The Bloc on C-32: Only Consumers Suffer Frustration From Digital Locks

After a post on the Bloc's position on three strikes, I was contacted by Bloc Heritage critic MP Carole Lavallée, who wanted to clarify her position on the government's copyright bill.  She provided a detailed response that argues that three strikes is worth considering and expressess doubt about the value of placing digital locks at the foundation of the new copyright bill. Lavallée notes that digital locks do little for creators and create considerable harm and frustration for consumers.  She adds that WIPO is an obsolete approach, advocating instead for the introduction of a levy system.

It should be noted that this suggests that all three opposition parties have now expressed concern with C-32's digital lock provisions. The NDP have been outspoken in their opposition and Liberal critic Marc Garneau has indicated that the bill is missing an exception to allow consumers to break locks for private, non-commercial purposes.  With the Bloc now stating that locks are not a solution, the minority Conservatives will need to find a compromise in order to pass the bill.

Her full response – posted with permission – is below:

The Bloc Québécois will analyze the bill within the framework of four principles:

– paying artists for their work;
– encouraging the distribution of their works on all platforms;
– severely punishing professional pirates to deter their activities;
– promoting public awareness and understanding of copyright.
Graduated response?
For example, graduated response is an approach that seems consistent with the Bloc Québécois’s desire to see professional pirates severely punished and to discourage wrongdoers who do not know the law. France and England have already adopted those two measures (with some differences in enforcement). It’s worth looking at that more closely.
Can we achieve the same goal with some other measure? Are there preventive measures that would achieve the same goals? 
At first glance, the “notice on notice” in Bill C-32 does not appear to be enough, since it assigns no responsibility to the ISPs and places the burden of proof (and investigation) on the creators.
What about the digital lock?

I realize that the digital lock is part of a WIPO treaty (1997) that Canada wants to implement as it promised to do. However, making it the centrepiece of this bill, its principal defence against piracy, is a leap that only a Conservative government (fond of punitive measures) could happily make.
My main question is “Is it effective?”, and if so, “Against whom?”
Good common sense tells us that nothing will stop the professional pirates, who have all the tools to break the protective measures. In addition, it’s probably not too difficult to circumvent the lock; there are probably applications available on the Internet that can successfully pick the lock.  There is also probably no way of knowing whether an individual has broken a lock to make a private copy.  So what good is it? Who is it stopping? Even well-known journalist Don Martin announced in his June 8 column that he would break the digital lock on Pink Floyd’s next release format. “Having now acquired Dark Side of the Moon in five formats – LP, cassette, CD, DVD and MP3 file – this consumer has given Pink Floyd enough of his music money. When the next format comes along, lock or no digital lock, I’m stealing it.“  File-sharing legislation brings some order, The Windsor Star, Editorial/Opinion, page A6, published 2010-06-08. And it will be next to impossible to find evidence of it and prosecute; Industry Canada officials made that clear in a public briefing.
Only the honest consumer will suffer the frustration of digital locks.
Speaking of consumers, the Canadian Consumer Initiative The Canadian Consumer Initiative is a coalition of four consumer associations: the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the Consumers Council of Canada, Option consommateurs  and the Union des consommateurs. considers the digital lock a punitive approach that has proven ineffective in other parts of the world, and it believes that the entertainment industry will now be able to restrict or even nullify the rights of consumers.
In short, the digital lock would probably be ineffective against the professional serial copiers and scoundrels covered by the bill, and it would probably be immensely frustrating for the honest consumer. And it would contribute to the labelling of a 12-year-old scallywag as a delinquent.
And again, it places the burden of proof (and investigation) on the creators.
Modernize the law?

The Conservatives say they want to modernize the law, but they are introducing an obsolete system (the WIPO treaty was signed in 1997). If they were serious about modernizing the law, why didn’t they add to the part on private copying the few words that would allow the collection of levies on the sale of digital audio recording devices? If the current law is not amended, artist royalties will quietly expire in about 20 months. The $180 million that have been paid out to artists over the last 11 years will vanish from their pockets. In the end, it is consumers who will be deprived of new works of art.
Instead, artists will have to track down the professional offenders, the small-time crooks and those who are down on their luck, do their own investigation to find the guilty parties, collect evidence, send out legal notices, and spend money on legal fees rather than create and make money with their art.  Creators as a result have to do a “Claude Robinson”.
These so-called protective measures thwart the wishes of creators to have their works distributed on all platforms and the wishes of consumers to be able to copy them legally into various formats.  If I may say so, it’s like giving a young married couple a chastity belt.
Lastly, the digital lock is in no way consistent with the Bloc’s principles: it doesn’t help artists get paid, promote the distribution of their works on various platforms, or stop professional piracy.
I understand why a copyright act would contain a provision making it illegal to circumvent a lock if an artist chose to protect himself that way. However, a few questions come to mind: Is the lock really effective? Can it really serve as the backbone of a copyright bill (without any other form of support or protection for artists)?  Shouldn’t it be just a secondary measure in a copyright policy?


  1. Andrew Butash says:

    Good to hear that every other party is against the lock provision. If we can get that changed, I think we actually have a reasonable bill that would be worth supporting.

