercial”. It would be nice if the Copyright Act distinguished between those two but unfortunately it inflicts the statutory damages aimed at illegal commercial users on people convicted of illegal personal uses too.

    Personally, I’m most concerned about my rights to control my own computer, DVD player, etc. I believe that tangible property rights are more fundamental to Western society than copyrights.

  40. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    If our copyright laws were really so terrible, things like this would not be possible:

    [ link ]

    Our current laws are strong and our law enforcement officers are focused on using them to the best of their abilities, in the best interest of Canadians:

    [ link ]

    The misconception that our laws are weak comes straight from south of border. Congratulate yourself for succumbing to propaganda if you be our laws are weak.

    More than anything, what this country needs is a handbook called, “Acceptable Conduct of a Canadian”, which dtails what our society expects of us in a general sense – if we find a dollar on the road, do we keep? If we saw who dropped it, do we give it back? Should we download music for free, just because it’s possible? We used to teach these things in schools, before standardized testing and large classroom sizes, but it seems we’re leaving these issues up to the USA media these days. “The true north, complacent and pathetic”.

    As has been said many times, we need a “Made in Canada” solution – but I will add: to a problem that only exists in the imagination of a handful of lobby groups.

  41. Look Up
    How long before people ask who these lobbyists represent? The recording industry’s concern here and abroad is no more about lost money for themselves and Britney than Google’s concern is over advertising by demanding the identities of IP users. They all represent the same group who wish to not only be able to identify anyone online in monitoring their “free speech” which is being now termed tyranny by world policing to the south, but also to eventually be the only sanctioning power of “state approved” messages and entertainment. You will enjoy only what you are told to enjoy as it will be as safe as the state sanctioned puke rock of Dick Clark’s early days and subversion such as what we practice here in even questioning their desires will become extinct.

    If you believe otherwise then you are probably one who believes we live in freedom. Democracy means 51% gets to enslave 49%. Government may listen to the people but it always bows to who holds their purse strings and all governments in the G7 get their money from outside themselves. Welcome to the 21st century.

  42. Dave Broderick says:

    re: Chris.
    “The fundamental purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation of cultural works.” I don’t quite agree with this. No one really needs “copyright” if they want to create a work of art, and “copyright” itself is not intended to “encourage” the creation of of cultural works. Copyright comes into account “IF” I decide to make my work visible, or available to the public.This is when I use “copyright” to express to the public that if you want to produce, or reproduce it my work, then you need that “right” to do so, and this is authorized by the “copyright” holder, ie, the art creator. So in a sense, it does protect the rightful owners of literature, music, film, software, performing arts, etc.

    Ok, so Canada has done some ammendents to the copyright act, but it still hasn’t ratified the WIPO treaty of 1997. There are over 80 countires that have ratified it, including the EU , Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Indonesia, Latvia, Serbia and Togo to name a few. Some of these are 3rd world countries that are embracing a solution to a obvious worldwide problem, and CANADA is still holding out for some reason (sounds familiar?). And in this day and age, it doesn’t make sense to “micro-manage” like our great government does.

    My views are pro-artist protection. And I’m not hiding them. I don’t really give a shit if I pay an extra 25 cents for a damn DVD. As they say, the rights of others end where yours start. So please, respect the rights of our artist. And as for the protection of personal information, I’m afraid our personal information has been breached decades ago, sorry to say that.

  43. Re: Calgary
    Dave, I believe the number you have indicated about WIPO ratification is correct, but have a look at some of the background on those ratifications. The US has made ratification a condition in some treaty negotiations. Without that outside pressure they likely would not have ratified. The US has signed treaties but not ratified them (there is a major one that comes to mind about kids, Rights of the Child I think it is called). Not intending to do any US-bashing here, in case it sounds that way… Just pointing out that signing and ratifying them are two very different things.

  44. Qtrax may answer all of our P2P problems and legally as it launches this Sunday on Jan. 27, 2008. Should be the best legal P2P experiance ever for both free and paid content.

  45. Europeans have not ratified WIPO
    Dave, you are mistaken. Most European countries have not ratified the WIPO treaty. None of France, Germany, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Ireland, scandinavia, for example, have done so. As for whether it’s a solution to anything, even the architect of the U.S. law calls it a failure.

