Another Conservative MP on C-61

Given the widespread use of the Prentice/Verner form letter, it is always good to see MPs venture beyond talking points and actually address the substance of constituent concerns.  A reader recently passed along an exchange with MP Bev Shipley.  While I think Shipley should be commended for engaging on the issue, the letter highlights how the bill and the concerns of many Canadians are not well understood.  For example, Shipley writes that

C-61 allows you to copy your DVD to your computer in various formats. If you damage your DVD you do not lose ownership right to the material although the format in which you use it may be somewhat limited. You can view the movie on your computer or you can connect your computer to your television.

This is simply wrong.  C-61 does not give Canadians the right to copy DVDs.  In fact, under the bill most DVD copying will involve both an illegal circumvention and copyright-infringing format shift.  Moreover, depending upon your operating system, you may be unable to play the DVD on your computer.

And let's be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!

While I know that there are those would like to characterize the C-61 criticisms as being about a free-for-all, I think this too misses the point.  The majority of editorials and commentaries have rightly focused on the harm this bill does to Canadians who purchase digital content.  The same criticisms could be levelled at the impact on education, or libraries, or film making, or artists, or musicians.  It could also focus on the groups that are broadly supportive of copyright reform but increasingly vocal about their disappointment with C-61 including writers, artists, and copyright collectives.  The various reasons for criticims may differ, but if we're going to "perfectly honest" about the debate over C-61, let's do away with the claims that opposition to this bill is all about file sharing.


  1. Politician
    You would think that a politician would go ahead and read or study such a controversial bill before replying to criticisms of it…

  2. sd
    “”And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for! “”

    well if its about THAT than put THAT on the bill and not backups or “all kind of copying”… what kind of politicians we have… sad.

  3. dd
    criminalize file sharing and use our tax dollars and security staff to catch and “punish” teenagers who burn cds.. while people are laundering money by the billions…. bribing politicians(and politicians are corrupt themselves)… murdering…

    who thinks this is a good idea!?

  4. Jason Walton says:

    “It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!”

    Maybe I’m crazy, but here I thought that was already illegal in this country. If that’s what “it is about”, then we don’t need C-61 at all. We’re all done.

  5. Followup to Piracy
    I’m not sure file sharing is actually explicitly illegal in Canada, Jason. However, I don’t think it’s explicitly legal either. If you have time, read up on the BMG Canada Inc. v. John Doe case from a few years ago.

    I think some people do want a free ride off the backs of content creators, which isn’t right and they should be dealt with appropriately. However, the Conservative MP is way off base with his assertions in his letter. The main concern to the average person is the legal predicament created by Bill C-61 for those people who purchase content legally.

  6. This guy is nuts. If bill C-61 became a law, I would’ve broken the law yesterday.

    Here is why. I buy pc video games that deserve my support. And one such game I’ve bought was Titan Quest. I decided to replay it yesterday. But thanks to the DRM in form of SecuRom I was unable to play the game from my dvd disk. Why? Simply because I changed a piece of hardware in my PC. I upgraded from IDE DVD-Rom to SATA DVD-Burner and SecuRom implementation in this game doesn’t support this device and calls me a thief.

    So ProtectionID program was used to create .ISO image of my legitimately owned game, which was followed by Deamon Tools to mount it as a DVD. ProtectionID software strips SecuRom out of the software when it creates the image allowing you to use your own copy. I had to go this route because publisher, developer or SecuRom have not bothered to provide with support for this issue. Game is not that old, hardware like mine was already available when it was published. Now imagine if someone less computer savvy was looking at this problem, and sooner then later it is bound to happen. Am I supposed to keep obsolete hardware in my PC just to be able to use software I have purchased a year ago? Eff That!

    So if bill C-61 becomes a law, every honest customers will get proverbial shaft to poke their eyes out.

  7. C-61 would make me a criminal…
    C-61 would make me a criminal. I regularly copy the DVDs my parents purchase or receive as gifts to play on their AppleTV. This way, the original DVDs are locked up, away from the greasy sticky fingers of the grandkids.

