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Canada's Proposed DMCA-Style Law Draws Fire 313

Posted by timothy
from the sequels-usually-suck dept.
litui writes "Michael Geist assesses the problems with new copyright legislation presented today. In short, it looks like unless it's heavily contested, Canadians are in for a worse piece of law than the DMCA." CBC News' story quotes one critic, Scott Brison, who warns that enforcing the anti-circumvention clauses of this legislation would turn Canada into a police state — which, considering the pervasive eavesdropping it would take to make sure that people aren't enjoying their rights to fair use (or "fair dealing") of hardware or media, seems like a fair prediction.
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Canada's Proposed DMCA-Style Law Draws Fire

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  • by farrellj (563) * on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:00PM (#23769419) Homepage Journal
    Would become criminals under the new law...

    With the new law, it is going to be illegal to bypass any "digital" locks
    that a content creator/publisher puts on their work.

    One of these systems that is used by some Record companies prevents you from
    coping a CD on a Microsoft Windows machine. The way that it works is that it
    automatically loads up a program when you put the CD into the computer that
    prevents the transfering of CD's music to either your computer or Ipod. This
    is known as Digitial Rights Managment or Copy Protection.

    But what if you a Mac, or a Linux machine?

    As the software that is automatically loaded from the CD to prevent you
    copying only works under Microsoft Window, it would thus be illegal to put
    that CD into your Mac, as it would be a "circumvention of the copy
    protection" on the CD.

    This law is stooopid!

    ttyl
              Farrell

    • by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:05PM (#23769495)
      But... but! That's what WINE is for!
    • by twitter (104583) *

      Big publishers are buying draconian legislation because only that will preserve their place in the world. They have gotten away with as much as they have because they control broadcast media, but fewer people are paying attention to that [technologyreview.com]. We are in a race to save the internet before big publishers can destroy it. They demand the same kinds of control over the internet that they had over print and broadcast. That is, the ability to limit what can be shared regardless of who creates it. It's not about en

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by arbiter1 (1204146)
      "One of these systems that is used by some Record companies prevents you from
      coping a CD on a Microsoft Windows machine. The way that it works is that it
      automatically loads up a program when you put the CD into the computer that
      prevents the transfering of CD's music to either your computer or Ipod. This
      is known as Digitial Rights Managment or Copy Protection."

      that loading the program on puttin the cd in, Sony tried that shit already and got raped majorly for their effort's. they can't install anything on
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:27PM (#23769797) Homepage
      Wouldn't holding down the shift key, and disabling autorun also count as circumventing their DRM?
      • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:34PM (#23769893) Homepage
        Not only that, but if this bill gets passed, you just broke the law by saying that.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Vectronic (1221470)
        No, I don't believe so. the Digital Right Management nonsense is an API thing, so anytime the installer/application runs it will launch/access the API and associated applications...

        not allowing auto-run only delays it from starting as soon as a CD is inserted.

        Plus, an autorun.ini basically just points windows to A) the icon to display in "My Computer", and B) the setup.exe

        Setup.exe when run will still use the DRM stuff, as for movies and music, well thats up to the player, WMP (et al) will still phone home/
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by S.O.B. (136083)
          An audio CD or DVD is not an application. The autorun on a CD/DVD is to install the DRM "enforcer" on your computer. By holding down the shift key when inserting the disk into a Windows machine (or inserting it into a Mac or Linux PC) you would be able to freely rip the disk but you would be circumventing the DRM and would be in violation of this new law.
      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:48PM (#23770129)
        Even worse.

        If they put in one bit and call it a "copyright protection device", you can't copy it or you're breaking the law. It doesn't have to DO anything, just be called a "copy protect flag". If no devices exist that support it, then you have to buy a new compliant device. Otherwise, that's circumventing.

        Geist is right. It passes the law onto the companies instead of to the courts.
    • by Random Destruction (866027) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:30PM (#23772649)
      Clearly you must be wrong. The bill is all sunshine and flowers. Just look at the e-mail I just recieved in my university inbox from the Minister of Industry at Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca :

      The Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.

      What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

      Specifically, it includes measures that would:

      * expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the "statutory damages" a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;

      * implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address Internet piracy;

      * clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and

      * provide photographers with the same rights as other creators.

      What Bill C-61 does not do:

      * it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation

      What this Bill is not:

      * it is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia

      Bill C-61 was introduced in the Commons on June 12, 2008 by Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner.

      For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

      Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.

      The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P. Minister of Industry

      The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P. Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and Minister for La Francophonie
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't know about this one, but certainly the US's DMCA attacks only technology who's primary purpose is to circumvent copy protection. Neither MacOSX nor Linux fit that description. Good luck getting libdvdcss through though.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Would become criminals under the new law...