    You say copyright is not intended to encourage the production of creative works. Not so: that is the original intention of modern copyright (i.e. copyright not intended to censor). The Statute of Anne of 1710 was “for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books”.

    The moral rights you seem to be referring to are a much more recent invention. The existing law already creates and implements those rights. The new law would *invent* more rights. Furthermore, moral rights are stronger in Canadian law than in U.S. law. This is unsurprising given that their constitution states that the only justification for copyright is “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”.

    You incorrectly describe the copyright holder as the “art creator”. These aren’t the same thing at all. It is no accident that the most strident voices calling for stronger prohibitions are copyright holders but not art creators.

    I can agree with you on one point though. I don’t particularly care how much a DVD costs, as I don’t intend to buy any. I use the library (no, I don’t copy them). And librarians are worried about this law.

  46. Where do your rights end?
    Dave, you say that my rights end where yours start. This law would invent more rights. It wouldn’t reenforce the boundary: it would shift it – at the expense of existing rights and freedoms.

    But that boundary isn’t between artists and consumers, because copyright holders and creators are often different people. This law would expand the rights of some *copyright holders*, while shrinking those of consumers, other artists, and the public at large.

  47. Dave Broderick says:


    I thought that the EU as a body had ratified. Guess they still don’t have full unification when it coomes to WIPO. Anyway. We could go on and on when it comes to discussing this, and I think we all made our point. I am not a lawyer, but I do work a great deal with artists and I do see how some of them work, and struggle. Some are very successful. My point in all this, is that if the rights of the consummer trump those of the artists, then I think there is something wrong with this, and in the end, the artists will loose. And this is where I think at times, that my rights end where someone elses starts. Like Joe Stummer once said, “you have the right not to be killed”. But if everyone has the right to carry a gun, then my rights may be in serious jeopardy.

  48. The value of expression
    Thank you for the courteous response, Dave.

    I am genuinely concerned that anticircumvention legislation and ISP filtering will limit the ability of Canadians to express themselves. I believe such expression as a way for people to develop themselves and interact with their communities. Artists and their works play essential roles in that expression. Often when they speak, they do so not only for themselves, but for all of us. They give us the vocabulary we use to make ourselves understood and to allow us to share in a community. This is why people are so passionate about the work of artists. This engagement is possession without ownership. We invest ourselves in art.

    Digital technology and the Internet have made it possible for art and creativity to play greater parts in our lives: not only as something we observe, but as something we *do*. Controls over devices (e.g. DRM, proposals to cripple consumer-grade production equipment) and controls over distribution create an Us and a Them – with access to the full range of expression and speech reserved for a few centralized distributors.

    I don’t want to see citizens pitted against artists. I’m sure artists don’t want that either. These measures would take us down that road. And for what? Anticircumvention legislation has failed to stem piracy. ISP filtering would spy on our everyday communications, important and mundane – and it wouldn’t succeed either. I’m not arguing for piracy. Doing something may seem better than doing nothing, but the cost is very, very high.

    You say you work with artists who struggling. Nobody wants that. There is wrenching change; it’s not only – or even mostly – a result of piracy. But placing the tools of creativity and speech in the hands of everybody isn’t like giving everyone a gun. Quite the opposite. It will be good for art, for artists, and for the rest of us.

  49. Intent of this proposal
    It looks like some people here are not so clear on the technology involved so let me reiterate what I (and others) have said above. This filtering idea is simply not technically feasible. Therefor, there MUST be some other motive for it’s proposal. This proposal is definately NOT about copyright or royalties.

    One very important ramification, from a privacy protection and artistic freedom point of view, is that a filtering ISP would lose, or move one step closer to losing, it’s common carrier status. Perhaps that is the real intent of this proposal. I suggest that people think seriously about what that would do to our personal and artistic freedoms.

  50. A Telco Security Dweeb says:

    A Telco Security Dweeb
    As a civil libertarian I am dismayed at the prospect of “mandated” (by who? Parliament? the RCMP? the CRIA? the MPAA? the U.S. Ambassador? with what basis in Constitutional law?) ISP content filtering. Any such initiative should be fought tooth and nail by ordinary Canadians and is more than sufficient reason to defeat any government, forcing an election if necessary.

    But I also have a different perspective in which you might be interested.

