Del Mastro on Format Shifting

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro offers up one of the oddest copyright analogies during the C-11 debate, likening format shifting to socks and shoes.


  1. Anonymous says:

    How obvious does it have to be – we’re being lied to by these crooks!!!
    When James Moore announced Bill C-11 he said that format shifting was going to be made legal by this law. He even brought his MP3 player to the press conference, remember?

    But ripping a CD is circumventing a TPM in exactly the same way as ripping a DVD is. No one I have talked to has been able to offer one sensible technical difference.

    Once again, the digital locks rule trumps any new “rights”, which are not really “new” rights anyway because it was NEVER illegal to rip a CD or DVD in the first place!!

    In plain English: we are being lied to and robbed blind by these treasonous thieves!!!

    We don’t NEED a law to make something LEGAL, as long as we don’t yet HAVE a law that makes it ILLEGAL, and WE DON’T. Right now it’s legal to rip CD’s and DVD’s (Remember Apple’s “Rip, Mix and Burn” ad. campaign?)

    Why would anyone in their right mind want to let this government take away these rights?!?

  2. From the video

    “You didn’t buy a legal right to format shift that” Well I didn’t see a sticker on there that says I didn’t buy the cd and that I was merely buying a right to use it on one device only.

    NOW his sock and shoes analogy comes in.

    So apparently to this guy format shifting is like buying socks, then coming back to the clothing store and saying I didn’t really want socks so I’m gonna take these shoes for free.

    I’m sorry but you have is ass backward buddy, now remember this is coming from a member of the gov. running our country who seems to have no clue what format shifting is as shown by his socks and shoes example.

    Now here’s the reality. Format shifting is like buying a set of socks but you’re only allowed to use them for sports activities. In order to use them for walking you have to license another copy. Also if you have kids you can’t be sharing the socks between them, you have to license new copies of the socks for each one of your kids. That wasn’t hard was it. So do I get the job now?

    Now wait till all the car manufactures start encrypting OBD2 interfaces, all of a sudden odb readers become illegal overnight. SO no instead of buying one for $50 you can buy a fuck you in the ass Ford special reader for $500

    Oh wait you want to take your new car to your favourite non “Dealer” mechanic well guess what you can’t as it would be illegal for him to use tool to access the encrypted OBD interface to diagnose your engine but the dealer will take you in right after they increase their hourly rates.

  3. Shoes and socks… or apples and oranges?
    Having time to reflect on the comment I realized something. Format shifting an mp3 to m4a or such your still dealing with the original content and quality.

    So it’s NOT like shifting from socks to shoes as your not starting with the same material.

    I think the better example he should have used is it’s like you didn’t like the colour of your socks so you tried to dye them. Format shifting has NO involvement with anything other than the “original socks”.

    The right we pay for with music is the right to listen to it. If the companies are selling us something we’re not allowed to listen to isn’t that called FRAUD? not shoes and socks.

    You know if artists (or more the companies behind them) are going to be like that… go to and cut out the idiots who want to control how we listen to content.

  4. I think the bigger question is why is he allowed to argue in parliament about things he has no clue about? These people are making far reaching policies that are about to make 50%+ of Canadian criminals overnight and they don’t have a clue what they are arguing about.

  5. @Anonymous

    No, there *can* be a difference between ripping a CD and ripping a DVD. A typical CD doesn’t have any copy protection in place, while a typical DVD has CSS. So the technical difference is you don’t need anything to circumvent the digital lock to rip the CD, as there is no digital lock to circumvent.

    Some CDs have copy protection in place, and those would be roughly the same as ripping a DVD protected by CSS.

  6. Dwight Williams says:

    I saw that footage earlier this morning. Painful illogic.

    We still have to insist upon respect for the principles of personal usage, personal back-ups, fair use/fair dealing, and so on.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A “Compact Disk” is a proprietary codec (it’s a format, or a “code” -owned by Philips, and manufacturers have to buy the right to use the decoder and put the familiar Compact Disk logo on any disk drive) You can’t then just “click and drag” from your disk-drive folder onto your MP3 player. You have to use a de-coder such as CDex in order to rip it, just exactly like you would have to use DVDFab to rip a DVD. There is no difference, but thanks anyway.