  2. Dean Stamler says:

    False conclusion?
    “With the Bloc now stating that locks are not a solution, the minority Conservatives will need to find a compromise in order to pass the bill.”

    Being in a minority isn’t enough to guarantee compromise if the opposition continues to shirk their responsibilities by publicly objecting then not showing up to vote in the house for fear of an election.

  3. Bloc The Tax On iPods
    Did you ask her about her proposed tax on iPods? Seems like an important question to ask.

  4. Eric Hacke says:

    You’re spinning this positively?
    Seems to me that the reason the Bloc is against this is because they think DRM is insufficient and want to escalate, rather than down-play, the consequences. They want “graduated response” and “ISP responsibility”, which fundamentally changes how the internet works.

    I realize that you’re trying to create headlines to rally against digital locks, but that is sort of burying the lead here. The Bloc is suggesting 3 strikes and ISP liability! If that system were fully utilized by the content creators they could essentially stall internet progress for years.

  5. Michael Geist says:

    @FreddieJ, @Eric Hacke
    @FreddieJ РLavall̩e discusses her support for levies in the statement. The Bloc has been vocal in supporting new levies.

    @Eric Hacke РI absolutely agree that there are some very troubling things in the Bloc position. My dialogue with Lavall̩e started when I pointed this out. However, their position on locks is notable, since they rightly do not see those provisions as helping creators or consumers.

  6. @Eric
    There is positive there since it means we may actually get the digital lock provision changed. That doesn’t mean that I agree with the rest of what the Bloc wants, but with every other party against digital locks, they are going to have a hard time getting the bill through as is.

    As for Internet progress, I feel that has been stalled for years now since there’s a lack of interest from both the past Governments and businesses to actually do the necessary upgrades to keep it progressing. Would the Bloc’s position help to move things along? No, but with the way things are it’s not going to increase them anytime anyway.

  7. Modernize?
    In this day and age, does it really take so long to make money on an item/product?

    Artists need to get paid? If I do a job for someone, I don’t get paid if the customer isn’t happy.

    Levies? Artists have been paid plenty because of me using Linux LiveCDs.

    “When the next format comes along, lock or no digital lock, I’m stealing it.” It isn’t stealing.
    Make up your minds **AAs’, do we “own it on DVD” or do we have a license to use it? If I own it I can do what I want with it. If I only have a license then I can download it at the cottage when I forget it at home.

  8. Sébastien Duquette says:

    I’m very disappointed to see that the Bloc is really considering three-strike as an option.

    Ms. Lavalée’s reasoning seems flawed to me. First, she says that digital locks are not an interesting option because “nothing will stop the professional pirates, who have all the tools to break the protective measures”. On the other side, she considers graduated response in the “desire to see professional pirates severely punished”.

    Good common sense, to use her expression, tells us that three-strike will be ineffective against professional pirates, who will simply delocalize their activities in another country. Moreover, if the concern is really with piracy on a large scale, it seems ridiculous to focus on 3 infractions. There is absolutely nothing in 3-strikes that will reduce piracy-for-profit, it will only add a burden on the ISPs and the judiciary system.

  9. NerdOfAllTrades says:

    The hypocrisy made me laugh
    “For example, graduated response is an approach that seems consistent with the Bloc Québécois’s desire to see professional pirates severely punished and to discourage wrongdoers who do not know the law. France and England have already adopted those two measures (with some differences in enforcement). It’s worth looking at that more closely. ”

    In other words, the Bloc wants to see measures to severely punish professional pirates. Note the words “measures” and “punish.”
    “However, making [digital locks] the centrepiece of this bill, its principal defence against piracy, is a leap that only a Conservative government (fond of punitive measures) could happily make.”

    So, the Bloc goes out of their way to say that they want to take punitive measures against pirates… and then they insult the Conservatives because they are “fond of punitve measures.”

    Isn’t politics fun?

  10. Three strikes or levies or both?
    I do not understand her position. She is for three strikes and also for levies. The two things are in conflict.
    In Europe only France and UK have three strikes. All the other countries which believe Internet is an unalienable service have chosen a levy system. Why I should pay a levy and also be in danger of been disconnected?
    As for conservatives possible allies, liberal Industry critic Marc Garneau in an interview at search engine he said liberals are going to support the bill as it is since it is long due:

  11. Three strikes….
    Three strikes could potentially seem like a nice idea on the surface… And I fully understand the reason behind it…

    But there are fundamental problems with the approach:

    1) ISPs should not be snooping our traffic. Ever. (current throttling techniques should be illegal IMO, where’s our privacy?)

    2) Cut off ALL internet for the infraction? That doesn’t make sense. The internet is far too important in this day and age to cut it all off. Perhaps simply blocking certain traffic would be a more reasonable response, but here we’re running into #1 again.

    Though wait a second here… If we have been able to locate a criminal, why do we need a new way to punish? Do we not have punishments already fitted to the crime? (Theft)

    Well anyways, find me a solution that addresses the above issue and then we’ll talk. Until then, 3 strikes is the most absurd concept I’ve read in a long time. (Oh wait… C-32’s digital lock provisions might be above this)

  12. @NerdOfAllTrades
    Making circumventing digital locks illegal are a change in what is allowed, and not about punitive measures.

