The PlayBook Tax: Why the Conservative’s Copyright Plans Create a Hidden Cost for RIM’s PlayBook

Research in Motion, Canada’s technology giant, releases its much-anticipated PlayBook this week. The PlayBook, a tablet competitor to the Apple iPad, is enormously important to the company and some commentators have cited its importance to the country as well.  This weekend, the Globe noted “there is a lot on the line for Canada, too, of course – not because it needs the PlayBook but because the country’s technology sector has come to rest heavily on RIM’s success.”

Given its importance, one would think that Canada’s political parties would ensure that their policies do not create unnecessary roadblocks or barriers to its success. Yet the Conservative plan for copyright reform (as found in Bill C-32) establishes a significant barrier that could force many consumers to pay hundreds in additional costs in order to switch their content from existing devices to the PlayBook.

The PlayBook may be competitively priced with the iPad, but the hidden cost of transferring content to the new device – effectively a PlayBook tax – may mean that many Canadian consumers take a pass.

The source of the PlayBook tax stems from Bill C-32’s approach to digital locks. The bill, which the Conservatives have confirmed will be reintroduced as is if they are re-elected, prohibits consumers from transferring digital content from one device to another if there is a digital lock present. Consumers spend hundreds of dollars creating their own video library, yet under the proposed law the presence of a digital lock will mean that the content is legally locked down to the original device or format (the bill included a new provision to allow for format shifting but that provision is inoperable where there is a digital lock).

Consider the impact of this provision for a consumer with an iPad or iPod who is considering switching to the PlayBook and who has purchased $500 worth of movies and television shows over the years. The retail cost of the PlayBook may be $499, but the PlayBook tax effectively doubles the cost by requiring the consumer to repurchase all the content if they wish to play it on their new device since Apple iTunes movies and shows come with digital locks built in.

In fact, the costs apply even if the consumer doesn’t have an alternate device. For consumers purchasing a tablet for the first time, they may wish to transfer their DVD collection to their new portable PlayBook. Yet those consumers immediately also face the PlayBook tax since Bill C-32 would block them from making digital copies of their DVDs to play on the PlayBook.  Instead, they would similarly be forced to repurchase the same content again.

These additional costs apply not only to movies and television shows, but to any digital content with a digital lock. Consumers with Amazon Kindles or other e-book readers who have invested in e-books that have digital locks (including students who may have purchased electronic texts for class) will find that they are unable to legally transfer the content to their new device.

The main beneficiary of the PlayBook tax would be foreign-owned entertainment and technology companies – particularly RIM’s chief rival Apple – who either benefit from locking in Canadian consumers or forcing them to repurchase the same content again and again.

The solution to this problem is to provide legal protection for digital locks accompanied by an exception for circumvention for non-infringing purposes.  Numerous witnesses who appeared before the Bill C-32 Legislative Committee supported this approach and it is consistent with the positions of both the Liberals and NDP.

Where someone picks the digital lock in order to sell 1,000 copies of a movie, the law should unquestionably apply.  However, where a consumer picks the lock to exercise their fair dealing or consumer rights, this should be permitted. This approaches targets commercial pirates, while ensuring that consumers are not treated unfairly. To do otherwise creates a significant new cost to consumers and establishes a big barrier to the adoption of a device at a critical moment in the history of Canada’s brightest technology star.


  1. Simon Cohen says:

    Couldn’t agree more
    And it’s not just about the PlayBook – it’s about the consumer’s right to have their hardware choices remain independent from their media choices. I’m curious to know if studio genuinely think that consumers should have to buy the same movie more than once. If they were assured that it was the same person playing the same movie, just on a different device, would they not be satisfied with one sale? Am I being naive?

  2. Stefan Arentz says:

    Apple sells unlocked music
    Apple sells unlocked music in their store. Although they do not encourage this, those music files play fine on any device that supports MP3 or AAC. This is specifically allowed hy the license.

  3. Simon is right this is not a Playbook issue. It’s any device of which the Playbook is one of. The other party’s could hardly be judged as more RIM friendly.