    C-61 would criminalize this very justifiable, very logical, and today, entirely legal act. My parents would likely be heavily fined for possessing digital copies of DVDs that they already own. I’d likely go to jail, since I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars with which to pay the fines proposed by this law, for circumventing the CSS encryption which is practically universal to all DVDs.

    Why does the government feel the need to criminalize this behaviour?


  8. The Bill’s about making you pay multiple times for the same ‘media’, it may also be aimed at file sharing. But in all honesty it’s about making honest people pay multiple times if they want to enjoy their ‘media’ on multiple machines.

  9. educating politicians
    Obviously, the politicians really don’t know what’s in the bill, someone needs to take a printed copy, with problem areas highlighted and sit down with these guys over coffee, etc and seriously educate them. Right now it seems like we’re getting cast as a bunch of pirates who are scared that our free ride is ending. Show the politicians that there are some serious problems with the bill, without resorting to name calling, etc and who knows, maybe some of them will step away from the party punchbowl and realize it’s a bad bill and that we’re not just a bunch of kids whining that our freebies are going to dry up.

  10. Honesty
    And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know that the current federal government is a collection of liars, fools and bullies shilling for big business and selling this great country out to foreign interests. That Canada has sunk so low as to allow them into power is a tragedy of genuinely epic dimensions.

  11. Piracy, the better choice ™
    Regarding “And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!”

    Acquiring media without paying is not legal under today’s law, therefore, there is NO POINT TO MAKE IT MORE ILLEGAL – no such thing that it is more illegal or less illegal, it is simply illegal.

    But at the same time, it is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE by today’s norms. And when the norms highly diverge from the law, adopting a law that diverges even more with the norms is a path to failure.

    These hd dee-vee-dee vs blue ray (pun intented) battle is won by unprotected video files. All this, thanks to laws, that only punish consumers of legal media. In this case, piracy is actually the best choice ™:

    [ link ]

  12. Be honest Bev.
    “And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!”

    Well if Bev wants to be perfectly honest then he should say that bill C-61 was created not by Canadians but instead for and by the American interests that pushed for these changes, and the cowardly Conservative party didn’t have the backbone to stand up to them.

  13. E-mail to Shipley
    Dear Mr. Shipley,

    I’m a new media producer, and I’m also a member of Fair Copyright for Canada. While I’m not in your riding, I’m a bit concerned about some comments you made to a member of Fair Copyright for Canada.

    “And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!”

    This comment represents a misinformed view of where media is headed next over the next year or so, and also represents a generation gap between those that use new media and legislators. This is precisely the way of thinking that will hurt creator groups, and be very costly to our economy and the Canadian Tax Payer.

    Many of us new media producers, and the majority of our Canadian Musicians believe that our culture has changed. We are a sharing culture now. With devices that allow us to share media on a level we’ve never seen before. This sharing of media is expected to boom in 2009 with the implementation of new technologies in the mobile network industry. It is important that those who are responsible for changing laws FULLY understand what lies ahead.

    We need to monetize the use of file sharing not inhibit it. To put forth laws that inhibit file sharing will make Canadian Creators of new media, including musicians, film, tv, and software uncompetitive in the very near future.

    As Radio, and TV are “mediums” there is a growing movement globally within creators themselves that believe we should be treating the Internet as a medium. This voice is about to get overwhelmingly strong in the next several months. ISP’s have made record profits so far in 2008. They should be paying into a licence pool as many of our Radio and Television stations do, and properly compensate copyright holders as part of a media carriage system.

    As our songwriters have said in response to C-61: “Without a complete rebuild of the internet, file sharing cannot be stopped.”

    We need to learn from the mistakes other countries have made over the past 10 years. Many in the media industry have been hurting not because of the free for all online with regards to media, but because law makers are not listening and taking an active roll with regards to implementing laws that encourage growth and prosperity in these industries, and have a complete understanding of the media marketplace as it stands today.

    The best thing you can do to protect these industries is to understand what’s taken place in our society, and where the future lies. Then implement laws that accurately reflect this change. This is something had your government consulted with Canadian creator groups may have been implemented with C-61, instead we are in for another round of bastardizing the consumer which in turn will put us in new media through another decade of hard ship, something that the creators themselves will end up putting a stop to. Something that will be viewed very largely by the public. Because of this, the failure of C-61 to take into account creators interests in these industries will be quite well known within the Canadian Public within the next few months if not already.

