61 Reforms to C-61, Day 21: TPMs – No Exception to Protect Minors

An exception that surprisingly is not included in Bill C-61's anti-circumvention provisions is an exception to protect minors.  How does this arise in the context of copyright?  One obvious example are parents who wish to stop their children from watching certain scenes in a movie.  There are services such as ClearPlay that purport to edit out sex, violence, and profanity from regular DVD movies.  Regardless of one's view of such practices, surely it ought to be the right of a parent who has purchased the DVD edit a scene for their family's personal viewing purposes.  Yet under Bill C-61, a parent who wants to shield their children from such content risks violating the law in order to do so.

Creating an explicit exception for the protection of minors is fairly common in other countries.  Taiwan's anti-circumvention provisions include a blanket exception to protect minors (Article 80ter), while Singapore's Copyright Act features an exception to the anti-circumvention provision where the circumvention is "to prevent access by minors to any material on the Internet." There may well be other instances where a parent or school wishes to protect minors but faces the prospect of violating the law by circumventing a digital lock.  Canadians should not be placed in that position – the law needs an amendment to address this issue.


  1. working as intended says:

    working as intended
    working as intended if I say so myself…

    more lawsuits for Canadians!!! mwahahahahahha! (thats what some lawyer who presented this to Prentice was thinking I bet)

    Gotta sue them all!

  2. Unpickable locks
    Unfortunately, in the future we can expect to see unbreakable TPMs on most media. The technology exists, and will only get stronger and more widely applied. Merely allowing us the right to circumvent TPMs will be irrelevant, when our right to fair access is not enforced. TPMs, DRM, etc. need to be regulated in favour of our rights, or we simply won’t have any. Given how C-61 is designed to accomplish the exact opposite, parents wanting to excersize choice in the family won’t be the only losers.

    Protecting our rights to circumvention is only a half-way measure. Protecting our rights to fair use, regardless of what the future brings, is what we need.

    61 reforms are not enough.

  3. Knowledgable says:

    DRM, etc will *never* be unbreakable. The technology is flawed at a fundamental level. Just look at the movie Serenity (HD). The *very first day* it was released it’s encryption was broken and found its way onto the torrents.

    That’s why legal protections for such things don’t make any sense. All they do is punish users who legally purchased there movie/etc while doing nothing to prevent those that will download it. All that, and this prevents security researchers from studying such technology so that it gets improved (i.e. proving that its flawed). All such things are, is forcing people to sticking there heads in the sand, not allowing people to realise just how not protected the content really is.

    It’s unbreakable… don’t mind the man behind the curtain.

  4. When talking about DRM and encryption, one has to keep in mind that the key to unlock the encryption has to exist somewhere or be accessible to the device reading the media. Take for example HD dvds, the AACS encryption is actually AES encryption, which itself is for all intense and purposes impossible to crack. But that is not where the AACS was compromised, it was the keys that were compromised as they need to exist in every hd dvd player both hardware and software.

  5. faith in decryption
    ^ @ Knowledgable, I wish I could hold so much faith in our continued luck at getting past the locks. The fact is that although we have been able to break most TPMs and DRMs, there are certainly many available encryption technologies that are truly completely and permanently unbreakable. I should hope, for example, that the banking system is using them. The new BlueRay disks might even get there, since they have very extensible systems built in. There are also ever strengthening measures being implimented at all levels of computing hardware, from the OS through all the hardware from drives to the screen. It’s an ongoing battle, with massive effort from the other side. Furthermore, we haven’t seen the possibilities that WILL emerge in the future with all digital distribution. It opens up whole new possibilities for individualised encryption, and ultimately unbreakable locks. And remember too, there are many in-between cases where it may be technically possible to apply circumventions, but it is utterly beyond practical reach for 99.99999% of the public. That means they all lose their rights, likely on a corporate whim. Locked in hardware platforms like Tivo’s, Ebooks, game consols, cell phones, etc. all come to mind, especially when networked and required to “phone home” for regular “updates”. These are ways of the future, and it looks prety gnarly for most of the public, as far as rights goes. Finally, even if we actually can circumvent in all cases, I must ask at what cost? Should we really have to pay extra to exercise something as fundamental as fair use rights? Or does our government really just not care a damn how we get ground under the wheels of industry?

    I just can’t agree that it’s an acceptable bet to count on our ability to circumvent, in order to protect our rights. It’s a crazy gamble. Unless, like the big content industries, you want to argue against our rights, they need to come first, while the rights to block them must be limited. We are talking about laws to ready us for the future, after all. Don’t gamble with our rights going into it.

    61 reforms are not enough.

