Liberals Launch Bill C-11 Petition Calling for Balanced Digital Lock Rules

The Liberal Party has launched a petition calling for an amendment to the Bill C-11 digital lock rules.  Consistent with views expressed from business groups, creator associations, consumer groups, and education associations, the petition calls for an amendment that would link circumvention to actual copyright infringement. It does so by amending Section 41 of the bill by adding the words “for any infringing purpose” to the definition of circumvent.

The petition is in addition to the Open Media Say No campaign (which allows users to sign a petition and email MPs on digital locks, SOPA-style reforms and fair dealing) and the ability for Canadians to email committee MPs directly. With clause-by-clause review slated for Monday, this is one of the last opportunities to speak out on the future of Canadian copyright law.


  1. The need to balance the rights of consumers and creators
    Below is a letter I sent to a few MPs concerning Bill C-11. Feel free to use it in lieu of (or in addition to) a form letter:

    Consumers have just as much of a right to freedom of use as creators have a right to compensation.

    Proprietary digital locks do not help creators as they do not prevent piracy. In fact, they encourage it as the free “pirated media” doesn’t have the limitations of the “protected media”. The current proprietary “digital rights management” systems are not designed to protect artists. They are designed to restrict consumer use and access to our purchased media and hardware. The media companies want to force us to buy multiple copies of their content, even though there is no technological reason to do so. Thus, they created such a “reason” out of thin air. Proprietary digital locks are the only reason why we cannot play a video bought off of Xbox Live on our iPods or read an iBook on our Kindles.

    Technology cannot fix societal problems. Piracy, as a black market, is a societal problem. You can never prevent people from pirating, as a few will always find a way. You can only attempt to influence people to buy through efficient and productive technology. The primary reason why consumers break proprietary digital locks is because they want to get around the restrictions present in the media. The technology has become a burden rather than an asset to the consumer, removing functionality that the consumer expects to have at the time of purchase.

    Copyright in its current state doesn’t extend well to the Internet. In this digital age, reproduction of content is not the same as republication of content. Reproduction can be simply transferring content from one device to another, an action that would have no repercussion to the creator of the content. Unauthorized publication of content on a website does affect of the bottom-line of the creator, as consumers can now ignore the rights (and compensation) of the original author. Because of the need to allow the creator to exercise the rights to their content, I agree that there is no way of preventing unauthorized publication of digital content without utilizing some sort of protection system. However, the rights of the creator must not usurp the rights of the consumer to use and access their purchased content. Surely an open, standardized system could meet the needs of both sides.

    Consumers are entitled to use their purchased media and devices in any way they see fit, as long as it does not violate the rights of the creator. Making an open, standardized system that does not restrict consumers is a much more productive way to solve the piracy problem, rather than trying to implement and enforce endless layers of proprietary digital locks that will be broken in any case.

  2. Arne Elias says:

    This is not my area of expertise, although I led a study of the music industry in 1994/5 that influenced Canadian copyright laws of the time.

    Stealing is wrong. To reverse the long existent marketing program of media industries – is it stealing to essentially force consumers to purchase multiple copies of content?

  3. I don’t have to pay the car factory workers twice to use my car to drive to work and to pick up my kids from school, even though these are two different classes of “use”. Why should I have to pay the artists twice to listen to a song on a CD player and on my iPod.

  4. Or better yet …
    Paying an ‘ipod’ levy is like paying for your car twice. The first time to the dealer then to the auto designers and their dependents for life +70 years.

    When I buy digital music, I pay the artist directly if I can (through their web site, or non RIAA CD) or via iTunes. I don’t pirate, what possible reason is there for me to pay an extra tax on top of that? If nothing else that extra tax incites me to want to go out and get music that I have not payed for because the ‘artists’ are dinging me anyways.

    Cake and eating are meant to be mutually exclusive, but its this attitude that for the most part is responsible for devastating the recorded media industry (not the music economy as whole which is by the way flourishing).

  5. Fight the power
    We should also try to defeat copyright law by deafeating Harper before he can pass this law.
    Be at the Rally Against Voter Suppression tomorrow, Sunday March 11th, 2012 at Young and Dundas Square @noon and demand a new election.

  6. This is the Liberals trying to jump in and take the energy Canadians have built around Internet issues for their own partisan gain. Here’s the non-partisan Canadian campaign:

  7. I want more.
    I have to leave my name off this one: I wont accept digital locks (TPMs) in law.

    People are free to use them — I have no desire to prevent anyone — but I don’t want them mentioned in any law. They are redundant for their purpose (things that are already illegal don’t need them to remain so), but there is danger that they can make things worse: in other words, society can only suffer from them.

    Codifying TPMs/Digital locks is like making it illegal to break a warranty sticker. They are NOT like locks on someone else’s home; these would apply to content I pay for, and bring into MY home.

