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April 12, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» It's not the science, but the fiction.

In the Ottawa GOSLING forum, in response to someone who suggested that opponents to nuclear power didn't care about the science, I wrote the following:

Issues with nuclear power are similar to GMO's. The problem isn't the science, but the inability of our governance structures to manage the complexities and the risks when mismanaged. After watching the C-11 committee hearings my belief in the ability of our governments to make sane decisions about technology is even lower than it was before, and I've always been an opponent of nuclear power and GMO's for governance reasons. The lack of basic science and technology literacy in government is extreme: I think they believe Harry Potter was a documentary.

GMO's = Genetically modified organism

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March 2, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom)

While not related to Copyright, I wanted to mention bill C-304 which I have been following.

Among other things, it repeals section 13 of of the Canadian Human Rights Act, something I am strongly in favor of.

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January 18, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Religious support of anti-communication legislation

Today many have been raising awareness of USA's SOPA and PIPA. I thought I would back up a bit from those specific initiatives, and discuss just how far apart people are on this type of policy.

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January 1, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Is C-11 consistent with a "low-tax plan for jobs and growth"?

I often joke that copyright policy is as complex, understood, and as exciting, as tax policy. Most Canadians would prefer not to talk of either, and those of us who find either exciting are in a small minority Holidays I reflect on this oddity, given my favorite topics are some of the least interesting for most people I would visit.

I thought it would be interesting to start 2012 with a discussion of other ways in which there are similarities between tax and copyright policy, and look at how politicians and other people treat each.

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September 28, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Will governments protect all property rights from all threats?

While the federal Copyright bill is on the order paper and likely to be tabled Thursday, it is not the only issue currently under discussion where people are concerned about IT property rights. Many people have expressed concern with how newer machines shipped with Microsoft Windows may be unable to boot alternative operating systems. Given the confusion over how the property rights of computer hardware owners are adversely impacted by so-called “Copyright” legislation, discussing this related issue may help clarify.

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May 16, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Science and Technology minister

A Hill Times article discussing the new cabinet included the following:

Insiders said last week as well that Industry Canada may be split into two departments, one focused on innovation and science and technology and the other remaining Industry, making way for a full Science and Technology minister, rather than a secretary of state

My first thought: about time.

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May 7, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Census 2011 comments

The last section of the short-form online census (Step F) asks for comments, and I added the following:

I wish the long form was still mandatory, and that the results of this census would be more statistically valid.

I am happy to see this online census didn't require any unverified software to be downloaded, including Java code, and worked with standard browsers available on all platforms (including my secure Linux desktop).

While the origins of the first comment is likely obvious, the second part of the comment was in relation to problems that happened with the 2006 online census.

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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 14, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Michael Geist's Digital Economy Strategy Consultation submission

Michael Geist has published his submission online which touches many different areas. I'm in full agreement with this submission.

July 13, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Why no formal submission to Digital Economy consultation?

In an earlier article describing my limited participation in the Digital Economy consultation I indicated that I wouldn't have the time to make a formal submission. This fact was hilighted in a flattering article by Laurel L. Russwurm, who did make a formal submission, so I thought I would write about why I didn't allocate the time.

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July 9, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» My participation in the Digital Economy Consultation

The deadline for ideas and submissions on Canada’s digital economy strategy has been extended until midnight, Tuesday, July 13

I don't think I will have the time to make a formal submission. I have instead started to post to the ideas forum. If you agree with these ideas, please vote them up. Please also add comments.

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July 5, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Digital Economy Roundtable - Interim Consensus Submission

The Interim Consensus Submission from those who discussed online and offline about such a submission is now published, and available for endorsement. This is a submission that will be endorsed by many people towards the National Consultations on a Digital Economy Strategy.