  4. “I’m curious to know if studio genuinely think that consumers should have to buy the same movie more than once.”

    Of course they do. It means that they get more money, which for a business is the entire point. Though most people don’t agree and you’ll probably even find the execs of said companies not following the rules per se.

  5. The bill (and the concept of the digital lock enshrining) is aimed generally at preventing competition, and playbook is new competition. If they were the established monopoly it would tilt in their favor instead of out of it, but it would still be wrong.

  6. Brilliant .. just brilliant.
    @Simon “I’m curious to know if studio genuinely think that consumers should have to buy the same movie more than once … Am I being naive?”

    No, even they don’t try to fudge it, that is exactly what they think. And this is why people say to themsleves, “Aw, scr*w it” and start that walk into the world of infringement, discovering it is a much easier place to live. At that point it is very hard to win back their hearts and minds.

    All this from a mindset of quick short term profits at the expense of long term customer loyalty … Good job RIAA 0_o

  7. Owning vs. Licensing
    As “consumers” of content and entertainment we no longer own media, we now license it’s playback.

    When you bought that LP, VHS cassette or CD, you could bring it around wherever and enjoy it. Now, we “pay” for content but licenses it’s use on a certain platform or under certain conditions.

    One day, it will be a privilege and an exception to have “hard” copies of music or other media.

  8. What tripe…
    Honestly, this article is a piece of garbage about licensing issues which you tried to make vaguely political to seem relevant.. Or get a few digs in on the conservatives. You cannot blame the exclusivity of the content purchased through itunes on anyone but apple. They are drm loving hipsters.

    As far as making digital copies of dvd’s, most people wouldn’t even go to the trouble of this. Those who would, are not going to be stopped by some un enforceable law. Of course, this doesn’t even take into account the majority of playbook users will be businesses.

    Next time you want to write a political article, try harder.

  9. next time you want to blog, try harder.
    @Anonymous “the majority of playbook users will be businesses”

    If this is in fact the case, then the Playbook is dead where it stands. Unless it is adopted as a mass market device it will not attract the third party development and will flounder under the weight of Apple. Canada again looses a major tech sector, in part due to a poor government legislative and supportive environment.

  10. I have absolutely no illusions about whether the ‘common sense’ non-infringing-circumvention suggestion would see the light of day under a conservative majority. No one that gives a toss about it would vote conservative anyway. Further, it would infuriate the industry, who would see it as a hollowing out of their new legal protections. (and no one seems to care that it will be widely ignored by non-businesses regardless of its incarnation, in no small part because the RCMP openly admit they have better things to spend their time on)

  11. Mark Ireland (NDP Candidate, Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam) says:

    Important Issue
    @Anonymous: “tried to make vaguely political to seem relevant.. Or get a few digs in on the conservatives”

    It’s an important issue and there’s an election on.
    The Conservatives have a point of view on that issue, and a bill that affects it greatly.
    Why shouldn’t an expert in the field comment on that?

    There is a difference between a comment and a “dig”.
    A dig would be when I say, I wonder whether James Moore is busy setting up

    BTW: I suspect he won’t. And neither will I. I try not to do ‘petty’ (or ‘anonymous’) though I’m all over sarcasm.

  12. What a dilemma!

    You have enough money to buy an iPad and $500 worth of media purchases, and then a RIM Playbook (because… um… your one-year old iPad is the wrong colour?). And, instead of continuing to watch your iTunes purchases on the iPad (or your laptop, or your Mac desktop, or your PC desktop with iTunes) you absolutely NEED to transfer those purchases onto the Playbook.

    Man, the consumer is just getting screwed again and again. No wonder they are rising up en masse and no longer buying all this crap technology and media.

    Honestly, is there a more facile “election issue”?

  13. CopyFighter says:

    Creating criminals
    Preventing ways to transfer content legally will just have people ignoring the law, and create criminals out of citizens. And at that point, why bother paying for the content in the first place? You are already a criminal circumventing the digital locks, so why not be a criminal AND get content that comes unlocked? Such ignorance from parties that just ignore the implications of technology and laws like this.

