Support for C-32 Digital Lock Changes Mounts

The reactions to C-32 rolled in yesterday with many groups supporting much of the balance struck by the bill but expressing concern with the digital lock provisions.  That perspective was consistent across the spectrum – businesses, education groups, librarians, and some creator groups all said virtually the same thing:

  • Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright: balanced, common sense approach but "some parts of the legislation unfairly restrict consumer freedom and need to be revised before being passed by Parliament such as the inability to circumvent digital locks for private use."
  • Retail Council of Canada: encouraged by bill but "some parts of the legislation unfairly restrict consumer freedom and choice and need to be revised before being passed by Parliament."
  • AUCC: Welcomes copyright bill but is "concerned about the overly strict prohibition against circumventing the technical measures"
  • Canadian Bookseller Association: “would like to see the government go even further in the area of access, by allowing the public – particularly students and educators – to circumvent digital locks on material sought for educational and strictly non-commercial purposes.”
  • Canadian Library Association: passing grade but "disappointed that longstanding rights, the heart of copyright's balance, as well as the new rights, are all tempered by the over-reach of digital locks"


  1. Captain Hook says:

    Digital Locks not absolute?
    Interestingly I read James Gannon this morning who I usually see as an industry mouth piece.

    One thing he seems to have picked up on which I missed so far is his Myth#4 – “The laws protecting digital locks will trump fair dealing rights”

    What I missed is the the definition of TPM is restricted to locks on sound recordings ONLY. I don’t quite buy his argument that there is no loss of fair dealings rights, but it would appear that these losses are restricted to sound recordings only. So while you cannot circumvent your iPod or your DRM’d iTunes music, you are still free to Mod your Xbox, rip your DVD, and backup your game software. By my reading of this you should also be free to offer these services, trade in circumvention software (unless it circumvents audio TPM tech), and sell Mod chips.

    Am I reading this right, or am I falling into some sort of Gannon trap?

    The bill itself is here if anyone want to re-read section 41.

  2. Labeling DRM
    I’m inclined to agree with Clement that given consumer education and experience, the market will determine the uses of DRM, as with music. What I want to see is very large clear labels on consumer packaging for DRM locked devices, with a requirement that the usage limits and legal penalties be clearly spelled out on every package or download site. Having seen a big red lock with “up to $5000” on the box end or download screen, people can decide what to buy and expose themselves, their kids, or the parents of their grandchildren to. We’ll think twice about buying little Bootsy that video game after reading that sharing it with Skipper will cost a year of college.

  3. cndcitizen says:

    DRM B/S
    @Albin – the comsumer market already decided that DRM is not the way they will purchase media. This is why iTunes and all online music services have removed the DRM on their music, people will not buy stuff with DRM. Look at the lost sales of DRM crippled games (Ubisoft) they had to even drop their price and bundle 3 games with it by 45% because of the poor sales, I stupidly bought the DRM crippled game and have had nothing but problems which is why I will never buy another one of those again.

  4. Captain Hook says:

    “people will not buy stuff with DRM”

    Right. That is why the DVD and Blu-Ray business is doing so poorly isn’t it.

  5. Keith Rose says:

    Circumvention and exceptions
    Gannon doesn’t say the definition of TPM is restricted to sound recordings, and that is definitely not the case. What he says is that the prohibition on circumvention in s. 41.1(a) is limited to the circumvention of access controls, as defined in s. 41(a): “effective technology” that “controls access to a work, to a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording and whose use is authorized by the copyright owner”. “A work” means pretty much anything is covered, though implicitly it’s probably limited to works that are eligible for copyright protections.

    The point is that it excludes the s. 41(b), which defines use controls. The statement is true, in so far as it goes. But it’s a little misleading. s. 41.1(a) is the *only* place that makes that distinction. Every *other* mention of “circumvention” applies to both access and use controls.

    So, the prohibition on circumvention services (s. 41.1(b)) and devices (s. 41.1(c)) applies to use controls. So do the limitations on the new private copying, time-shifting and back-up exceptions. The remedies for violations of s. 41.1(b) and (c) are the same as for s. 41.1(a). The difference is who is liable–in the former case, it’s the service or device provider, not the end-user.

    So no, you would probably not be permitted to rip your DVD or back-up your game software, as these acts would be permitted only by exceptions that only apply when there is no circumvention of access *or* use controls, and while *you* may be free to mod your Xbox, the person who sold you the mod chip would be liable for infringement.

