Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore: The iPadLock Minister?

Since his appointment as Canadian Heritage minister in 2008, James Moore has carefully crafted an image as "Canada's iPod Minister." Young, bilingual, and tech-savvy, Moore has expressed regular support for the benefits of the Internet and is always ready with a quick "tweet" for his many followers.  Yet as my op-ed in the Hill Times notes (HT version (sub required), homepage version), according to the scuttlebutt throughout the copyright community, Moore may be less iPod and more iPadlock. As the government readies its much-anticipated copyright package, Moore is said to be pressing for a virtual repeat of Bill C-61, the most anti-consumer copyright proposal in Canadian history.

Moore's about-face on copyright will come as a surprise to those who have heard his enthusiasm for new technology and the Internet.  In June 2009, Moore told Industry Minister Tony Clement's Digital Economy conference that "the old way of doing things is over.  These things are all now one. And it's great. And it's never been better. And we need to be enthusiastic and embrace this things."

Those comments were quickly followed by the national copyright consultation that generated thousands of responses, the majority of which called on the government to abandon the C-61 approach in favour of copyright rules that struck a better balance between the interests of creators and consumers.

In recent months, Moore seemed to support a more consumer friendly approach.  When NDP MP Charlie Angus introduced a private member's bill last month to extend the private copying levy to devices such as iPods, Moore was quick to lambaste the proposal as the iTax.  Heralded as an "iPod Freedom Fighter," Moore proclaimed the bill a serious threat to consumers.

Days later, Moore reserved judgment on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications broadcast policy decision that opened the door to a new fee-for-carriage system for local broadcast signals.  Once again, Moore adopted a pro-consumer position, indicating that his view on the decision would depend upon its consumer impact.

Moore's posturing won him few friends in the Canadian cultural community, with some suggesting that the Canadian Heritage minister should spend less time focusing on his iPod and more on Canadian artists.

The copyright bill may still be several weeks away, but reintroducing Bill C-61 with only minor tweaks – a bit more flexibility for recording television shows or transferring content from one format to another – would leave in place the core provisions of the bill that generated widespread discontent.  These include U.S.-style legal protection for digital locks known as anti-circumvention legislation and a rejection of the flexible fair dealing approach that attracted considerable support during the copyright consultation as a balanced, technology-neutral solution.

What is most surprising with this path is that there are solutions that would toughen Canadian copyright law and provide the flexibility that business, consumers, and creators say they need.

For example, virtually everyone agrees that Canada should implement the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties. Yet there is considerable flexibility in how those treaties are implemented. Indeed, just last week India, home to a thriving movie and technology market, tabled legislation designed to bring it into conformity with those treaties. The Indian approach – much like the earlier Canadian Bill C-60 – sought to maintain the copyright balance that exists offline in the online world.

Similarly, a growing number of countries – led by the United States – have adopted flexible fair dealing or fair use provisions that benefit creators, business, and consumers.  Flexible fair dealing based on existing Canadian jurisprudence would ensure a fair-for-all, not a free-for-all.

Last week, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage heard about the need to target bad actors.  Canadian law has many tools to do so, with major record labels having pressured some peer-to-peer sites offline (such as QuebecTorrent) and gearing up to challenge others in Canadian courts (isoHunt).

Recent experience indicates that the copyright bill isn't final until tabled, but after spending the summer of 2008 fighting Bill C-61 and the summer of 2009 revisiting copyright reform as part of the national consultation, copyright is unquestionably on the public radar screen.  Canadians had been promised a forward-looking, technology neutral approach, but they may soon find that someone has hit the delete button on those promises.  I'll be posting more in the coming days about what people can do – in the short term, I've launched a new Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook page (distinct from the group) that can be used to keep current and learn more about what can be done as events unfold.


  1. Is there any reason to even hope that the Canadian government is actually going to heed the voices of the majority of submissions from the 2009 consultation? Or was it really all just a farce?

  2. VancouverDave says:

    Sounds like his cheque from CRIA cleared….

  3. iDRM != tech savvy
    A heritage minister is considered tech savvy for using a digital rights restricted device while politically posturing himself as a iGadget lover? At the very least I would expect a sysadmin or anyone with a computer science background crafting legislation for our digital future. This is embarrassing.

    I have seen youtube clips of toddlers and senior citizens using iPads. I would argue users of that device are far from “tech savvy”.

    “iPadlock Master” is much more fitting.

  4. Robert Smits says:

    Need to be prepared
    Thanks, Michael.

    Looking at this government’s record on other fronts gives us very good reason to be very wary indeed of an even more repressive bill when it finally does come out. We need to be vigilant and ready to flood every MP with a message calling for fair copyright.

