Long-Awaited Copyright Reform Plan Flawed But Fixable

I attended yesterday's C-32 media lockup on behalf of the Toronto Star, who asked for a quick analysis piece of the bill.  My column is posted below:

Copyright has long been viewed as one of the government's most difficult and least rewarding policy issues. It attracts passionate views from a wide range of stakeholders, including creators, consumers, businesses, and educators and is the source of significant political pressure from the United States.  Opinions are so polarized that legislative reform is seemingly always the last resort that only comes after months of delays.

The latest chapter in the Canadian copyright saga unfolded yesterday as Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage James Moore tabled copyright reform legislation billed as providing both balance and a much-needed modernization of the law.

The bill will require careful study (suggestions that a quick set of summer hearings will provide an effective review should be summarily rejected) but the initial analysis is that there were some serious efforts to find compromise positions on many thorny copyright issues.  

Unfortunately, the legal protection for digital locks – unquestionably the biggest and most controversial digital copyright issue – is the one area where there is no compromise.  Despite a national copyright consultation that soundly rejected inflexible protections for digital locks on CDs, DVDs, e-books, and other devices, the government has caved to U.S. pressure and brought back rules that mirror those found in the United States.  These rules limit more than just copying as they can also block Canadian consumers from even using products they have purchased.

Bill C-32, which ironically carries the same number as the last time Canada underwent major copyright reforms in 1997, features three types of provisions: sector-specific reforms, compromise provisions, and the no-compromise digital lock rules.

The sector-specific reforms are designed to address a single constituency or stakeholder concern. These reforms include something for almost everyone: new rights for performers and photographers, a new exception for Canadian broadcasters, new liability for BitTorrent search services, as well as the legalization of common consumer activities such as recording television shows and transferring songs from a CD to an iPod.  In fact, there is even a “YouTube” user-generated content remix exception that grants Canadians the right to create remixed work for non-commercial purposes under certain circumstances.

There are a number of areas where the government has worked toward a genuine compromise.  This includes reform to Canada's fair dealing provision, which establishes when copyrighted works may be used without permission.  

The government rejected both pleas for no changes as well as arguments for a flexible fair dealing that would have opened the door to courts adding exceptions to the current fair dealing categories of research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review.  Instead, it identified some specific new exceptions that assist creators (parody and satire), educators (education exception, education Internet exception), and consumers (time shifting, format shifting, backup copies).

The Internet provider liability similarly represent a compromise, as the government is sticking with a "notice-and-notice" system that requires providers to forward allegations of infringement to subscribers.  The system is costly for the providers, but has proven successful in discouraging infringement.  

It also compromised on the statutory damages rules that create the risk of multi-million dollar liability for cases of non-commercial infringement.  The new rules reduce non-commercial liability to a range of $100 to $5,000, which is not insignificant but well below the $20,000 per infringement cap currently found in the law.

All these attempts at balance should be welcomed, yet they are undermined by the no-compromise position on digital locks.

The foundational principle of the new bill is that anytime a digital lock is used, it trumps virtually all other rights. This means that both the existing fair dealing rights and Bill C-32's new rights all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.  Moreover, the digital lock approach is not limited to fair dealing – library provisions include a requirement for digital copies to self-destruct within five days and distance learning teaching provisions require the destruction of course materials 30 days after the course concludes.

The government could have introduced a compromise provision that would have allowed for compliance with international treaties, protection for digital locks and the preservation of the copyright balance. In failing to strike that balance, the government has introduced a flawed, but potentially fixable bill.

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  1. Digital lock provisions make the other provisions moot?
    My question is this: How are the consumer-friendly portions of this proposed Act of any importance whatsoever? It’s nice to say that I will be able to backup my content or format shift it, but there is almost no content that I will be able to do that with legally as EVERYTHING has a digital lock! So it will be legal to put a copy of a movie on your phone or PC to watch on the road, but every DVD and Blu-Ray disc you buy is locked anyway. So really, the consumer friendly provisions are a smoke screen. Not much in this for consumers as I see it.

  2. digital locks are bad
    Instead, it identified some specific new exceptions that assist consumers (time shifting, format shifting, backup copies).

    Time shifting: as soon as broadcaters put a digital lock to their shows will be illegal.
    Format shifting: as soon as the music industry put a digital lock on CDs will be illegal.
    Backup copies: backing up DVDs would be illegal since they are already locked digitally.

  3. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    The real question. Why are WE as Canadians towing the AMERICAN line??

    I saw a newsreport and they said they want to make sure Canada isn’t a haven for “Piracy” but really who’s definition of piracy are we following. If it’s American we need to stop.

  4. So when Viacom demands that Youtube pull my mash-up which includes a snippet from “the Colbert Report,” the Canadian Government will step in and confront Viacom, explaining to them that my use of that content is legal in this country and insist Youtube reinstate it, right? Right? Um … Mr. Moore? Hello?

  5. Mission Impossibile
    Digital Locks are ephemeral and will be always easily to break

    How much it would cost public libraries to enforce the digital artifact autodestruction (easily to circunvent)?
    Of course circunventing a digial lock it would be illegal as it is illegal to sell still you you can buy it at any corner.
    Who is coming in your home to check if you are braking those digital locks?

  6. Regulate DRM
    If digital lock protection cannot be avoided, there should at least be regulations to control them. This would hopefully protect consumers and dissuade putting digital locks on everything.