      Well, so would anyone with a damned shift key or who has configured their Windows boxes to not automatically run software on a CD when it is installed.

      So, it would become illegal to not accept the defaults as laid down for us by Microsoft, and which likely result in a less secure system as you are more likely to be affected by Sony rootkits etc.

      Me, I say fuck 'em. I buy all of my CDs. I rip them to MP3 using FreeBSD or iTunes. I play them on whatever damned devi

  • Liberals (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JebusIsLord (566856) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:00PM (#23769425) Homepage
    I know the NDP and probably the Liberals will vote this down, and we currently have a minority government so the Conservatives won't be able to push this though.

    Hopefully... lately the Liberals (our official opposition) have been obstaining from votes rather than trigger an election when they're down in the polls. A sad state of affairs, really.
    • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Informative)

      by JebusIsLord (566856) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:02PM (#23769453) Homepage
      Just to clarify for Americans who don't understand the parliamentary system, basically the Conservatives hold the most seats, but not the majority of seats, so they can loose motions. If it is considered a confidence motion, then the goverment is overthrown and we have another election. Usually minority governments are unstable and dissolve after a few months, but this one has been around (IMO) far too long.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Not only can they loose motions, which they do with reckless abandon, but they can even lose them.
      • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Interesting)

        by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:22PM (#23769731) Homepage
        Yeah, but if this bill is considered a confidence motion, then Stephane "The Coward" Dion will just make the Liberal party sit out on the vote, and it'll pass right on through. I'm no fan of the Liberals, but I'll take another 13 years of Liberal rule than deal with the consequences of this bill.
        • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sayfawa (1099071) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:38PM (#23769979)
          Exactly! Those cowards just sat out a bill which they were against involving immigration. The bill basically goes over the head of our point system which judges a potential immigrant impartially, based on their skills and instead gives whoever is in charge of immigration at the time way too much power to pick and choose, based on their predilections, who comes in and who doesn't. Similar to how it was in first half of the century when 'Great White North' referred to more than just snow. This bill will have serious consequences for many people and families. The Liberals were completely against it but, because it might have triggered an election, they slink off during the vote and let it through.

          If they can't stand up for their beliefs for something as important to Canada as immigration, then no way do they have the guts to make a big deal out of copyright reform.
          • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MrAndrews (456547) * <mcm.1889@ca> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:07PM (#23770415) Homepage
            My MP has already committed to voting against C-61, but then they're NDP. If you have a Liberal MP, I'd write to them and tell them that if they don't actually show up and shoot this thing down, you'll vote for a party that will. Maybe if the Liberals get flooded with enough mail like that, Dion will stop running from the electorate.
          • Re:Liberals (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Curtman (556920) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:36PM (#23770809)

            The Liberals were completely against it but, because it might have triggered an election, they slink off during the vote and let it through.

            I've been a Liberal supporter for almost 20 years. I've volunteered during every election since I was 12 years old to help out. The idea of having Stephane Dion for a prime minister frightens me. I'm glad they didn't trigger an election, no good could come of it. Either Harper gets a majority or Stephane will form a government that will smear the Liberal name as badly or worse than Brian Mulroney did for the Conservatives.

            These are dark days in Canadian politics.
      • Re:Liberals (Score:5, Funny)

        by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:24PM (#23769749)
        Can you send us a little of that "overthrow government" stuff you guys have up there?

        pretty please? we promise to buy lots of maple syrup

        honest we will
      • Re:Liberals (Score:4, Informative)

        by optimus2861 (760680) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @10:05PM (#23773841)
        To add to the above, I'll try to explain the current problems of the Liberal party, our official opposition that has been abstaining from votes that would defeat the government and trigger an election.

        The Liberals were in power under Jean Chretien from 1993 to 2003, when Paul Martin replaced him. Two things happened around this time. First, Chretien passed a campaign-finance reform bill that banned contributions from corporations and unions. Second, a major scandal broke that was dubbed the sponsorship scandal, as it was revealed Liberal-friendly advertising agencies in the province of Quebec had been awarded numerous government advertising contracts for doing effectively no work, and passing sums of money back to the Liberals as donations. One such case was, literally, an envelope full of cash passed to a Liberal party member in an Italian restaurant.

        The Liberals had relied heavily on corporate donors during their time in power and did not have much in place for "grassroots" fundraising, so the campaign finance reform crippled their fundraising abilities. This remains true today; the Liberals are consistently out-fundraised by a huge margin by the Conservatives, who have very solid grassroots fundraising. I think in the last quarter, even the NDP raised more cash than the Liberals. The Liberals have still not managed to fully pay off their debts from their 2006 leadership convention. Bottom line: the Conservatives are flush with cash, the Liberals are broke. The Liberals simply can't afford an election.