    Especially if it looks like we’re headed for a fall election.


  5. MG
    Opening up another Fair Copyright for Canada group may not be the greatest idea. Canadian will most likely flock to the original group, and local chapters when this bill comes out. Most of us who read your tweets and blog, rely mostly on these 2 sources to keep us up to date.

    The Conservatives must know the danger, or are ignoring it from releasing a C-61 style approach to copyright. Canadians will once again feel that their voices haven’t been heard by this government. It does sound like we’re headed for a fall election, so yet again this will be killed on the order paper anyway.

    The Conservatives have a funny way of bailing out on a huge number of important leadership issues. They keep killing their agenda’s through prorogation, and elections.

    My view is that any law that is anti-consumer will not be true to the economics at play. Even if passed through committee with no changes, all it will do is basically make law unenforceable. Without fully understanding the economics of the situation and continuing to prop up the old style thinking around IP, than creators and rights holders will see little difference in overall pay. Canadians want to see their creators thrive, but law must be realistic to the economics in order for it to be of any help. Sadly those that will come out in support of this bill, will probably not be around in 5 years anyway.

    The market has changed, very few who are in business still have yet to learn the lessons for not following that market. The faces of each effected industry will change as a result. Businesses have already adapted without IP reform, and are almost on the heels of those who haven’t adapted. Another few years and we should start to see big players who are anti-consumer start dropping like flies.


  6. Preheating the oven for ACTA?
    A warmed over C-61 will make Canadian compliance with ACTA possible without major changes to Canadian law.
    The changes will have already been made.

    Pretty sad where all this is heading.

  7. In the words of Justin Trudeau “It’s much easier to divide people, than it is to bring them together”. We so seriously need a leader here in Canada that will bring the country together. It’s unfortunate none of the leaders in power have the capability nor the know-how. Canadians need to stand together and demand a change in our political system from all leaders. This maybe the issue that does this if the public feels their voices have not been heard.

  8. WIPO
    Some people may support adopting the WIPO treaties, I personally think it would be a huge mistake. I also think that the screamers (United States) should look to their own implementation, and come up with a plan to come into real compliance with the treaty.

  9. Devin Baines says:

    Fingers Crossed
    There are numerous possible reasons for these rumours. This town thrives on them, and many in the copyright world stand to benefit from spreading this kind ot stuff.

    I’m keeping my powder dry until I see the bill.

  10. Jack Robinson says:

    Heritage or Hi-jack?
    Bill C-61, in my estimation based upon my slippery grasp of it’s serpentine, trip-wired with liabilty consequences for anyone accessing, sharing or achiving Corporate-owned and distributed media of virtually ANY KIND without paying for the privelage… is clearly intended as a potentially punitive mechanism to harass, censor and prosecute free-ranging citizens that the New Rome Regime finds subversive to it’s Neo Condrethal Agenda.

    And that it’s resurfacing like Tsar Sands methane on the cusp of ACTA’s closed door consecration is a Homer Simpson no-brainer slam-dunk.

    Start rippin’ your treasures to the vault, kidz… the Greed Gestapo’s got yer DNS in their Fatboy Registry’s cross-hairs.

  11. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Sadly apt.
    Not too happy with the The iPadLock Minister.

  12. @Devin Baines
    Agreed. I’ve worked in places which seemed to go by the credo “If you haven’t heard a good rumour by noon, start one”.

    What is the stock prices of the publishers doing? Is it going up? And aren’t we approaching the end of the fiscal year for many companies (certainly we are or the one I work for). Rumours such as this can be self-serving in that they can be used to drive up the stock price in time for the AGMs, giving the corporate execs bonuses.

    The other possibility is that the rumour is released by the government to use it to gauge public opinion… The Chretien government used to do this all the time… So, I’ll wait to pass judgment until such time as we see any legislation.

  13. Sandy Crawley says:

    Executive Director, Professional Writers Association
    Whatever the federal government can do to strike a balance in favour of protecting the intellectual property of creators in the copyright bill will be welcome indeed. The concept of a users rights is flawed to begin with. The ownership of a digital communications device should not be construed as a license to download any and all content free of charge. An appropriate analogy would be that all owners of automobiles are entitled to fuel, free of charge.

  14. Actually, if you really want a car analogy, it’s more like owners of cars should being entitled to repair them on their own instead of being required by law to take them to an authorized dealer.

    New laws prohibiting copy protection circumvention will not stop people from downloading stuff illegally, the people who would be most heavily affected are honest consumers who wish to enjoy material they have legally paid for but can’t because of circumstances that the publisher didn’t anticipate and are not equipped to respond to.