  7. stevescorpio says:

    Possible fix: Allow us to break digital locks on obsolete or abandoned file formats (like if a company goes under or cancels a DRM validation service or moves to a new DRM format or new device), prevent being locked out of our purchased content. Allow us to break locks on files where the content’s copyright is expired. At a very minimum force companies to provide upgrade or format conversion services to move our current media libraries to a newer format or new device.

  8. C-32: Public Must respond quickly and deliberately
    It is imperative that we, the Canadian public respond to this fatally flawed bill in a manner which will send a clear message to the current government, – that we find this proposal un-acceptable! We must call, e-mail. mail our rejection to every MP, MPP and dog-catcher we can think of, but do it in a rational and polite manner. While the urge to accuse the politicians responsible of corruption and other failings is standard fare, name-calling and accusations will only consign our messages to the trash – unread. We must convince our legislators (our employees), that we, the electorate do not accept the proposed bill as it stands, and they must change it, now! Our common voice can and must drown out the demands of certain southern economic interests.

  9. The huge and glaring problem with *any* provisions for legally protecting digital locks is that you end up locking out consumers from engaging in private copying and format-shifting, activities that most people believe to be perfectly reasonable, even without any explicit permission from the copyright holder, and new legislation that essentially prohibits it is not liable to alter that perception. Thus, all we will end up with is a society of people who will privately seek to break the law at pretty much any point the opportunity presents itself, not out of any disrespect for the law in general, but simply because they would find such legislation unreasonable and will not adhere to it. In countries where personal use copies are already prohibited, it is widely known that absolutely massive numbers of people regularly and routinely ignore the prohibition whenever it is convenient for them to do so – and Canada is unlikely to be any different. It is tantamount to the intentional creation of a law that acceptable to break as long as you don’t get caught, a notion that a society that is supposed to be a lawful one should find utterly deplorable. Even if you have exemptions for activities that are not unlawful, such as fair dealing, personal use or making private backups, the legal protections for digital locks are still problematic because they would then only be applicable when a person happens to otherwise be breaking the law anyways, and if there’s already another law that could be used to prosecute somebody, what benefit is gained by having an additional one? The digital locks provisions in this bill should be utterly scrapped, and I intend on writing (yet another) letter to my MP to indicate this.

  10. At least…
    This law does not criminalyse someone using a solution like Carbonite for back-ups….

    Specially since I’m the sole owner of the encryption key used on the file…. well I hope.

  11. re: stevescorpio
    stevescorpio, often, “cracking” DRM requires the DRM service to be operational. Waiting until the provider decides to cancel their DRM service to back up one’s content can leave it lost forever.

  12. @stevescorpio – RE: Possible fix:
    DRM gives copyright holders the power to force you to buy a new version. As for expired copyrights, digital copyrights are good for 50 years. I doubt this will be a concern for most of us by the time most of these things expire. In reality as long as it’s illegal to break digital lock, this sets up perpetual copyright protection. Even if a peice of media goes public forum, it will still be illegal to break the lock…rediculous.

    If a copyright holder cannot be contacted, i.e. has gone out of business, this has already been accounted for in the bill…you still pay royalies!!!

    “If the organization cannot locate the copyright owner, despite making reasonable efforts to do so, the organization shall pay, in accordance with the regulations, any royalty established under the regulations to a collective society.”

  13. Dylan McCall says:

    One way to deal with digital locks: ALLOW them to render their content useless, and support content that isn’t as limited.

    Eventually, the offending media companies will figure it out as culture evolves around them.

    I know, it’s not going to happen because they make pretty cool stuff (it’s hard to ignore them), but it would be nice :/

  14. Captain Hook says:

    Great idea Dylan, I’ll do that next time I go to buy a DVD.

  15. Sun Wu'kong says:

    Just listened to CKNW interview
    Very on point — too bad there wasn’t any easy opportunity to point out James Moore as the “heavy” in this bill and to pound home the message that Canada’s “content industry” isn’t suffering disproportionately under the current legislative regime.

    Also it would’ve been nice to make sure people know/remember not to trust the industry surveys/studies.

    Otherwise, you did a lot in a short time.

  16. @Dylan McCall
    Agreed, other than movies, I don’t buy anything with DRM locks. If I can’t get it in an open format, I don’t get it…there are always other choices.

  17. A similar case went down in Sweden not too long ago. As a result, internet users started paying third-party VPN companies to tunnel their connections through encrypted servers that masked their identities and what they downloaded. Not even their service providers could tell what they were doing.

    As a result, people committing violent crimes – like child pornography – were also protected from any form of tracing.

    So in order to subjectively protect some fat-cat music mogul from a hypothetical loss, child molesters are enjoying a freedom online never before seen.

    All thanks to the Government and the repeated attempts to rape legitimate citizen’s rights to privacy.

  18. @Rud_F
    “A similar case went down in Sweden not too long ago. As a result, internet users started paying third-party VPN companies to tunnel their connections through encrypted servers that masked their identities and what they downloaded. Not even their service providers could tell what they were doing.”

    There are free services which offer similar functionality and as such legislation gain steam, more and more such services will pop up. A VPN is preferable though.

  19. David F. Skoll says:

    This is just smoke-and-mirrors. The additional rights the bill supposedly grants us are completely useless because DRM trumps all. A right you cannot exercise ceases to be a right. This bill essentially gives content owners the ability to revoke rights that we theoretically have under the law.

