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Dear Candidates: The Copyright Pledge – The NDP Response

I sent this letter to all of the local Candidates:

Good Day,

Earlier in September I contact you for your opinions on various subjects, as a content producer and consumer I am affected strongly by both ends of the copyright debate, if something I produce is reproduced without my consent and proper attribution, consumers of my content will not always be aware of the value I bring them and potential income in the future from said content is lost.  As a consumer, I feel very strongly that I should be entitled to fair-use protections and archiving without fear of reprisal from Government or Non-Government organizations.

I lived south of the Border from 2002-2007 and was constantly reminded of the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act and litigious corporations, even my day to day work was affected, if a graphic I produced was too similar to something found on the Internet, I was often felt coerced to change it, for fear of a copyright claim against my employer.  The Balance between consumers and distributes in severely tipped in the favor of the distributor in the case of the DMCA.  I use the term distributor, because DMCA claims are oftent he work of a content distributor and not the producer or creator of a given item or content.

Mr. Prentice’s Copyright Act appears to be cut from the same cloth I would like very much to see candidates from our local riding take a pledge (as written by Michael Geist, respected author and opinion journalist on the matter) to avoid the same Copyright Pitfalls that have befallen our neighbour to the south.

Will you commit to a balanced approach to copyright reform that reflects the views of all Canadians by pledging:

1.    To respect the rights of creators and consumers.

2.    Not to support any copyright bill that undermines or weakens the Copyright Act’s users rights.

3.    To fully consult with Canadians before introducing any copyright reform bill and to conduct inclusive, national hearings on any tabled bill.

Vous engagerez-vous dans une approche équilibrée de la réforme sur le droit d’auteur qui reflète les opinions de tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes en promettant:

1. de respecter les droits des créateurs et des consommateurs

2. de ne pas supporter tout projet de loi sur le droit d’auteur détruisant ou diminuant les droits des utilisateurs face à la Loi sur le droit d’auteur

3. De consulter pleinement les Canadiens et Canadiennes avant d’introduire toute réforme sur le droit d’auteur et de tenir des audiences nationales inclusives sur tout projet de loi proposé.

Again, I thank your for your time,

Merci pour le tout tes temps,

Kevin Wardrop

The Irene Mathyssen Campaign Responds:

Dear Kevin,

I am writing on behalf of MP Irene Mathyssen in response to your email.  Irene wanted me to please let you know that she signed Professor Geist’s pledge on Saturday October 4th.

Irene understands the importance of protecting both the creators and consumers. Several members of her campaign team are independent artists, including Penn Kemp a poet, and independent publisher and producer of CD’s and books, and as a consumer herself, Irene recognizes that both parties need balanced protection.

Finally, Irene also asked that I please let you know she is also opposed to “bandwidth throttling” by ISPs and would-if re-elected-be working to bring forward legislation to ban this practice.

Shawn Lewis
Media & Communications
Irene Mathyssen Campaign

One can only admire a campaign that coordinates a response and adds a note about bandwidth throttling.  Thank-you Shawn Lewis, I appreciate your (and your Candidate’s) time.

For more on the Pledge itself, I recommend visiting Michael Geist’s blog

Why won't Jim Prentice let the Market solve his problems?

You have to listen to this — in it, the Minister lies, dodges, weaves and ducks around plain, simple questions like, “If the guy at my corner shop unlocks my phone, is he breaking the law?” and “If my grandfather breaks the DRM on his jazz CDs to put them on his iPod, does that break the law?” and the biggie, “All the ‘freedoms’ your law guarantees us can be overriden by DRM, right?” (Prentice’s answer to this last one, “The market will take care of it,” is absolutely priceless.)

Boing Boing‘s Cory Doctorow

“We have a well advanced Internet system in this country. It is not publicly regulated,” he said.

–Jim Prentice on isp throttling

“The issue is declining consumption in the U.S.,” he said, adding that “90 percent” of cars built in Canada are sold in the U.S. Prentice told reporters in Ottawa later that he plans to make sure the company honors its “obligations” to the government of Canada, without elaborating.