    More generally, Gannon is technically correct when he says that “once you have legal access to a work, there is no provision in the new Bill that would prevent you from making use of the fair dealing copyright exceptions, digital lock or not.” This is nonetheless a *huge* clawback of the fair dealing right because up to now *access* to works wasn’t regulated by copyright at all. And it may only be true to the extent that you can break any use controls on your own, with no assistance from anyone else or technology that you had to acquire from someone else.

  6. Captain Hook says:

    Definition of TPM
    What about this?

    “technological protection measure” means any
    effective technology, device or component that,
    in the ordinary course of its operation,
    (a) controls access to a work, to a per-
    former’s performance fixed in a SOUND
    RECORDING or to a SOUND RECORDING and whose
    use is authorized by the copyright owner; or
    (b) restricts the doing — with respect to a
    work, to a performer’s performance fixed in
    of any act referred to in section 3, 15 or 18
    and any act for which remuneration is
    payable under section 19.

    (emphasis mine)

    I read that as a TPM by definition only applies to sound recordings.

  7. Keith Rose says:

    List, not restriction
    @Captain Hook

    It’s a list, not a restriction. The control must apply to:
    a) a work
    b) a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording
    c) a sound recording

    They are listed separately because performer’s performances and sound recordings are subject to different rights (ss.15 and 18) than other works (ss.3 and 5).

  8. cndcitizen says:

    @Captain Hook, sorry I should have said digital media. My Bad, yes DVD and Blu-ray are physical media and have excellent sales, and I still purchase those, but as soon as I rip them to the media server the originals are put in the closet with all the CD’s I have purchased over the years.

    With this new bill that would make everyone that has purchased a media server criminals. Get rid of the digital locks.

  9. Captain Hook says:

    Thank you. My Bad.

    I was reading much wrong. Gannon clarifies a bit in his own post too.

    “The laws protecting digital locks in the new Bill very carefully and intentionally carved out the prohibition against devices that control copying of a work.”

    This would most certainly prohibit any type of format or time shifting, as well as device tampering on a device you own.

  10. Unintended consequences? Or by purpose?

    This is to remind anyone that technically speaking all Audio CDs have a “lock” mechanism (look for “copy flag”):

    First generations of computer CD players honored this “copy flag” i.e. they would only play audio CDs through analog outputs but would not let you read the digital data. Later on this was dropped.

    However technically speaking all current CD units and software like Windows Media Player would fall under the “circumvention devices” provisions of the law since they would not honor this “flag” (which can be construed like being similar to the “broadcast flag”; and is set on virtually all commercial Audio CDs).

    “Ripping” your CD to transfer the contents to your iPod would be illegal again.

    Take care.

  11. Well… the human brain can decrypt absolutely any and every possible encryption scheme, simply given that a person has the wherewithal and persistence to attempt it. So if I have a child who turns out to be a math genius, am I guilty of creating something that can circumvent digital locks on copyrighted works?

    Okay… I kid… although I am serious that the human brain is incomprehensibly adaptable to new types of problems and will always be capable of decrypting some work given nothing more than an incentive and the persistence to work at it. Although I realize that there can never practically be enforcement in this regard, laws forbidding the creation of something that can bypass digital locks without permission seems to set off some psychological warning alarms that we may be broaching on the concept of “thought crime” from 1984. There is an intrinsic mathematical isomorphism between software and a subset of human thought that cannot render any of the former illegal without inherently affecting the latter.

    I have no qualms with copyright holders putting locks on their works if they want to discourage copying, but I find it utterly reprehensible that the notion of absolutely ANY bypassing of those locks that does not consider the ultimate intent of the person as well as the manufacturing or distribution of technologies which could be used for such purposes, particularly when these same technologies could potentially be used for completely innocuous and reasonable activities, should ever be criminalized.

