The Liberal Letter on C-61

Earlier this week, I posted a letter from NDP leader Jack Layton that is sharply critical of Bill C-61.  The language used in the letter is apparently being used by other NDP MPs.  The same appears to be true for Liberal MPs.  Several people have sent me copies with only minor variations on this standard response:

Thank you for your recent e-mail outlining your opposition to the Conservative Government's new Copyright Legislation. I appreciate the time you have taken to advise me of your position.

While the Liberal Official Opposition believes that updating the Copyright Act to address rapid changes in technology is important, the bill must strike the right balance between consumers and creators. This is a highly technical bill and we need to study it carefully before we can determine exactly how we will proceed.

Like you, we are also concerned about how this bill treats technological protection measures. It is important that these provisions not take rights away from Canadians. We need wide consultation with everyone – including consumers, artists and the business community – to ensure that we properly understand all of the impacts the legislation.

Once again, the Conservatives have failed to properly consult Canadians. We want to ensure that the final bill fosters innovation, fairly compensates creators and treats consumers with respect.

While the Liberals clearly don't yet have a firm position on this bill, there are three key points here.  First, the party recognizes the lack of consultation.  It should seek to remedy that by standing for broad consultations in the fall that give everyone an opportunity to speak out.  Second, adopting a position that digital locks "should not take away rights from Canadians" means that they should support crucial changes to the anti-circumvention provisions that restore the right to circumvent for permitted uses, including fair dealing, time shifting, and format shifting.  Third, they have not yet made the connection (at least publicly), but the Liberals can point to their Bill C-60 as the starting point for crafting better balanced anti-circumvention rules.


  1. Liberals and other things
    It’s nice to see an actual response from the Liberal party that isn’t entirely fence sitting. There still seems to be a lot of that, but they do appear to be leaning towards to consumers side of the fence on this one, at least to the degree thatif they oppose it, they can look like the heroes for having not been the party to introduce this 58 page bundle of crap.

    On another note, it seems the MPAA in the US has just decided to one up the RIAA in their battle for who can be the biggest group of asses. “The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement.” [ link ]

  2. SOld for a song…How Much?
    I am curious to know the exact amount a songwriter ( you know the guy/gal ) who actually has the talent, to write songs, music and lyrics, sits in front of the white page with a pencil in hand, or with it’s guitar/piano
    what he or she receives in royalty. When you buy a song ( digitally) at 0.99cents( iTunes) what is the bottom line for the songwriter? When the same songwriter has the chance to have a song on a CD ( physical) how much does he get paid for this. OK, now we take the same song, and have printed sheet music ( it still does exist ) how much again for the writer?
    Now that same song that you can “buy” numerically or on a CD , is played on the radio, let’s say in Canada, and hasa chance to be on the charts and be a top-20 song much again ?

    I would presume that societies/agencies collecting these royalties don’t do this for nothing, they must charge a fee , a commission of some kind.? How much ?

    Best regards


  3. politics
    The good thing about a minority government is that the “opposition” will never side with the reigning government, no matter what…so there will be a lot of backlash against Bill C-61, as there should be. It’s a bad deal all way around. We really need a debate on the copyright issue, especially in regards to our isp’s turning into watchdogs over us. We pay for their service, not for their policing.

  4. NO TO BILL c-61 says:

    look at how they pussy foot around this.

    Get nervous. They are trying to have the best of both worlds and thats why they are in the mess they are in.

    Literally they have kept this govt in MUCH longer then was needed.

    AND my vote goes to the party that votes against it.
    Forget consultation. WE need no update.
    TPM = DRM , and DRM = BS

  5. I wrote my MP
    He’s a “Liberal”. I simply pointed out that it’s impossible to enforce, so all you can accomplish is criminalizing innocent people. I’ll post his response if I get one.

    I told him that we need: strong laws against violations for commercial purpose; NO laws against violations for personal purpose; a strong clear definition of what’s commercial and what’s personal that can’t be confused.