I participated (online only), and endorse the submission. There is only one are that I would have used different wording, and that is in "4.3 Balanced copyright". The submission used the language of "A fine balance needs to be struck between the rights of creators/consumers in a wide variety of digital contexts". This could easily be misinterpreted as being similar to when governments talk about a need to strike a balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of the creative community. My experience in the last near decade on this policy has been that the strongest disagreements are between different creators, and that a balance between the interests of different creators is a more important axis to be concerned with in trying to create balanced copyright law.

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June 28, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Is there a copy left vs copy right?

When I first heard a group outside of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) or Creative Commons movement use the word "CopyLeft", I thought they were simply using the term incorrectly. (See: Independent authors just wanting a little respect... from fellow creators and collective societies from 2006)

In the FLOSS movement it means something similar to ShareAlike with Creative Commons: the license says the copyrighted work can be freely shared (without additional permission/payment) as long as any derivatives are equally shared. The licensing model is not opposed to copyright in any way, and focuses on material rewards in the form of additional creative works rather than royalties.

I continue to hear the term "copy left" used, sometimes by those who consider it a positive term, but more often by people who are trying to use the term in a derogatory manner. In this context the term is not being used to reference to a licensing model, but a political philosophy.

This suggests that the term "copy left" references a liberal creators' rights philosophy, and the "copy right" refers to a conservative creators' rights philosophy. It is only a coincidence that those on the "copy left" also support CopyLeft style licensing.

(Including full article here -- configuration issue at IT World Canada. Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >> )

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May 10, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Government of Canada Launches National Consultations on a Digital Economy Strategy

Please go to www.digitaleconomy.gc.ca for more details.

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March 21, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Supreme Court understands that you don't control what is in your cache

In R. v. Morelli, 2010 SCC 8 the following statement was made on behalf of the majority (McLachlin C.J. and Binnie, Abella and Fish JJ)

[36] On my view of possession, the automatic caching of a file to the hard drive does not, without more, constitute possession. While the cached file might be in a “place” over which the computer user has control, in order to establish possession, it is necessary to satisfy mens rea or fault requirements as well. Thus, it must be shown that the file was knowingly stored and retained through the cache.

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November 3, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» The Tyranny of Rights

I will be posting further thoughts later, but wanted people to know that this book is now available online.

In keeping with our policy on copyright, and in consideration of readers in remote areas, the entire text is also available for free download here.

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October 5, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Parliamentary committee investigates repeal of controvercial law.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST) held meetings today (details of October 5'th meeting) on the possible repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. (Study homepage)

I support this repeal, not only because this section of the law has been abused (largely by Richard Warman), but because it is a bad idea. What is or is not "hate speech" is largely political and subjective. Laws which can be abused by people who are made uncomfortable by political speech should not be part of Canadian law. I hope the rumours that the repeal is receiving all party support is correct, and we can quickly remove this bad section of the law.

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February 28, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» UK government backs open source

According to a BBC article, "Tom Watson MP, minister for digital engagement, said open source software would be on a level playing field with proprietary software such as Windows.

Minister for Digital engagement? The closest we seem to have is Charlie Angus which is the digital issues critic for the NDP -- nobody in the government or official opposition in Canada seems to be closely following or trying to understand these issues.

January 31, 2009

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award

From Michael Geist's BLOG:

Earlier today, I received the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award from the Ontario Library Association at their annual SuperConference in Toronto.
...
Third - and most importantly - I am sometimes asked whether those arguing for fair copyright are not really only in free access. This award recognizes that it is not about free. It is about freedom.

October 20, 2008

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Federal Government Secure Channel boondoggle finally being made visible

An article by Kathryn May of The Ottawa Citizen exposes the "Secure Channel" boondoggle. This is the same project that was mentioned in the 2003 Auditor Generals' report (Chapter 1—Information Technology: Government On-Line, The Secure Channel project ), but this chapter was overshadowed by the problems in the sponsorship program.

One of the frustrating things is that this program requires that citizens give up security on their own computers in order to (only theoretically) grant the Government more security.

Read the rest of this entry »

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