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Bill C-32 Legislative Committee: My Appearance Scheduled for Today

I am scheduled to appear before the Bill C-32 legislative committee this afternoon at 3:30 ET. The hearing will be streamed via audio and video.

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  1. Now That’s Good News!
    I’m sure glad that you understand copyright law, the ramifications of changing it, and that the legislative committee is willing to hear you. Thank you for standing up for us, Michael!

  2. Don’t you dare…
    … to show up, you radical extremist pirate! Anyone who is against C-32 is against reform! Boo!

    Fake J.M. 🙂

  3. ,,,
    doesn’t work in Firefox, you’ll have to fire up good ole Internet Explorer lol.

  4. quick notes
    Michael – right on spot with the remark that federal copyright law shouldn’t try to overlap with provincial jurisdiction property law.

    Pina – is not sure how to define education

    Barry – I was trying to find a word to insult him but I’ll just call him a lawyer lol

    Carole and Pablo – all for the Quebec hardline “droits des auteurs”; consumers shouldn’t have any I guess, eh?


  5. after pause
    Barry – states that what he likes most in C-32 are the TPM provisions and protections – “essential for creating new business models”

    Since he’s participating “as an indiviudal” and being a lawyer I guess he’s referring to some new kind of lawsuits?

    Nap. 🙂

  6. @Napalm

    It doesn’t need Internet Explorer. All you need is a media streaming program.

  7. My initial impressions …
    Well, you can certainly see the various interests being represented. Sookman for business, Geist for users and Pina D’Agostino for creators. Sure there was some give and take among them but on the whole all the main stakeholder views were there.
    Sookman made a point about TPM being needed to enable new business models. Citing for example something being released as a subscription or rental at a lower price point could then be ‘stolen’ by by passing the TPM. I can agree with this scenario being unworkable without further clarification, yet the other side if the coin is full priced media (DVD etc.) is still encumbered by the same TPM, the content industry can’t have it both ways. A solution could be to specify what types of tpm would be circumvent able and/or for what purposes. Of course another way would be to only put TPM on price discounted/subscription media, but I do not trust the content industry to enable any fair use unless forced to do so. Sookman also cited the UK approach to copyright control and ISP liability, ignoring the recent declaration by parliament that they actually got it wrong in their recently quickly shoved through legislation and need to revisit the topic altogether.
    Another strange thing that Sookman said was as the bill is written it would enable people to ‘side’ shift media under fair use. In other words to give media away to others. I fail to see this interpretation, but am open to it being explained. D’Agostino was mostly pushing against the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category. She cited the need for greater clarification as she felt the current wording was too open. Geist suggested codifying in the six step test that the Supreme court had laid out, but I got the impression that was not good enough in her view. She then asked for a provision for some type of further outside input after the crafting of the legislation. In this I agree that there does need to be some more specific language in regards to the fair dealing provisions (and not just in regards to education), and would suggest a much more frequent review schedule than the proposed 5 years which is a geological length of time in matters pertaining to copyright and advancing technology.
    Geist of course brought up the digital locks provisions and realistically stated that the vast majority of users are going to ignore them if they are too restrictive to perceived fairness and flexibility, leading to a further eroding of respect to copyright as a whole. In this regard I can whole heartedly agree. There seemed to be much concern, especially from the Quebec MPs as to a loss of income to artists per fair use. Geist honestly answered that there would be some instances that this would be the case. I would like to expand on that though, there is already a loss of income due to infringement and IMO greater fair use and value added services would not add to those losses but rather equalize or even abate the losses as consumers recognizing good will on the part of the media industry and would then be willing to return to more legal solutions. The suggestion for greater penalties and tougher legislation, while sounding good, has been proven to be ineffective in other regions of the world and I do not see why it would be successful here.

    Those are my initial impressions, I have many other thoughts on what was said but I will leave it there for now. The most surprising thing of all though was I that was able to sit through two hours of parliamentary television without falling asleep 😉

  8. Avast!
    Don’t you dare…
    … to show up, you radical extremist pirate! Anyone who is against C-32 is against reform! Boo!

    Fake J.M. 🙂

    Hey! You ‘stole’ my alternate nom de plume .. guess I should have copyrighted it 😉

  9. D’Agostino’s is sponsored by Sookman’s law firm and other pro corporate and pro collective firms, etc. See

    Her positions are consistent with these sponsors. This doesn’t speak well for Osgoode Hall Law School and is a bad precedent.