  14. Thanks for your insightful input 0_o
    @Degen “What a dilemma!”

    Let’s save the Canadian [and foreign] creative industries at all users’ right costs but the homegrown tech industry cab go to pot.

    John, it seems because you can’t speak to the issues you make fun of it. Good job.

    Now back to your own blog where Ms. Atwood can guide you.

  15. @Degen:
    lol, dude not that I know why anyone would want to buy a RIM playbook or a supersized iphone, (or ever buy anything off itunes) but I do know that people who are in the market for either a RIM playbook or IPad have a good chance of already having itunes crap (and so do you). Why try to mislead? There are plenty of honest ways to show it’s a non issue.. Like that RIM Playbook kinda sucks and isn’t going to be much competition anyway for example.. But as we all know, this is an issue hindering all competition in general and the playbook is just one example of why it’s a terrible policy.

  16. @ Degen said: You have enough money to buy an iPad and $500 worth of media purchases, and then a RIM Playbook (because… um… your one-year old iPad is the wrong colour?). And, instead of continuing to watch your iTunes purchases on the iPad (or your laptop, or your Mac desktop, or your PC desktop with iTunes) you absolutely NEED to transfer those purchases onto the Playbook.

    Thanks for deciding for us consumer what we should be doing with our money and media we already bought.

    @ Degen said: Honestly, is there a more facile “election issue”?

    Actually it is. When corporation can have their way with the gov people will make it an election issues. That’s alright, once the baby boomer’s are gone everything will be ok and sane again.

  17. @end user
    “That’s alright, once the baby boomer’s are gone everything will be ok and sane again. ”
    You’re dreaming. By the time they are gone, the world will be so screwed up it will take longer than we have left to fix and all we will be doing is getting in the way of the next generation 🙂

  18. Crockett,

    Did I miss something? Is RIM asking for the digital locks adjustment Geist has described? Seems to me this is classic Geistian drumming up an issue that has only just now been invented by Michael Geist. It’s already in the press — what a machine this guy is.

    How can you folks bash the Conservatives for their iPod tax campaign and then celebrate Geist doing the EXACT SAME THING for his own political purposes? Are there no mirrors in your world?

    I trust the Canadian tech industry to compete very well without Geist’s unrequested help, just as I trust experienced creators like the brilliant Margaret Atwood to have a nuanced understanding of copyright.

    BTW, I chatted with Ms. Atwood at an event the other night, and you wouldn’t believe what she told me about Dr. Geist’s “solutions” for artists.

    And, end user, the point of course is that you are the only one responsible for your purchasing decisions. I’m not telling you how to spend your money, but if you do so foolishly I think I’m allowed to notice.

  19. Who wants to help RIM? Just don’t stack the deck against new competition. RIM isn’t and shouldn’t be interfering in democracy, but they can certainly take off if the environment here is too hostile. To have an honest competitive legal environment is helping us not them.

  20. Both the blog entry and the comments are irrelevant to the success of the RIM tablet — it’s going to fail on its own merits because it has so few of them.

  21. Not an arrestable offence
    Does anybody seriously think that you are going to get arrested and charged for breaking the DRM on the files you already bought? The law really only exists to trump up charges on people caught with serious infringement. Sure they could charge you with that, but I would think that most judges would toss them out of court for wasting time. It’s similar purpose to laws like “no concealed weapons”. Nobody gets charged for walking down the street with a multi-tool in their pocket, but if you commit a crime using that multi-tool as a weapon, then they have 2 things to charge you with.

  22. What? John you are being a bit scattered lately.
    The iPod tax is opposed by the conservatives. I do not support the conservatives or their untruthful slur campaigns, but I do personally oppose a tax that is unfairly and unevenly applied. Why would should an iPod be taxed to one person who loads it with torrented music and the same tax be applied to someone who pays for every song they get from iTunes? Is the concept of fairness not a noble ideal in the creative world?