–Jim Prentice on GM Closures

Prentice maintains that the bill is a “unique made-in-Canada approach to copyright reform” and said it balances the rights of creators and consumers.
Industry groups have welcomed the proposed legislation.

–Jim Prentice’s frequent quote about Bill c-61

So, Jim prentice would have you believe that the Markets will resolve an issue if the problem hurts the actual voters and consumers (ie DRM or ISP throttling) but is more than willing to legislate solutions on behalf of producers and distributors?  We know who is buttering his toast each morning, don’t we?

Mr. Angus, won’t you please use Mr. Prentice’s own words against him in the Parliment, why won’t Jim Prentice let the market sort out the copyright debate?

I think that would make a great meme “Why won’t Jim Prentice let the Market solve the Copyright problem”?

Bill C-61 – Circumvention = 1,000,000 fine or 5-year jail term

There has been a bit of happy-talk about Bill C-61 in the news, but I think the spin has been mostly negative, however I missed the penalties here and wanted to highlight them for you.  A Million dollar fine is somewhere near $9,999,500 away from the penalties that we have been told about in the news, which makes this Bill all the more insidious.  It tries to target “actual pirates” but allows for so much more trouble for end users.

What happens if circumvention is trivial, like removing a bit of tape? Are there tests for circumvention, like if the producer of the material puts too little effort into anti-copying mechanisms, can they be treated as null and void?  Can already known circumventions be treated as legal as they are widely known?  Who decides what circumvention is?  What if the product is used in a new way that the producer simply does not like?  I remember how horrified some exec staff could get when customers used Symantec products in unexpected ways (read unsupported ways).  Could those customers be liable for circumvention?

Further reading is really what this bill needs, hopefully our MPs will look this over and just bow to publci pressure to abandon it; failing that perhaps the Conservatives will find their rail ready for a swift ride out of Ottawa if it is proven that they are cowing to corporate pressure from south of the border.

For more information about this subject; I recommend you keep up with news about Canadian Copyright over at Digital Copyright Canada

(2.1) It is an infringement of copyright for any person to do any of the following acts with respect to anything that the person knows or should have known is a lesson, as defined in subsection 30.01(1), or a fixation of one:
(a) to sell it or to rent it out;
(b) to distribute it to an extent that the owner of the copyright in the work or other subject-matter that is included in the lesson is prejudicially affected;
(c) by way of trade, to distribute it, expose or offer it for sale or rental or exhibit it in public;
(d) to possess it for the purpose of doing anything referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (c);
(e) to communicate it by telecommunication to any person other than a person referred to in paragraph 30.01(3)(a); or
(f) to circumvent or contravene any measure taken in conformity with paragraph 30.01(5)(b), (c) or (d).

–Section 2.1 Bill c-61 (as of 12:56PM edt June 16, 2008)

41.1 (1) No person shall

(a) circumvent a technological measure within the meaning of paragraph (a) of the definition “technological measure” in section 41;

(b) offer services to the public or provide services if

(i) the services are offered or provided primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological measure,

(ii) the uses or purposes of those services are not commercially significant other than when they are offered or provided for the purposes of circumventing a technological measure, or

(iii) the person markets those services as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market those services as being for those purposes; or

(c) manufacture, import, provide — including by selling or renting — offer for sale or rental or distribute any technology, device or component if

(i) the technology, device or component is designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological measure,

(ii) the uses or purposes of the technology, device or component are not commercially significant other than when it is used for the purposes of circumventing a techno- logical measure, or

(iii) the person markets the technology, device or component as being for the purposes of circumventing a technological measure or acts in concert with another person in order to market the technology, device or component as being for those purposes.

–Section 41.1 of Bil C-61 (as of June 16th, 2008)


(3.1) Every person, except a person who is acting on behalf of a library, archive or museum or an educational institution, is guilty of an offence who knowingly and for commercial purposes contravenes section 41.1 and is liable

(a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding $1,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both; or

(b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.

–Section 42 of Bill C-61