        The fallout from the sponsorship scandal crushed Liberal fortunes in Quebec and allowed the Conservatives to make significant inroads in the 2006 election. Selecting Dion as leader, who is not popular in nationalist parts of Quebec from his time as constitutional affairs minister under Chretien, has compounded the Liberal problem. Outside of Montreal, the Liberals are polling very badly in Quebec, behind both the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois, with the NDP nipping at their heels. Even in Montreal, recent polls are suggesting once-Liberal strongholds may be up for grabs. The Liberals have historically been weak in western Canada, and need to win large numbers of seats in both Quebec and Ontario to form government. As of today, the Liberals simply can't win in Quebec.

        The final problem the Liberals have is they have transitioned very poorly from government to opposition. Often dubbed Canada's "natural governing party", the Liberals seem to have forgotten how to formulate policy when they are not governing. Much of their performance in opposition has been taken up with blustering about alleged Conservative scandals, rather than articulating an alternate vision of how to run the country.

        So in a nutshell, our official opposition is a party that can't afford to trigger an election it can't win on policies it doesn't have. And the Liberals know it. Hence they huff and puff about opposing the Conservatives, but won't pull the trigger.

  • Write Your MP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:01PM (#23769429)
    Please write your MP [parl.gc.ca] and let them know you want no part of this bill. Please write a polite and informed message to them, encourage them to check out Michael Geist's page (link in article above). The world does not need another DMCA that empowers big media at the expenses of consumers' rights. Write your MP.
  • by Tragek (772040) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:01PM (#23769433) Journal

    The government said a second reading of the legislation wouldn't occur until the next sitting of the house. With the government breaking soon for the summer, such a reading would not occur until the fall.
    This gives three months to rally against it. Though, Micheal Geist looks at it slightly differently:

    The government plans for second reading at the next sitting of the house, effectively removing the ability to send it to committee after first reading (and therefore be more open to change).
    • by JebusIsLord (566856) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:04PM (#23769483) Homepage
      Or 3 months for the media to get bored with the issue, and then they can quietly pass it without a fuss.
      • Especially considering those 3 months are during the summer, when people are generally watching less TV, reading less newspapers, don't really care whats going on they just wanna go swimming and have parties, or on vacation, and half of those paying attention are to lazy (from the heat) to bother doing anything... "i'd protest, but, I don't have enough iced tea"
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Not likely. They've been talking about it since last christmas, when it was originally supposed to be tabled. Seeing the actual bill will just bring new interest. The Canadian media doesn't just forget about stuff like this.
        • by digitrev (989335)
          You're a bit too optimistic. You assume that
          1. The media will continue to report this. They probably won't, since...
          2. No one really understands or cares about this law, especially because...
          3. There will be much bigger issues that will come up in the intervening time that will wipe this bill from the average Canadian's memory.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When's the first protest? It's time to march the hill.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vectronic (1221470)
      Why wait for someone else to start it?
    • Canadians tried marching to the hill, once, with a Conservative government, although for different circumstances. Just keep in mind how that turned out [encycloped...adienne.ca]: the march was stopped in Regina(where I am), and blood was shed.
    • by MrAndrews (456547) * <mcm.1889@ca> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:52PM (#23770181) Homepage
      Before you march on the hill, make sure you tell your parents and other boomer friends that this bill will make it so the cable companies can stop them from recording American Idol.

      Wait for the look of utter horror to crystallize on their faces, and then you can recruit them into the cause.

      It's amazing how fast they go from "meh, it's not really something I'm interested in" to "holy hell, not my Simon!"
      • by digitrev (989335)
        Excellent speaking point. That's going to turn a lot of heads, if you can make sure someone hears it.
  • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:09PM (#23769543) Homepage
    I received an e-mail from the Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice (Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca), presumably because I've e-mailed him about this in the past. In it are the current government talking points. Please, do your best to refute these and point out the horrible, horrible flaws in this bill. Find your MP by postal code [parl.gc.ca], and give them a good thrashing.

    The Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. The proposed legislation is a made-in-Canada approach that balances the needs of Canadian consumers and copyright owners, promoting culture, innovation and competition in the digital age.

    What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

    Specifically, it includes measures that would:
    • expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones; make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own; and limit the "statutory damages" a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;
    • implement new rights and protections for copyright holders, tailored to the Internet, to encourage participation in the online economy, as well as stronger legal remedies to address Internet piracy;
    • clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and
    • provide photographers with the same rights as other creators.
    What Bill C-61 does not do:
    • it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation
    What this Bill is not:
    • it is not a mirror image of U.S. copyright laws. Our Bill is made-in-Canada with different exceptions for educators, consumers and others and brings us into line with more than 60 countries including Japan, France, Germany and Australia
    Bill C-61 was introduced in the Commons on June 12, 2008 by Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner.