  15. strunk&white says:

    anonymous — tell me, what are you buying when you download a song (legally)?

    If what you want to be buying is the right to use that song always and forever on whatever media is invented from now until the end of time, plus the right to share it as many times and through as many new perfect copies as you like, on as many new devices may be invented, etc., etc., then I would guess the price of that song will need to go up, like, a lot.

    You are not buying a song — you are buying one single copy of a song, with attached restrictions. This has NEVER been not true.

    If we are to have a fair and true conversation about everyone’s rights, we have to start at the real starting line. You want more; you’ll have to pay for more. Otherwise our cultural “balance” gets way out of whack.

    I don’t mind so much talking about user rights — I just think the expectations of what those rights are have been grossly and irresponsibly exaggerated.

  16. Sandy,

    That’s a terrible analogy. The right to make copies, at your own expense, of something already in your possession, and the right to use something you lawfully own however you wish is nothing at all like the right to demand access to someone else’s fuel supply at their expense. The continued dishonesty (or is it just cluelessness) of equating the copying of infinitely reproducible content with the theft of scarce physical goods serves only to alienate creators from the users (AKA customers) whose needs they ostensibly are in business to serve.

    We all work hard, and we all deserve to make a living, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. If you work in an entrepreneurial business, one of the realities is that you have to risk losing big in order to have a chance of winning big, but either way, you have to play by the rules. Competition is tough and brutal, and no one is owed a set of rules that benefits any particular individual or industry at the expense of the public good.

    That said, I don’t think anybody wants to see professional writers, artists, musicians and other creators go out of business. We want the content they produce; we are willing to pay a certain amount for it; and we are generally willing to give up certain limited freedoms in order to facilitate that. Copyright law ought to be a framework that gives professionals the incentive to create while at the same time preserving the ability of users to make use of those creations in ways they see fit: not the ways rights (really, privilege) holders deign to allow. Copyright is first and foremost about enriching the public; the enrichment of creators is a means to that end, but nobody is entitled to make a living in the manner of their choosing.

  17. for Rothschild, the world is not enough. they wanted the internet, so they bought it. it was fun while it lasted

  18. If we do see something along the lines of C-61 enacted, I suggest a display of mass civil disobedience. Organized, coordinated nation wide rallies where everyone brings with them a single item. That item would be a cheap USB thumb drive containing the copy of some or all of the contents of a DVD that the person already *legally* owns (i.e. the person ripped the contents of a DVD that he or she legally owns). We then dare the powers-that-be to enforce the law they foisted on us. If nothing else, it could be a heck of a headline grabber.

  19. @Sandy
    “The ownership of a digital communications device should not be construed as a license to download any and all content free of charge. An appropriate analogy would be that all owners of automobiles are entitled to fuel, free of charge.”

    A more appropriate analogy is that owners of automobiles didn’t end up with horse shoes for wheels at the end of the industrial revolution. If creators want to get paid, then it’s up to industry to adapt to new payment scheme’s around the digital environment, most notably monetize the networks. Forcing payment scheme’s that are now obsolete won’t work, and will not work. The economics nor the marketplace will not allow it. It’s obsolete.

    Good luck on selling the concept of user rights is flawed to the Canadian public. That’s probably the worst thing you can say to a voting public that’s basically in charge of determining where this debate goes, and what happens to said industries. That’s quite the bright mood, but expected when it’s virtually taken from a label owner who appeared in front of a committee hearing last week, who can’t promote or sell product even if IP reforms were in place.

  20. To those who say when I buy a CD with some songs on it that I am not buying the songs, but rather a copy of those songs with a number of (rather stringent) restrictions:
    1) I never explicitly agreed to those restrictions. Heck, I never even implicitly agreed to them, as there were absolutely no requirements placed on the purchase of the CD except for the ability to pay for it.
    2) It really isn’t anybody’s business what I do with my private property in the privacy of my own home for my own personal use. To mangle a quote: there’s no place for the state in the entertainment rooms of the nation.

  21. @Sandy cont…
    “The ownership of a digital communications device should not be construed as a license to download any and all content free of charge”

    BTW the same argument was made when radio’s and TV’s were introduced, but industry adapted and brought in business models that today the creative community wouldn’t be able to survive without.

  22. @Strunk:
    “If what you want to be buying is the right to use that song always and forever on whatever media is invented from now until the end of time” Yes
    “…plus the right to share it as many times” No… not without explicit permission. Copying for personal use can easily be argued to not impact any real rights of the copyright holder, but when you factor any form of distribution to other into it, the copyright holder’s rights begin to be eroded. People might argue that if you allow personal use copying, people will abuse it and distribute anyways are overlooking that such people will continue to do so regardless of any laws that are instituted. Again, only honest consumers are affected.