  13. passing the buck
    there are some reasonable statements there, however the suggestion of 3 strikes, passing on both the costs and manpower of an investigation, and finally, that ‘artists should create’.

    3 strikes: given the current track record of agencies purported to have the technological capabilities to locate an offender and prove that material downloaded was more than a family video i can see more than a few problems with this. it would also suggest that in order to actually verify that an infringement had occured that a variety of network monitoring and caching would be taking place.

    investigative costs and manpower: this appears to have been a long time goal of the major bodies, such as the cria, to offload investigative duties and costs to other private entities or the public while retaining full profitability. in this specific instance it sounds as though ms.lavallee is suggesting that madonna herself is personally investigating infringement, and this could not be further from the truth.

    ‘artists should create’ : related to the above example of madonna personally investigating cases of infringement. all these should be performed by the body tasked with safeguarding those interests, the cria/cmpda/relative body, who claims material and financial interest in any and all things recorded and demand payment to do so.

  14. @mckracken
    Well put. She seems to think that the works have a value to the creator. However in contradiction with other property infractions she doesn’t want it to be up to the IP owner to accuse and have to prove the guilt of the accused; simple possibility is sufficient (since she seems to want the ISP to be the accuser, judge, jury and executioner, if I were to download 3 songs from the artist’s own website I could lose my connection). How about I get the county to monitor my property for trespassers and poachers?

  15. Three strikes – so when half of the country has no Internet access and the ISP’s raise rates because they lost so many customers what are you gonna do?

    What about tethering your phone to a computer for internet access? Are they gonna cut off your phone access too?

    What about unlocked WiFi points? Lots of those in my neighbourhood and in my house.

    The mind boggles that these people are so technologically clueless yest trying to pass laws around the technology they don’t understand.

    What was the last time any kind of prohibition worked? Never! All it does is advance underground markets.

  16. Eric Hacke says:

    The Least Damaging Alternative
    @Michael Geist, @Chris – I’m as hopeful as anyone that this means that they’ll allow non-commercial, fair-dealing exceptions for DRM. But if the cost for that is any sort of levy, 3 strikes, or ISP liability, then it isn’t worth it.

    In practice, the only thing fair DRM may give us would be to allow companies to produce Blu-Ray servers for home use within Canada. Which is unlikely to happen, because they’d be illegal everywhere else in the world and thus commercially inviable. Draconian DRM laws would not really effect any individual because there is no way to enforce it. My mom is not going to learn to rip DVDs now just because it’s legal, and I won’t stop if it’s not.

    However, three strikes and ISP liability could allow virtually everyone to be booted offline at the whim of corporate media. Tens of thousands of people violate copyright law three times before breakfast. That is a pretty big stick to hand out to copyright holders, and one which will be used and abused massively.

    Frankly, if I were CRIA I’d trade DRM for three strikes at the drop of a hat. It’s the difference between a broken technological solution, and a potent legal one.

    If you think that there is some way we can get fair DRM without giving anything in return, then let’s shoot for that. But that seems unlikely.

  17. @Anon-K
    Not sure why everyone targets the ISPs when talking about “graduated response”. The ISPs get the shaft in these proposals. The ISPs basically just lose the ability to decide whether or not to follow orders from the CR holder without a court order, and they get to be a scapegoat.

  18. Chris Brand says:

    Burden of proof
    Twice she says that it’s bad that the burden of proof woudl be on creators. Isn’t that just fundamental justice ? “Innocent until proven guilty” and all that ? Or am I just old-fashioned ?

  19. .
    The only thing Ms. Lavallée has done a good job of is pointing out the obvious absurdity of the digital lock provisions in C-32.

    Unfortunately, her proposed alternative is extremely poor, citing France’s HADOPI law and conveniently forgetting the latter barely passed the constitutional tests in France and has been heavily criticized for being ineffective.

    A 3 strikes system will scare professional pirates as much as they’re intimidated FBI disclaimer you see at the start of the movie. (well… it’s not there if you download it)

  20. @Chris Brand

    Hey nothing wrong with going back centuries to Napoleonic Code in these modern times.

  21. @end user
    But how do you *know* she is a witch?
    She looks like one!

  22. Captain Hook says:



  23. Ken Stevens says:

    bandwidth levy?
    Mr. Geist,

    Has anyone considered introducing a levy on bandwidth in addition to storage media? I expect there’s a correlation between high bandwidth consumers and media “downloaders”.

    Also, has anyone talked about modernizing the process for distributing the proceeds of these levies? For example measuring the number of seeds and leeches on popular torrent sites to find out what consumers are watching/listening to.


  24. Captain Hook said:


    /me falls out of chair laughing. 🙂

  25. @Eric Hacke
    Oh I’m not supporting anything else they are putting out as alternatives at all, and I hope none make it into a bill (3 strikes likely won’t since there’s to much resistance to the idea at all and only one country so far as I know uses it). But with all the parties against the digital locks, it make that section much more likely to be changed. Which is a good thing.