  6. Re: faith in decryption
    Exploder… you’ve been reading the colour glossies again, haven’t you? 🙂 If it can be encoded, it can be broken. It just depends on how much time and/or money you are willing to spend. There are two conditions, having access to the data stream, and to a lesser extent having access to the algorithm. If you don’t have access to the algorithm, it’ll take longer and cost more, but it can be done.

    All digital distribution is unlikely. The sizes of the downloads mean that using all digital distribution reduces the size of the potential audience to those who have high speed (3MBit+) internet available. For those who use dialup downloading music files isn’t always an option (especially if you can only get 26,400 bits per second or less), much less entire movies. And now that Bell, Rogers, etc are “shaping” the traffic…

    It is currently possible to do nearly individualized encryption, take for instance a PGP encrypted data stream. The encryption algorithm is well known, what changes is the encryption key. A similar method could be used, where the algorithm is published only with the player vendors, however it was that way with the AACS keys, and they were still compromised. Changing the algorithm for each stream would be expensive. In that case the stream must also incorporate the algorithm, meaning that the breaker has access to the algorithm. In the end, it may be technically, but not economically, feasible to do this.

    Back on topic, this all comes down to the publishers wanting to control what we see and hear. I would think the same thing that prevents this would prevent me from not showing the commercials that appear on DVDs, in particular the ones that I rent.

  7. Why?
    “Shurley it ought to”? I disagree. If I have the right to edit material for personal purposes, GREAT! If I have the right to edit material if I have a child and I limit my edits to naughty words, well, that just sucks.

  8. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    Sick of hearing it
    Just break the damned law if the government is stupid enough to pass it. Eventually, our well educated, well fed, and “free” population will say “enough is enough” and we’ll have a revolution, if laws continue to punish rather than protect.

    It’s what those who fought to protect our freedoms died for. In the end, that’s all that matter.

    If a law doesn’t make sense and the pariliment will not amend it, break that law. Society will protect you, eventually.

  9. Knowledgable says:

    Re: faith in decryption

    I wish I had your “faith” in theory… and it isn’t luck, it’s competence. The fact of the matter is that even IF the theory states that an encryption scheme is “unbreakable” there are implementation mistakes/limitations that make such theory impossible. For instance, there have been several reported weaknesses in different RSA implementations over the years not to mention the recent flaw(s) in Quantum Encryption. I’ll also point out that you aren’t talking about decryption, but rather Cryptanalysis. The content of course having to be decrypted to be viewed.

    What you don’t seem to realise is that even if the encryption method used is “unbreakable”, the implementation probably won’t be, not to mention that the actual encryption is NOT the only part of the system. As in, the attacker has to find ONE flaw to exploit, whereas the defender has to make sure that the ENTIRE system is flawless. This is an impossible feat; attacker’s (significant) advantage. Especially, when the attacker has access to the entire system.

    I’m also not betting on being able to circumvent DRM. How you got that I’ll never know. What I’m saying is that it is a flawed tech that will never achieve what it purports. Putting a artificial legal lock on it won’t prevent people from clicking the button to do it, nor will it prevent the research from being done. So, the legal lock doesn’t make sense. It’s wasted time and effort which increases the cost of media for everyone involved. Something, in which, the industry in the US has been moving away from for some time because of its massive failure. So, I’m rather amiss as to why it’s being protected in C-61 (much like the bill itself).

    @R. Bassett Jr.:

    Ya, Communism had that same line of thinking too. Look how that worked out. Don’t expect or depend on the Proles to protect you. That’s just profoundly naive.

    That isn’t to say that people won’t break the law. In fact, I fully expect IF this bill passes that it will be completely ignored. Like, say, it was (and continues to be) in the US.

  10. DRM
    I think it is generally understood that (in absence of laws granting additional effect) DRM and copy protection schemes are only intended to make it more expensive to do something, not impossible. What is impossible is to both secure the contents of a message and make it available to the public at the same time, but the process of accessing the content through non-prescribed means can made difficult enough that the casual user does not bother.

    Laws giving legal recognition to DRM seek to legislate away reality. There *is* no way to protect content. But it would be awfully convenient if there was. So we’re going to get some lawyers, guns and money, and you’re going to play make-believe, see?

  11. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    “That isn’t to say that people won’t break the law. In fact, I fully expect IF this bill passes that it will be completely ignored. Like, say, it was (and continues to be) in the US.”

    That is what I was refering to.

    On a more general note, sadly, I have very little faith that today’s Canadians would actually defend the sovernty of our nation if it were under direct and imminent threat; There is far too much apathy in our society.

  12. Darrell L Jackson says:

    Alarmed by bill c-61
    Hi Michael,
    Iam alarmed by the circumstances under Bill C-61, a parent who wants to shield their children from such content risks violating the law in order to do so. I try very hard to sheild my childern for these dangerous risks.