Copyright bill under review -

Copyright bill under review

Proposed legislation imposes fine for breaking encryption on DVDs


Industry Minister Tony Clement may have been exaggerating when he told reporters, “We’ve been trying as a Parliament to get copyright legislation through since ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ was in the Top 10”—the Elton John song was released in 1976—but he does have a point. The copyright law currently up for review hasn’t been altered in a significant way since 1997. That, however, could soon change: the amendments proposed by the Harper government include fine of up to $5,000 for individuals who break the digital encryption on a DVD, but lighten the punishment for those who download or upload copyrighted material (lowering the maximum fine from $20,000 to $5,000).

The Globe and Mail

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Copyright bill under review

  1. The way the bill is written if a digital lock is put on any kind of media, it trumps all other things; there's no such thing as fair use of any kind if something has any kind of a digital lock. If it passes as is, it'll make me a lawbreaker.

  2. It should be noted, as lccyh mentioned, that if there is a digital lock on something it automatically trumps the rest of the bill.

    So, where the bill states that you can back up your music to your iPod, that right is trumped if there is a digital lock. And, it should be noted, that digital locks are everywhere. They're on your eBooks, they're on your CDs, they're on your movies, they're on your games, they're on your music you got from iTunes (unless you paid extra for the DRM free version).

    Basically, the law says that you can do whatever you want with your intellectual property, unless the producer says that they don't want you to (which appears to be the case most of the time). Considering the ridiculous lengths that the intellectual property groups have been going to lately, this is giving way too much power to the producers.

    On the whole, the bill isn't nearly as bad as I was expecting, but the digital lock provisions are bad for everyone.

    • about ten years ago it seemed that putting locks on cds would be the thing to do ..however somebody could just play the cd and rerecord the audio .. i imagine they could do the same with video ..

      • That would still be bypassing the digital lock.

        • I think he's talking about recording an analog signal straight (possibly pointing a video camera at the TV screen, for example). I'm not going to go read the Act but that might actually circumvent it.

          However the format shifting is pretty minor, because it's not the thing they're going to catch you on assuming you can get past the lock. One of the biggest things they gave was something that was pretty much impossible to enforce in the first place.

  3. I would also like to add that its about freaking time that this story hit mainstream.

  4. Crazy idea here, but…. how about a copyright law that imposes fines for actually breaking copyright?

    What if you put a "lock" on something that is in the public domain? Under this bill, you can be penalized for picking the lock on public property. If you must give statutory protection to TPM's, at very least tie it to the infringement of copyright.

  5. Ah yes, these wonderful security measures, intended to prevent copyright infringement, but only serve to encourage it…

    Bottom line is that these kind of laws, while good if all forms of copyright infringement were reasonably enforceable, are counterproductive when they're not. Right now, getting stuff illegally off the internet, and from other sources, is really, really easy to do. And the chances of being caught and punished for that in any significant way are minimal.

    Now, getting things for free is obviously a powerful incentive to break the law and do so in its own right, but laws like this, and other issues with mainstream delivery of entertainment, add an extra incentive – increased utility. Illegally downloaded media, besides being free, is more accessible and easy to use, keep, and back-up.

    All these locks do is make it slightly more difficult for the media to get out there illegally, but once out there, makes illegal media that much more valuable.

    XKCD says it better than I can –

    It's the basic economics of crime – in the absence of any real punishment, why would people pay money when they can get more useful products for free?

  6. I have my own CPLA (Content Producers Liscence Agreement):

    This is an agreement between the copyright holder(you) and the purchaser(me or my). This agreement will take precedence over any other agreement between you and me. By accepting (either directly or through any intermediary agent) my offer to purchase the media upon which any digital content is stored, you hereby agree to give me full liscence to remove any copy-protection on the material, and to make as many copies of the digital content as are required, in whatever formats may be required, for my personal use and for my data-protection or archival purposes. You retain all other rights to the copyrighted material save those given to me in any other agreement between you and me.

    If you do not accept this agreement, you are free to demand from me at any time, upon the return of my original purchase price, the original media containing the copyrighted material, and the destruction of any copies made under this agreement.

    All legal disputes regarding this agreement or the contents thereof are to be adjudicated in a court in the City of Calgary in the Province of Alberta, Canada.

    I carry this with me in my wallet whenever I purchase something. I figure it has all the validity of a EULA. Will it make a difference if it ever came to a judge looking at things? I doubt it.. but who knows, I might find a judge with a sense of humor or that doesn't like the copyright restrictions.

    • The copyright holder isn't the retailer, so they won't be aware of this agreement you purport to bind them to.

      • They're as aware as the purchaser is of any EULA before the sale.

  7. Incidentally folks, the people to complain to about this aren't on the Maclean's boards.

    They're the ones at this site:

    Let your MP know that this is a voting issue. That you simply will not vote for any MP that supports this bill while it makes circumventing digital locks illegal — even to exercise your legal rights elsewhere in the document.

  8. Sony/BMG tried using copy protection measures on CDs and ended up in court when the software was discovered to have installed rootkits to that left computers vulnerable to viruses. As well, they slowed down the operating speed of the computer.

    This legislation is being changed at the behest of the United States Trade Representative. Every year in April, the United States Trade Representative releases its Special 301 Report which lists countries that the U.S. believes need to reform their intellectual property laws. Canada has been included on that list for the past 15 years, in fact, Canada was added to the Priority Watch List in 2009 (along with China, Russia and India among others).

    Mr. Clement is marching to the beat of what the recording industry and our trade partners to the south want/demand. Unless we contact our MPs and tell them what Canadians really want, if we don't, these ill-thought out changes to the Act will be imposed on us.

    Part 1
    Part 2

  9. how can they fine people when they have levies on cds? they are assuming people are breaking copyright and charge us ..funneling the money to the richest artists …if they have copyright law then they should get rid of the levies..meanwhile you can go onto youtube and watch stuff that obviously violates copyright but apparently youtube pays the big companies to do so