    If we can make the government work for the people on this one, Canada can be a beacon of forward progress. We have a good tech sector, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be better. We have to DEMAND what’s right, and that’s NO RESTRICTIONS on personal use. NONE. If we’re not for SELLING for MONEY, then they need to leave us alone. Period. Drugs too, but that’s a whole other topic. That’s the future, and we are going there, criminalized, encrypted, or otherwise. So why not just say what we really want (demand), and we can all play nice. Trust me, us techies have all the keys, and we really don’t want this crap, so things could get ugly if they really want to pick a fight.

    The “opposition” need to be forced to see that C-61 is not just “lacking public consultation”, it’s ass backwards. It’s IMPOSSIBLE and OUTRAGEOUS. It’s a pathetic attempt at criminal perversion of justice for transparently corrupt purposes.

    When you see how these bastards try to make mud from rocks and water, we better make sure we throw hard, and hold their heads firmly under.

    Check this wonderfull essay by John Perry Barlow at: [ link ] . It’s exactly on topic, and has the kind of bigger picture and forward looking perspective we need to keep clear while we fight this kind of pathetic facism. OK, yeah, I’m pissed off.

  6. state of Music Industry
    For anyone who has the time (it is a lengthy read – but very much so well worth it), check out this insider analysis of the recording industry:

    [ link ]

    It was written in fall 2007, not long after OINK (the #1 music p2p torrent site) was taken down by authorities.

    Some brilliant observations regarding what is wrong with the music industry…..

  7. Todd Sieling says:

    I know it’s living in the past, but I can’t let go of the fact that the trigger for the election that brought in this awful government was Jack Layton’s delusional posturing. His insistence on an election at a time that he saw as opportune for the NDP put his party interests above those of the country, and now here he is talking about protecting people from the very jerks that he played mid-wife to. Thanks, Jack, but I’ve had all the protection from the NDP that I can handle.

  8. Who could cast the first stone?
    Could you give an example of a party that doesn\’t put \”the party interests above those of the country\”?
    Conservatives: right wing pseudo fascist culture colluded with American interests.
    Liberals: doing everything possible which won\’t bring an election for which they are not ready yet and doing so living Canada hostages of the Conservatives.
    You already added NDP.
    At the end of the day politics is always about choosing the lesser of two evils.
    “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

  9. Vishal Malik says:

    Liberals supported anti-circumvention me

    According to Wikipedia, Bill C-60 tabled by the Liberals in 2005 also PROHIBITED circumvention of digital locks. Here’s the link:

    [ link ]

    Maybe the Liberals also support these controversial measures!

  10. a.b.c.d.... says:

    ok children….
    yesterday is gone
    tomorroow hasn’t happened yet.

    what is your position today…..

  11. Liberals
    I’m afraid that the Liberals will not show up for this vote, much like they haven’t for many other important votes. I think we’ll get a lot of good speeches from the Liberals about how horrid the legislation is, but they don’t want an election, so they won’t come to the vote. I think our est bet may be to focus on getting as many people sending their letters in to their MPs, and trying to get the Conservatives themselves to shelve the legislation again.

  12. Same Response Received Months Ago
    This is exactly the same response I received months ago from my Liberal MP.

    The opposition parties obviously saw this coming and clearly understand how volatile the issue is with voters.

    Nothing in any response I have received from opposition parties leads me to believe that anyone other than Charlie Angus NDP from Timmins has any clue qhat the “fuss” is about.

    Shameful really.

  13. NO laws against violations for personal purpose

    More to the point – a law that says if it’s for personal purposes, it’s not a “violation” in the first place.

  14. Re: Sold for a SOng
    As a sometime musician I can tell you that out of a $20 CD the average artist sees about $1 in royalties. Most musicians make most of their money playing live gigs and doing concerts and such. I remember when I was a kid a couple of the local musicians had an album out (days when LP/33’s were in their prime and out of a $12-15 record they saw exactly 35 CENTS. Some things never change. A few of us saw the writing on the wall when the recording industry managed to effectively kill off DAT as a replacement for the mediocre quality of cassettes in the consumer market.