  26. @Ken
    Levy on bandwidth could quite unfairly incur additional costs for innocent folks that just like to download a lot of legal of stuff…

    Also, your example for checking seed/leech ratio wouldn’t work. Those sites are not restricted to Canadians only, so you’d only have a global view – not what Canadians themselves are watching/listening (which is important considering it’s a Canadian levy imposed on Canadians only)

  27. @Ken Stevens – I expect there’s a correlation between high bandwidth consumers and media “downloaders”.

    So downloading media is always illegal media downloading?

    I upload min 40 gigs per month for my shoutcast station just for the shoutcast source which runs on a spare laptop. This month only I’ve already downloaded 20+ gigs of music that is Creative Commons licensed not including watching movies on space cast, the kids watching tons of you tube. My NakedADSL connection allows me 200gigs per month and I’ll use that anyway I want to with out causing harm to the network, this is the contract I have with my ISP NOT with the MEDIA PRODUCERS that I don’t buy anything from. I Don’t want a levy as I don’t download your overpriced medium. IF they want to set up a extra voluntary charge to unlimited downloads through the ISP thats their business but I don’t give out my money for corporate walfare.

  28. High amount of media downloading likely means high bandwidth, but the reverse simply isn’t true.

  29. bandwith
    I download one GB a day of data to analyze (business data mining) plus on my spare time I play games on line and watch youtube a lot. For example there are lessons from Harvard you can see in high resolution (i.e. a stream of about 1 GB)
    Therefore I could easily sum up 60 GB of usage per month engaged in perfectly legal activities. Shaw allows me to download a maximum of 100 GB per month.
    If you weight my bandwidth usage I would be certainly banned as a witch 🙂

  30. Politicians are out of their depths on these issues.Any kind of ‘redistribution’ levy or tax to hypothetical creators is a consumer rip off, same as the cd levy.
    The government loves supporting cartels owned by their financiers- guaranteed tax collection

  31. Does anyone know who published the website I looked it up in the whois database and the entry is marked private. It seems strange that anyone interested in a transparent and fair process would try to hide their identity. Considering that I can’t find a single post against C-32 I’ll assume that it’s owned by big media or the Progressive Conservatives. BTW isn’t the term Progressive Conservative an oxymoron?

  32. @Darren
    Maybe it means progressively getting more and more conservative?

  33. @ Darren

    apparently it is Brett Bell from that has been paid by to create the site. (Most likely by the CRIA / RIAA / MPAA etc)

  34. Bandwidth Levy
    There is a way to implement a reasonable and fair bandwidth levy. You have to make the downloading legal, enlist the help of the ISP, and exploit characteristics of the various P2P sharing protocols.

    For example; Bittorrent has a characteristic of downloading the largest portions of a “torrent” from the “sites” that deliver it the fastest. If the ISP has an internal “P2P client” which is effectively a supper server with lots of local bandwidth, it can participate in the torrent and track which of it’s local IP’s are retrieving/sharing the torrent. It “knows” how big the torrent is, which torrents are being shared, and can make a fair assumption that a particular customer will have used at least that size in it’s download.

    It would take a bit of logistics and code on the part of the ISP, but it would be possible for the ISP to get a fair idea of which customers are downloading copyrighted torrents, apply a levy, and distribute back to the copyright holder.
    A side effect of this would be that ISP’s can do some management of their external (to the ISP) network usage by containing a significant portion of the “sharing” within their own network. Customers that want the fastest “downloads” wouldn’t want or need to “hide” their activity from the ISP through encryption. They would be encouraged to keep their activities open and above board.
    ISP’s would be encouraged to build larger (and more) “super server Bittorrent clients” to contain the bandwidth internally.
    Customers that don’t do a lot of P2P, won’t be “seen” by the ISP servers so their bandwidth won’t be attributed to copyrighted files. Likewise, non-royalty torrents would be recognized (or ignored), although the ISP would still find a benefit in hosting them.
    Even networks might find it interesting the get a “neilson rating” from the P2P usage. They might even find it advantageous to “release” files quickly, directly to the ISPs.

    There are a lot of potential “win – win” scenarios for everybody, but the first thing that needs to happen is not point fingers and blame everywhere. Work with the “system” as it has evolved today. Price things appropriately. You can’t get greedy or it won’t work at all. Grow gradually.

    This kind of concept has been discussed already. But it is probably too radical to be considered. No scapegoats to blame. And it turns our current copyright laws upside down.

  35. @oldguy
    I like your idea, (it isn’t a bandwidth levy anymore though) but I don’t know if it is currently technically feasible.. the ISP would have to host every copyrighted file anyone ever wanted to download to everyone… (Or at least a significant amount of them) I’m trying to imagine what one of these super servers would look like hardware-wise.. You would have to cut it down to some of the most popular stuff I think, and / or limit the transfer rate on the files hosted there.

    Plus it would be dead easy for those that don’t feel like paying the levy to make clients that avoid certain IPs.. If the price was significant, those would start circulating around pretty quick… Still, these problems might be surmountable.

  36. cndcitizen says:

    Akamai Caching Servers
    @Crade – Akamai services (I don’t work for them) can cache static content worldwide. Get a file on their servers and it would be cached local for all the world.