    For more information, please visit the Copyright Reform Process website at www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/home

    Thank you for sharing your views on this important matter.


    The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
    Minister of Industry

    The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women
    and Official Languages and Minister for
    La Francophonie
    • by MrAndrews (456547) * <mcm.1889@ca> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:43PM (#23770049) Homepage
      I got that one too, and my favourite bit is:

      What Bill C-61 does not do:

      it would not empower border agents to seize your iPod or laptop at border crossings, contrary to recent public speculation
      No, that's in ACTA [canada.com]. How clever of them to sidestep the issue by confusing matters.
    • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:19PM (#23770569) Homepage

      What does Bill C-61 mean to Canadians?

      Specifically, it includes measures that would:

      -expressly allow you to record TV shows for later viewing; copy legally purchased music onto other devices, such as MP3 players or cell phones;


      Provided that the music isn't coming from a DVD, and that the original source isn't protected by DRM, in which case the new bill actually expressly criminalizes it, whereas before it would have been legal.

      -make back-up copies of legally purchased books, newspapers, videocassettes and photographs onto devices you own;


      But not laser discs, video-CDs, DVDs, or any other audio-visual media with the exception of videocassettes. Again, these are now criminalized.

      and limit the "statutory damages" a court could award for all private use copyright infringements;


      If you're using P2P technology, this new bill imposes a $20,000 fine for "making available", which is far more than the current statutory damages.

      clarify the roles and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers related to the copyright content flowing over their network facilities; and


      This part doesn't seem so bad (unless I'm missing something). Basically, if ISPs get served with a notice, they have to pass it on to their users, which seems good.

  • by Geof (153857) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:10PM (#23769545) Homepage
    Most people still get their news through the mainstream media. Many of them have published warmed-over versions of the government press release. We need to contact them to let them know how disastrous this law will be. Some examples:

    Ottawa brings copyright into the digital age -- The Toronto Star [thestar.com]

    The federal government tabled new legislation Thursday morning designed to make it easier to track and prosecute anyone caught downloading copyrighted files, such as music and movies, from the Internet. -- The Globe and Mail [theglobeandmail.com]

    Controversial copyright legislation positioned as a made-in-Canada solution to stamp out online piracy -- The National Post [financialpost.com]

    • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:15PM (#23769623) Homepage
      Don't forget The Ottawa Sun. [ottawasun.com]

      The bill would also allow consumers to record television and radio programs to watch or listen to later. And it would allow Internet programs to be recorded as long as they are simultaneously aired on television or radio.

      There would also be limits on the time such recordings could be kept, so consumers couldn't build a library of recordings.

      Department officials weren't able to say how long recordings would be allowed to be kept for later viewing.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:46PM (#23770091) Homepage
      At least we still have the CBC [www.cbc.ca]
  • It should draw enough fire to burn it down completely.

    Hey, Canada keeps telling their southern neighbor how superior they are in all regards. Here's a way to show it by not being led by the nose by the USA.

    • Re:Drawing Fire (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:22PM (#23769727)

      If only it was that simple. The opposition is in disarray, which is why a minority Conservative government dares to pull crap like this. Their main opposition, the Liberal Party, doesn't have the money or leadership to fight an election, so they'll pretty much agree to anything in order to dodge one. The other two major parties, the Bloc and NDP, don't have enough seats to do anything about it. The Conservatives will find a way to make the vote a matter of confidence, the Liberals will fold, and that will be that. It has nothing to do with what the majority of Canadians want.

      • by KillerBob (217953)
        They're going to have to call an election sooner or later, though: That's the only way they can unseat Dion. They may as well get it over with, and hope that it's while people remember that the Conservatives suck.
  • Political Theatre (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:18PM (#23769667)

    There's a good chance that this is just political theatre. The Conservatives promised their big-entertainment paymasters that they would introduce this bill in this session of parliament, so they are doing so, but this is the end of the session and the bill is hugely unpopular, so it will likely die when the parliamentary session closes.

    What I would like to see for is the Conservatives to make the bill a matter of confidence, the Liberals to vote it under thereby forcing an election, and then the Liberals wining a majority government by harping on this piece of unpopular legislation. This would show the politicians that bills of this kind are political suicide for whatever party introduces them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by davegravy (1019182)

      This would show the politicians that bills of this kind are political suicide for whatever party introduces them
      It would also show the US that they need to step up their level of influence on Canada's politics.
    • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:27PM (#23769801) Homepage
      The Liberals? Force an election? If they didn't do it over Afghanistan or the budget, what makes you think they'll do it over something that the average person knows nothing about? My biggest fear is that this will be a matter of confidence, thus shooing away the Liberals and giving this bill a free ride through parliament.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fiendy (931228)
      Indeed, this bill will likely just die in parliament. That does not mean I am not wholeheartedly against it and the US lobbying that brought it. I will consider writing to my MP on this issue (sidenote: No postage is required to send a letter to your MP).