    The ‘Tax’ Geist is talking about on the other hand has nothing to do with a levy but rather is a function of the corporate creative sector wanting to be paid full retail value of content for a simple device location move. Sure this need may not apply to everyone, some may just not bother, others will do it regardless of the legalities. In this instance though there is no harm to creator’s rights to move content from one device to another, they are not going to carry around both devices. They would most likely sell or give away the original device and of course would delete the content from the original (for to do otherwise it would be unfair and thus unethical).

    The corporate creative sector though is being unfair to the tech industry by demanding this impediment to competition. It disservices our Canadian creative technical engineers and designers while doing nothing to protect artistic creators, or are they the only ones who’s jobs matter?

    Finally, as far as Geist being the ‘machine’, this issue has been a hot topic ever since Apple invented the iPod & it’s store. May I suggest a helpful tech news site to help you get a more rounded grasp of the issues …

  23. Sadly, the Rim Playbook is not getting good reviews. And it has nothing to do with copyright. Kind of a stretch to link it

  24. This Blog has nothing to do with RIM
    The author is just expressing his intepretation of what he reads. He is not a legal expert and this Bill died since the government fell. Seriously he is just pumping his own anti-Conservative agenda here and since it is his blog he is moer than welcome to do so. I first thought he was working for the CBC when I read this article. This Bill is aimed at stiff penalities around the black market that exists for pirated movies, etc. Big business is pushing this in hopes of cutting down on the black market. Apple is a huge player in pushing this. They are currently suing everyone for everything they possibly can.

  25. Simon Sage says:

    Moot Point
    This is all a moot point. The BlackBerry PlayBook cannot play DRM-protected media files anyway.

  26. Devil's Advocate says:

    Junk in the Crunk
    “He is not a legal expert…”

    @Crunk: Your CRACKED!

    So Michael’s not a legal expert?!
    Then I supposed YOU are?

  27. Copy errors
    Your hed drops one apostrophe and mis-encodes another.

    Then we need to talk about the word “tax.”

  28. Crockett,

    Give it up, man. Your lectures to me on this and my own blog are so ridiculously misinformed they’re not even funny anymore. The issue here is the use of the word “tax” to describe something that is not a tax. The Cons have done it with the new media levy, and Geist, imagining he is clever, has done the same for the PlayBook.

    I’m afraid if you accept Geist’s use of the term for a non-existent charge on the Playbook retail price, then you also accept the Conservative’s use of it for a non-existent levy. And since both are little more than silly political maneuvers inspired by American Republican anti-tax rhetoric, this doesn’t reflect well on your ability to think independently in the ongoing debate.

    Geist published this blog posting yesterday sometime. By yesterday afternoon, his “playbook tax” assertion was being directly quoted in Sun Media, on, and was published as a business column in the Ottawa Citizen. That’s my definition of a media attention machine being used to spread a non-issue. What’s yours?

    Honestly, the air is fresher outside Geist’s “bubble of truth.” I think you’d enjoy it.

  29. Rename the article – show the true cause of the arguement
    Interesting article although inappropriately named ‘Playbook Tax’. It should be titled ‘DRM Tax’. The DRM tax mentioned has been pushed for years by the conservatives, I believe DMCA/ACTA style US laws have been defeated four times in parliamentary vote. That’s not to say that these american laws will eventually come. The article fails to mention how Apple was the first to drive DRM through it’s iTunes store (still drives it by default).

    Michael fails to recognize that the Playbook is aimed at the corporate enterprise crowd. These folks won’t be buying the device themselves, it will be provided by work because it ties in with all the back end security. We haven’t been able to achieve this with the Apple iPad without jailbreaking it first to load our certificates.

    Also worth noting; out of the box RIM is able to isolate business data from personal data. Wait until your iPad gets remotely wiped for the first time.

  30. Un-Trusted Computing says:

    Take out Playbook and insert random tablet competitor
    The core of the argument is true… you can’t transfer your apple DRM’d content onto a competitive tablet which is a classic case of vendor lock-in, also by legally protecting DRM we’re also (if tacitly) legally sanctionning vendor lock-in. Which leads us back down the path of irritated consumers having to buy *ahem* license their content more than once.

    The end result here is either you illegally bypass your DRMd content or you pirate the content you already own so it will play on your new device.

