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May 1, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Not so special 301 report

The yearly joke from the USTR of their so-called "Special 301 report" came out yesterday. Not surprisingly, they kept Canada on their Priority Watch List in order to keep up their special interest lobbying efforts.

Does this mean Canada is a "piracy haven"? Not in the slightest.

It only means that the USTR continues to echo the unfounded lobbying rhetoric from the IIPA which isn't as interested in promoting the rights and interests of creators and innovators as they are protecting their members from legitimate competition.

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March 12, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Group submissions to C-11 committee : CBA submission in context.

A small group of lawyers have publicly disagreed with the submission to the Bill C-32 committee (the predecessor to the current C-11 committee) from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), an association of approximately 37,000 members that 26 of them are members of. Given the publicity this group has been able to receive, I think it is interesting to look at group submissions in general.

It is not unusual for a subset of the membership of a group who has submitted to these committees to disagree. In fact, that is the norm. This frustrates many people when these associations go into committee and list their membership numbers as if all the members were in agreement with -- or were even made aware of the policy positions of -- the person sitting as witness in committee.

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July 11, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Major label lobby group CRIA's dishonest name change

I offered the following as a comment to a Billboard article by Karen Bliss discussing CRIA's name change to "Music Canada".


Seems to be an ongoing thing where the more controvercial a group becomes, the more likely they are to change their name. There is also a desire by some organizations to change their name as part of a lobbying effort to confuse people as to what roll the specific organization actually plays.

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March 2, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Thoughts about C-32 committee meeting 15

Today was a music industry day, with the morning session being representatives of the recording industry ("makers of sound recording"), and the afternoon session being music composers and their publishers.

The story in the morning was very familiar: The sky is falling -- look at how bad it is (spin the wheel of alleged misfortune) -- and something must be done. Bill C-32 is "something", so clearly it will stop the sky from falling. It must be passed, and we should stop talking about it.

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October 5, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Falling off the edge of a flat world?

Professor Birgitte Andersen has posted a very interesting response to old-economy industry association critique of studies she has authored.

While focused on copyright, I found the section talking about evidence based policy making vs "intuition" to be useful for all political discussions.

Of course intuition has its place, e.g. for short-cuts or if we do not have concrete evidence to rely on. However, if we are unable or unwilling to free our minds, ‘intuition’ can also imprison our thought and lead to prejudice and ignorance.

For example, although the world seems to be flat (by pure intuition), then falling off the edge of a flat world is not among my fears! Similarly, although it seems that the sun rotates around the Earth (by pure intuition), then research has proven that it is the other way around. However, we shall not forget that after Galileo announced these research results, which were counter-intuitive for the general public and the belief of the Catholic Church, he was forced to retire as a scientist and live in house arrest.

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July 7, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» My response to Loreena McKennitt

Musician Loreena McKennitt penned an opinion piece where she spoke about declining revenues for a whole series of largely unrelated industries, and then made two wild unfounded claims: first, that "today's online environment, where piracy is virtually unchecked" was the problem, and second that Bill C-32 was a solution.

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June 23, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» EMI Evolves Along With Music Industry Changes

More good news in a Wired article by Eliot Van Buskirk. While the article doesn't go into the nitty-gritty details, it looks like EMI is moving from being a label focused on sales of product to licensing music (compositions and recorded performances) as widely as possible. They may focus on the "not available for sale to you" problem.

I am hoping this signifies a change in lobbying strategy as well from what we have seen from CRIA in Canada, which has been focused on protecting legacy label business model rather than protecting the competing interests of the wider music industry.

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June 20, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Differentiating allies and opponents in the Copyright debate

Copyright is often claimed to be a balance between rights-holders’ interests on the one hand and the interests of users and society as a whole on the other hand. I only wish things were that simple. I could take my place alongside other rights-holders, and know that copyright law would at least be taking the interests of creators into serious consideration.

The problem is that the reality is quite different. With digital copyright you have potentially 4 rights-holder groups. Even if you only consider the interests of copyright holders, the vast majority of the debates I have witnessed have been between and within copyright holder groups, not between copyright holders and some other individual or group.

Just as with previous bills, the tabling of Bill C-32 will bring new people to the debate. Reading how I evaluate my allies and opponents may be useful as a kick-start for those people.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog

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June 8, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Separating Science from Science Fiction on the Business News Network

Last week I had the opportunity to discuss the new copyright bill on the BNN show Squeezeplay. The other guest was Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill, and the hosts were Andrea Mandel-Campbell and Rudyard Griffiths.

It became obvious during the interview that the hosts had the misconception that they had a creator and a consumer, or even a creator and someone who wanted to infringe copyright. At one point Mr. Griffiths even asked me if I were supportive of the rule of law, which threw me for a loop as I hadn't expected that type of bias. What they actually had was two creators with a different level of technical knowledge, and thus a different understanding of the impact on creators of the policy we were being presented in the bill.