      Some copyright protection reform is obviously needed, but only something that does not villify consumers, make a mockery of fair use or bend to the US **AA lobbying agenda.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Can we modify that plan so that the NDP wins a minority government? The Conservatives need to seriously rethink their position on pretty much everything, but the Liberals aren't really fit to rule either. An majority NDP government doesn't seem like a good idea, but if they were held in check by a minority government it might be the best of all evils.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You Americans have a fairly shitty healthcare system, but let's remember that here in Canada, there is still no such thing as a right to free speech.

    Our Human Rights Commissions (provincial and national) investigate "crimes" like criticizing other people's religious beliefs, opposing gay marriage or refusing to participate in a gay marriage ceremony, and making non-violent racist statements. The extrajudicial tribunals can charge people with these crimes as a result of a complaint being made by anyone-- no
    • by Vectronic (1221470) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:47PM (#23770107)
      Just to add a bit of information to the OP about "...no such thing as a right to free speech."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country#Canada [wikipedia.org]

      The constitutional provision that guarantees Freedom of expression in Canada is section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
      2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication

      Due to section 1 of the Charter, the so-called limitation clause, Canada's freedom of expression is not absolute and can be limited under certain situations. Section 1 of the Charter states:
      The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (emphasis added)

      This section is double edged. First it implies that a limitation on freedom of speech prescribed in law can be permitted if it can be justified as being a reasonable limit in a free and democratic society. Conversely, it implies that a restriction can be invalidated if it cannot be shown to be a reasonable limit in a free and democratic society. The former case has been used to uphold limits on legislation which are used to prevent hate speech and obscenity.[citation needed]

      In the landmark Supreme Court of Canada case R. v. Zundel (1992), the court struck down a provision in the Criminal Code of Canada that prohibited publication of false information or news, stating that it violated section 2(b) of the Charter.

      In April 29, 2004, Bill C-250 was passed which includes as hate speech propaganda against people based on their sexual orientation. It is now illegal to publicly incite hatred against people based on their colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, and sexual orientation. However, under section 319 on hate speech, a person cannot be convicted of hate speech "if the person can establish that the statements made are true."

      Other laws that protect freedom of speech in Canada, and did so, to a limited extent, before the Charter was enacted in 1982, include the Implied Bill of Rights and the Canadian Bill of Rights.
      And more...

      Charter Of Rights And Freedoms [wikipedia.org]

      Bill C-250 [wikipedia.org]
  • by PFAK (524350) * on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:20PM (#23769693)
    Check out Online Rights Canada's new action alert, "Tell MPs What's Wrong with the Prentice Bill":

    http://www.copyrightforcanadians.ca/action/firstlook/ [copyrightforcanadians.ca]

    Here's what their website says about it:

    "After months of hesitation, Industry Minister Jim Prentice has finally revealed his re-write of Canada's rules of copyright. Tell your MP just what you think of it."
  • Worse is better. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by a whoabot (706122) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:23PM (#23769737)
    So proprietary software, RIAA music, Hollywood movies and television will be more tightly controlled by the copyright holders. Maybe now people will turn the stuff off and be better off in the long run.
  • Confidence Motion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shma (863063) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:27PM (#23769795)
    For a year or two, now, the Conservatives have been able to push through almost any legislation by making it a confidence motion. For those of you in the US, all major bills (budgets and any bills involving new spending), double as motions of confidence in the government. Their failure means the government falls. The main opposition in Canada, the Liberal party, has feared bringing the government down (even though they have the votes) because their party is not polling any better than they did in the last election. They either register a vote of 'abstain' or do not show up to vote where major legislation is concerned. The result is that the Liberals have given the Conservative government an effective majority in Parliament. So the major question here is whether defeating this legislation can bring down the government. Because if it is not a matter of confidence, then the Liberals will join with the other opposition parties to easily defeat it.
  • The Sci-Fi Present (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:28PM (#23769803)
    More and more, I'm feeling like the sci-fi stories we've all been reading for years are becoming less far-fetched as time goes on. I'm not talking about the technology of such stories, but rather the trends of governments and societies towards insane laws that stifle freedom and progress, and which make life worse for all but a few of the citizens.

    Cory Doctorow's recent story "I, Robot [craphound.com]" comes to mind.

    How do these laws keep getting pushed through in the "free world" of democratic governments? Yes, I understand the influence of lobbyists and big business, but still. Is it really too complicated for the average person to understand the significance of these laws? Or do they just not care?