    If they changed the bill to criminalize the breaking of DRM except for the purposes of exercising a right specifically granted in law, I’d have much less of a problem with this bill.

    Unfortunately, given the political climate in Ottawa, it will probably pass as-is. 🙁 The Liberals are spineless and it’s probably too low on the agenda for the Bloc and NDP to care.

  20. Secondly to VPN
    Perhaps it’s time to sign up for a VPN account. I do very little illegal, but I’ll be damned if I allow them to track me. Services seems to range around about $50 to $150 a year…worth it for peace of mind?

  21. Welcome to the iPod monopoly
    People have been using torrents as a stop gap for the slow media development in Canada.

    Most US markets have a dozen DTV signals. Even Toronto doesn’t have that many. Buffalo has more than they do. *Buffalo* – a dying city.

    Americans can rent streaming content from Netflix for $8/month with no bandwidth cap

    Americans can buy content online from many major retailers like Amazon’s Unbox service and Wal-Mart.

    Americans can use Hulu

    With making copying a CD you buy to your MP3 player (since most will use digital locks making that illegal) they’ve created a virtual iTunes monopoly.

    This act is basically harmonizing with the US for punishment but to be fair we need it to harmonize copyright across North America so Amazon and Wal-Mart US will have no problem selling to Canadians without added rights issues and we can finally watch Hulu.

  22. Tor Project

    A free software implementation of second-generation onion routing, a system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet.

  23. No More DVDs on Linux
    Under Linux OS one can only play a DVD by loading a library that essentially breaks the copy-protection. Thus, I assume anyone who plays a DVD under Linux would violate C-32?

  24. RE: Tor Project
    TOR is not intended for anonymous communication for high bandwidth traffic. If one is looking for safer file sharing i2p might be a better option…also free.

  25. Sorry RE: Tor Project

    TOR “IS” intended for anonymous communication “not” for high bandwidth traffic. If one is looking for safer file sharing i2p might be a better option…also free.

  26. Jack Robinson says:

    Rightful Ownership or the Rubicon of Rapacious Revenues?
    Frankly, amidst the tiny tempest C-32’s provoked amongst pissed-off file sharer’s Me Pod bunkers… I’m far more alarmed about the sinisterly complex ramifications this trip-wired, toxic souffle of potentially criminal liabilty represents beyond digital locks, stocks and smoking barrels.

    Buried deep within the minefield morass of legal jargon and obfusication is the potential to fine or criminalize virtually anyone… including the press, academic institutions and the vox populae at large that utilizes without express permission or paid tariff on ANY ‘protected by implicit ownership’ image, text, tune, video clip or especially scary, government document… and will ultimately become Harper’s New Rome modus for muzzling and chastising his citizen opponents.

    Burn and rip whilst ye can, kidz! Captain Crunch is a-comin’ down hard to loot our tiny treasure troves in the name of Tory Tribute.

  27. A. Citizen says:

    Question to Harper & Cabal
    What time does the ceremony to raise the US flag in front of Parliament start, you unpatriotic pig-ignorant water-carriers?

  28. mckracken says:

    ‘reasonable effort…’
    “If the organization cannot locate the copyright owner, despite making reasonable efforts to do so, the organization shall pay, in accordance with the regulations, any royalty established under the regulations to a collective society.”


    recently, as pointed out by mr.geist, it was announced the cria was being sued for nonpayment of collected royalties by a wide variety of recording artists. does this mean that a quick passing of this law would remove the ability for this suit to go forward as the cria could explain ‘we made a reasonable effort’ to contact the artists but it appears the phone number we have is no longer in service? thereby allowing the cria to collect ‘on behalf’ without ever having to pay it out due to reasonable efforts?

    the entirety of the act is rife with double speak by allowing the big headers of ‘time shifting’ ‘fair use’ etc, but absolutely trumps everything by effectively legislating the equivalent of a luggage lock on any media or device (let’s see whether the ipod touch meets the criteria of cell phones for lock breaking purposes)to be met with criminal charges.

    i know, let’s wander into mr moore’s household and perform a spot check on media for ‘infringement’.

  29. from

    But [Danielle] Parr [executive director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada] says exceptions to the protection of digital locks won’t work. “When you create a big hole in the law that people can drive through, the onus is suddenly placed right on the copyright creator to prove the infringement,” she says.

    Right there! I’ve told friends and family alike that there ARE CURRENTLY LAWS DEALING WITH COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT IN CANADA PRIOR TO THIS BILL!! I’m getting sick of seeing headlines in the past 24 hours stating somehow this bill finally addresses filesharing or other rampant infringment. It’s always been there, just that the media corporations don’t want to put forward the effort or resources to track down actual individual infringers or supply proof that they are actually infinging (They may think piracy means lost revenue, but at least it’s unseen. Costs to chase pirates, however, shows up on the balance sheet). This is the bottom line; not protecting innocent artists, saving jobs, stifling innovation, etc. Make it more cost effective for companies to actually accuse/charge someone with as minimal effort as possible. Perhaps a mailer could be developed “Greetings, you are accused (and therefore guilty) of copyright infringment of (check one) 0 music, 0 film, 0 software, 0 other ________ and are hereby fined (insert amount, Note default = $5000)$_________. Please send your payment to ______________________, USA. If you believe you’ve received this notice in error, then you’re wrong.”