    In my day job (modesty prevents me from saying exactly where), I have input into a number of IT security related initiatives at a major Canadian telco and ISP. I can tell you right now that there would be massive resistance within my company, and I strongly suspect all the other telcos as well, against any scheme such as is apparently being demanded by the whining, self-pitying lobbyists of the recording industry.

    You have to understand our situation as Canadian telecommunications carriers, to appreciate why this would be so. We do our utmost to try to ensure that “when you send a voice or data packet from Point A to Point B, it gets there intact, as fast as possible”. We invest millions of dollars in new equipment every year to maintain our Service Level Agreements and so on. Even as matters are today, we face significant challenges in trying to detect and eliminate REAL malicious use of our networks, that is, DDoS attacks, viruses and so on. No reasonable person either within or outside the telco community would argue that we don’t have some responsibility to protect the safety and integrity of our customers’ data traffic, so, in one sense, we absolutely DO engage in a form of “content filtering”… BUT…

    Now let’s try to imagine the kind of infrastructure that the entertainment industry’s lobbyists seem to be dreaming about. You would have to filter this stuff at the core network level — keep in mind, we are talking about network feeds in the scores of gigabit per second range — and you would have to do it not against a few hackers and criminal gangs (which is the case with malware), but against a huge, disaffected population of your own ordinary users, who would be in open rebellion against having what they perceive as their legitimate rights to send and receive certain kinds of data (e.g. BitTorrent) being arbitrarily abridged. There isn’t a CHANCE that this kind of censorship would ever work consistently, although perhaps you could target a few people at the residential “last mile to the PC” end and try to make an example out of them.

    The point here is that any type of filtering system such as this would have to be deployed “in-line”, that is, your main network data path would have to go through the “Chinese Wall” appliance (I hear that SandVine is in this racket) so that the appliance could check each and every TCP/IP packet to make sure that it didn’t have any “naughty” content. (PS: How do you tell if an individual packet has some “illegal” content? This is already a problem with constantly mutating viruses, etc.; now imagine when such content might be 50% of your network’s traffic.) Doing this kind of filtering would KILL, SIMPLY DE-STROY, the performance of any telco network… our business customers would drop us in a heartbeat, as the throughput of their main data feeds all clocked down to the maximum rate that could be sustained by the censorship device(s).

    It’s an insane idea from a pure network integrity point of view, leaving aside the many, very serious, consumer rights and civil liberties issues. And it’s an idea hatched by people who obviously don’t have a clue about how hard it is to run a major, public access network, and just keep the friggin’ thing working, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

    So if the CRIA gets its way, kiss your Internet connectivity goodbye, folks… your cable modems, ADSL lines, etc., will start to look and feel a lot like 2400 baud async modems.

    Welcome to 1986, folks! Or… should that be, “welcome to 1984.”.

    A Canadian Telco Security Dweeb

  51. Telco Security Dweeb, if CRIA gets its way, I’ll personally kick Graham Henderson in the nuts repeatedly until he retracts this crazy concept. If they don’t accept ration, violence is the next step.

  52. Fedge — I’m not sure suggesting violence on a public figure is a good idea, especially when your moniker is known.

    Anyway, you should check your agreement with your ISP — I think you’ll see it says they can and will regulate the transmission of material that violates the agreement and will terminate your connection if need be. I know this is Bell’s take on it anyway…

  53. Rghts , what rights ?
    Here stolen from Slashdot..The hammer that is called Copyright law. My point is it don’t matter if it illegal you’ll go broke trying to prove it is.

    ” TechDirt has a follow up to a case they covered back in October where a law firm was trying to claim a copyright on the cease-and-desist letters they sent out. Public Citizen poked a number of holes in this claim and invited the lawyers to “try it”. Well, unfortunately the lawyers decided to bite and what’s more, they actually
    got a judge to buy it. The news was announced by the victorious lawyer
    who now claims he can sue anytime someone posts one of his cease-and-desist letters. “The copyrighting of cease-and-desist letters is an easy way for law firms to bully small companies who have committed no wrong, but who have no real recourse to fight back against an attempt to shut them up via legal threat. Until today, many companies who were being unfairly attacked by companies and law firms misusing cease-and-desist letters to prevent opinions from being stated, had a reasonable recourse to such attacks, and could draw attention to law firms that used such bullying tactics to mute any criticism.” ”

  54. Re: Rghts , what rights ?
    @Pete: There’s hope. Soon that will no longer be a problem because those copyrighted cease-and-desist letters will be filtered out by the ISP. /sarcasm

    “There ain’t nothin so bad as something good don’t come out of it!” -anon

  55. Re: Rights, What rights
    Good point I forgot about that one. You score 1

  56. Internel Filtering
    ISP liability will be the end of the internet as we know it. Not because it will work – it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that it will be impossible. It will be the end of the ISP, because even my comments on this site will be copyrighted, and I will be able to sue them for transmitting this message without my express permission.