  37. @crade
    I agree, it doesn’t really behave like a bandwidth levy anymore.

    I can put together a quad core, 20TB raid6, 8GB ram, headless system for under $2600 today. Throw in a couple of extra gigabit network cards and I could host a LOT of torrents. The local/internal bandwidth is totally under the control of the ISP. These are technical details that are easily managed, given the the desire to do it.

    Yes, it would be easy to bypass, but if the ISP then moves throttling to their ingress/egress points only (and it is pure non-selective throttling) it becomes “significantly faster” for the customer to download “locally” from within the ISP.

    The technical side of this is quite doable. RSS feeds for the torrent “library”, etc. Local database lookups for dynamic IPs. It can be managed. Even a ISP hosted “Pirate Bay type” server and tracker (which can exploit even more of the bittorrent P2P technology characteristics).

    To make it attractive to the customers, you need to package it like a levy. “Royalty bytes downloaded” regardless of the specific material. Even give them a “minimum amount” as part of their basic package.
    This will be tough for the content industries/owners and artists to swallow. Their royalty payments will based purely on “popularity”, how often it is downloaded. Demand driven.

    The social side of this is where the “tuning” comes in. You always have to keep in mind that you are balancing the desires of the customers with the potential for them to encrypt and go elsewhere (even darknet). Play into the social drivers for sharing, not against them.

    You can even start getting into the business model end of this (although this is quite a ways there already). Advertising and promotions. Streaming. Clips. Go nuts. Different versions for different media (iPAD version, PC version, HDTV version, etc). Priced per Gbyte. If you can’t find a way to make money from eyeballs on content, you shouldn’t be in the business.

    ISPs will have a whole new type of business to compete through (local P2P speed!). It will drive digital infrastructure.

    If course, this means you have to totally rethink your business models. Stop treating potential customers as criminals. ISPs become your partners, not your enemies. Customers also become your partners, but you have to treat them as such. You can’t get greedy, but you might get rich.

  38. exploderator says:

    “three strikes” mangles our legal sytem and puts us all in grave danger FOR NOTHING
    Here’s the central problem: the internet was not designed to be secure or provide a secure identity, even to the MACHINES that it is made of, let alone to the people using them.

    IP and MAC addresses are not secure, and they are not unique. They are the only identifiers that anything really has on the internet, and they only ever identify machines. Even then, because there is NO security system, any machine may have the ability to pretend to be another machine. That’s the way we built it, that’s how all of the equipment works, and that’s a fundamental technological reality that will take decades to change.

    IP and MAC addresses NEVER identify actual individual human beings. They were never meant to, and they can’t. Some corporate interests would love to pretend that these machine addresses are an accurate and reliable way to identify “guilty” human beings, but they are lying out of convenience.

    What this all means is that ANY attempt to make individual people personally accountable for activity on the internet, by tracking machine addresses, is fundamentally vulnerable to spoofing and hacking attacks, and there will be NO EVIDENCE that such interference even happened (the average equipment does not record anything). Without any means to actually identify individual human users on the internet, we are guaranteed to end up blaming and punishing many innocent people who have no way to prove their innocence. It’s a perverse situation: to make people prove their own innocence. It’s even worse to do it when they have no possible defense.

    So the “three strikes” laws: the usual proposal is to have corporations, presumably with no formal certification, somehow “detect” illegal activity on the internet, and report it to the ISPs. But these corporations can ONLY EVER detect insecure machine addresses. Neither they, nor the ISPs they complain to, have any way to tell if your IP address was spoofed from elsewhere, if your neighborhood cable circuit included a hacked modem faking your IP address, or if your wireless modem was hacked, which is a fairly trivial thing to do because the normal wireless security protocol is simply not very strong. What’s worse, there are no records kept that can prove or disprove these possibilities. Accusing an IP address is simply an accusation of guilt with no evidence available for defense.

    This insecurity is a technological FACT of the internet and the hardware it is made of.

    To legislate that subscribers become liable for this fundamental insecurity is unjust and unacceptable, no matter how convenient it would be for anyone.

    To make matters even worse, a few more thoughts:

    – Adopting any strong punitive measures that rely on IP address detection (“three strikes” or lawsuits) will only encourage rampant hacking by people who want to pirate without risking their own connection. An IP address is simply not a unique identifier for a criminal.

    – The opportunities to hack abound, the security is negligible. Anyone who overlooks a large residential area can use a directional wifi antenna to hack anyone else within a large radius. Anyone who has cable internet can hack a spare cable modem, to impersonate someone else from the neighborhood circuit, which can cover many blocks. Any rogue organization with ISP level internet access could randomly spoof anyone else’s IP address (ISPs can be hacked too).

    – With little or no proposed oversight of who can lay the complaints, and with IP addresses being absolutely public information, the system is desperately ripe for abuse. Every website you visit has your IP address. Can you trust them all? Really?

    – It is legally very complicated to make the named subscriber absolutely responsible for all use of their internet connection. Look at the tangled mess of law the UK and France have faced, and what it costs them. This is a serious and radical change that has both direct costs and far reaching economic repercussions which cannot be overlooked, and which must be balanced against the purported gains.