    Captch = done ousted (thinking of you, Tories)

  30. Mr. Pibb says:


    If your interpretation of the legislation is accurate and recording programming for digital library purposes will become illegal, are Canadians that own high-capacity PVR’s going to become criminals when this bill becomes law?


  31. Flawed but “flexible”?
    The Toronto Star has “accidentally” quoted Michael Geist’s article title as “…flawed but flexible” — several times, repeatedly.

    Not that I’m accusing the Toronto Star of behaving like Fox News and making minor, supposedly insignificant changes to further their own political aims…ha ha ha.

  32. end user says:

    @ Patty No More DVDs on Linux

    All 4 of my computers at home run Linux Mint. I and my kids will watch dvd’s, rip and steal music till they come for us. After that we’ll go back to doing the same. I have over 250+ DVD that I bought and except for music I already own and creative commons music I can’t be bothered to download it when I can go to a pawn shop and get DVD for $2.99 and cd’s for $1.99. I get the best of both worlds, I still get to watch the movies and listen to music while myself not giving a penny to any of the movies studios and record labels. Sorry they already got paid for it the first time someone bought the cd/dvd.

  33. Smitty_2_Each says:

    A quote comes to mind …
    When thinking of all our new freedoms, and shiny and legal-like ‘cept for that pesky digital lock provision, I am reminded of a quote:

    “What good is a telephone call if you are unable to speak?”

    Harper sure loves to lick that American ass.

  34. @MikeB
    Good one quoting Danielle Parr. I guess that Ms Parr seems to think that accusation is proof of guilt. Her opinion may be changed when she gets accused of tax evasion…

    The next question, then, is what is the presumption of innocence in a copyright trial? The Charter specifically mentions criminal charges, but AFAIK these would not be criminal charges.

  35. Pawn Shop Movies
    … ya, this is great until they make it illegal to buy and sell second-hand movies and music. I’m almost sure it’s been discussed in the US, along with the idea of it being illegal to give your movies and music away…without explicit permission of the copyright holder. What a joke!!! I too partake of the wondrous pawn shop culture. At least half of my nearly 1100 DVD/BluRay collection was purchased second hand or though places like the Bargain Shop, where they recently had full retail DVD bundles of 8 movies for a whopping $7. 48 DVDs for $42!!! WooHoo…My kind of pricing. 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, I do buy retail DVDs in normal stores, or Amazon, but less and less are first run because it usuaully takes us months to get around to watching them anyway…the exception is kids movies which we like to see right away, having two small children. 🙂

  36. lol commies
    Stop stealing shit, god bless the C-32, god bless the DMCA, and god bless George Bush, Stop stealing everything thinking its somehow our right now that its ‘digital’

  37. My questions are… What is the definition of a digital lock? Is it only DRM? Can a video codec be a type of digital lock? If a video includes a companies codec, can I be sued if I don’t have a licence to decode that video? Sued if I encode said video into something else?

    Also, what happens when you buy a song online and the music service goes under? Must I delete the song? Do I have to keep records for all music I buy online to prove one day my collection?

    The idea of suing Canadians for $5000 per infringement for non commercial uses is ridiculous.

  38. What of illegal trade practices?
    Will digital locks be protected in the case of illegal practices, such as market segmentation?

    The legal doctrine of “clean hands” effectively prevents a scoffaw from enjoying legal protection for his misdeeds. So the question is, can a movie studio suing someone for playing a legitimately-bought non region-1 DVD will be able to have it’s complaint stand?

    This is no different than a canadian publisher suing someone who reads a book purchased in the US.

  39. S.Elite #5 says:

    King Bush and his super elite Knights of the Global table.
    Yup defiantly need locks, It’s intolerable that people have a copy on their ipod and make another for their computer. If you want more than one copy than Buy it! We don’t care that you can barley afford food. When you don’t buy multiple copies we can’t afford multiple Ferrari’s. Everyone knows the masses of idiots do not matter. Stupid people! Don’t you realize only the Elites matter again. Now stop complaining before we put your North American children back in Factors, along with invoke martial law. Be happy, Shut up, remember your place, you are but a number. Be happy it is only 2nd and 3rd world countries that we make the children work to death.

    We at the Organization of Ancient Elites, King and Knights would like to remind you to stop complaining or we will give you something to complain about, just think Africa.

    Sincerely yours,

    All eyes on you.

  40. Consumer says:

    Thoughs on this blog
    Geist – any chance you will respond to this post by Bob Tarantino?

  41. Abdication
    The canadian parliament is effectively abdicating it’s power to legislate by granting user fair-use right by giving publishers the power to cancel those rights.


  42. Ernest Brereton says:

    Downloading Torrents
    I Work for shaw cable in there internet server Department as one of there Engineers in Calgary. Shaw has made it very clear with the last 2 bills including this one now, that we will not disclose any information to the Police, the government, and any other authorities regarding people downloading illegal torrents, as we at shaw respect the privacy of each individual client of ours. Doing so would mean loss of revenue for us, and a complete distrust by our clients using our internet services. Making downloading certain torrents illegal, and bowing to police and government pressure to force ISP’s to give up there clients, will cause alot of people to go underground, and they will lose tons of revenue. By underground, I mean, these people will find a way to steal services by possibly hacking a cable or DSL modem, just so they dont get caught doing what is technically Legal right now.