  31. John, it really must be tiring in your world, and I mean that sincerely. The lone voice against the throng of the misinformed, battling against the ‘Great Satan’ that disperses his lies to the masses.

    Go ahead and tell me that the name Geist did not just pop into your head 😉

    Seriously though, if the naysayers are so misinformed maybe it would be better to actually speak to questions people pose rather than spend all your considerable energy just tearing people down. I know people rag on you all the time but one must try to rise above that if they actually want to make a difference and change minds.

    I’ll repost my questions to you plus a few extra:

    Why should an iPod be ‘levied’ to one person who loads it with torrented music and the same levy be applied to someone who pays for every song they get from iTunes?

    Is that fair or equitable?

    Do the funds gathered from the current and proposed levies go to Canadian artists exclusively or the majority to proportionally greater foreign parties?

    Is the levy system the best way to foster Canadian creative workers and culture?

    If not what other systems do you envision?

    There you go John, real questions needing real answers. I look forward to you input.

  32. * an added disclaimer. The conservative iPod tax smear campaign is both misleading and crass. I do not support it or them.

  33. Crockett,

    My considerable energies go to my work, my own writing, my family and to thinking about baseball, in no particular order. Since this blog is the source of so many incorrect assertions about issues affecting both my work and my writing, you will find me here occasionally, disagreeing with those assertions.

    You ask a lot of questions and expect answers. You may have noticed that I occasionally ask questions of Dr. Geist, and get no answers — still waiting for word on whether he supports Jesse Brown’s stealing of creative content, btw — but that doesn’t really bother you. It seems to me your expectations of good behaviour are tailored to your ideology. Not a great start for a reasoned discussion.

    Me, I expect the same from everyone.

    I’m not sure you understand the nature of a levy. It is not being suggested as a pay-per-use charge. The levy is proposed as an extension of an existing recording media levy that seeks to compensate artists for the use of blank recording media. THAT levy has faced all the same objections you raise about the proposed new levy, and still has been found by Canada’s copyright laws to be a fair (enough) solution to a complicated problem. The extension does not apply exclusively to iPods, it is not set at $75 per unit and it is not a tax.

    A levy such as this is, at its core, a recognition that copies have value and so creators should be compensated for them — even private copies. At the moment, in Canada, that’s where we stand. We agree through our laws that copies have value and therefore artists should be compensated for all copies. Since it is impossible to track personal copies, we don’t collect royalties on them, but place a levy on private copying media instead.

    Is that fair to the consumer who does not torrent? The question is irrelevant. A levy is not a licence to infringe. It is in essence a royalty fee for the privilege of private copying. When you buy milk, you pay a hidden fee to subsidize Canada’s farmers and a dependable milk supply – those prices are not set by market demand alone, and the machinations on milk prices are not taxes going into the general fund. Same general idea with a blank media levy – the retail price has some artificial controls on it to protect a supply chain.

    BTW, Geist’s much ballyhooed point about DRM trumping rights paid for under the levy is simply wrong, since a levy applied to a particular device does not by extension apply to all potential content; just to the content that works on that device. That’s the incorrectness that I mentioned earlier. It’s annoying, and disappointing from someone who should be clarifying rather than obfuscating.

    As to revenues flowing out of the country – we belong to a larger world, and have signed agreements to cooperate and be good to that world. As long as Canadian artists are benefitting from a levy, I’m not sure why anyone should be upset that Canada respects its Berne Convention partners and flows copyright revenues to them.

    Are levies the best system. No… and levies plus collective licensing plus cultural funding plus effective anti-piracy enforcement are ALSO not the best system. But they are workable and fair systems… if one accepts that each and every copy has value.

    Call me when you hear back from Geist on the whole Jesse Brown thing.

  34. @Kibbee
    …”Nobody gets charged for walking down the street with a multi-tool in their pocket, but if you commit a crime using that multi-tool as a weapon, then they have 2 things to charge you with.”

    Try walking through airport security with that multi-tool.

