Publisher Association Seeks Three Strikes and You’re Out for Canada

The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers has written to the Canadian government to criticize Bill C-32.  In addition to criticizing virtually every new exception – including many that are far more restrictive than those found in the U.S. – it argues for a system that could lead to permanent termination of Internet access.


  1. Yeah…no. With how many things the Internet is used for these days, cutting someone off would be like removing the ability to get a phone.

  2. These guys should have their right to publish scientific journals revoked. In this age where viruses can infect even nuclear reactors, proposing a three-strike rule shows a basic lack of common sense, let alone technical competence. A three-strike rule would have the potential to quickly disable the entire information infrastructure of Canada. What they are proposing is outright terrorism.

  3. Naive!!!
    This in unacceptable coming frome the scientific community. This is completely naive thinking that would only create further disrespect for copyright. Three strikes legislation has already been proven ineffective in France, where they have seen an increase in infringement since the three strikes law has been implemented. Even notice and takedown has been a disaster in the US where it has been widely abused to have completely legal content removed. Notice and notice has been proven to be effective, while still maintaining the balance between copyright holder and consumer.

  4. IamME: this isn’t coming from the scientific community, this is coming from the publishing community (akin to the CRIA). You are correct that 3 strikes is not necessarily the way to go. That being said, the main specific issue that I have with 3 strikes is that normally the model is better described as 3 accusations; your access is terminated based on the “accusation is proof of guilt” model. Were it is necessary for the accuser to prove, in court, the allegations using the rules of evidence necessary for a criminal hearing (as opposed to a civil hearing, since it effectively involves digital incarceration), I would have some support for it, in particular where penalties exist for flagrant misuse of the courts launching merit-less claims (contempt of court and Parliament).

    However, they do raise an interesting point in one of their other comments… where a work is produced as a text book for the educational market, allowing an educational exemption on it, at first glance, seems counter-intuitive and at the very least deserves some consideration.

    Some of their other comments are blatantly self-serving, but then again the group exists to lobby for the publishers, corporations which exist to make money for their shareholders (rather than contribute to the collective “good” of Canadians).

  5. the scientific community
    Note that this isn’t “the scientific community” requesting this, it is a publisher. To be more specific, it is publishers association that specializes in scientific, technical, and medical content.
    It isn’t the authors of the material, it is the middleman distributors. The ones that have the most to lose as we transition to the digital age.

  6. Back to school ..
    For an organization who purports to represent scientific publications, this is a viewpoint based in neither facts or observation. Cases in point …

    “We note that the Bill significantly reduces the scope and availability of statutory damages for non-commercial infringements. STM is concerned that such a reduction in statutory damages for non-commercial infringement significantly reduces the incentives that many licensees (both corporate and educational) have to enter into licensing agreements.”

    Litigation against non-commercial infringement has been nothing but an embarrassment for the content industry. Not only that, it has done more than anything else to embitter their customer base to the point of increased indifference to the litigators concerns.

    “If this does not lead to compliance, penalties should then culminate in a temporary suspension, or, in the case of egregious abuses, in permanent termination of internet access. When imposing such measures, the balance of convenience must be weighed and the principle of proportionality adhered to.”

    Here an attempt to soften a three-strikes stance with ‘proportionality’ is somewhat of a smokescreen. It has proven to be ineffective and even detrimental to the purpose of decreasing infringement in the only place it has been implimented. Termination of Internet service for non-commercial infringement is, in my opinion, completely out of proportion to any harm. First there is the burden of proof which has to be met, secondly termination for an entire household for possibly one persons activity is beyond reasonableness. And most importantly, the Internet is becoming such a necessity in today’s modern life in so many aspects that is just not feasible to consider this action for so small* a reason.

    *small in the respect that ‘file sharing’ has yet to be proven to be of great harm, in some studies even suggesting it is of benefit to all parties. I am not advocating either position, yet from a scientific perspective to base a result and outcome on unclear data is quite unprofessional and even negligent.

    This publisher association I think would do well to take some lessons from the people they represent. It seems the school of thought such publishing organizations adhere to could use some critical thinking skills.

  7. I propose a three-strike rule for publishers too. At the third typo in a published journal they get their license revoked.