    I truely believe the government is still going in the wrong direction with this new copyright bill. Our government is showing us, they really dont care about the individual concerns of each and every canadian out there. They buckle under the pressure of lobby groups and american corporations and there government. Our government truely needs a backbone, and raise the middle finger and give them a good old canadian salute.

    I for one have Tonnes of music and movies, I have either downloaded or ripped to my computer. I have 4, 2 terabyte hard drives, 3 of which are just movies, and the other, 1 terabyte of the drive is Music, the rest software, and pictures. So now if this bill becomes law, I will be forced to delete my music/movie Libraries. I dont be thinking so. What are they going to do, come into each individual persons homes, and confiscate what we have. As far as I am concerned, that right there is an invasion of Privacy.

    I for one along with alot of my collegues pray that this bill doesnt become law either, and forces another election. I truely believe that if this bill becomes law, ISP’s are going to lose alot of business if they bow down to pressure to give up there clients, as there clients will eventually seek other ways of getting what they want. Shame on you Harper, and shame on the Conservative party. I aint voting for you again in the next election.

  43. Why Protect “Digital Locks”???
    With this legislation it seems that the real thing being protected is the encryption itself, not the content.

  44. @ BwP

    Actually, from the wording of the legislation (and maybe Michael can correct me if I’m wrong) the $5000 dollar fine is for all infringements in a single case not for each infringement. At least for non-commercial use. For commercial use the per infringement fine is maintained.

  45. @Lolol

  46. We can’t trust the medias on this one
    We cannot trust the medias on reporting this issue, because they have a vested interest in strenghtening content protection.

    This is entirely in our hands, and it is important to understand that we are fighting both the government AND the media on this one.

    “Reamer tactic”. How appropriate!!! (

  47. This isn’t about digital locks
    Digital locks are a red herring. This is about forcing consumers to pay multiple times for the same content, just so they can play them on different formats.

    The Conservatives are unfortunately showing themselves to not only be profligate spendthrifts, but disdainful of consumer fairness.

  48. ISP Liability
    “I truely believe that if this bill becomes law, ISP’s are going to lose alot of business if they bow down to pressure to give up there clients, as there clients will eventually seek other ways of getting what they want.”

    Where in the bill does it say ISPs must divulge information about their users? If this truely is the case, I will most certainly be purchasing a 3rd party VPN account. If they’re going to be forced to track me, I’m certainly not going to make it easy to identify my activity. I thought it was being kept status-quo and they only had to pass on the “notice of infringement” letter to the user.

  49. someone please delete my previous post
    Dont know why didnt show my entire post for some reasons.

    anyway, @Lolol, commie have nothing to do with this matter. Simply naming us all as “commie” which make me think you are worse than the commie. Do you know what is a commie anyway?

    @Ernest Brereton, I am glad to hear that from someone working in Shaw Cable. As a customer at Shaw, I truly worry about how will my isp act after this bill have become a legislation. Even Shaw make such disapprove stance toward this bill. I am sure that the copyright and movie industry will no doubt pull some strings afterward in order to change shaw’s point of view.

    Also if this bill really comes into play, I will just encrypt myself then.

  50. DVD Parody
    One recent facet of parody that comes to mind are the Hitler parodies on Youtube – the videos where they have substituted the subtitles for something funny. How would one create this sort of parody without breaking the DRM lock?

  51. Irving Schwartz says:

    This is slight of hand
    The real purpose of all this is to eliminate the need for warrants to gather information from any electronic source – your computer files, ISP records, probably even phone conversations.
    That bit of the legislation is being severely downplayed in all media reports.

  52. Digital Locks or Law, pick your defense
    Someone on Slashdot recently made the comment that a fair solution to the problem would be to prevent content producers who use digital locks from suing for damages if/when those digital locks are broken. This in turn encourages content producers to release their content without extra locks that impact fair uses, because they would get the protection of the law when major violations do occur.

  53. @Irving – Where?
    “The real purpose of all this is to eliminate the need for warrants to gather information from any electronic source – your computer files, ISP records, probably even phone conversations. That bit of the legislation is being severely downplayed in all media reports.”

    Where in the bill does it say the ISP must supply information upon request?

  54. Gary Johanson says:

    @ Ernest Brereton
    I to work for Shaw in Edmonton, in the customer service Department. Since this bill was introduced yesterday, we have been flooded with calls by customers concerning there privacy in regards to downloading, and what our stance is. All we can do is assure customers that we will do everything possible to protect there privacy. As the owner of Shaw is also concerned with losing customers. J.R. Shaw our Chairman, said to us and I am sure he has said it to each shaw office in Canada, that he will do everything legally possible if this becomes law to protect our Customers.

    We feel if this becomes law, and we are forced to give up potential law breakers, that eventually the company will be forced to lay off people, as the revenue will drop dramatically, Cause there is no way, that the government is going to pay us or any other cable company for lost business. We hope that another election is called and this bill like the last 2 is dropped.

    I myself attended one of these consultations they had about copyright reform, and they honestly in no way took the concerns of canadians to the drafting table on redrafting this bill. The Government is supposed to care about the people whom elect them into power, not about the concerns of other countries and there laws. We strongly need a new government in power, not the PC’s or Liberals again, as they have genuinely shown, they really dont care about us, only the money they can make if they bow down to lobby groups, corporations, and other governments in the world.