  23. Mr. La heh says:

    I spotted this via the twitter feed. Made me chuckle a bit.

    Dr. Geist sez:
    “C-61 the sequel? Cdn gov’t may be preparing same digital lock provisions, no flexible fair dealing.”

    Now, I think most realized this based on the self important ipad ministers reply to Charlie Angus in regards to the levy. I mean if peoples eyes didn’t open then, then i dunno. Maybe Charlie Angus needs to start drawing pictures for people.

    Writing was, and is, on the wall.

  24. @Mr. La heh
    “Now, I think most realized this based on the self important ipad ministers reply to Charlie Angus in regards to the levy.”

    Than let’s get to it! Just a reminder might want to pay attention to a little thing called the Digital Economy Bill in the UK, and how that’s had a dramatic effect on the elections already over there. If the con’s want to make the same mistake and underestimate the public’s resolve on this issue, “they will have some esplainin to do”, in the middle of a lobby scandal. Classic conservative policy thinking tough.

  25. Yeah right…
    Executive Director, Professional Writers Association
    “The ownership of a digital communications device should not be construed as a license to download any and all content free of charge”

    Thats not at all what this is about. This is about locking peoples devices and using DRM to control their content and extort money from them. This doesn’t just apply to content anymore. It applies to everything. They can even use DRM on things like replacement batteries and charge ridiculous prices since anti circumvention kills the aftermarket.

    Do you honestly thing DRM anti circumvention laws will stop piracy? The counterfeit music/film industry is huge in many parts of the world and there are plenty of people there who will find ways to break your DRM for money. Once its on the net its free for everyone. Doesn’t matter how they get it.

    …and your car analogy doesn’t work because Gas is a limited resource, while information is infinite.

  26. strunk&white says:

    So Sandy, this is how it works. You suggest a perfectly good analogy to make a point about the creative economy, and folks here go into overdrive to question the analogy while ignoring the principle behind it.

    I get what you mean, I think. Enjoy using your car without the fuel to run it. Enjoy using your content device without the content. There’s a lot of talk here about infinitely reproducable and infinitely available content, which are fantasy products when newness and professionalism are required. Absolutely, enjoy all the public-domain books and free self-published works on your e-reader. Go wild. But if you want a continued flow of professional content, creators need to be paid, and paid well enough to have the sustained professional time to create. If you can come up with something to pay us other than royalties, we’re all ears.

    It’s Jason K. who baffles me the most over here. Monetize the networks? What do you think the creative sector is trying to do? How can you monetize a network with any reliable efficiency when unregulated sharing drives the price of content to zero?

    Jim R. – read the copyright notice on the back of your CDs and at the beginning of your DVDs. You sure-as-shootin’ DID agree to those restrictions. It was part of the bargain you made to purchase those things for the price offered. Claiming you didn’t know about it is pretty lame.

    DRM on devices is a complete red herring. You all love open devices, and you claim the entire consuming public will demand them — this in the face of ridiculous iPad-mania. Who is ignoring reality here?

    If you have such faith in open devices and their worth on the market, for goodness sake invest in the production and sale of a competitive open device for the iPad. You’ll be billionaires in no time, and you can sit in your Italian villas and laugh at Sandy and me and all the rest of the poor schlub creators who expect to make money from content.

    In the meantime, it looks like we have some hard-nosed industrial collective bargaining to do with Apple — and that would be a lot easier to do, frankly, if you consumers provided them with some real competition that involved money to creators.

  27. Sandy Crawley, Executive Director, Professional Writers Association
    Actually, there is no ownership of digital devices anymore.

    Because Apple owns iPods and iPads, not the user.

  28. Private Infringer says:

    Money speaks, I donate to Wikileaks
    As you all know, money speaks more than anything else. Luckily, I have money, and would like to contribute it to groups like Wikileaks, Tor Project or EFF. These groups have proper capacity to expose wrongdoings happening in the governments and corporate circles around the world. Do you know of similar Canadian groups? Tax-deductibility of donations would be a nice bonus, but not required.

  29. “How can you monetize a network with any reliable efficiency when unregulated sharing drives the price of content to zero?”

    Not true. Radio and TV were able to throw a value onto free content, in the same way content on the net should be valued. We can track the success of a production online, in much the same way users are tracked and hunted down for law suites. Viewers and listeners = sponsorship and money. Promotion and distribution of content have never been easier. The world is your stage, or the world is your enemy. I prefer the stage, much more money to be made. But that’s my choice as a creator and rights holder.