    – Secure file sharing technology exists NOW. It makes file sharing absolutely un-traceable. It is currently not widely deployed because it is not as efficient as current insecure methods. But given the motivation, it will become the absolute norm. Which makes “three strikes” an absolute waste of effort, as well as an un-fixable security nightmare. The end.

    The current suggested use of notice-and-notice is a wise choice, a very good compromise, that avoids the worst of the dangers of “three strikes” or harsh litigation, while still offering a useful level of discouragement. It is also not too costly to implement, which is good because it will only become more pointless as secure file sharing becomes more common (and that is inevitable, thanks UK and France).

  39. exploderator says:

    @ oldguy
    The problem with officially supporting the torrent system is that it hosts 90% foreign content, and always will. Unless you want to figure out how to divvy the money up and ship it out of country, the idea is a bust. And I seriously doubt that foreign media companies will be happy to participate.

    Sorry, but I think the whole angle is a waste of breath. The technological reality fundamentally precludes any punitive or taxation like solutions.

    The only solution I see is for media companies to take good advantage of the technology themselves, and compete for real. Not that they like that after so many decades riding the gravy train. They can suck it up, they just don’t want to. Too bad, they lost. It’s our fight not to let them take our laws and the internet down with them.

  40. 3 strikes rule
    How about first introducing this in the “mail fraud” laws to see how it works. Like locking out of internet the spammers. No one interested? Why?

  41. … “The problem with officially supporting the torrent system is that it hosts 90% foreign content”

    Yup, and 90% of the drivers for DRM and oppressive P2P sharing in our copyright law is driven by foreign ownership of that content.

    I’m sure if those same foreign companies put some effort into working within such a system, that too could be solved. They have solved it for DVD’s and CD’s and TV shows and other content. There are even international organizations that could evolve into managing those payments.

    Such a system could be made to work within existing laws. Even C-32 (without it’s DRM provisions). But I suspect the only way it would ever get implemented is through the guise of a levy and legalized P2P sharing. The question of politically acceptable given our current climate of “control the customer” needs to be answered.

    Perhaps a new topic on the table at the ACTA negotiations?

    It’s never a waste of breath to throw new ideas onto the table. Even if the only result is to point out all the flaws, and perhaps find a way to fix them. They plant “idea seeds”.

    Hmm.. Given the right political and industry climate, do you think a company like Google might have some ideas on how to offer this as a complete and packaged “service” to an ISP?

  42. “three strikes”
    I agree. 3 strikes is a poorly thought out solution that doesn’t address the technology, the social aspects, or the viral aspects of technology propagation. It simply won’t work in the long run, while the dangerous side effects are too high in the short term.

  43. @crade

    If you can get past the idea of levies and legalized P2P sharing, there are lots of potential ideas that can streamline things.

    Here’s another thought to throw into this mix. If you have a ISP tracker system, and encourage customers to use such a system. You don’t even need to “host” all that content on an ISP owned server farm. Your customers can do it for you, and will probably do it willingly. You still know “who” is downloading “what” based simply on tracker info. Not as accurate as actively hosting the data on ISP servers, but combined with other data it is possible to track sharing. You would still need ISP servers to initially seed the torrents, and you would need the ISP to make sure there is enough internal bandwidth between customers to make this viable. But it would certainly server as a viable mechanism for less popular torrents.

    The key to this whole idea is to treat customers as partners in the endeavor, not “consumers” or “pirates”.

    How do we get there from here? The potentially insurmountable problem is to get the ball rolling, which might require legalized sharing and a levy. The alternative is a confrontation of forces and infighting.

  44. @oldguy
    I would agree with you that there should be plenty of decent options. I wouldn’t say the problem is so much “infighting” though. I think it is simply that fighting piracy isn’t the real goal with proposed copyright reform. Although fighting piracy makes for good excuses to change laws, anyone with any sense in the music industry should know that even if they win the war on piracy, their battle against the internet will have only begun. The big labels, particularly in music, really need to worry more about keeping themselves important. Musicians have been chomping at the bit to get rid of them because of historical mistreatment, and their traditional role of recording, packaging, and delivery (which was overblown to begin with) just isn’t as large a part of the music industry as it used to be. All they really have left if marketting. This DRM law, if used correctly, and leveraging the huge back catalog that they have copyrights over, could artificially help make them important to publishing over the internet as well. They could be the standard that everyone adheres to. That, I think, is their real goal. To be a neccessary and mostly unavoidable part of the music industry.

  45. No subsidy to monopolists
    Money is a tool representing freedom. We use money in exchange for goods and services to excercise our freedom. A taxing levy is a tool for taxing levy collectors to make money; hence, taxing levy collectors are middlemen similarly to label representatives. I don’t know any taxing levy collectors who collect taxing levies for free.

    Money is also a tool to reward high quality or, at least, quality people would pay for. The true nature of quality is subjective, where I find a work of low quality but someone else might think it’s the best quality. Money determines which content survives and which does not. A taxing levy rewards the popular contents regardless of quality. Content popularity have been manipulated before, namely advertising hype and top # charts. The Blair Witch Project, for instance, is crap. I didn’t watch it in the theatre, didn’t watch it on TV, and I haven’t watched it, except for the “I am so scared” commercial bit. Has there been any successes following this probably all black&white, shaky camera, and non-existent dialogue?