    I myself have been reading up on this new political party in Canada, the Pirate Party, and I really like where they stand. We strongly need a new government with fresh and innovative Idea’s, and we also need to get everyone in Canada involved in the election process. The younger generation really doesnt care about electing officials into power, as they see them as crooks. I hate to say it, but I am forced to agree with the younger generation myself.

    Somewhere along the lines the government forgot whom they represent. The represent US, not the USA, and not foreign countries and there laws.

  55. This conversion…
    …really is starting to worry me. I guess it’s time to start researching VPN providers. Hey, Shaw (And other providers) should start offering a paid VPN service for their customers. That would be a real good way to stick it to this bill!!!

  56. Mr damn it says:

    Real Life problem here. This legal?
    My wife’s hard-disk on her Future Shop bought Acer Aspire just died. 5 moths out of warranty. Future Shop refused to fix it under warranty.

    I have a spare Hard-disk here I plan on slapping in over the weekend. The problem is, when we bought this machine Future Shop does not give the windows CD with the machine. Some sort of image is on the original HD, which is dead.

    I have a valid license. Bought and paid for. No windows CD.

    I plan on finding Windows Vista Home Premium some place and putting it on her new HD. Same as what we bought and what died. If the original key doesn’t work I will do what I must since I already paid for it.

    When this law passes (if it does) I plan on going direct to the police and Emailing Microsoft to say what I did and why.

    I’ll be damned if I pay again for a hardware failure and for something that Acer and Future Shop doesn’t give when I already bought and paid for something. I’d rather rot in jail than be exploited like this by the Canadian government.


  57. exploderator says:

    @ Mr damn it
    The real time to fight is before this goes to law. We don’t need martyrs, we need to prevent innocents like you from becoming such. DRM has too many complex and unforeseeable consequences to give it any artificial legal protection, let alone the kind of DRM trumps almost everything protection in this bill. Your fine example is just one of the nearly infinite combinations of fail we will face if C-32 becomes law. I’m sooooo sure that will be just spiffy for the economy.

  58. @ Mr damn it – RE: Real Life problem here. This legal?
    This is why I always insist on a physical Windows disk when I buy a new PC, if I plan to get Windows with it. I’ve been burned like this before, MDG used to be notorious for it. I would contact Microsoft and explain the issue, perhaps they’re “deal” with Futureshop, I understand their customer service has improved vastly since the Windows Vista fiasco. As long as you have a valid license key, that matches you, they “might” be willing to do something, or maybe even upgrade you to Windows 7 at a reduced cost, since Vista is RTM unsuported and home version will surely follow. Trust me, if you haven’t used it, Windows 7 is VASTLY better and more stable than Vista.

  59. …also…
    …AND I get them to actually show me the physical disk if it’s a pre-install, before I leave the store. Not that I don’t trust them, but I really don’t have a great deal of faith in the goodwill of mankind.

  60. I do not think it is a good idea
    for Shaw and other ISP offer any VPN services, because if the government push them they may offer your information in one go.

    Also when this bill in place, how many innocent people will be caught in the cross fire?

  61. @ Mr damn it

    i too have an acer aspire. i suspect your nightmare will be coming my way in the future. i noticed that all laptops come with windows 7 pre installed- it’s a scam. you are basically renting windows for life, but you don’t even know how much you are paying for it. it should be illegal to force people to buy it. if there is no optical drive, Microsoft should re install the os for free for life, or give a back up on a flash drive if that’s possible. most consumers don’t have the skills to get a new os on a laptop without an optical drive

  62. exploderator says:

    The argument: C-32 is OK because DRM violations will be toothless against private individuals for private use.
    We will all see much of this argument. The idea is that C-32 has no teeth against private individual violations, so average home users won’t be in significant legal peril for minor DRM breaking and suchlike. Somehow this is supposed to make the bill less scary (I suppose it does in some regards).

    There is a back side to this argument, and it’s very important:

    C-32 also effectively prohibits the production, distribution, and importation of the tools needed to circumvent DRM for infringing purposes. This effectively removes legal access to the DRM breaking tools as well.

    Example: I buy a DVD movie for my kids, and wish to back it up. I find that I cannot copy the disk, even though the label doesn’t say it’s protected. I go to Staples, but the clerk tells me there is no program on their shelves that can do it. But he mentions a program called AnyDVD, which will unlock the DVD so I can copy it. I find the Slysoft website, and buy AnyDVD from them online, from out of the country. I now make my backup.

    I have broken at least three laws. 1. I violated the copyright, 2. violated the DRM, and 3. imported the software to do it. Note that any program that can copy protected DVD’s, even as a secondary function (Nero?), will become illegal to sell in Canada as a result.

    I conclude that the only acceptable way to amend C-32 is to explicitly allow DRM to be broken for all non-infringing uses, and to drop altogether the clauses concerning the tools. The matter is too complex, and there are too many unintended and unforeseeable consequences, for this law to stand as reasonable justice.

    Better yet, the law should drop all regulation protecting DRM / TPM’s, because they are merely temporary technical methods that may (will) not stand the test of time and markets, and thus should not be included in the subject matter of legislation that purports to be technologically neutral and forward looking.