  8. @Anon-K
    “…where a work is produced as a text book for the educational market, allowing an educational exemption on it, at first glance, seems counter-intuitive and at the very least deserves some consideration.”

    This is not neccessarily accurate or correct. The new exception only means that the works can be “considered” for an exception under fair use, and does not automatically mean they become free under fair use. It’s my understanding, those wishing to use such materials still must go through the appropriate approval processes.

  9. @Anon-K
    “I would have some support for it, in particular where penalties exist for flagrant misuse of the courts launching merit-less claims (contempt of court and Parliament).”

    Until wireless Internet becomes bulletproof unbreakable and unhackable and every Interent user becomes educated in effective ways to protect their connections; unitl spam, spyware and virus’ are controlled so that it is impossible for personal information to be stollen or accounts to be hijacked, three strikes is flawed in any form. The ONLY application of three strikes I could possibly come close to agree with is court-proven commercial infringement…in this case, I could possibly even agree with one or two strike.

    Many, mostly in the industry, argue that a cap of $5000 on statutory damages is a license to pirate. As much as they will deny it to the bitter end, the only thing this can be is a smokescreen for far more nefarious plans to start suing individual file sharers like in the US, or blanket “John Doe” lawsuits…the new media cash cow. In reality, the proposed fine is pleanty sufficient!!! Getting slapped with a $5000 fine will, by far, be sufficient to stop a vast majority of private infringers. With most salaries not keeping pace with the actual cost of living, $5000 is a LARGE amount of money for the average Canadian which would take many months, if not longer, to pay off. Most people don’t have a lot of expendable cash anyome. Again, I think the burden of proof should lay on the copyright holder. An IP address grabbed from a bit-torrent site is NOT proof with how easily an address is spoofed or a computer connection is hijacked these day. This is why notice on notice is truely the only fair and effective way.

  10. TheAngryBird says:

    Scientific Community? LOL
    The “scientific” community is also run by Fortune 500 companies.

    Look-up the term “ghost writers”. Basically they’re so-called experts that stealthfully write an article, or narrative to support the agenda of a large corporation. The acclaimed scientist writing the paper is usually paid, or somehow mysteriously overlooks the errors or issues.

  11. “We note in particular that Bill C-32 permits the use of any published work in order to create a new
    work for non-commercial purposes as long as the use does not have a “substantial adverse effect,
    financial or otherwise” on the exploitation of the original work. This requirement appears to introduce a
    more stringent test than the “normal exploitation” requirement provided for in the three-step test. The
    inclusion of such a more stringent requirement will exempt certain uses of copyrighted material for
    which the consent of rightsholders would otherwise have been required and this provision accordingly
    deprives rightsholders of potential and actual economic gains and therefore conflicts with the normal
    exploitation of the work.”

    Question-begging much? This “logic” could be applied to ANY exemption: If this exemption didn’t exist, then the rightsholder could charge people for it and make money, and therefore this exemption interferes with the rightsholder’s exploitation of the work.

  12. Cree Saying
    There is an American Cree saying that this whole discussion related to IP and copyright somehow reminds me of.

    “Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last fish has been caught, only after the last river has been poisoned, only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten.”

    While this is directly aimed at the exploitation of natural resources, it can easily be applied to this discussion. In this context the artists and consumers are the resources and the industry will “realize”.

    Only after the last customer has been sued, only after the last artist has been exploited, only after the last Internet connection has been shut down, only then will you realize that money doesn’t just magically appear.

    Exploiting artists to the point that it should be criminal, suing your customers and taking their Internet connection away: these fear tactics are NOT the way to create a loyal customer base or sustainable income.

  13. Junji Hiroma says:

    The Internet Disconnection Law is Actually being proposed GLOBALLY
    Tim Berners-Lee’s Take On the internet Disconnection Law:

    “warned Tuesday of the “blight” of new laws being introduced across the globe allowing people to be cut off from the Internet.

    “There’s been a rash of laws trying to give governments and Internet service providers (ISPs) the right and the duty to disconnect people,” he told a conference on web science at the Royal Society in London.

    The “current blight” includes a French law that comes into effect this year that threatens to cut people off if they illegally download from the Internet, and a new British law passed in April which could see similar action, he said.