    Money is taxation with representation, while taxing levies are not. Taxing levies force people who have no interest in the popular content to reward it just for being popular. In the old days of controlled distribution, and even now, labels would manipulate the top # charts for their dubious ends.

    Remember the computer and other industries have to subsidize the music cartel just to make backups from blank media? Even small bands had to pay to record their music on blanks. Now, why would you want every industry connected to the internet to subsidize monopolists because they want to maintain their monopoly?

    Why waste time offering monopolists convolutted technical solutions taxing the populations’ bandwidth? The monopolists have the solutions already, but they’re not using it. The solution is to set up their own Torrent site to compete against other torrent sites. Making ISPs monitor Canadians’ internet use just to answer which content is popular isn’t the answer; and it’s similar to monopolists creating their own Torrent sites anyway. Turning ISPs into gate-keepers isn’t the answer either. By proposing a taxing levy scheme on the public suggests you all have bought into the false notion radio kills music, or technology kills music.

    There should be DRM in image/music/video editors, and every other tool they use, charging these artists 5 cents a minute to use, including buying the tool at full price at regular update intervals. Their demands for entitlements would not be so bad as it is, maybe.

  46. The solution as I proposed, isn’t exactly a levy (as pointed out by crade). It is a way to monetize P2P sharing of royalty based content, taking into account social behaviour and exploiting the characteristics of the most popular P2P sharing protocol.

    But it does mean effectively “fixed price” returns to copyright holders, with the most popular content garnering the most money. As I stated above, this would be a hard pill for them to swallow. And based on your statement:
    …”A taxing levy rewards the popular contents regardless of quality.”
    it looks like you find that hard to swallow as well. But your statement is more a personal reflection on our society and it’s tastes than issues with the technology or concept itself.

    Certainly there are other models as well. But none that I’ve seen so far actually exploit P2P technology characteristics. Although it sounds easy to say “put up your own torrent server”, such a statement ignores the reality of how P2P actually works. In P2P, you can’t “force” a user to come to you, you can only entice them. The enticement is faster download speed than anyone else, the ISP is the only one that can guarantee to be that entity.
    Whenever I see discussion of a levy, the biggest flaw is the presumption of behaviour that is applied equally to everyone. The above proposal avoids that, so it isn’t exactly a levy or tax. It is fixed price content that returns various amounts based simply on “popularity”. In that sense it is a business model rather than a levy. It doesn’t need a legal levy to work, but would probably require one to come into existence.

  47. P2P adoption or die!
    > In P2P, you can’t “force” a user to come to you, you can only entice them. The enticement is faster download speed than anyone else, the ISP is the only one that can guarantee to be that entity.

    You don’t have to force users to come. Nobody force anyone to visit thepiratebay, youtube, etc… but people come in droves. The enticement here would be to share legal content (maybe even full quality) from a cartel-approved site, rather than share illegal rips from unapproved sites.

    In case you’re referring to the technical side, I meant set up the whole BitTorrent distribution infrastucture. This includes the torrent index search, tracker, and seeding clients. ISOHunt or other torrent sites offer only the index search and torrent downloads. To beat ISOHunt and others, they’d have to offer similar services and approve sharing of their owned content.

    In your proposal, you’re presuming the ISP is a neutral or a benevolent entity which do not throttle, or delete a competing content. Since the ISP is serving the content, you might as well charge the user directly for that content. You wouldn’t need to apply a charge based on bandwidth usage and content popularity. Why not “rent” out content through something like Audio/Video on Demand?

    > Certainly there are other models as well. But none that I’ve seen so far actually exploit P2P technology characteristics.

    We’re getting these draconian bills because cartels want to ban, nevermind exploit, P2P distribution technology. The copious solutions are there, but they’d rather buy politicians instead, so we don’t need to help them in any way. They were able to create the root-kit, put them into millions of music discs, and sold them. They put fake files into P2P sharing networks to increase the noise in searches etc. Hollywood is already into making games, too. Does anyone really think they’re technology enept?

    Let’s face it, the main power they care about here is the distribution power. If they use P2P in any form, they’ll eventually dilute their distribution power into nothingness. (Now that I re-read, we’re basically laughing at the same thing, P2P adoption or die! hahaha)

  48. ..”In P2P, you can’t “force” a user to come to you”
    …”In case you’re referring to the technical side”

    Yes I am. The whole idea is to exploit the technical characteristics of bittorrent, while at the same time meeting the social aspects that drive it’s use.

    …”you’re presuming the ISP is a neutral or a benevolent entity”

    Correct. But there is an incentive to the ISP if they can contain the high bandwidth usage within their own network(s). They don’t have to pay outwards to the backbone or inter-network payments. They “pay themselves”. It makes good business sense for an ISP to contain as much bandwidth within their network as they can.

