Search Engine on Copyright: Digital Lockdown

TVO’s Search Engine focuses on Canadian copyright this week as I spoke with host Jesse Brown about the future of Bill C-11 (likely to pass largely unchanged), the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on linking liability, and the constitutional questions surrounding the current digital lock rules. The MP3 version of the podcast available here. A transcript with links has been compiled here.


  1. Annie Buddy says:

    What are we going to do?
    What are we going to do with all our newly illegal media and these newly illegal media players and file converters and apps we’ve all got on our computers which all decode and transcode illegally?

    I know, since everyone in Canada is in agreement (except poor minister Moore and that soon to be ex-prime minister Harper) lets just IGNORE this stupid new copyright law!

    (And then when the accusations and the threats and the terminations and the lawsuits start, we’ll ALL WAKE UP and learn to stop giving away our private property rights for the “priveledge” of using companies like Facebook to blog, and Rogers to access the net with.)

  2. What to do indeed !
    Clearly any sane person will ignore this new law.
    When we buy digital media for personal use, clearly we should be able to use it how we see fit.
    Obviously Mr. Moore and Mr. Harper have a problem listening to Canadians.

    Watching the supreme court of Canada overturn the digital lock clause will be enjoyable. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.
    Of course, when this happens, Mr. Harper will tell the USA that he did exactly what they asked, but the court overruled him.

  3. While the supreme court may very well do that, unless the law itself is changed, it will still be illegal to import or distribute any tool that people could actually utilize to exercise what should be fair dealing privileges on digitally locked works. This will create a significant barrier for honest people to do things that even the court itself will determine was legal without turning to black market sources.

  4. Don’t Say, Don’t Ask?
    The proposed “don’t say, don’t ask” approach to non-infringing TPM circumvention will also make it difficult to sell Home Theatre PCs to those honest people. FS/BB/WM/etc. will be happy to sell you the box, but how you get your DVD collection on there, that’s your problem, they can’t help you.

    Undoubtedly you can still purchase these tools out of China or Antigua and Barbuda, but that’s for the more technically savvy. It could be as simple as inserting your DVD in the HTPC and pressing “OK” on a requester that pops up (when connected to the Internet, it could even automatically get the meta data for you as well as any other specifics pertaining to your particular version).
    This will only happen if circumvention for non-infringing purposes is explicitly allowed, and format-shifting for personal use is explicitly allowed as well(one of the good things in C-11) since there can not be any risks as to the legality.

  5. TPM
    After C-11, it would be illegal to attempt this in Canada:

  6. They can hear us now.

    Obviously Mr. Moore and Mr. Harper have a problem listening to Canadians.

    Quite the contrary. Those “gentleman” can hear the dull roar of Canadian voices only too well. It’s the reason that they have to close their office doors when taking their orders from their constituency of corporate multinationals.

  7. @Roger

    You make a good point 🙂

    @ Byte

    There are certainly tools for the less technically savvy as well. I know a 85 year old Apple mac owner who rips DVD’s so he can watch them on his iPad.
    I guess that if people buy the tools before C11 “arrives”, no doubt the Gov.’ will want ISP’s to report the acquisition.

    I still think the government will have to eventually recognise that most people will ignore this law – there has to be a quotation somewhere about this sort of thing?

  8. Careful what you ask for …
    @Baloo “I guess that if people buy the tools before C11 “arrives”

    Tools to break TPM (locks) is and will continue to be easily found on the internet. There is no effective way to keep people from downloading these freely available tools, all that’s needed is a simple Google search.

    Once you realize this there is really no impediment to private copying for personal use (shifting, backups, archiving), it cannot be policed and to just about everyone is seen as perfectly legitimate regardless of said laws.

    So what then is the purpose of these laws? It will affect copying at the institutional level; those few who will follow the letter of the law regardless of the inequity of it; and those who are not technically enough inclined to know the difference or do anything about it.

    Seems to me a strange way to operate a marketplace. Rather than provide simple to use and access products that meet market desires & demands, we have a convoluted layering of different access by various demographics.

    Laws that protect this inefficient and inequitable environment really only benefit the few who actually need the least protection. Consumers certainly do not benefit, nor for the most part will creators, it’s actually hard to see who comes out on top, until you follow the lobbying.

    It’s an old mantra but one that still rings true … Restrictive products based on outdated business models backed by inequitable laws will increase infringement while decreasing profits.

    Simple common sense that is somehow lost on the executives and legislators. One this is true enough, as the conservatives say, the market will decide. I’m just not sure the the marketeers are going to like the decision.

  9. @Crockett
    Couldn’t have said it better.. But for the short term we are going to need more and bigger jails..

    Oh wait…