    “If a French family can be forcibly disconnected from the Internet by law for a year because one of their children downloaded something that some company asserts that they should not have downloaded, without trial — I think that’s a kind of inappropriate punishment,” Berners-Lee said.

    He added: “I’d like to go on using the Internet. If it gets cut off, or for some reason things go wrong, in some cases, for me, my social life would disintegrate, for other people it may be access to medical information.” ”

    “Twenty years after his breakthrough while working at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory, Berners-Lee said “the net has got to a point that is so critical”.

    Given the importance of the web in everyone’s lives, he urged the Internet experts gathered at the conference to act on the encroachment of the once free-for-all online world. “We have this duty of care,” he said.

    While Berners-Lee said ISPs should not in general be responsble for the content they were carrying, he admitted that issues of anti-terrorism and serious organised crime were “an exception”. “

  14. Both Minister Moore, and Clement disagree with stripping people off of the net. It’s not good economic policy. I’m pretty sure the Libs are not on board with this either, the NDP has come out strongly against this, and the Bloc are “considering” this.

    With an election coming up, I fail to see how any party would win votes outside of the Bloc for implementing a graduated response law. In fact, I think anyone outside the Bloc that even thinks are whispers about this will pay a huge price at the polls. In fact I wish a graduated response would be put forth by either the cons or the libs, to see how fast Canadians will react to it during an election year.

    Graduated response laws are undemocratic and unconstitutional. People have to start severely putting the people who are calling for this under the hot seat. Hopefully when C-32 gets to committee, we’ll start to see this. Canadians will not tolerate a law like this, nor does the majority of our creative industry that isn’t under questionable foreign influence.

  15. This is not the scientific community responding to this it’s publishers:

    “The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers”

    The scientific community knows the benefit of having an open environment with the free flow of information. It helped map the Human Genome:

    Words from Obama’s transition team on this project can be found:

  16. Irony upon irony here. The only Canadian publisher that STM has represented has been the National Research Council’s Research Press, which has been answerable to Tony Clement, who, for example, appointed its new President last May.

    However, as of Sept. 1, NRC’s Research Press has been spun off and will be called Canadian Science Publishing. This new company is completely outside government as a not-for-profit corporation. According to its Website, it expects to have ‘some form of ongoing relationship’ with NRC and there will ‘probably’ be NRC representation on the board of directors. As well, its mission will remain ‘delivering affordable high-quality journals.’

    All the same, since 2001 NRC Research Press journals have been provided electronically to all Canadians free of charge through the support of the Federal Depository Services Program (DSP). Unfortunately, because the DSP is mandated to support only government publications, the new not-for-profit company will not be able to purchase access rights for NRC journals on behalf of all Canadians, effective January 1, 2011. In light of this change, Canadian Science Publishing is ‘in discussions with’ a number of organizations to provide continuing electronic access to Canadian universities, as well as ‘exploring partnering opportunities’ to ‘widen access’ to other sectors and communities in Canada.

    As well, although the NRC’s Journals Program has recovered its costs in the past, its Monograph Program has recovered only a portion of its costs, so ‘a business decision’ was made to discontinue the Monograph Program as of March 31, 2010.

    Interestingly, for a minimum ‘subsidized (!)’ fee of $3000, an ‘author’ (e.g., a Canadian taxpayer) can receive ‘permission’ to post a copy of his/her peer-reviewed article in an NRC journal at his/her personal website via NRC’s OpenArticle program. Further, the government’s Website says, ‘There is no current plan to start charging page fees. We are currently viable as a business, with the majority of our revenues coming from subscriptions.’

    Words and phrases like ‘not-for-profit,’ ‘affordable,’ ‘publisher,’ ‘author,’ ‘permission,’ ‘open,’ ‘access,’ ‘current plan’ and ‘currently viable’ seem to be privatization NewSpeak. I believe Penn and Teller have another word for this sort of thing. Stated otherwise: one step sideways according to the government, and one or two steps backward for Canadians.

  17. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    irony is an understatemnt

    None of it seems to make any sense.

  18. wow…
    I get the feeling that something is seriously changing in the underworks of Canada and that these changes have little to do with us citizens, or has our best interests in mind.
    Whats driving this? greed is almost never this smart. Greed eats itself, usually.