The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 11: Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright

The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright brings together most of Canada’s biggest telco and Internet companies. These include Canadian Association of Internet Providers, a division of CATAalliance (CAIP), Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA), Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Cogeco Cable, Google, MTS Allstream Inc., Retail Council of Canada, Rogers Communications Inc., TELUS Communications Company, Tucows. These companies are also critical of the digital lock provisions, calling for personal use exceptions for copy-control digital locks:

To provide greater consistency between the personal use provisions (which as drafted currently prohibit circumvention of both access control and copy control TPMs) and the general anti-circumvention provisions (which only prohibit circumvention of access control TPMs), we propose that the personal use exceptions would continue to be available where a copy control measure has been circumvented, but not where an access control measure has been circumvented. Providing consumers with consistent personal use rights in this manner would prevent confusion and foster innovation.

Previous Daily Digital Locks: Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) BC, Canadian Consumer Initiative, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Council of Archives, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Documentary Organization of Canada, Canadian Library Association, Council of Ministers of Education Canada


  1. I think I see what they are trying to do, apply “purpose” into the application of TPM. But they have the “purpose” in the wrong focus, the “purpose” of the TPM. It should be the “purpose” of the user of the TPM protected works that is considered, not the purpose of the TPM. The way it is stated above, it does nothing to prevent confusion or foster innovation.

    EG: Is region coding of a DVD, a “copy control measure” or an “access control measure”? I can see lots of fun trying to determine the “purpose” of this particular form of TPM.
    Theoretically speaking, you should only be able to “access” the work if you are located in a specific region. But when you consider obtaining a player from a different region, or DVD players that are “programmable”, or region free DVD players as part of the picture, things get fuzzy. So exactly what is the criteria for gaining “access” to the works through that particular TPM? If it is purely a “copy control measure”, why the differences in “regions”?

    The more I hear the views on TPM from policy makers and executives and lawyers and lobbyists, the more I realise they don’t really understand it. Putting a label on it doesn’t mean understanding it. Wrapping it into the context of copyright simply makes the situation worse. Trying to craft reasonable and logical laws for the “protection” of something you really don’t understand, is a recipe for disaster.

  2. Regional lockout/Region codes
    Regional lockout (Nintendo video games) and Region coding/RCE (DVD; 0-8/ALL, Bluray Disc; A-C) are typical examples of access control measures. The idea is that content licensed for use within a region only plays on players licensed for sale in that region. Player manufacturers need to obtain licenses from e.g. MPEG LA LLC and in order to do that, they have to implement these measures. It does not prevent duplication; the copy control measures are CSS (plus some non-standard stuff, e.g. Sony’s ARccOS that doesn’t play on several DVD players, including one Sony model) for DVDs and AACS/BD+ for Bluray Discs.

    Why should we not agree with this Business Coalition? Several; some are less urgent like benefitting from lower pricing in certain regions, but others are very important to an immigration country like Canada: a lot of content is only available within a certain region. If you’re originally from Germany and a big fan of the TV series “Derrick”, good luck finding all 11 NTSC Region 1 5-DVD box sets; they don’t exist. This means that this Business Coalition wants to deny you access to this imporant part of your cultural background, even if you’re willing to pay (or have family members/friends gift them to you). If you’re fine with a Business Coalition telling you it should be illegal for you to modify your DVD player so you can watch your DVDs sent from abroad, sit back and relax. If not, start writing the people that ran for the federal elections in your riding and ask for their personal (not party) opinions in this matter, and explain why it matters to you. Now is the time to get off your behind, as the more technology progresses, the less you are going to be allowed to do with it.

  3. And just to add a little more to the debate to understand why we, as citizens, should be up in arms about it, it has been recently shown that one of the main reasons there is now so much ‘illegal’ region shifting and piracy is precisely because it has become just too much of a hassle to use legally acquired media.

    I mean, if I purchase a DVD of a movie and can’t play it because I need to be online and seek authorization to do so, what do you think I’ll be doing? Damn right, I’ll be looking for the ripped, uncastrated version online.

    As someone else said in a previous post on a related issue, these regulations have nothing to do with actual copyright as with large corporations’ attempt at cornering all of the market and controlling what consumers can do and how they can use media.

    ‘Balanced Copyright’ my ass… It’s nothing but the crudest form of population control. Sieg Heil!