Thursday, April 29, 2004


LINK: file-sharing FAQ

Copyright Policy is often communications policy in disguise

This doesn't seem to be a very new concept, but working through the connections and discussing the policy implications is useful and rewarding. Check it out.

LINK: Tim Wu's paper

Friday, April 23, 2004

http://www.digital-copyright.ca PETITION

LINK: Petition wiki

Thursday, April 22, 2004

"The levies imposed on blank digital media to compensate recording artists for acts of piracy could double if Canada ratifies an international copyright treaty, a coalition of interested industries warned today."

LINK: Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access

Monday, April 19, 2004

More Canadian Copyfighters

LINK: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/

Friday, April 16, 2004

Canadian Government Subsidizing Recording Industry DRM Development!

Heritage Canada now has a special Electronic Copyright Fund "To assist in the development and implementation of copyright management and licensing systems..." Of course, only rights-holders organizations qualify for funding. Wouldn't it be great if the government started giving money to car manufacturers so they could find ways to stop you from driving on the highway without their approval?

Canadian Culture Online Program, Canadian Heritage
Toll-free: 1 866 900-0001, E-mail: ccop-pcce@pch.gc.ca

LINK: Canadian Heritage

Professor Ed Felten puts the smack-down on DRM (again)

"Incompatibility isn't an unfortunate side-effect of deficient DRM systems -- it's the goal of DRM."

LINK: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Copyright Act, PART VIII PRIVATE COPYING, Copying for Private Use

"Where no infringement of copyright
80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of
(a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,
(b) a performer's performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or
(c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer's performance of a musical work, is embodied
onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer's performance or the sound recording."

LINK: http://www.canlii.org/ca/sta/c-42/sec80.html

Canadian Heritage Minister wants to Squash Internet User's Rights, End Judicial Due Process

The new federal Heritage Minister has promised to punish music file sharers...

"We are going to make sure that downloading stays illegal," said Hélène Schérrèr, a rookie Quebec MP sworn in as minister last December. "We will make it a priority so it is done as quickly as possible."

(except downloading isn't illegal now in Canada)

LINK: Globe Technology)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Anne heirs fail in copyright bid (from Lessig)

A bill to extend copyright protection which would have benefited the heirs of Lucy Maude Montgomery has been rejected by the House of Commons... The bill would have extended copyright protection for the unpublished works of dead authors until the year 2017. The L.M. Montgomery estate and others were lobbying the federal government to extend the protection for unpublished works.

LINK: pei.cbc.ca

Canada's NDP leader Jack Layton argues caution in regulating P2P

What Layton says about Internet file sharing over P2P networks:

"I'm a holder of a copyright myself. But it's a book on homelessness and I don't mind if anyone wants to copy it," he says with a grin. "I'm still not so sure how (file sharing) impacts sales -- some studies even say it enhances them. I don't think the dust has settled on this yet. When I was at university there was a great fear that photocopying was going to destroy the publishing industry and that hasn't happened. It's sometimes best to muddle along, take things one step at a time and see what happens. Society can have a way of sorting things out."

LINK: Layton's comments on P2P sharing in Canada

Monday, April 12, 2004

The movie that Disney does NOT want you to watch!

Just in case you thought Disney wasn't a copyright monster ( gobbling up the public domain and scaring people away), this movie disabuses its viewer of such Candide-like naiveté. Produced By Jed Horovitz and Directed By Greg Hittelman... It must be movie day or something.

LINK: http://www.willfulinfringement.com/

Canadians help the Third World hack back

"Hacktivista is the story of three University of Toronto students (Nart, Michelle, and Graeme) who travel with their professor to Guatemala and Chiapas to work with human rights organizations and activists on Internet security and connectivity. The students call themselves "hacktivists" -- a new breed of social activists who use technology to fight for privacy and freedom of speech."

LINK: http://www.citizenlab.org/hacktivista/

Sunday, April 11, 2004

WIPO Considering a Ban on Computers (from Felten's freedom-to-tinker.com/)

"...a draft treaty being considered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. It's a truly remarkable document. And I don't mean that in a good way. Here's the most amazing part, from Article 16, Alternative V:

2. In particular, effective legal remedies shall be provided against those who:

(iii) participate in the manufacture, importation, sale, or any other act that makes available a device or system capable of decrypting or helping to decrypt an encrypted program-carrying signal.

Every computer is "capable of decrypting or helping to decrypt" such a signal, so this provision, if adopted, would apparently require signatories to the treaty to ban the importation, sale, or distribution of computers."

Those guys at WIPO just don't get it sometimes... no wonder the Canadian government is taking its time to evaluate the requirements and effects of the WIPO treaties before mucking around with Canada's copyright laws. Taking a quick look south of the border shows just how costly and troublesome draconian laws (the DMCA) based on narrow-minded interpretations of the copyright treaties can be. Thanks to the DMCA in the United States, competition is being stifled, researchers are being silenced, programmers are being jailed and consumers rights are being trampled. And to think that the American Constitution was once a paragon of legal virtue...