  30. Captain Hook says:

    Wow you folks have been busy today.

    “So Sandy, this is how it works. You suggest a perfectly good analogy to make a point about the creative economy, and folks here go into overdrive to question the analogy while ignoring the principle behind it.

    I get what you mean, I think. Enjoy using your car without the fuel to run it. Enjoy using your content device without the content.”

    Your (her) analogy presumes that there is not a free source of fuel available. With a car I can use solar (if it is electric), or otherwise make my own if I so desire. Your car and fuel analogy is incomplete unless you also mention that I can only buy fuel from you.

    As I’ve said before if media businesses really want to lock down their media, they can already do that by owning the players themselves and then leasing them out to their customers. Then contract law can be used to protect the contents rather than copyright law. There is no need to take away my right to control my property for you to control yours, if you protect it with contract law. If the government protects your property for you through copyright law, then I loose my rights to control my property. THAT IS NOT FAIR!

  31. Over the past 2 years in traditional media the ad market tanked, in large part due to investors and sponsors wanting a piece of the digital market, but traditional media refused for years to move forward with digital content in large part due to wanted IP reforms.

    Watch Parts 1 – 3

    Canadians are now facing what pretty much amounts to an industry bail out with fee for carriage, due to the fact that industry has been pathetically slow to the point when investors themselves took action on the traditional ad market.

    As a result over the past year, we are seeing massive amounts of changes with respect to traditional media online. Entire shows can be viewed online and in some cases streamed in HD. This happened without IP reforms in Canada. Creators and politicians are getting duped into believing that before investment can occur, that IP reforms are needed. Those “assumptions” are incorrect.

    IP reform has had very little effect of the pocket books of creators even in countries where IP reform has taken place. This has more to do with a failing monopoly, and loss of control over the marketplace they once had, than it does with creators overall pay. In fact the US has way more of a percentage of file sharers than we do. Nothing will change for creators if policy doesn’t reflect the realities of the marketplace and economics at play, rather than try to force it’s people through “deterrence” which have had very little effect globally, and basically render law irrelevant once again. Let them have their IP reforms. IP reform maybe represents less than 2% of the problems these industries face, and there’s probably not enough time anymore for those who haven’t adapted yet, to have any chance in hell succeeding in the next 5 years.

  32. The video I was trying to reference is here:

    Watch Parts 1 – 3

  33. Dallas Hockley says:

    @Sandy – so how is the consumer protected?
    If the rights are for one device and one copy on that device, is the consumer ensured that the format will always be playable and that device supported? No. That’s the ignored issue that I see. DRM combined with the restrictive rights you espouse result in every one of us needing to repurchase the digital library we accumulate whenever our device becomes obsolete and breaks, or more dangerously as we cannot circumvent or transfer formats as you state, whenever the *industry decides they want us to*. Combine that with control like the Kindle has that can remotely remove content sold to the consumer, and this is a complete disaster for the consumers, but also for the content creators when they selectively or collectively betray the trust of their customers (again) and cause people to willfully circumvent these restrictions rather than accede to a cash grab.

    User rights historically lasted for decades, like the album or even the cassette tape. Those formats endured. Windows “Plays for Sure” is the unfortunate reality of the C-61/DMCA situation, and you are advocating that anyone that bought into that has lost their money and their content and needs to repurchase all those works they bought simply because the one company behind the technology couldn’t make the business model work. Like the banks, you will have the consumers pay for the corporation’s mistakes.

    Artists are paid to create, and live to create. Only companies looking for continuous revenue streams want to resell the exact same content repeatedly to the same person. Artists and progressive companies at least add value, be that as trivial as digital mastering and cleanup of old vinyl to CD or DVD HD-Audio, or adding in the video clips of the band. Resell it again, but add value to the content.

  34. In fact if you look at this from a logical perspective, as I said earlier industry has the ability to track and enumerate productions online. I do this with my content quite successfully. By proposing law that will try to deter users from these networks, users will adapt so that content becomes untrackable. Which basically means potentially billions worth of losses, and billions worth of creators potential earnings pissed down the tubes due to the fact that enumeration may be impossible if we end up with tough IP reforms, which forces the activity of file sharing in that direction, rather than monetizing it and allowing the act to continue. Creators need to becarful what they wish for, from the sounds of they will get it.

  35. strunk&white says:

    Okay, Captain Hook. When you drive up to my house in the solar car that you built yourself from scratch, your point will be made.