    If anything, DRM / TPM’s pose a dire threat to public safety and overall security. A truly forward looking law would foresee these dangers, and legislate against this technology, by setting strict limits on its usage to ensure that it poses no threats to our rights, safety, or security.

  63. mumonkan says:

    have a laugh
    powerful privacy solution
    With BTGuard downloading through BitTorrent becomes 100% anonymous & safe.
    Your downloads will be routed through Canada which enforces some of the strictest privacy laws in the world, ensuring the protection of your identity, even from your own ISP!

  64. average joe
    So heres a scenario. Lets say I take a picture and it is one of those pictures that everyone just loves. A corporation sees this pictures and notices that it does not have a digital lock on it so it decides to take the picture slap a digital lock on it and say it it is thier works. Does this mean that average joe who doesnt have acces to digital locks can have a corporation take over individual own works and call it thier own? Ther by slapping a fine on how ever uses this picture? I am unclear on how that is going to work.

  65. DRM – Any lock, or just the original?
    Let’s the FOSS community integrates an “open”, freely available lock for all media encoded with its software. If I remove the undesirable DRM and recode with the openDRM, will that make it a “legal” piece of media?

  66. joel cairo says:

    Stephen Harper and his Knesset are out of control. He must be voted out of office ASAP. His financiers and puppeteers will reward him for his loyal service to the New World Order. Democracy in Canada- RIP..

  67. Sigh…regardless of this new bill and all that DRM BS, I’m still continue to do the same thing over and over again. They can’t force me to change a part of my lifestyle that I enjoy the most. So all those rotten bastards trying to make me stop, I say “do your worst”.

    I’ll fight to the death if I have no other choice…

  68. munkonan: In case it has escaped your attention, all this kerfuffle is about a proposed legislation *IN* Canada. It has been said that others feel that Canada is some sort of haven for people who want to commit media piracy is a lot of what is motivating this sort of bill and I supposed that you’ve just affirmed that perception.

  69. @ eddy
    “it should be illegal to force people to buy it. if there is no optical drive, Microsoft should re install the os for free for life, or give a back up on a flash drive if that’s possible. most consumers don’t have the skills to get a new os on a laptop without an optical drive”

    I’ve never seen anything where you were “forced” to buy Windows, other than perhaps Dell, and they will remove it upon request, but you have to phone them. You can always opt to not get a retail OS. Linux Ubuntu is quite user friendly and it’s FREE, AND it will install from or even on to a memory key. I personally use Windows because there is not enough Linux support for things I like to do. They just don’t develop a lot of first person games for Linux. But if you’re just using it as a basic machine for web browsing, e-mail, etc, it would be fine. Computer resellers are scam artists by nature, always insist on a physical copy. If they won’t give it to you, take you business elsewhere because their support is going to suck anyway.

  70. @Mark
    We actually have somewhat lower piracy rates than much of Europe and Asia, but the great US of A has little influence in those markets. Unfortunately we’re attached at the hip with them, so we’re easy pray. They, along with their respective lobby groups, can exert tremendous political pressure here, especially over our weak PM.

  71. Caped Copy Crusader says:

    Can we please stop using the term “digital lock”?
    It’s misleading and wrong. The lock metaphor is a pretty shaky one applied to something as insubstantial as DRM software – which you can’t “break”, only circumvent. Words are important, and “lock” conveys the wrong message.

  72. David English says:

    a simple solution – require warning labels
    A simple, reasonable, and positive amendment to Bill C-32 is all that is required to fix this mess. We just need to push them into requiring warning labels for all material distributed with digital locks. Any media not so labelled is considered legally unlocked. Warning labels would be government-specified, with a specific symbol, wording, and size or duration – just like tobacco products. All physical media imported into Canada would require these warning labels. All imported devices that include digital locks would require these labels. All media broadcast with digital locks would require prior warning. All cable channels sold that would ever be used to broadcast locked media would require warning labels at consumer sign-up. The same would be required of all web-based media companies looking to distribute in Canada. It is a simple legal request, easy to implement, and it puts the onus on the content distributors, the ones that would otherwise have no disincentive to not take our personal rights away, to warn consumers. It will be the content distributors that must prove their product was correctly labelled at every import before they can prove a digital-lock violation. In short, it balances C-32. It creates a disincentive to distribute locked media and it gives choice back to consumers.

    Let them have their locks, but make it hurt them more than it hurts us in the process. Would you buy a DVD, download a song, etc, if it has a warning label stating that you have no right to use it in the way you choose?

    So yeah, we could cave to US demands AND tell them to screw off at the same time 🙂

  73. says:

    Fighting to the death is not a solution. Education is only as good as employed. We need to send a straight message to our puppet masters that we the people are unwilling to step backwards.

  74. Canada gave in to US demands 🙁
    This bill is put in place to protect multi-billion dollar american corporations. It has nothing to do with “protecting” artists. The greed of US making more money is without limit. That’s what it’s about. They don’t give a damn about artists. Corporations want the money.

    I will be a sad canadian when we as canadians will give in to US corporate demand and greed. It will be a sad day indeed…

  75. Chris-V. says:

    Citation and iPad apps
    You will find another example of an obnoxious digital lock with the Kobo ereader application for the iPad, as well as the Kindle app. With both of those you cannot select and copy/paste any portion of text. Thus, if you want to make a citation from the book you “own”, you have to type the sentences. At least, with a printed book, I could scan the passage in question.