  8. Nobody is asking for free shoes for sock owners. Sock owners are demanding the right to use the socks they purchased as raw material to make their own shoes, using their own equipment and materials, at their own expense, without selling the shoes afterwards. Tech companies want to sell sewing machines that can be used to make a shoe out of a sock.

    Naturally, shoe vendors are upset by this, but it’s hard to see why anyone should care, much less attempt to ban private, non-commercial sock-to-shoe conversion.

  9. This is a grey area
    What exactly is the license that we agree to when we purchase a CD? Is it that we purchase the media and a right to play the content from the media? If that is the case then what Del Mastro said is more or less correct. Is it that we purchase a copy of the content (and the media comes along for free)? If that is the case, then what he said does not make sense.

    For instance, I am looking at a CD that I have which was published in 1995. It specifically states “All Rights Reserved” after the name of the owner of the rights.

  10. @Anon-K
    Not quite, you purchase the right to access the content on the media, whether it is magnetic tape, a digital file stored to a magnetic or flash-based harddrive or an optically encoded plastic disc.

    You purchased the right to access that content. Naturally your computer cannot play cassette tapes, but it can play CD’s and DVD’s (and some Blu-Ray or HD DVD). No where does it say “This CD can only be played in a compatible device” because that’s a given. No where does it say “This content can only be displayed on a television set or projector, not a laptop or desktop.”

    By virtue of physical world limitations, you can’t easily take that cassette’s content and play it on iTunes, but you can convert it via the analog input devices on your laptop. That’s the format shift and how is that illegal? No where does it say “For compatible media devices only, cannot be played through one device to obtain media content signals and send those signals to another device.”

    Why would they? 8-track tapes are a great example. If you’re old enough, maybe your parents were like mine and had an old 8-track tape stereo system and didn’t want to upgrade to cassettes. So they bought an adapter unit. That’s a piece of physical hardware responsible for format shifting.

    Also, was it illegal to take your vinyl album, format shift it to cassettes and play them in your car? No. Why should it suddenly be illegal now?

    Simple, because of digital sharing and that’s the crux of it. They don’t want you sharing, so industry teaches MP’s who don’t understand with simple analogies that don’t apply so they will support the industry’s lack of desire to give consumers what they want (hint: it’s not all things free).

    The rights you don’t have are to create copies and sell them without licensing such rights from the content rights holders.

  11. Specific Purpose
    What is the “specific purpose of a CD” of music? Is it to rotate in a CD-Player, or to replay sound? The purpose of a physical object for a person is usually not limited to either being an object or what the manufacturer dictates.

    The simile was funny in as “a series of tubes” and irrationalist dadaism, and is inaccurate. I don’t buy socks to interpret the fabric’s weave. “Format Shift” is an interesting term for an ancient reality, but there are better comparisons: newspaper clippings in scrapbooks, data represented in graphics, beer into happiness and urine.

    It’s generally a good example of the desperation in struggling against reality. Politicians often have interests in arguing irrational positions (everyone yells “lobbyists” here), but any success of those positions is destructive.

  12. CommieCowboy says:

    So if I buy an apple and decide to use it as a bong, am I stealing from smoke shops and glass weavers?

  13. Rick Pali says:

    Decrypt? No.
    Anonymous, you said, ” You have to use a de-coder such as CDex in order to rip it, just exactly like you would have to use DVDFab to rip a DVD. There is no difference, but thanks anyway.”

    In this case, CDex isn’t a decoder, but merely an application that knows how to read the data stream. The hardware pulls the PCM data off the disc, and CDex knows what to do with the PCM data. Nothing is encrypted, no encryption keys need to be applied. It’s no different than a text editor opening ASCII data from a file. On a DVD, all the same things happen, except the application must also decrypt the data, which isn’t necessary for CDs.

    That’s why ripping most CDs will not run afoul of any encryption-cracking restrictions, and almost all DVD ripping will.