    The word “property” in the phrase “intellectual property” is dishonest. Copies are different. Our future will be about copying, so there is a lot riding on fixing this lie.

  8. I’m referring to
    I’m referring to the Liberal petition.
    I support the OpenMedia one.
    (Just wanted to clarify, since my comment sits below the link to the OpenMedia petition.)

  9. The changes suggested by the Liberal petition are superficial, shortsighted and ineffective because:

    1. What constitutes infringement, when it comes to many new technologies, still has to be tested in court. Large American companies will sue innovators (like Sony has here: who make or modify software that runs on computerized devices, claiming that this constitutes infringement, and will shift the meaning of infringement through the sheer weight of well-finded slap-down suits.
    2. When the new definitions have become established in civil courts, that’s when they pass the task over to prosecutors to try to apply it in criminal courts, doing the dirty work, with the taxpayer footing the bill. We already have a way of dealing with copyright infringement: the civil courts.
    3. Criminalizing copyright infringement not only shifts the cost burden of dealing with infringers, from stakeholders to taxpayers, but opens the way to policing how technology is used that will have the effect of criminalizing innovation. If I want to write code that lets me use something I purchased in a more efficient or practical way, prosecutors will have too much leeway to try to make a case that the act is criminal, and some large percentage will succeed, particularly in areas where the technology is poorly understood by the court.
    4. As more and more appliances and devices are computerized, the end effect of this will be to eliminate our ownership of what we buy, and replace that with a perpetual dependence on the “terms of use” of the manufacturer. It will fundamentally change the concept of property. And without stability of property, there is no democracy.

    Opposition parties need to understand the ramifications of criminalizing the circumvention of digital locks, even when there is “infringement”, and take a more aggressive stance against this. I am not arguing that infringement is appropriate, rather that the consequences of criminalizing it are insidious and pervasive, and that enforcement is best left to its traditional venue: the civil courts.

  10. Don’t MP’s Have to Represent Their Constituents?
    No matter WHAT I write this Conservative MP others have installed in my location, all I get is the damn form letter, “Thank you for your concern…. I support my party….”

  11. Does anyone here remember Mrs. Sarmite Bulte?

    The Liberals already had the opportunity to carve the copyright law and we pretty much know how they approached that.

  12. We need to drill into the heads of these politicians the distinction between reproduction and republication. Too many on both sides of this issue believe that the two are synonymous.

    Reproduction does not deny the creator the right to enforce their right to compensation. Republication does.

  13. Wow. I missed this one entirely..

    Basically, Access Copyright (and other collectives) have created a situation where they can monetize (otherwise known as “sell”) your work without asking. Not even the music distributors do this (yet)…

    UofT’s agreement a few weeks ago was more important than I realized.

  14. Chuck Norris says:


  15. @Canoe76 and Steve
    I agree the Liberal amendment is weak but it’s better than nothing, so I signed it, in addition to the other ones that I signed before.

    What SHOULD happen is that the NDP, Bloc, Greens, and Liberals should meet and TOGETHER come up with a bill, call it Project C-01, that amends the proposed copyright law to undo all these things we don’t like. All 4 parties sign off on it, schedule a joint press conference, and announce that as soon as they have a majority, they will get this off the shelf and quickly pass it. Project C-02 can deal with Bill C30. Project C-03 can deal with Bill C10. Etc. Etc.

    This is anticipative politics. IF you are 60% percent of the vote, but you do NOT have 60% in parliament, this is how you can offset that undemocratic reality. And make sure to make good on these promises. People WILL change their votes if the legislation they want is already a done deal, just patiently waiting on a shelf to get passed.

    @Canoe76 for a later posting:
    Let’s not erode the term ‘monetize’.

    While you’re basically correct that monetize comes down to selling, the problem is that it actually encompasses a broader mindset. The idea of monetizing is that you are noticing that, or explicitly searching for, something is happening free of charge (or included “free” as part of another charge), and you contemplate what you can get away with in order to generate extra revenue streams related to this ‘something’.

    Noone in their right mind will object to people selling stuff. While investors are often applauding, the general public is rightfully objecting to being nickel-and-dimed to death with all kinds of charges / fees / so-and-so extra “monetization” schemes.

  16. FAIR?!?!?!?!?
    Wouldnt it be nice to see the same aggression that is currently being displayed for this music/movie issue go towards people who make and distribute viruses with the intent to steal peoples life savings?

    These 2 issues are equal in my mind with the exception of the outcome. For example:
    If a persons life savings is stolen and debit/credit is compromised, they could very well starve to death.
    If 2 million people download a song, the music industry loses a tiny percentage of its income. In the event that the music company lost “all” of its money 1 of 2 things would happen. 1. Government bailout. 2. Someone might have to update a resume.

    Hardly seems right to me. Just saying.