  12. Richard Pitt says:

    I want to see the DRM section moved in the direction India has gone – allowed for otherwise legal acts but…

    If we must have TPM then I require that every single TPM follow these rules:
    1 – must be 100% open source (source code published) – no hidden software hacks that rootkit my machine. No security by obscurity.
    2 – must have keys escrowed with the government in case the holder decides (a la Major League Baseball, Microsoft, etc.) to stop the key server some time – and also to allow for access after the legal copyright period ends and the work falls into the public domain
    3 – must not be for reason of region control – in our global economy this is just plain theft
    4 – if there is a portion of the TPM that must be on a piece of hardware that I otherwise own, then I may be able to remove it with impunity by giving up the facility it guards – i.e. if it contains a TMP chip and Windoze won’t run without that chip – then I can remove the chip if I don’t care to run Windoze.
    5 – the TPM must be non-trivial. No Caesar cyphers or single bit “you can’t copy this” flags]

    Any TPM that fails all these tests is null and void in Canada and vendors may be sued/prosecuted for implementing or selling them

  13. James Grahame says:

    Let your MP know.
    I’ve written short and concise letters to my MP, Moore, Clement, Harper and the opposition leaders about the digital lock provisions. Postage is free to MPs, so I encourage you to do the same. They need to receive an absolute deluge of mail about this.

  14. @Captain Hook
    “Right. That is why the DVD and Blu-Ray business is doing so poorly isn’t it.”

    There are different factors at play here not present in the audio CD market. These factors help drive sales in this sector, especially for full 1080p BluRay. It’s more the cost of BluRay and unstable HDMI standard than the associated DRM which affect BluRay sales. People hear all these compatability horror stories and decide to stick with DVD. Also, BluRay is not as user friendly as DVD.

    **A full sized BluRay rip (1080p with full HD audio) can be prohibitivley large and time consuming to download, especially for someone like me with a hard monthly limit. If I go over my download limit, my Internet stops working and I have to phone my ISP to get more, which I pay through the nose for. A typical full resolution BluRay image would run well over 20 gigabytes. At a wild estmate, that would take 4 or 5 days, perhaps longer, for me to download and burn up over one third of my monthy bandwidth…At 20G, that would be $20 worth of bandwidth…I might as well just buy the disk.

    **Home theatre is getting more afforadible, as a result, increasingly popular with many people building dedecated theatres in their homes. As much as HTPCs (home theatre PCs) are gaining popularity, support current AV technology and disk space is relatively cheap, they still represent a sustantial investment ($1000+ if you go with 6TB of storage. In reality it’s probably closer to $1500 because you’re going to want a decent wireless remote to use with it.), they can be chllenging to get set up properly and are much more maintenance compared to a stand-alone player. Many, myself included, cling to the stand alone players for the sheer convenience…put the disk in and go.

    In BluRay, it’s not piracy that affect sales, as we’d be led to believe. If someone is looking at buying a BluRay disk it’s because they want the hi-resolution image and high-definition audio…you’re not going to get that on a quick download.

  15. Tony Clement's Twitter Fan says:

    Tony Clement is editting his twitter feed
    He said this:

    So long as no TPM RT @xentac @TonyClement_MP with BillC32 can I buy DVDs and rip them for my iTunes, so long as I don’t share?

    Which was later deleted. Basically he’s refusing to admit that LINUX users cannot play DVDs with OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE because it uses DECSS:

    Im not a monster!! Really!RT @trevortye do you two want to be the ones to tell my wife it’s illegal for me to put Gilmore Girls on her ipod?

    Go read he demonstrates very clearly that C-32 means opensource users cannot play DVDs.

  16. Tony Clement's Twitter Fan says:

    Ok I was wrong he’s not editting his twitter feed
    Ok I was wrong he’s not editting his twitter feed, the comment is there, but it is old. My bad.

    Sorry Tony, but stop discriminating against open source users.

  17. This would be illegal
    Parodies such as this one would be illegal to make in Canada if the law passes with the DMCA provisions:

    (warning: some coarse language, viewer discretion advised)

    Have fun!

  18. Actually (from the bill): 29. Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire does not infringe copyright.

    It’s unfortunate that under this proposed bill digital locks still trump everything.

    Having read over the bill in detail now, I’m inclined to agree with Mr. Geist’s assessment… although I would personally prefer that any new legislation in Canada not offer digital locks any protection whatsoever, the bill can still be made infinitely better by narrowing all places where circumventing a work results in copyright infringement to unlawful circumvention only.

  19. Junji Hiroma says:

    This bill needs to die regardless
    Clment in a twitter post said if a company (I.E.: Technos japan corp.) and had a Lock (Video Game) gone out of buiness then the copyright law STILL stands,even if it the copyright expires,the law STILL applies. This bill needs to die a perminant death or be fixed IMMEDIATELY

  20. Lets focus on copyright
    Well lets keep focused. This is supposed to be a law about copyright not locks and encryption. It has to protect authors copyright not locks, DRM and other technological minutiae. So just remove all mentions to locks, encryption and DRM and we have an excellent law.