    …”You wouldn’t need to apply a charge based on bandwidth usage and content popularity. Why not “rent” out content”

    Again, yes that’s possible. But keep in mind you want to play into the social drivers for P2P networks as well. Format shifting, take with you content, missed shows, etc. Identify the major reasons people do P2P, and adjust to them. Fixed price content and bandwidth is the simplest to administer, and easy to understand for the customer.

    …”We’re getting these draconian bills because cartels want to ban, nevermind exploit, P2P distribution technology.”

    Yup. And that’s not gonna happen until something better comes along. “Better” being defined by the customers/users, not the cartels.

    …”Does anyone really think they’re technology enept?”

    They know how to hire good people. But they often turn around and direct them to do stupid things.

    …”If they use P2P in any form, they’ll eventually dilute their distribution power”

    The future marches on. The complaints and justification for a levy are all based on losses to content owners, not distribution channels.

    What I have suggested is simply a template for an alternative to a pure levy because of P2P. It quacks like a business model, but it can be sold as a “fair and balanced levy” package. If you try to cherry pick pieces from it, it won’t work. It’s a package deal. It plays into most of the social drivers for P2P, and into the technical aspects of bittorrent. Not perfect by any means. But it can’t be used to abuse the customers too much, or they will just refuse to play (block the ISP torrent peers from the allowable ones, stay away from their trackers, etc).

    …”P2P adoption or die”

    Well, sorta. Idea seeds.

  49. I don’t trust ISPs, especially Quebecor because Quebecor’s behaviour is consistent with C32’s DRM provisions. Rogers and Bell have been content creators and distributors for a while, and Shaw is getting into the game; and ISPs have incentives to create a bandwidth scarcity to monopolize profits, giant ISPs are doing it. I don’t know which is more profitable, their selling ads per eyeballs and selling the content rights to syndicates, or their selling bandwidth minus internet-pipes rental fees. Either or both ways, I just don’t trust the traditional music/movie monopolists or the new content&internet provider monopolists.

    > They know how to hire good people. But they often turn around and direct them to do stupid things.

    I find their actions/directions to be very intelligent and deliberately deceitful to satisfy their greed. DRMs are flawed technology – but used with laws, they work as designed. They want to own people’s hardware to lock people into buying their software, or repair hardware in their repair shops, and so on paying to one cartel-owned source (“Buy American” comes to mind.)

    I defined my context for P2P adoption as dilution of distribution control. (P2P_adoption || die) is rather a joke, since the cartels are going to disappear eventually.

  50. Ken Stevens says:

    embracing P2P

    I’m encouraged by the conversation generated by my bandwidth / torrent suggestion. I’m excited by the way oldguy took it to the next level and started thinking through a mechanism that solves some of the problems inherent in my original suggestion (e.g. the problem of charging “legal” bandwidth consumers a levy that in fairness they shouldn’t have to pay).

    One thing I wonder about in oldguy’s proposed solution. I think he may have explained this already, but I don’t think I understand yet. In his proposed scheme, I assume he has money flowing from consumers to producers via an extra “Content Surcharge” on their ISP bill. This new content surcharge will infuriate consumers and would lead them to quickly look for alternative filesharing tools to avoid these content surcharges.

    Would a torrent alternative like emule allow users to circumvent the content surcharge solution you present above? I haven’t found independent verification of this, but I’ve heard that in the protocol used by emule, when data is being transferred from computer A to computer B, that it gets encrypted through computer C in such a way as outside observers would not be able to track what’s being downloaded…

    I’m hoping someone out there knows more about this stuff than I do. I guess what I’m asking is it even technically possible to legalize P2P and charge users for the content they consume, or would that just be an exercise of trying to catch minnows with your bare hands. (I’ve tried to catch minnows with my bare hands–and just when I think I’m guaranteed a handful, they all slip out of reach at the last second…)

  51. I think you need to re-read oldguy’s proposals and replies. His proposal requires everyone (P2P users, fans, ISPs, copyright owners, etc.) to stop fighting each other and work together to build the new content distribution economy using P2P technology.

    If we all truly work together, I am certain we would not be in this mess. However, greed is the motivation for total control here. The public isn’t buying politicians, and the government’s sole purpose is to serve the public interests, not monopolists with cash. So, I want to know, when will copyright owners/cartels see the value in the public, rather than in the content they own?

  52. Jean Naimard says:

    It’s not for nothing the Bloc is misguided…
    It’s not for nothing the Bloc is misguided… The people in “charge” of that file are not tech-savvy people, but rather journalists (Carole Lavallée) and artists (Pierre curzi).

    The bloc is just saying they “want to look at” “three strikes”. It is, however, very unlikely to stand-up to legal scrutiny as it completely tosses aside centuries of legal evolution.

    CAPTCHA: imbecile about

  53. Nolongeronthefence says:

    I am definitely no longer voting Conservative – and I’m a Quebecer. The current government is so anti-democratic it makes me sick. I’d rather have the Bloc, thank you.

  54. The Music Void says:

    UK royalties collector PRS For Music has resurrected the idea ISPs should pay for copyrighted content that their networks transfer without authorisation.

    “With the introduction of the Digital Economy Act, the harm caused by the problem of piracy has to be measured, and if a problem can be measured it can be priced”