    All rights reserved. This comment is the intellectual property of the author is not authorized for digital transmission on the internet. 2008(c)

  57. Feist
    So, to be clear, the Feist example was supposed to demonstrate how Canada’s failure to implement WIPO has crippled our music industry? Here are the figures they gave:

    730,000 digital tracks
    481,000 physical albums

    48,000 digital tracks
    137,000 physical albums

    Woe is me. She sold 40% fewer track downloads in Canada, per capita, than in the US. But wait a second! She also sold 2.6 *times* as many albums here!

    So, in fact, if every person in the US who bought a single track in the US (mostly “1234”, no doubt) had instead bought the whole album, that would still be less, per capita, than just the number of albums she sold in Canada.

    What does tell us? This would be my guess: that Feist is an established artist in Canada and so people are willing to buy her 13-track album, while in the US she’s still largely just an Apple marketing phenomenon.

    What does it tell us about the health of Canada’s online music industry? Umm…squat? Yet, this is the example the recording industry chooses to offer.

    And, it must be their “data” that’s informing the upcoming proposed legislation, since apparently our legislators are not listening to anyone else. And we’re supposed to not be worried?

  58. Canadian
    I would just like to see a new Canadian copyright law for Canadian people and Canadian Artists.
    Not an American Law imposed on Canadian people by a small group of American Corporations.
    Are Canadian politicians smart enough?? We shall see.
    We are not an American colony, we are a sovereign nation. I can only hope Mr. Prentice remembers that it’s Canadians who vote, American lobbyists don’t.

  59. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is pretty scary.

    If they actually succeed in asking the ISPs to filter out the information being sent/received, the purpose of the internet is lost. Not only would it cost the ISPs a lot of money to filter the data, it would also slow down our internet connections. Most, if not all, ISPs have already capped the bandwidth that individuals can send/receive, now they’re going to try and control what we can transfer?

    Sounds like the rich trying to prevent the surfs from learning how to read. 😛

    If you ask me, all of us need to be aware of what laws are being made in the back rooms, and we need to be informed. It’s really too bad we don’t have a leader in Ottawa who looks after Canadians, instead of cowing out to American interests.

  60. Authority by consent
    Don’t worry everybody, Our laws aren’t real laws anyway, just statutes.

    Kind of like a dress code at a golf course. The stuff our politicians cook up only applies to THEM, and you, if you agree to ‘understand’ (put yourself up for collateral) for going into breach of the contr(acts) they make.

    I repeat, you have to AGREE that their rules apply to you before they have any recourse.
    They are good at getting you to do it in court without you knowing it.

    They get you to admit you’re in their house (st. address, city). Its called jurisdiction. Their house, their rules. Ask yourself, how can an incorporation, something that exists on paper, interface with YOU, a creature of god? If you want to call it that.

    Step outside their arena.

    thinkfree dot ca has all the information you need to become a truly free being.

  61. skintmuso says:

    filtering at last…hopefully
    isp’s make big money out of passing stolen goods, ( music, films, SW etc) so they should be taxed accordingly. If that means filters than slow down your bandwidth, tough that the price you’ll have to pay.
    i appreciate you want you music for free because your capable of stealing it at the moment, but hopefully common sense will prevail…and sorry to spoil your justifications for theft, but most bands are small indie companies, as are 30% of music companies worlwide.
    If you want to while about expoiation, look at the isps and google who make plenty of money out of music without paying any artists. and dont talk to me about free promotion. Promotion is when the artist wants to be promoted, not when google sells an advert, or an isp sells bandwidth.

    If you hate artists that much your not prepared to pay to listen to them, don’t buy them or Listen to artist’s that will work for free. pay peanuts…

    If I said to any of you I’m not going to buy what you produce, or work at, give me it for free, you’d quite rightly tell me where to go, and no doubt fight to keep your job. Music isnt any different.