    Or when someone falsely accuses you of threatening them with that multi-tool. If you possess the tool and it can be viewed as a “concealed weapon”, then you are toast. And yes, innocent people *have* been charged with possession of such “tools”, based on false accusations. They are still technically guilty of the possession, even if they are innocent of threatening anyone.

    Do you really want laws that will encourage such behavior for private and personal “Intellectual Property” infringements? Do you really think the various industries that are built on copyright won’t abuse such laws? Based on their track record, it would look like they are just waiting for such laws.

    Remember you are “innocent until proven guilty”. If we allow laws to be enacted that make everyone guilty for normal everyday activities, *everyone* is always guilty of *something*.
    This heads down a path that I don’t think anyone wants. You might as well enact a law that makes it illegal to breathe, under the pseudo-logical premise that it “will only be used it when needed”. It will serve the same purpose, but more clearly illustrates the logical fallacy of your position.

    No, we do not want ANY laws that will make everyone technically guilty for normal everyday activities.

  35. The gulf between theory and practice …
    John, thank you for taking the time to answer with thoughtful responses. We may not agree on everything but discussion is better than slinging mud.

    As for my behavior I have made a concerted effort to contribute to the discussion and understand the ‘cost culture’ positions. At times I do unfortunately get frustrated and slide in a quip but John, really, do not posture that you do not do the same.

    My motivation is not to get ‘free stuff’ but to highlight the opinions and frustrations of the average media consumer to counter the very focused world view that you put forward. In this I hope to move forward the discussion to come to workable solutions, rather than the obviously lacking situation we find ourselves in today.

    For instance, the core question of ‘copies having value’ seems to be a key one. From the creator perspective, as you have stated, ALL copies have value. From a consumer perspective many consider buying their media a one time thing and to do with as they wish within the confines of their personal use. These are bookend potions, and the reality may be that *some* copies have value. The actual contractual reality of use of the use copies and licencing as opposed to the behavioral reality in today’s culture, has created a disrespectful and unworkable environment.

    It seems tactics of stronger copyright control, legislative lobbying, anti-competitive behavior, mis-implemented consumer education and punitive sanctions have done little move forward the state of the average creator.

    It may be the time to work at coming to a greater understanding of all viewpoints, to be willing to compromise on both sides and generate a environment of goodwill and respect where a more functional relationship can flourish.

  36. Sooooo…. you want me to hug oldguy?

    Tell you what, I’ll just keep writing my blog postings and working very hard for the rights of professional creators, and you work on that whole “goodwill and respect” thing with Darryl and the rest of the tin-foil hat folks. Someone over here needs to, and I think we know it won’t be the host.

  37. BTW, if you check the doctor’s twitter stream, you will see he is now tweeting links to media coverage about the PlayBook tax.

    No machine at work here.

  38. 0_o
    *Sigh* … can’t beat a guy for trying.

    Fine John, you live in your mirrored box, have fun in there while the rest of us go about our lives.

  39. @Degen
    …”A levy such as this is, at its core, a recognition that copies have value and so creators should be compensated for them — even private copies.”

    There is also an implied assumption in the above, that there will be multiple copies in use after the “copy” is made. That is not commonly the case when device shifting licensed content.

    Let me illustrate with something a little more extreme. What if a person *destroys* the original after the copy is made? How much “value” is there in the copy? If the copy is an accurate one, then there is still only one “copy” and the total “value” (in theory) should be exactly the same as the original, no more and no less.

    Should the creator receive extra compensation for the content if there are exactly the same amount of “copies” in existence after users have removed the DRM and format shifted their purchased content? If so, then it’s easy, delete or destroy the original content after removing it’s DRM and shifting it to the new device. If not, then please explain your logic and the “losses” the creator will have suffered.

  40. Sorry oldguy… mirrored box reflecting every thought back into my mind. Can’t respond to ridiculous, hypothetical, non-real-world examples.

  41. Real world = where most people live
    Hypothetical = the opposite of what people in the real world actually do
    Ridiculous = anyone that does not agree with John

    Infective = someone who can not see past their own perspective

  42. Damn spell checker

    OK John. I’ll have to take take that irony on the chin. Be gentle.