    I await your arrival. In the meantime, I continue to honour content creators and those who distribute them. Good analogy, Sandy.

  36. Captain Hook says:

    No whitey. Not “Good analogy”

    I should not have to build my own car to be able able to tinker with it. I should not have to build my own portable media device in order to tinker with it. If I buy it, I own it. If you don’t want me to tinker with it, then YOU buy it instead, and change me rent for using it as well as for your over priced content.

    The tools exist already for you to use any sort of DRM lock-in business method you want. All it requires is for you to take ownership the media equipment as well. I should not have to subsidise your business model by paying for equipment that I never actually get to control.

    There is no moral justification for DRM protection in copyright law. It is quite literally taking away my real private property rights to subsidise your business model.

  37. It’s been said above already by others that stricter laws about what you can do with copyrighted works won’t stop people from infringing on copyright, because it’s worth noting that these people are, in fact, infringing on copyright and breaking the law already, so why would a new law inhibit them?

    Advocates of such laws might think that if you outlaw the devices that these people use to break the law, the problem might be partially addressed, but I fear that this perspective is looking at the situation with blinders on, only seeing the expected goal and not what unintended consequences may arise as a result. The far bigger problem is that honest consumers will be, en mass, subject to the whims of the publisher when it comes to accessing the content. They will not be able to format shift it to their iPad without permission. They will not be able to watch it in 10 years when technology has moved so fast that the only devices on which it could have been watched are obsolete. In additional to essentially legislating what sort of technologies are allowed to be developed in the future, this proposal, is, essentially, the equivalent of content producers telling consumers that the industries know what is best for the consumer, and the consumers better damn well like it.

    It is hardly an unreasonable expectation for consumers that, when dealing with copyrighted content that they have legally acquired, that they should be entitled to access that content at their own convenience, and not that of the publisher. But proposals like bill C-61 and any others that endeavor to outlaw circumvention without regards to the underlying purpose render such a notion to be utterly unobtainable *EXCEPT* when the copyright holder actually grants such permissions (which again, is at the publisher’s whims, not really the consumers). Consumers, I fear, will not sit still and take this quietly…. and will be far more likely to go ahead and break the law behind closed doors, acquiring the necessary technology to accomplish it illegally if they have to. The end result will be by and large what we already have now… except that honest consumers that _don’t_ want to break the law will be at the mercy and whims of the copyright holder – a grossly unfair situation, and only but one of the starker examples of the unintended consequences of such an ammendment to copyright law in Canada.

    I agree that epidemic copyright infringement happening on the Internet is a problem, and something probably should be done to attempt to address it. But this proposal is not the way – it’s a cure that’s worse than the disease because in reality, it doesn’t solve any real problems. At best it might even placate some people because they might feel that at least they are doing something. But it’s not any sort of real solution, and only creates a host of new problems that, in my opinion, are much more significant, because they affect so many people.

  38. Character Assassination based on “scuttlebutt”? Hold your horses.
    Woah, woah, woah. Before we throw this guy under the bus, let’s look at the facts…

    He’s been taking pro-consumer, pro-citizen views in all sorts of public fora. He’s acknowledged as being up-to-date, and good at his job.

    And then “scuttlebutt” says that he may be reintroducing C-61? Scuttlebutt?

    That’s a little thin to base a character assassination over.

  39. strunk&white says:

    Chris H-C — welcome to the ugly politics of fair copyright, where presumptive guilt rules. No better way to populate a Facebook page than to raise the alert level to orange. “Bill C-61 is coming back!” “To the virtual barricades!”

    And if anyone disagrees, the comment section will take care of them with their own version of character assassination — “Yer a troll!”

    It’s a winning formula… I guess.

  40. Sandy Crawley says:

    Dallas Hockley/Strunk&White
    I wasn’t advocating for DRMs in particular and I’m ecumenical on the issue of methods of compensation for content owners. But perhaps you reject the concept that an artist owns their own work. I maintain that, just because a technology has the capacity to make a perfect copy it is still fundamentally that, a copy.

    And yes, Strunk&White, I’m picking up on the mean spirits that technological triumphalism seems to conjure in its acolytes. The tone of the discourse reminds me of the faithful followers of the Church of Pure Market Forces whose latest miracle seems to be the cause of a global recession…but I digress.

  41. For yet further proof that DRM causes nothing but inconvenience for legal, paying customers, see

    Content providers aren’t psychic – they simply can’t possibly think of every possible circumstance in advance. Criminalizing unauthorized circumvention of protections the creators put in place only furthers hinders honest customers.

    it’s a growing micro trend that enlightened consumers are buying fair trade coffee and other goods because they want the growers and producers who struggle to subsist receive a fair return for their labour and risk taking.

    artists, writers and musicians deserve the same kind of enlightened support. pay full price for FAIR TRADE ART.

    copying is theft when the artist is not getting the benefit for their creativity and hard work.