    Perhaps it is just a limitation of our systems of government. As a US citizen I hate DMCA-style laws. But I only get one vote for a given office, and I have to find ONE candidate to agree with me not just on DCMA, but on war, health care, economics, and all the other issues. Furthermore, I only get two choices with a realistic shot at victory, and it's likely they've both already been bought by big media.

    So what's left to do? I'm asking honestly, how do we work towards change? I'm hoping for something between "angry blog post" and "bloody military coup."
    • by digitrev (989335)

      Is it really too complicated for the average person to understand the significance of these laws? Or do they just not care?
      Neither. They don't know about these laws. That's the issue, we just don't know what's happening with regards to this. Unless it's front page news, no one really knows what's going on.
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:32PM (#23769861)

    If you read the bill over quickly, it appears to guarantee certain consumer rights, such as copying CD's you legally bought, time-shifting and such. Closer examination, though, shows that those rights are actually non-existent. All a corporation needs to do is put copy protection on a CD/DVD or tell you they don't want you to reproduce the music or whatever and disobeying their wish would be illegal. So if the producer put "DO NOT COPY" on the cover of a CD, you're screwed...even if you just brought it home from the store.

    I won't bother going into detail on the whole police state aspect to this abortion because somebody's already done so. But it's scary as hell.

  • Hasn't this happened before? I thought the idea in Canada was that they propose a DMCA-like law, but even worse, simply so that it gets tossed and nothing even like it can be proposed anymore. Then later, when some copyright-nazi comes around complaining, they just point to the history books and say, "Hey, see! What are you complaining aboot? We tried to make such a law before but no one would pass it, eh."

    I might call it the Jack Thompson approach. You make sure the side you oppose has some example in

  • by Tiberius_Fel (770739) <fel@empirereb[ ].net ['orn' in gap]> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:35PM (#23769915)
    I already phoned in to my MP, Prentice, Verner, Dion, and Harper. Use this to get your local MP's mailing and phone information.
    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC [parl.gc.ca]

    I plan to write some letters tonight.
  • by duketor (140373) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:42PM (#23770033)
    The bill still has to go through committee (LOL that will be fun) and back to the house, and then the Senate. I can see an election happening long before this becomes law.

    Politically, this is pretty stupid to roll out, but I think Harper is feeling heat from American business interests and bowing to them - SOP for this government.

    In the scrum at the announcement, there were deflections over questions over whether a kid remixing and uploading a song to YouTube would be slapped with a $500 fine. I think they know they are vulnerable on this: Vernier suddenly developed a hearing problem and Prentice was a bot, repeating carefully scripted talking points. Watch the video, it's quite amusing: http://tinyurl.com/3zvmjn [tinyurl.com]

    Let me assure you, while Canadians are mostly passive, people will hold this one against the government Some of you may remember when there was that outrage over Rogers Cable's negative-option billing scheme. The lesson that all governments should heed is that it's not wise to mess with a Canadian's media. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jabrwock (985861)

      The bill still has to go through committee (LOL that will be fun) and back to the house

      It's timing is designed to avoid going to committee. By scheduling the 2nd reading for the fall, they force the committee meetings to be during the summer, when everyone's on break.

      So it will hit it's 2nd reading before anyone has a chance to discuss it. As for the senate, Harper will just attach it to an appropriations bill, and voila! Instant confidence motion, which means the Liberals will let it pass...

  • the new bill would allow consumers to make one copy of each item per device owned, such as a computer or MP3 player.
    What's the definition of a device? Is a CD a device? Is a hard drive a device? Is a usb key a device? After a copy has been made and exists on a device, can the device be legally in the possession of another person (on loan, indefinitely?)
  • Speak out! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Atticka (175794) <atticka&sandboxcafe,com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:47PM (#23770109)
    Geist has a page dedicated to "The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do"

    here it is:
    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2431/125/ [michaelgeist.ca]

    Enjoy!
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:52PM (#23770193) Homepage
    The American DMCA has many faults, but one of the more serious faults found within is the so-called "anti-circumvention law". This law essentially makes it illegal for Americans to bypass electronic locks, or "DRM", on content they own. Such a law gives unlimited power to content owners, and strips any and all rights from consumers, even rights explicitly laid out in law. This is not a "fair and balanced" approach to copyright.

    Before we pass a similar law here in Canada, we must first ask ourselves what the purpose of such a law would be? The industry groups tell us that these locks are meant to protect against piracy, and that anti-circumvention legislation is therefore required to protect their intellectual property. If the goal is to prevent consumers from copying software, movies, and music, then we need pass no further legislation, for these acts are already illegal in this country (with the obvious exception of the private copying act of 1998). The act of copying such intellectual property is already illegal, and there is little sense in making it "more illegal".