    I invite you to read through the following e-book on the future of the music industry from a very well respected Researcher and Author Gerd Leonhard “The Media Futurist”: [ link ]

    The future of TV and Film can be summed up in these next links:

    [ link ]

    [ link ]

    I think after you read through and view this material, you’ll start to see just how misguided this comment you made is, and how uninformed you are about to look to your constituents. It’s time that we look forward, not backward in this debate. It’s also time that those representing in Ottawa become aware of the future of these industries, or Canadians will be left behind and continue to hurt from all of this as Bill C-61 will strongly do so.

    I hope that you offer up a public apology to your constituents on the comment you made, because in September and months forward, it’s going to be ever increasingly hard to retract that comment and hold on to your seat during the next election.

  14. Wow. Unlike James Rajotte’s letter (which again, credit where credit’s due, was informed and lucid) this is a great example of why politicians who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about should just use the same damn letter that everyone else is sending. I commend Bev Shipley’s desire to communicate personally on this topic. But in this instance, all she’s managed to communicate is her ignorance.

    I do wish all politicians were this honest. I’ll give Shipley that much. If there all spoke this directly, it would make it way easier to cull out the dumb ones.

  15. weak democracy
    Those kind of answers show you how misinformed and ignorant our politicians are. It is a shame they are paid to guide and rule a country. This is the ultimate proof that politics as it is it is just a farce and the system needs to be modernized. Voting in or out a party is not enough. There must be an auto defense mechanism that does not allow a government to make irreparable damages. Laws that would affect the majority of people shouldn’t be tabled without a broad consultation with all the subjects involved. Ultimately the population should have a tool such as a referendum with which people could ultimately decide to accept a bill or to kill it definitely. That is what makes a democracy strong. What kind of democracy has Canada right now?

  16. Donald Trump/The "Donald"/Go says:

    Not one MP actually writes consituency letters. It is a young intern or office assistant who wrote the letter above, and it just shows that whoever signed off on the letter, simply didn’t care to read it! This is nothing more than a fawled letter written by someone who is simply filling in during summer hours.

    What this means— that a letter from an MP means nothing, and should not be studied in detail…

    and the Rajotte letter—he didn’t write that one either!

    Everyone here needs to give their head a shake before diving into these letters point by point.

  17. I do not think so
    If they did not write those letters but they signed them they are still responsible for what is written in them hence it doesn’t make any difference. If I was a MP I would not let a “young intern” to ruin my reputation (and I think they don’t do either) especially in an age (the digital age) where what you say or what you write would never be forgotten.

  18. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    Did that reply cost $120,000?
    If Bev were the Finance Minister, I bet that letter would have cost Canadians a pretty penny, but hey we would have “gotten good value for our dollar”…

    If you don’t know what I am talking about, watch CPAC and keep an eye open for the smug loudmouth on the Conservative bench who never answers questions when he is asked, but who has no problems spending $120,000 for a single speach.

    We Canadians may be very understanding and stable people, but there will come a point where this foolishness pushes us too far. I hope I am already dead when our society, like all others in human history, fails. However, I may be alive when we run out of fossil fuels…

    Ignorance is no excuse to create legislations that will make millions of normal Canadians CRIMINALS…

  19. Dafydd Hughes says:

    “And let’s be perfectly honest about what is going on here – you know and I know the issue is not about making a back up copy of a CD or a DVD. It is about file sharing and acquiring media people do not pay for!”

    Wow. That’s about the most offensive thing an MP could say – to tell a constituent what’s really on their mind? Give me a break.

  20. what is offensive?
    What is offensive is the arrogance, ignorance and misinformation of politicians. Since this bill is going to change everybody life I would like that politicians at least have the decency to know what they are talking about and the real reason why we have to suffer the consequences. If someone tells that to fight prostitution the solution is to cut all men penis you would be less sarcastic.

  21. fredflinstone401 says:

    Be honest
    Lu, you are dead right… I listened to that buffoon Prentice bobbing and weaving in a telephone interview the other day and this idiot is absolutely clueless on C-61.. typical characteristics of Harper minister