  21. While I would personally agree that amendments to the copyright act should not mention locks, encryption, or rights management, I can appreciate the need for their inclusion with respect to satisfying demands for international treaties. Notwithstanding, however, the scope of unlawful activities with respect to removing such protections could be narrowed so that prohibition is only applicable when a person does so for a purpose of infringing on copyright. I’ve read over the bill a few times now, and although I was initially quite skeptical of Mr. Geist’s assessment that it’s quite fixable, I have come to conclude otherwise. Even without removing all mention of digital locks… out of the many hundreds of paragraphs and sub-paragraphs mentioned in the bill, it would, by my reckoning, require amending perhaps no more than maybe 19 or 20 of them to make the bill entirely non-hostile to any end-user who does not intend to infringe on any traditionally understood copyright holder’s rights.

  22. R Bassett Jr. says:

    My coment was too long
    My comment was too long, so I added it to my blog here,!B3E6CE0644F53EE8!500.entry?&_c02_vws=1


    R. Bassett Jr.

  23. @Basset, believe me when I say this, but I have been extremely worried about consumer rights when I first heard about this bill as well, but I realize that laws which make at least some effort to prohibit circumvention of digital locks on copyrighted works are, I’m afraid, an inevitable concession for technologically advanced countries in the 21st century… although traditional consumer privileges can be wholly preserved by narrowing such prohibitions to acts which also infringe on copyright – something that C32 does not currently do, but could be potentially amended to accomplish.

  24. DRM protection and technology
    If the content industries wish to deploy DRM protections, the onus is on them to make it strong enough to resist anti-DRM tools.

    In order to exercise fair dealing exceptions, there should be no limitations on import, distribution, or use, of anti-DRM tools.

    In it’s essence, DMCA style protection is an admission that DRM technology isn’t an answer to the problems associated with copyright infringement. So why does a non-effective technology need to be “legally protected”?

    Let the “technology wars” begin.

    On the other hand, our government(s) and the content industries might just face reality and realize the world has changed. Engage with society.

  25. We must reject DRM completely!!!
    Another purpose for DRM is to render copyright’s term limit useless. If a work has DRM and it is protected by law from DRM circumvention, then copyright’s term limit, 50+ years after the author’s death, becomes meaningless because DRMs have no term limit. DRMs do not have a suicide date, such as required by educators destroying their lessons after a period of time. (By the way, what has the world come to, when educators must destroy their teaching materials after an ephemeral time and DRM can exist indefinitely? Ludicrous!!) Thus, DRM is the tool to end future extensions of copyright’s term. Although, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the cartels buy their next extension of 100+ years. We must reject DRM completely!!!

    This one-sided view of copyright law is not a technological problem, nor a social problem. This is a monopolist problem. These monopolists, who then form cartels, are the ones who do not want their oligopoly dismantled. The public, again and again, has advocated for fairness in copyright law, but we never see fairness, only monopolists’ bought policies. As it goes, you can do anything fair, but you can’t if it has DRM. What kind of fairness is that? We must reject DRM completely!!!

    We are supposed to have a free market, but protecting DRM circumvention is a government subsidy for the oligopoly to abuse the public. We must reject DRM completely!!!

    We all enjoy privacy, but if we lose this DRM battle, privacy will be next – if it’s not there already. Some DRMs today already spy on you, so all DRMs will spy on you in the future. DRM anti-circumvention law and anti-privacy law come hand-in-hand. We must reject DRM completely!!!

    If we accept DRM in copyright law, we might as well change our last names to Harper, Moore, or Clement to possibly avoid handcuffs. It’s worth a try?


    p.s. If Canada and the world’s major polluters have rejected Kyoto, which could end humanity as we know it, then rejecting other copyright treaties shouldn’t be a problem.

  26. RE: We must reject DRM completely!!!
    I think DRM is an unavoidavle foregone conclusion. A more realistic goal is to push for a fair use exception for personal use and back-up copies.

  27. @IamME
    What we need is to push to be allowed to circumvent for any legal purpose.

  28. CaptainCanuck says:

    Digital Locks: Killer of the Environment
    Vinyl, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, DVD, blu-ray– where does it end? When we’re all choking on our multiple format libraries, financial costs for said libraries and the environmental waste of those discontinued formats?? Digital locks are environmentally and consumer unfriendly. And the Canadian government who is supposed to be environmentally conscious, and democratic supports this?