    DRM has extremely dire side effects. DRM stands for "Digital Rights Management", and that's exactly what it does; it controls what rights a consumer does and does not have over the media the consumer has purchased. But these are rights determined by the content provider, not by law, and the revocation of these rights becomes the province of private industry, which has already demonstrated a total disregard for consumer rights.

    For starters, there exists no DRM scheme which does not also generate vendor lock-in as a side effect; music purchased on Apple's iTunes Music Store can only be played on computers running Apple's iTunes software or on Apple's iPod line of portable music players. Some DRM schemes, such as Microsoft's now defunct "PlaysForSure", are lice sensed to multiple manufacturers. However, even though you can buy multiple players from different hardware manufacturers that support PlaysForSure, when purchasing one of these players you are essentially locking yourself into Microsoft's music store.

    Microsoft's PlaysForSure is an excellent example, by the way, of the problems inherent in a DRM scheme, because Microsoft has recently closed its authentication servers down [4]. This means that millions of people who bought music from Microsoft can no longer move that content to new audio players. If these consumers loose their existing audio players, or their players or computers break or are sold, then all of the music these people have purchased - music which they own - will be irretrievably lost. The only option these people have is to buy the media they already own a second time.

    By enshrining digital locks and DRM in law, you ultimately give license to the content industries to write their own laws where copyright is concerned, because any rights given to consumers, even rights given explicitly under law, can be revoked by the application of a digital lock. Rights such as the "first sale doctrine", the ability to enjoy content on the player of your choice, the ability to format shift media from one format to another; all of these are taken away by almost every existing DRM scheme.

    Many DRM schemes, especially in the realm of computer software, do not explicitly enumerate which rights they revoke in a clear and transparent manner to the consumer. Many times consumers are not even aware of the restrictions imposed upon them until they attempt to breach those restrictions. Rarely are consumers trying to breach these restrictions with criminal intent.

    It is also important to point out that most such electronic locks are ultimately pointless; as soon as a single user bypasses the lock and posts the content to the internet, the content can easily be copied by all. Such locks will also always be easy to bypass because, from a technical standpoint, the underlying principal of such a lock is inherently flawed. All DRM schemes are based on encryption. Encryption, at it's most fundamental,
    • by digitrev (989335)
      Do you mind if I use this letter to e-mail to my MP? It's very well thought out, and points out many of the major issues.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:55PM (#23770223) Homepage
    "With respect to audiovisual material such as films, the format-shifting provision would apply only to videocassettes and would not allow you to make copies of material stored on other media, such as DVDs."
    -http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/rp01158e.html

    That's a bit obtuse. Why does it matter what media format the source is on?

    As the bill stands, format shifting from old laser discs or Video-CDs would be illegal. Format shifting DVDs to your video iPod would be illegal (even for the few DVDs without copy protection). Once DVD becomes an obsolete format, it would still be illegal to format shift your content onto more recent media.

    Format shifting music DVDs onto your iPod also would be illegal (which totally sucks).
  • by databank (165049) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:58PM (#23770277)
    Does the mean the Recording Industry can no longer collect taxes on any and all CD/DVD recordable media once it passes since it'll be completely illegal to record anything for private use?

    If this gets passed, it would mean that the primary use of CD/DVD recordable media would be for data backup purposes of which the Recording Industry has absolutely no involvement and the excuse that the media could be used for private duplication is out the window since it would be illegal to do so.