  10. I just finished watching the video. Thanks for doing such a great job Michael. I’m glad you were there. Aside from Angus, everyone else, witnesses and the committee, seemed more interested in draconian laws punishing users and narrowing (gutting) fair dealing and education. Why don’t we split apart creators and authors from sellers, publishers and distributors when talking about copyright? Their cases for rights and compensation seem quite different.

  11. My take on what when on in Comittee here:

    My e-mail to Charlie Angus:

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m a journalist covering the copyright committee hearings. Mr. Sookman was invited to the committee hearings as an academic. I think that may have been an error on the part of the committee organizers. It’s impossible to claim to speak as an academic while being registered and lobbying on behalf of clients specifically on copyright reform. Mr. Sookman’s firm has a direct financial stake in the outcome of these proceedings. Is it possible to amend the public record to include his registered lobby status. Possibly also recommend and invitation to Bridget Anderson to appear in place of the CRIA reps who got their representation in committee today. I’m just concerned that the public has been mislead by committee members with respect to Mr. Sookman’s current status. I think honesty and transparency in these proceedings is what the public interest is expecting MPs to fulfill here.

  12. @Crockett: “Hey! You ‘stole’ my alternate nom de plume .. guess I should have copyrighted it 😉 ”

    Sorry Crockett…. as a compensation you may put a levy on the electrons I used to write it 🙂


  13. @Jason K: “I’m just concerned that the public has been mislead by committee members with respect to Mr. Sookman’s current status.”

    No we weren’t mislead. I didn’t previously know who he is, but while watching the live transmission of the meeting and I was quite intrigued by his way of speaking and his avoidance of eye contact so I immediately googled to see where he comes from.

    But Michael is guilty too. If they were invited as “experts in law” they both should have had the same attitude as a judge during trial, i.e. the law is neither bad or good, it just is and has to be applied. They should have talked about how it would/could apply, underlining parts where it is not clear and could lead to multiple (mis)understandings, or where it goes beyond the scope of federal jurisdiction, or where it conflicts with other laws.

    Michael did this but also spoke as an author, teacher and consumer.

    Barry spoke mainly as an “industry’s” lawyer.


  14. Lost In Translation
    Also the Quebec team should define what exactly they understand by “droits des auteurs”. As it can be translated with different meanings. So do they understand it as:

    1. “Author’s rights” like in “Human Rights”
    2. “Author’s rights” like in “Property Rights”
    3. “Due compensation for authors”

    or a combination thereof.

    The english “Copyright” is misleading too as it suggests it’s all about making copies. It should be called “Distributionright” as it should all be about distribution of said copies.

    The activity of making a copy is not harmful to the artist/creator. It is the distribution of this copy that is.


  15. Which reminds me that C-32 is focusing on the wrong things.

    Sharpening a piece of metal is not a harmful activity.

    Stabbing someone in the back with said piece is.

    So how do we make the law:

    a) Thou shalt not sharpen pieces of metal
    b) Thou shalt not stab people

    Coming back to C-32:

    a) Thou shalt not make copies of discs
    b) Thou shalt not distribute copies of discs


  16. @Napalm
    I love your “thou shalt not” post… Problem is this is Canada. Too many people are willing to say “Thou shalt not sharpen pieces of metal” because doing so, theoretically, prevents people being stabbed. Of course, generally the only people willing to say this are the ones that aren’t affected.

  17. @Anon-K:

    Yes, but why are we Canada when it comes to copying plastic discs and we’re not when discussing guns?

    I mean, guns are allowed, altough their main use is to do severe harm. We put limitations on their use only.

    So why suddenly we can’t we do the same when it comes to plastic discs?


  18. @Nap
    Ahhhh, but they want to take it one step further and say,

    “Thou Shalt not own pieces of metal. The Industry may giveth, the Industry may taketh away, but thou may only sharpen thine metal if your license says you may and the sharpening must be performed by an Industry representative to ensure proper hommage is received.”

    And this is, of course, one of the critical flaws with C-32. They’re trying to make circumvention tools illegal to produce, own and use, but any nimrod with and FAC permit and go out and buy a gun, and ANYONE can go to the local trinket shop and buy a sword. Yes, the sword edge will be probably dull, but I guarentee that the tip is pleanty sharp enough. And really, one could use and grinding wheel or even an angle grinder to give it enough of an edge to make it dangerous in a matter of minutes. Granted it obviously won’t be as sharp or hold it’s edge like, say, a hand-made tamahagane samurai sword. While not nearly as elegant as the former, it would be no less deadly. Should grinders be made illegal since they can be used to create and sharpen weapons? Well, this is the approach C-32 takes when approaching TPMs and the related tools. They’re using stricter legislation to protect copyright than they are to protect people from dangerous weapons. The power of our tax dollars at work eh?