LINK: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/archives/000571.html

Apple uses DMCA to shutdown PlayFair Website

Apple has issued a cease and desist to Sourceforge to shut down the PlayFair web site using the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), however, the website is still available via the Google Cache (Still??). The PlayFair application, still available elsewhere on the Web (but looking for a new home), claims to decode iTunes Music Store protected-AAC files to unencrypted AAC files with no quality loss. (In the past, Apple has also used the DMCA against publications--including MacNN--for linking to information on the web about applications that it claims violate the DMCA.) LINK: from MacNN.com

CIPPIC's Canadian Recording Industry Association file-sharing lawsuits page

CIPPIC has a great page with detailed information about the lawsuits by the CRIA, complete with the user names and IP addresses of the accused. Of course, the Canadian ISPs, their users, CIPPIC and EFC won the first round at the Federal Court of Canada's trial division, and an appeal by the CRIA is guaranteed. CIPPIC will likely continue to be an interested party in the case, and will continue to be an excellent resource for details about the progression of the case.

LINK: http://www.cippic.ca/file-sharing-lawsuits

Thursday, April 01, 2004

what is Actually going on up here

first, we have to go back a few weeks to a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in a case between a publisher of Canadian legal materials and the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Law Society has a big library downtown, where they also provide photocopiers for use by library patrons. similar to the situation in the United States, Canadians are allowed to do things that would normally be copyright infringement because of their fair dealing rights ( fair use for you guys). Fair dealing includes quoting copyrighted works, parodies, and even verbatim copying of works when for private research or study. Accordingly, the publisher (CCH Canadian) lost its case against the Law Society, with the Supreme Court ruling that 1) merely making a device capable of infringement available does not amount to authorizing the infringement, and 2) the person making the device capable of infringement available has a right to presume that users of the device capable infringement will only use it lawfully. (I can send you a copy of the case if you want it)

second, you may recall the decision by the copyright Board of Canada last December, where in interpreting the 2003-2004 Private Copying Regime blank media levy provisions concluded that because Canadians are paying a fee to copyright owners on account of the blank media levy (basically a tax on blank CDs and MP3 players) and that since the legal regime is silent as to whether or not the source of the copy must be a legal, authorized copy, Canadians were not infringing copyright by using an "illegal source" to create a legal copy. The main illegal source in question was, of course, music downloaded from peer-to-peer networks, which is why downloading music is now legal in Canada. Canadians pay a tax on blank media, including hardware players, the funds get distributed to copyright owners, and Canadians can engage in home copying of music at will without fear of legal sanction.

Now, you will probably astutely notice that while downloading music is legal in Canada, uploading music, so far as the law was understood until yesterday, was not. Of course, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense from any policy perspective. However, Canadians continued to upload music to peer-to-peer networks, and the Canadian recording Industry Association, thinking it had the law on its side, moved to sue them for authorizing copyright infringement (authorizing infringement is one cause of action in Canada, to be distinguished from actually copying and personally infringing). To sue these uploaders, the CRIA first had to find out who they were and where they lived so they could be served judicially... which leads us to the current case between Canadian ISPs, who (mostly) didn't want to give up the personal information of their subscribers, and the CRIA, who desperately wanted to match suspected IP addresses with user names.

Of course, privacy is protected under Canadian law, and people can't just go around getting access to other people's account information without good cause. To get access, you have to convince a judge that you do in fact have such good cause, based on several factors.

Most importantly in our narrative, Justice Finckenstein refused access to this confidential user information on the basis (among others) that there seemed to be no valid cause of action on the part of the recording industry because it seemed uploading music was not illegal in Canada.

In deciding to follow the recent reasoning of the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Finckenstein deduced that uploading music to a shared folder is not very much different than putting a self-serve photocopier in a room full of books, and that neither one amounts to authorizing infringement.

First, The person who puts music in a shared folder, just like a library offering the use of a photocopier, has the right to presume that the users of the shared folder will use it lawfully. Note that the music in a shared folder could potentially be used in infringing and non-infringing ways, according to Canadian law regarding fair dealing, Just as a photocopier can be used in infringing and non-infringing ways.

Second, and possibly more damning to the recording industry's point of view, is the fact that downloading music is not copyright infringement in Canada. Because downloading is not infringement, it logically follows that if someone were to be considered authorizing a download on the basis that they placed music in a shared folder, they are only authorizing the downloading and copying of music, not authorizing infringement. In short, authorizing illegal copying is an illegal act, but authorizing legal copying is not. Private copying of music regardless of source is legal in Canada, so authorizing such copying by placing music in a shared folder on a peer-to-peer network is merely authorizing a Canadian user to do that which they have already paid for the right to do by means of the blank media levy. Despite being a critic of the blank media levy, I'm beginning to like it more and more.

Canadian courts choose privacy over profits

Choosing customer privacy over company profits, the Federal Court of Canada refused to allow the Canadian recording Industry Association to force Internet service providers to give up the personal information of their subscribers. in doing so, Justice Finckenstein raised the ire of many record company lawyers, who said that as a competition law expert, Finckenstein just didn't understand copyright law and the rights it gives copyright owners. It seems to me, however, that as a competition expert, Finckenstein saw copyright for exactly what it is - a government-granted monopoly- and accordingly put the screws to the recording industry when they weren't being competitive. Our economy is based on free-market competition, and this should apply to that which is stored on the compact disc as much as it applies to the disc itself. Record companies should have to follow the same rules that every other industry has to play by, and if that means they have to stop living so high on the hog, so be it

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?