  43. @
    “I wasn’t advocating for DRMs in particular and I’m ecumenical on the issue of methods of compensation for content owners.”

    I know of no one in the business community who patronize their main source of income than runs to government to basically force a solution. Most businesses look at market data, and understand the economics of the situation to better adapt product and methods of compensation. Even with IP reform present in different countries, the content industry has been pathetically slow at this when they used to be so good at adapting to change, and developing products around the marketplace. The market is predictable, and investors are ready. They have been for years. IP is needed in the professional realm, but basically unenforceable with respect to the consumer side of things, and only serves to alienate the bread and butter for content creators.

    If we’re talking about methods of compensation for content owners, the first thing content owners need to do is to stop biting at the hand that feeds them, otherwise no one should take any truth to your statement I quoted above.

    It’s not logical to go to war with the very people that support your industry. It’s doomed to fail, no matter what we get from IP reform.

  44. strunk&white says:


    It’s your rhetoric, and the rhetoric of others here, only that invokes a war on consumers. Creative industries are not going to war with anyone — we are simply asking for a leagl framework within which we can confidently work towards answering consumer demand.

    So, if we’re not declaring war, who is? I’d say torrent sites, mod-chip developers and aggregators like Google have been making some bold declarations (often by form letter).

    I have NOTHING against consumers who are genuinely interesting in accessing creative content within a market economy. I have a lot of issues with people who use illegally obtained free content to further their own businesses.

  45. @strunk&white
    “Creative industries are not going to war with anyone”

    I could bring up thousands of examples of that around the globe. It’s widely accepted even by the independents looking at this debate that has occurred. I’m not the one with the credibility problem there whitey, you’re our resident troll here.

  46. @strunk&white
    I am for IP reform especially in the professional world, but one that doesn’t decimate the marketplace due to a lack of understanding of what is taking place economically, nor one that will give the false impressions that creators rights are some how protected.

    The mod chip developers, I don’t agree with, but coming from a tech background there needs to be clear definitions of this. For instance, as an analysts we have to modify existing technology to ensure interoperability with our clients systems. That doesn’t mean running to the store and buying a mod chip, it means that the action of modding a system should not be dictated by the entertainment or content industries, nor should the use of DRM, which may in effect have a devastating and expensive impact on SME’s if analysts like myself are forced in the professional world to comply even though existing licenses to software where purchased.

    As for Google, well that’s an example of a company who has innovated and is paying content creators, complies with DMCA regulations, and IP reforms that have been put into place in the US and around the globe. Google should be making bold declarations, it’s companies like google who innovate that should be dictating IP reform, not the content industries who for the most part, can seem to figure out how to innovate or compensate talent for that matter within the marketplace they are faced with.

  47. @strunk
    Do you have issues with a consumer wanting to be able to access material that he has legally bought and paid for at his own convenience, or do you think that should be at the whim of the copyright holder as well? What is the consumer even buying if the latter is the case? The “privilege” of being told when and where they can use something they were under the impression they had already bought it? If that’s the case, wow… just… wow.

  48. @Sandy Crawley
    Hi Sandy,

    I’m a content producer and rights holder, representing artists in the new media industry. I have a few things I wish to chime in here about.

    You said:

    “But perhaps you reject the concept that an artist owns their own work”

    Sandy, this isn’t the argument at all in fact this statement is rather misleading. Artists often sign their ownership rights to intermediaries like myself. Very few artists own their own work. If it was about artists owning their own work we would be in discussion about contract law, not IP reform.

    I’m more interested in what you meant by this statement than anything else:

    “The concept of a users rights is flawed to begin with”

    Are you advocating that you believe users rights should be non existent, or are you advocating that maybe within law, we need to define the term user rights?

  49. strunk&white says:

    Jason — to refute my point about your rhetoric, you point me to similar rhetoric. Very effective.

    I repeat:

    I have NOTHING against consumers who are genuinely interesting in accessing creative content within a market economy. I have a lot of issues with people who use illegally obtained free content to further their own businesses.

  50. @strunk&white
    “I have NOTHING against consumers who are genuinely interesting in accessing creative content within a market economy.”

    The market economy also includes P2P now. In fact I know many artists and labels who do release stuff on P2P with the expectation it will be shared, including myself with the legal permission to do so.