    I bet the Recording Industry would back off if they knew their "free money" from media cds were cutoff.
  • by rhpenguin (655576) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @03:59PM (#23770289)
    I posted this on another forum this afternoon.. Though I should paste it here as well.. ---- So, after doing some reading, I learned that our government is back at the Copyright Reform table yet again trying to pass a bill very similar in nature to America's DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). The long and short of it is if this is passed we're going to lose a lot of the freedoms we enjoy with our media today. I suggest you read the proposed changes at the following website: http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/h_rp01157e.html [ic.gc.ca] - Recap version http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3570473&Mode=1&Language=E&File=48 [parl.gc.ca] - Entire bill Once you've done so, I'm going to bet that you will be angry that our government would heavily favor the big media corporations so heavily in this bill while taking away the rights that we currently enjoy like copying a DVD we own for personal use, etc. I strongly advise you write your MP if you do not support this bill after reading about it. If you need to know who that is or find their contact info, visit the following website: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC [parl.gc.ca] The following is the letter I've written. You can feel free to send it, or come up with your own. But I urge you to do something and make your voices heard if you do not support this bill. ------- Greetings, I am usually not one to make waves when it comes to political issues, however this one effects me personally and just about every technology using Canadian. After reading through the "Copyright Reform Process - Fact Sheets" (http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/h_rp01157e.html) I have several issues with your proposals. Below I am going to go through each section of the "Fact Sheet" and state my issues with them. With regards to Format Shifting (http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/rp01158e.html): "With respect to audiovisual material such as films, the format-shifting provision would apply only to videocassettes and would not allow you to make copies of material stored on other media, such as DVDs." This scares me. Looking at this statement, if I understand it correctly, and taking it for face value means that I could not take a DVD that I have purchased and put it on my iPod or other digital media players without breaking the law. It would mean that I'd have to purchase another copy of said film (that I had already purchased on DVD) for the media player of my choice. Having to buy the same thing multiple times does not bode well with me. I work hard for what I own, and do not believe that the laws of this country should dictate how I use it. "You could not circumvent or hack a technological measure (digital lock) to make a copy." This is 100% flawed. 99.9% of commercially produced DVDs have a digital protection on them called CSS and an increasing number of audio discs have content protection on them as well. If I wanted to make a backup of media that I own, that means that I would have to break some kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to do so, thus making me a criminal under the law. With regards to the Private Copying Of Music (http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/crp-prda.nsf/en/rp01160e.html): On this page, you mention: "What could be copied? -- You could make a copy of music you have accessed legally onto devices you own and onto media to use with these devices. However, you could not copy music you have borrowed or rented." Further down the page you mention: "You could not circumvent or hack a technological measure (digital lock) to make the copy." I'm looking at the last ten CDs I've purchased and eight of them mention they have some form of anti-piracy measures on them. So, ev
  • refuge from the US. Especially BC which is just North of here. But Canada seems to be falling in line with Bush lately. Perhaps if Obama is elected, we won't see any more of that in Canada. Where the US goes, so does a lot of other countries. But we have to see Obama's relation to the music and movie industries first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 (985078)

      Canada's governmental system has one advantage over the US: we don't radicalize quickly. Because a government falls if defeated on a major bill, the laws that get tabled generally are much tamer than their American counterparts. This law, sadly, is the exception to the rule.

      Canada is pretty great. I'm currently working in Seattle, but grew up in Vancouver, and despite the similar climate, the culture is worlds apart. People in Canada are just... *nicer*, I have to say. They're more polite, they actually s

  • I lean somewhere liberal/green/labor. I am glad the out of touch conservatives proposed this. It will cost the conservatives a lot of points next election. They do not appear to connect with the current generation. Notably I am "old" and I don't agree with this either.

    $500 fine per download, $20,000 per upload. Of what is nominally a $0.99 or less item. This is not constitutionally valid as it is a violation of fundamental justice. Still it looks pretty normal for the new police state to act ignoring citize
  • They sold us out (Score:5, Interesting)

    by why-is-it (318134) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:09PM (#23770441) Homepage Journal

    How much longer before we give up the pretense of being a sovereign nation? Out of economic considerations, our foreign policy is written with US interests in mind, and now the same can be said of our domestic policy. We have a branch plan economy, and now a branch-plant government. I know it has been that way for some time, but previous governments at least tried to give the appearance of being a little independent from time to time. I guess with Tony Blair retired and John Howard defeated, Steven Harper has chosen to make his move and become the US' new bitch^H^H^H^H^Hbest friend.

    OK, that is perhaps a tad over-dramatic, but it is clear that this proposed law was not written with my best interests at heart. The same cannot be said of the US-based media cartels who probably had more to do with the authoring of the bill than any particular civil servant or party hack.

    I would like for the opposition to show some spine and vote this bill down, but I doubt that will happen. The Liberals have abstained from so many votes on issues they claim to be fundamentally opposed in order to not cause an election. As a result, I do not believe that they have the moral authority to vote down government legislation until after the next election.

    It's not like the Liberals would have done anything different - this legislation is quite similar to what Sam Bulte was preparing when she had that ministry.

    It sucks when your nation's legislation is written by foreign corporations, for the benefit of foreign corporations - and it really doesn't matter which party introduces it. I fully expect the government to claim that this is a great day for the Canadian consumer and how the enhanced copyright protection will benefit any Canadian shareholders of those foreign media cartels. It probably isn't good politics to tell the voters the truth at the best of times...

    BTW - I wonder if the phrase "public domain" appears even once in this bill which supposedly modernizes and improves copyright?

  • I live in Calgary... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Poisson the Fish (1169717) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:27PM (#23771353)
    ... and I think we have to let the Hon. Jim Prentice know what we feel -- not that we're just "thieves" but are genuinely concerned based on losing our technological rights. We shouldn't all have the burden of government believing we're nothing but thieves!

    Are there any other Calgarians who would like to protest this at his office? And with Stampede coming, would anyone like to join me at his pancake breakfast on 5 July -- some place where he can't hide from us?

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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