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May 7, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Fairness in an expanded Private Copying regime for recorded music

No matter what I feel about the Private Copying regime for recorded music, it is clear that the music industry wants this. When I say music industry I mean composers and performers who have come out strongly in favor of the regime. It has become clear that the recording industry can no longer be said to represent musicians or the overall music industry.

I can live with this regime being expanded to devices as I consider it the lesser of two evils: a levy on devices, or non-owner locks on devices. In order for the regime to have any resemblance of fairness it should be obvious that we can't allow both.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>>

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May 4, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Why do some people claim that Canadian copyright is "weak"?

In a series of postings over the years, lawyer Howard Knopf has detailed how Canadian Copyright law is strong (protects incumbent copyright holders), including many ways that Canadian law is stronger than that of the USA (See: 21 Reasons Why Canadian Copyright Law is Already Stronger Than USA's, 22nd Example of How Canadian Copyright Law is Stronger than US - and Another Possible US Treaty Violation)

I had a recent twitter conversation with lawyer Barry Sookman, who has clients in the recording, motion picture and proprietary software industries. As a response to his tweet, "Canada again named to USTR’s Priority Watch List for weak IP laws", I said "Canada being on the USTR priority watch list for having strong Copyright (stronger than US in many ways) only makes list a joke". He then claimed I was wrong, pointing me his submission to the summer 2009 copyright consultation.

His submission didn't provide me with what I was looking for, which was something as detailed as what Mr. Knopf has authored.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>>

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March 30, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Podcast #35: The iTax & Fair Dealing

Jesse Brown interviewed Charlie Angus about his private copying regime private members bill and fair use motion.

February 21, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

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February 12, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Don’t Blame Google

In an article for The Mark I suggest that we shouldn't blame Google when music blogs are shut down, since it’s the major record labels that are to blame.

December 8, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Artists' lawsuit: major record labels are the real pirates

Interesting article by Jacqui Cheng in Ars Technica, reporting on an article by Michael Geist, about seemingly confirmed allegations of massive infringement by the major labels.

I think we should count out loud "one, two, three" for each CRIA member and ask why they are allowed to have an Internet connection. They are proponents of a "three strikes" rule, and such a rule should be applied to them first!

September 7, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Copyright Consultation: the tail trying to wag the dog.

In yesterday's article, as well as my submission to the consultation, I suggested that the recording industry is like the tail trying to wag the dog in the copyright consultation. The recording industry represents one of three copyright holding groups in a larger music industry made up of composers, performers, and "makers" of sound recordings. While this group dominated the music industry in the past, modern technology will inevitably cause a restructuring of the music industry such that they will be the smallest of the three.

Contrary to recording industry claims, it is my belief that even if there wasn't a single unauthorized music file shared that the recording industry would be seeing a nearly identical decline.

>>> Read full article on ITWorldCanada's blog.

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September 3, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» When Creativity Goes Digital

The Mark has published my op-ed which replies to the "sky is falling" claims in the article by Barry Sookman and Steven Stohn in the August 6 National Post.

Shortform: I disagree ;-)

August 27, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Government imposition of specific business models on creators

My first draft of the op-ed for Georgia Straight was far too long, and included not only discussion of digital locks but also commentary about government imposing royalty-based business models. It also used Georgia Straight articles by Bill Henderson and Marian Hebb as illustrations. I'm including here that last part that needed to be cut out of the op-ed.

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April 20, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Why won't the movie and television studios accept my money?

I would gladly pay a hefty monthly fee for this wonderful service—if someone would take my money. In reality, I pay nothing because no company sells such a plan.

This quote is from a Slate article by Farhad Manjoo. While my personal choice is to simply not watch the movies/shows that are not offered to me rather than accessing them for free, I totally understand this situation. It is frustrating that these companies spend so much money on lobbying incorrectly claiming that infringement is the top reason for downturns in revenue.

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December 28, 2008

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Connecting the dots: legacy entertainment focused on "enablers", not infringers

Many people will have heard that the RIAA is going to be doing in the USA what they are doing in Canada: not suing individual music copyright infringers, even if copyright law enables them to. Their primary target has always been "enablers" (IE: providers of multi-purpose and predominantly legal technology, communications services, and software), but in the USA at least they have been launching massive lawsuits against everyone from single mothers to dead people.

A techdirt article Big Guns Come Out In Effort To Show RIAA's Lawsuits Are Unconstitutional may clarify why the change in tactics in the USA. It may be that the courts will confirm that the RIAA's lawsuit intimidation tactics are not legal after all.

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