The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 40: Writers Guild of Canada

The Writers Guild of Canada represents more than 2,000 professional English-language screenwriters in Canada.  The WGC’s position paper on Bill C-32 included the following comments on digital locks:

The only option that Bill C-32 offers creators is digital locks, which freezes current revenue streams for creators, and creates an illogical loophole in the copyright Bill by taking away the very rights the Bill grants to consumers in its other sections. Digital locks may work for software but they are not forward thinking and they are not popular with consumers. Digital locks are not a substitute for a clear revenue stream for creators.

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, Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Historical Association, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Bookseller Association, Canadian Home and School Federation, Film Studies Association of Canada, Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Appropriation Art, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, Canadian Association of Law Libraries, Federation Etudiante Universitaire du Quebec, Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, Canadian Association of Media Education Associations, Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation (ASTED), Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, CIPPIC, Canadian Association of University Teachers, City of Vancouver Archives, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres for Alternate Format Materials, Canadian Political Science Association, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, The Canadian Association for Open Source, Literary Press Group of Canada


  1. “Digital locks may work for software but they are not forward thinking and they are not popular with consumers.”

    Finally, some clear thinking from a substantial group within the industry. How can the cons even pretend this is balanced? Makes me ill even thinking about it.

  2. Is DRM inherently bad?
    Contrary to some people’s perception, the tech savvy are not all thieving pirates and (well implemented) DRM is not universally abhorred.

    Once again I point to Valve’s model that is even successful in Russia!“piracy_basically_non-issue_our_company”

    It is the prospect of being prisoner to bad DRM that has people wary. There are many past examples of this and adding greater legal protections to such failures makes little sense.

    As opinionated in the linked article; convenience, excellent service & value are the only effective counter to piracy. Greater restrictions and putative measures will just bury the industry deeper in their own effuse.

  3. Valve
    No DRM is not bad, it’s how it’s implemented. Legal protection of DRM is, however, inherently bad.

    I love Steam (The actual product from Valve). I will openly admit that in my younger days, after the Sierra hayday of the early to mid-90’s, but before Steam truly matured, I pirated a lot of games, which I have since purchased. In the last 5 to 8 years, with Steam fully maturing in to a truly exceptional service, I buy all my games through them. And if it doesn’t get released through Steam, I don’t buy it (Other than perhaps if I find physical copies in Bargain bins). Generally, Steam has enough variety that I never have to look elsewhere.

    It should also be noted that you can copy and/or back-up your Steam games to any number of computers, unless there is some company-imposed, specific restriction, such as with Bioshock 2. This ability to back-up is of particular use for me, with over 120G of installed games purchased from Steam, it would take me months to re-download it all. This case wouldn’t be illegal since no DRM was harmed in the making of the back-up, but it’s this sort of flexibility that’s needed.

  4. Look at all those bits and pieces of different submissions pulled completely out of context and sewn together into some sort of anti-TPM/DRM creature the mad scientist hopes he can bring to life.

  5. @Degen
    “Look at all those bits and pieces of different submissions pulled completely out of context and sewn together into some sort of anti-TPM/DRM creature the mad scientist hopes he can bring to life.”

    ummmm, you lost me here. Who’s the “mad scientist”? Geist made no comments other than providing a direct link to the submission. Even with the comments, I don’t see enough here that can be taken out of context, unless you’re talking about the WGC submission itself, as such you’re accusation is off base at best. The quote Geist provides is taken word for word out of the submission.

    I particularly like the quote:
    “But music on cassette tapes and CDs is the only thing covered by the current private copying levy, and the only technologies going forward as covered through Bill C-32. If Bill C-32 does not bring us up to the present, how can it take us into the future? What good is building a national digital strategy when you’re looking in the rear-view mirror on copyright?”

    This one is good too:
    “Bill C-32 does not acknowledge the evolution of the marketplace, the evolution of consumer behavior. Where are the protections and revenues that encourage the creation of new content? By expanding uses without providing for an appropriate revenue stream to creators or a framework that will allow the marketplace to develop, this Bill will stifle creativity.”

    What’s this I see…accusing the government AND their own industry of not looking to the future or considering the current consumer climate?

    I actually agree with most of the WGC submission. There are a couple small points that I don’t agree with.

    ** The notion that a back-up copy of something, or any copy I make for my own use has and intrinsic value. The idea that I should have to pay extra money to copy any of my LEGALLY bought 1400 DVDs to my computer is just plain silly. Copies are nothing more than disposable and error prone…only the original retains value.

    ** Grouping flash drives in to the same category as an MP3 player or PVR is outright wrong. The levy made sense back in the days of CD-Rs and I could even buy in to the idea of putting levies on MP3 players and PVRs, though I don’t like it. Blank flash memory, however, is rarely used for entertainment media, other than photography, and I consider it a blatant money grab. Even USB thumb drives, unless they have some sort of integrated player, they do not stand up to the argument that they’re substantially used to carry pirated media.

    I also agree that the “friends and family” definition might be too broad, but I believe it’s necessarily so due, to the fact that it’s impossible to police or track who I loan a DVD to and I CANNOT control what that person does with it while in their possession.

    Again, I don’t see the basis for your accusation that things are being presented out of context when only a link to the original submission is provided in most cases.