    Many businesses use P2P to further their own business, not necessarily using or profiting off of “illegal works”, but using the P2P networks as a means of promotions for the artists. If done properly it can have a very positive effect on digital sales, and interest in artists. Many labels actually scout the P2P networks for new talent now a days anyway. I know many who are members within the CRIA, and who have business with these labels who do this, and often times it ends up making money for member the member labels.

    So I guess strunk&white that you are against the new market economy? So it’s only left to a few creator groups now to determine how we run our businesses, what’s legal and illegal. That doesn’t really seem fair to me considering I’m a competitor.

  51. @strunk&white
    In fact the P2P networks whether a legal or illegal download has actually put Canadian talent on the global stage like never before. There is a tremendous amount of positive promotions that comes with file sharing that has had a direct impact on sales globally.

    The IFPI announced Avril Lavigne (a member of the CMCC) was the top selling digital artist in 2007. Ms. Lavigne is starkly against measures against users who share her works. In fact she was active in helping a child in the US who was sued for sharing her works. Ms. Lavigne paid off her legal bills.

  52. @strunk&white
    Another example, is the electronic artists Deadmau5. This kid started out making his first song, which he made as a dare and a joke. Threw it on the torrent sites, it became wildly popular, then decided to sell it at digital stores. This song was the highest selling track in quite a few of the digital stores that cater to electronic music. He’s now signed with Nettwerk Music group, has several Grammy’s and Juno’s under his belt and from the looks of his apartment in Calgary, he’s fairly well off for someone who started on the P2P networks.

    Ones perception of file sharing differs in the creative community. While others see it as the enemy, others have adapted and are using it legally to further their careers. Those that will survive are those that have a head start, and who have adapted to it. Nothing will change that. Let the mighty fall, and take their misinformed talent with them.

  53. strunk&white says:

    Who said I was against legal filesharing? I fileshare legally. I have put my own work on the Internet for free sharing.

    Legal filesharing implies and requires author choice. Illegal filesharing does not. Enter copyright law.

  54. @strunk&white
    “I fileshare legally”

    No you don’t. There currently isn’t a public list of creative talent that supports file sharing, and those who are against. There’s about a 99.9% probability you have shared illegally. You basically have to, in order to effectively learn how to promote within that community properly. So if you’re saying you throw your work up on P2P and have never illegally shared you are full of B/S.

  55. had him self a mendelson lunch ?

  56. strunk&white says:

    Wow. “No you don’t.” That’s the best rebuttal I’ve ever read on this blog.
    Taking a bath makes you wet. Let’s see what you can do with that one.

    There are more files shared in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    Wondrous strange, I know.

  57. strunk&white says:

    I responded — it was held for moderation. It’s brilliant, so wait for it.

  58. Chad, not all filesharing is illegal. Not even remotely. There is an abundance of freely available content that it is perfectly legal for anybody to share. Further, it is legal for a copyright holder to distribute his own works on the internet, which is yet another example of legal filesharing. Far from niche, legal filesharing is, in fact, how the internet actually began.

  59. @Anonymous
    “Chad, not all filesharing is illegal.”

    I’m not disputing that at all, what I’m saying is, that really in order to effectively promote on the filesharing networks you have to have a basic understanding how that’s done, through scene release groups, through .nfo files, and how to package everything together as far as promo is concerned.

    “Far from niche, legal filesharing is, in fact, how the internet actually began.”

    No actually the net was developed as an uncontrollable military communication tool by the US military in the cold war, in order to basically securely communicate with military hardware around the globe and in space. File sharing actually pre-dates the internet as far as before consumer access, on local BBS sites back in the day.

  60. TropicalCoder says:

    In defense of artistic freedoms
    Hitler reacts to the Hitler parodies being removed from YouTube. This hilarious and ingenious parody reflects infinitely upon itself like an image between opposing mirrors. The irony is that it itself is under threat of removal, as is this link.

  61. Imagine this scenario
    There’s a new invention, called a knife. The Meat suppliers say that you can buy a knife, any knife, but you simply can’t use it to cut up the products sold by their organization. You have to buy an authorized meat knife.

    This analogy is not far from how I see the whole digital rights battle.

    Here’s my solution. I bought the music. I own it. And I will use it how ever I want. And anyone who tells me otherwise is encouraged to go jump in the river. And if they persist in trying to prevent me from using my knifes for what ever I want, we will get together with our friends and throw these lawyered-up cretins into the lake. Again and again if necessary.

    If you live beside a copyright laywer, send them a message. With a rock through their window. Shun them here there and everywhere. Shun their kids and their wives and their parents. These lower forms of life are vermin of the first degree.

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