  76. exploderator says:

    David English said: simple solution – require warning labels
    Good one for a number of reasons. Suggested symbol is a florescent brown poop coil. I’m sure this idea rattled through my brain at some point too, being another firm anti DRM guy (both legislation and product).

    Sadly, labeling laws would be rather toothless in the broader international markets that thrive on the internet, and in that way easy to dodge too. More sadly still, the fact that DRM labeling isn’t required everywhere around the world, by all governments, is just a sad sign of how uniformly our governments have come to represent only corporate will, which is implicitly always for their own profit, and usually against the general public good. The fact that our politicians seek and welcome corporate advice on policy as though it is reliable and wise insight, rather than dangerously suspect by way of greedy bias, is telling. Terms like oligarchy, corporatocracy, or fascism come to mind.

    DRM is dangerous technology. While it goes unregulated, the public at large is subjected to broad denials of our rights, to systematic thefts (retractions of ownership beyond our control), and even to security breaches that are worse than viruses, because they come from sources we thought we could trust. I think the danger should be obvious by anyone familiar with the technologies who is not blinded by their own greed and/or fear in the admittedly dangerous digital marketplace. But two wrongs don’t make a right. DRM is implicitly about systems of denial. That DRM is ripe for abuse is the demonstrated history of the technology. To legislate to protect such technology in spite of it’s pervasive failure in the markets is sheer madness.

    The truly ironic side of this entire tale: by the time we spend an extra 10% to 20% of our labor breaking and sidestepping DRM, which we will in spite of these crazy laws, we have wasted so much effort that we can’t afford to pay what we should, or at least get something productive done. We get a poorer society, and theft becomes a blurry line because we are forced to frequently dabble in breaking and entering just to get what we paid for, rather than spending our attention on asking honestly who owns the information and whether they deserve a paycheck. With books it was an obvious line to cross, but DRM does not properly translate to the correct answer.

    Welcome to the world of perfect free information replicators. It’s a science fiction miracle come true. Don’t think you can deliberately break them and welcome the future at the same time.

  77. Gerald Sphincter says:

    Linux users will be BANNED from playing DVDs
    Why? Because they use libdecss. That’s right, users of an entire operating system who were comfortable playing their DVDs will have this right taken away because a DVD usually (99% of the time) comes encrypted by CSS.

    Every netbook you buy, every android device will be turn the consumer into a criminal.

    What else is banned? Buggy software! Old Software! Anything that doesn’t immediately support the new standard of listening to a copybit or checking even for read/write access will be violating bill C-32, and according to the dishonorable clement, NO EXCEPTIONS. No personal use, no non-commercial use, no-nothing, no breaking locks no matter how bloody benign and simple.

    Quick lock up your content behind a license that says DONT COPY THIS, make sure it isn’t machine parsable either! If it isn’t machine parsable then we can ban web crawlers for breaking our DRM. They should’ve known.

    Don’t legislate any legal power to a digital lock! It is as simple as some xml saying .

    That’s not innovation, that’s a digital tripwire.

  78. Ashram Beeb says:

    Does this law protect my files from nasty sysadmins
    If I chmod 000 my files and the sysadmin goes and changes it and maybe accesses it (and it is my creation, my copyright) can’t I sue him. He’s breaking my lock!

  79. exploderator says:

    ^ Ashram
    Maybe you would have to rot13 your files instead, so your sysadmin would have to “decrypt” them. It sounds like a commercial setting too, so he would be in some pretty deep doodoo.

  80. Draw the line already!
    Regulate DRM, establish clear DRM labelling, use OpenDRM etc… I don’t understand why people keep insisting the strategy for appeasement and apology, but it’s funny every time someone suggests it.

    The cartels are paying the politicians a pittance of their profits to own you and the internet, but we still have people apologize and try to appease them. You can’t possibly win this way, since everything you give will be taken and demanded more, and more, and more. Then, what? Where will you draw the line?

    Currently, some DRM require internet confirmation, but soon they all will require it, along with every device you own. DRM is the fight now, and anti-privacy laws is next. Guess who’ll own you and own the internet by then?

    The truly funny thing though is everyone, politicians and all, will be the affected. Harper has sold our freedoms for his short term gains, which won’t last much longer.


  81. Where’s the reform on PUBLIC DOMAIN???
    Have you ever tried to use content that seems to be in the public domain but can’t because there’s a “grey” area? Content is copyrighted for 30 years, and the lifetime of the author, before it needs to be officially, legally renewed. The movie is in the public domain but the music is copyrighted. The copyright wasn’t renewed after a certain date so now it’s public domain. There is no copyright notice so it is now public domain. Oh, now the law has changed– nothing needs to be renewed if it was created after a certain date. Oh, the law has changed a again– it’s now 50 years period. Oh, it’s changed again, now any original copyright holder can take their content out of the public domain!

    Can the government please fix this so it is straight forward so if I wanted to use content that is public domain I don’t get sued 20 years later for infringement by the original author? Can Canada create a database of copyright material, or public domain material that is searchable on the internet?? Can the government please define what “public domain” legally means and then stick to that definition?

    This issue seems to have been completely ignored. This is a legitimate concern. What’s legally downloadable and what is not. What is legally reproducible and what is not. How long copyright actually lasts for before going into the public domain.