  15. any word on the bloc? they hold the keys to this one.

  16. Another nonsense says:

    Another nonsense from Prentice
    [ link ]

    Good luck, Prentice, you are still missing too many articles against this bill!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Liberal Fence Sitting
    “It’s nice to see an actual response from the Liberal party that isn’t entirely fence sitting.”

    This isn’t fence sitting? It definitely is – the typical Liberal way to do things now it seems.

    They are holding out, hoping for a few minor amendments, so they can say this is a made-in-Canada Liberal bill (much like the Afghanistan mission extension). That way they have stood up for the people of Canada (yeah right) and don’t have to call an election. The Liberals are a disgrace lately.

    I used to like the Liberals, but they have consistently shown how weak they are under Dion’s leadership. Obviously the Conservatives need to be out. That pretty much only leaves NDP and the Greens. Though neither is perfect they are a lot more appealing then the majority or the minority.

  18. Is C-60 any better?
    It’s slightly troubling that we’re hoping the Liberal defeat C-61 with the intent of replacing it with C-60. As I recall, C-60 was better, but not by much.

  19. the cops are going to be busy
    I think this legislation is great, because i release about 10 e-books a month and they keep getting copied what I plan to do is call the police about 10 times a week charging people left right and center until they get so tired of me they stop listening and then I can sue them for failure to follow up on a complaint. I’ve done it before and won 15 grand and 7.5 grand in two separate case and i will do it again. If the government thinks it can pass laws and then only protect the big guys, they are wrong. If they cannot follow up on the promise inherent in a law, we can take them to court and make more money off them than we might make from our royalties.

  20. RE: the cops are going to be busy

    I work in the software industry, and there’s something kind of quirky about this issue.

    There’s a fundamental problem about digital content… in that, the second it is digital, regardless of what locking mechanisms you put on it; if you give it to the consumers, they essentially have it in their hands. It’s like giving them a blueprint of everything they need to understand it, its’ inner-workings, and enough information to reproduce it as many times as they want.

    As for you e-books, you CAN digitally protect them. I believe they use some extensive hash mechanisms in the latest pdf authoring software – maybe you should try pass wording them up with some pdf encryption (this stuff opens nicely in adobe, which is what everyone has already too…and it makes it difficult for the non-computer-savy to reproduce as well!)

    Yet the problem persists, and i realize this ever-so. Once you give it to them digitally, and they have access to it (i.e. can they use it/view it?), they essentially HAVE it.

    It seems to be an inherent drawback in using digital distribution. One thing i can offer as career advice, however, is this: “A painter is not a painter because he once painted something. He is a painter because he paints.” I think what can be gathered from this is that it’s too easy to benefit from digital redistribution. If i sold my album for $20 each online, and people actually payed for it, I’d be a millionaire… but the question comes, is that ethical? Was it really worth 20$, if it could be so easily reproduced, and profited from, especially when scarcity is directly proportional to currency. Maybe it only took me a day to make that song. So then, why IS the album really being sold for that much, under such cheap distribution costs?

    And i realize the same can be said for computer software (though personally I’d be even more insulted, since this is essentially supposed to be OUR realm! :S)

    In a philosophical light, we’ve become so technologically advanced that we’ve ELIMINATED scarcity and distribution costs for content on the internet. To expect DRM or a law to counter this isn’t actually solving the problem – it’s PROLONGING IT, because essentially, a person still CAN duplicate your work, just like people used to be able to duplicate VHS and have an entire collection. It’s just infinitely more distributed and worse now.

    And the internet isn’t exactly making things more feasible to defend. The latest mathematics in P2P technologies actually makes it scientifically impossible for an ISP to identify the content of an encrypted stream on P2P networks. It won’t be long before the entire core of a P2P network is completely unidentifiable by even the NSA.

    I’m forced to say that at present, when it comes to making use of a standardized method of distribution, like the internet, there is no way to stop people from sharing your content. It’s mathematically impossible. But I empathize with both your and my needs for such security of developed property online.