  43. a levy doesn’t say anything about anything having value.. It just says you give money. How does that say anything has value? Whoopi, I have you 50$ and you gave me nothing. Great value there.

    Besides, who cares if it has value? If it’s just a private copy, you paid for it already anyway. Riding my bike to work has value, but that doesn’t mean I want to pay every time I do it.

  44. …”Sorry oldguy..”

    Likewise. I was looking forward to your logic and explanation.

    The situation I described isn’t all that hypothetical when doing device shifting of content. The only missing step is the destruction of the “original” copy, and that is often simple laziness on the part of the owner of the devices. The reality of such cases is that the “original” copy is left behind – unused.
    In either case, the “loss” to the creator is the same. One copy in use before, and one copy in use afterwards.

  45. @Oldguy “I was looking forward to your logic and explanation.”

    You may have to wait a while … logic, or the ability to consider other viewpoints, is not one of John’s strong suits. Possibly after he has consulted with the keen intellect of Ms. Atwood he’ll get back to you, but I doubt that will help.

  46. Backups?
    Mr. Degen,

    What about the lack of any opportunity to create and store backups, for redundancy against the _inevitable_ failure of the hardware on which the DRM’d music is stored? What about when the original provider of the DRM encryption key goes out of business, and the owner of the device – er, heheh, consumer who is “licenced to listen” – has no more access to their legally purchased data?

  47. Oh, Crockett, have I upset you? Margaret Atwood has asked me to check in on you and see if you’re okay? What should I tell her?

    Steve, have you backed up all the food in your fridge? Is there room in your garage for a back-up copy of your car? How about all the books on your book shelves — are they sufficiently backed up to account for the inevitable failure of the hardware on which they are printed.

    The fact — fact! – of the matter is that the very idea of intellectual property copy back-ups is brand new. It’s not a user right, it is a some-user want; and as such it needs to be negotiated in the marketplace like everything else. Back-up privileges must have an effect on the retail price. It’s basic economics.

    These isn’t my position, or my belief, or my opinion. It’s a fact.

    BTW, please note Geist’s posting today about the KW all-candidate’s meeting discussing the PlayBook tax. Then watch the whole meeting online. Then tell me Geist isn’t desperately pumping up a non-issue
    to keep his name and theories in the press. It’s just sad.

  48. …”The fact — fact! – of the matter is that the very idea of intellectual property copy back-ups is brand new.”

    In the grand scheme of 300+ years of copyright, you are probably correct. The concept has only been around since the days of the first tape recorders, which became generally available in the 1940’s and early 50’s.

  49. Chartrer Bus VA says:
    Here is Similar Story

    Just as Research’s in Motion’s long-awaited answer to Apple’s iPad hits stores, a leading technology expert is warning consumers that the PlayBook could come with hidden fees if proposed copyright reform ever makes it past Parliament.

    If elected, the Conservatives plan to make Bill C-32 law to help ensure artists and content creators get their fair share in the digital age.

  50. re: Backups (Degen reply)
    Mr. Degen,

    I seriously beg to differ. Having a backup of one’s legally purchased or acquired digital data (software, a Linux installation, music, video, satellite image, Itunes collection, or the licence to use said data) is not only morally right, but the only logical choice to prepare for digital disasters.

    As for your comment about Imaginary Property… I have serious doubts that, if the propagation of immoral and ill-conceived metaphor of digital, ephemeral data, and solid, tangible objects, continues into the 21st century, we are surely lost as a society. Your response almost makes me want to become a Luddite. I was hoping for a reasonable response from you, but your reply disappoints me. You are not showing a great deal of professionalism, Mr. Degen, in any of your replies here.

  51. re: Backups (Degen reply)
    Argh, I’m going to reply to my own post here. The real reason for backups is ARCHIVING. What use is digital data at all, if the digital images I captured with my camera cannot be viewed by the next generations simply because the manufacturer decides to obfuscate and lock the file and/or media format? How to we justify to future generations that they cannot know what we knew, read what we read, listen to the music we listened to when we were young… if it is LOCKED UP and the encryption key holder has disappeared?