Divide Among Liberals Over Anti-Spam Bill?

Media coverage over the weekend suggested a possible split among Liberal MPs over Bill C-27, the anti-spam bill.  Canwest's coverage noted that the Liberal MPs have tabled motions designed to water down the bill.  I blogged last week about motions promoted by copyright lobby groups such as the music and […]

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October 19, 2009 Comments are Disabled News

UK All Party Parliamentary Communications Group on Copyright

The UK All Party Parliamentary Communications Group (apComms) is an independent group of MPs and Lords, from all political parties.  Its take on copyright: We conclude that much of the problem with illegal sharing of copyrighted material has been caused by the rightsholders, and the music industry in particular, being […]

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October 19, 2009 1 comment News

CRTC’s Net Neutrality Decision Coming This Week

The CRTC has announced that it will release its net neutrality decision this week.

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October 19, 2009 1 comment News

National Television Coverage on Broadband

Both Global and CBC's The National covered the state of Canadian broadband in their national news late last week.

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October 19, 2009 2 comments News

The Copyright Lobby’s Secret Pressure On the Anti-Spam Bill

As I posted earlier today, the Electronic Commerce Protection Act comes to a conclusion in committee on Monday as MPs conduct their "clause by clause" review.  While I have previously written about the lobbying pressure to water down the legislation (aided and abetted by the Liberal and Bloc MPs on the committee) and the CMA's recent effort to create a huge loophole, I have not focused on a key source of the pressure.  Incredibly, it has been the copyright lobby – particularly the software and music industries – that has been engaged in a full court press to make significant changes to the bill.

The copyright lobby's interest in the bill has been simmering since its introduction, with lobbyists attending the committee hearings and working with Liberal and Bloc MPs to secure changes.  The two core concerns arise from fears that the bill could prevent surreptitious use of DRM and block enforcement initiatives that might involve accessing users' personal computers without their permission.

The DRM concern arises from a requirement in the bill to obtain consent before installing software programs on users' computers. This anti-spyware provision applies broadly, setting an appropriate standard of protection for computer users.  Yet the copyright lobby fears it could inhibit installation of DRM-type software without full knowledge and consent.  Sources say that the Liberals have introduced a motion that would take these practices outside of the bill.  In its place, they would define computer program as, among other things, "a program that has as its primary function…inducing a user to install software by intentionally misrepresenting that installing that software is necessary to safeguard security or privacy or to open or play content of a computer program." This sets such a high bar – primary function, intentional mispresentation – that music and software industry can plausibly argue that surreptitious DRM installations fall outside of C-27. 

Even more troubling are proposed changes that would allow copyright owners to secretly access information on users' computers. 

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October 16, 2009 40 comments News