Government use of DRM represents a particularly difficult issue. Some argue that government should never use DRM systems (thereby eliminating the need for a circumvention right), maintaining that it runs counter other government priorities such as openness and accountability. Even governments themselves have acknowledged the problems associated with DRM. Last week, New Zealand issued guidelines on government use of DRM and trusted computing systems featuring a lengthy list of precautions and safeguards. They included requirements of minimal restrictions on content, assurances of future accessibility, full respect for privacy rights, retention of government control over a DRM-free version, and full access for all parties entitled to obtain the public information.
The Canadian government response to the DRM must address several issues.
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This week Slaw is hosting a theme week on copyright and asked me to kick things off with a guest post. I've cross-posted below but head on over to the site and join in the discussion.
While the timing of a new Canadian copyright reform bill remains a mystery, there is little doubt that lawyers will play an important role whenever the successor to Bill C-60 is unveiled. Whether as advocates, lobbyists, counsel, or independent experts, copyright reform invariably unleashes a torrent of conferences, workshops, papers, blog postings, and opinion pieces prominently featuring members of the legal profession.
Often missing from the process, however, is discussion about the impact of copyright law on the law. The bar's lack of participation in assessing copyright law's impact on the legal profession is unfortunate, since the legal perspective would add an important dimension to the debate. Indeed, it is no coincidence that arguably the most important Supreme Court of Canada copyright law in recent memory – CCH Canadian v. Law Society of Upper Canada – struck directly at the intersection between copyright and the law.
If the legal profession were to become engaged in the copyright reform process with itself as the client, what issues might it address? I'd like to cite four as a starting point and encourage Slawyers to add to the list. My four include:
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With the House of Commons back in session this week, I have an op-ed in this week's Hill Times that focuses on how a Conservative government intent on adopting a market-oriented policy approach might treat copyright reform. The column notes that there is the potential that history may repeat itself […]
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