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Canadian Government Says DRM Circumvention Not Related To Copyright 119

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you-don't-have-to-copy-to-violate-copyright dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist has followed up a recent release of internal government talking points on copyright with the full, internal clause-by-clause analysis of Bill C-32. A new copyright bill is expected as soon as this week and the government document confirms there is no defense to violations of the digital lock rules, noting 'a contravention of this prohibition is not an infringement of copyright and the defenses to infringement of copyright are not defenses to these prohibitions.' The government's own words on the digital lock provisions confirm that they may be unconstitutional since they fall outside the boundaries of copyright." Basically, if you break DRM even without violating copyright in the process you can still be held liable, and from this any defense based on copyright law (fair use, etc.) is not valid in such cases. On the flipside, several legal experts think that makes those provisions of the law less likely to stand up in court.
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Canadian Government Says DRM Circumvention Not Related To Copyright

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  • You are under violation of thinking about breaking copyright law!
  • by JordanL (886154) <jordan@ledoux.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:09PM (#37532816) Homepage
    ...is that DRM represents an in perpetuum algorithmic representation of law that supercedes all haebeus corpus, or the belief of reasonable doubt. In order for DRM to be treated this way, DRM has to be a computer algorithm that is more correct about how to assess law than the justice system itself. Or at least, that's the consequence of this law.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:14PM (#37532862) Homepage Journal

    Protecting revenues from sale of SCTV episodes, eh!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    t..h.i.s...i..,.s..an..en..cr.y.p..t....e,d._m..e__ss;ag..e....De..cr.,y.pt..it.an...d..yo...u..ow..e...me.,bi...ll.i...on...s.

  • How have the constitutionally invalid provisions of the US DMCA not been ripped to shreds in the US courts? Specifically, the violation of free speech (can't talk about digital-lock circumvention), the violation of due process (conviction and punishment without the courts), and the elimination of fair use as a reason to break locks.
    • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @07:01PM (#37533346) Homepage Journal

      How have the constitutionally invalid provisions of the US DMCA not been ripped to shreds in the US courts?

      For one thing, justice is expensive. Members of the public and charities acting in the public interest don't necessarily have the cash to hire competent attorneys with experience before the Supreme Court. For another, federal courts are slow.

    • Some have, some are too new. The 'talking about digital lock circumvention' part is a mixed bag - if they can make a case that you've done so in an actual contributory manner, then they have a case. But that sort of thing is case-by-case, to my knowledge. I'm not aware of conviction without courts. Also, there have been victories in terms of fair use vs. DRM.

      The process tends to be slow and piecemeal, but bear in mind the DMCA isn't that old on the scale of the legal system. I think the track record o

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        The 'talking about digital lock circumvention' part is a mixed bag - if they can make a case that you've done so in an actual contributory manner, then they have a case.

        I propose: use science. There, I just crossed the line; they can come get me.

    • There is a provision for exceptions, but it's handled in the most ass backwards possible. Judges are a more likely route for getting exceptions, but the legal system is expensive.

      However, the real constitutional question should lie with the fact that DRM really has nothing to do with copyright. The constitution allows Congress to pass laws granting legal monopolies to authors on the work they authored. It doesn't allow for anything else, and applying restrictions to DRM breaking technology falls with
    • by Trogre (513942)

      Unfortunately, this is not unconstitutional at all, precisely because the Supreme Court has not yet declared it as such.

      If you don't like it, please think carefully about the system you voted in.

  • It makes sense now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:23PM (#37532964)
    Law protecting DRM proposed in canada. What company, based in Montreal, has the worst DRM of any other developer? Ubisoft. The always online DRM is so bad people who bought their games are breaking it. This is a law to protect the Ubisoft DRM, plain and simple.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As has been pointed out numerous times, "Encryption is about A sending information to B while ensuring that C cannot read it. In DRM, B and C are the same person." If you 'break' something that was supplied to you in an already- (and, in fact, irretrievably and inherently-) broken state, have you actually broken anything? And if you haven't broken anything, have you actually violated this stupid law?

    • As has been pointed out numerous times, "Encryption is about A sending information to B while ensuring that C cannot read it. In DRM, B and C are the same person."

      In DRM, B and C are NOT the same person. B is the approved* media player equipment. C is the consumer.

      * Approved by A: the content provider.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think that can be right, because that 'B' is not a person. And things that are not people cannot own things, can't break laws etc. You've got to have a person in position 'B'. If there is no person in position 'B', then the media, whatever it is, is worthless, and the person who actually paid for it - I repeat, the /person/ - can get their money back under consumer protection laws. After all, they've paid for something and not received it. And they can't legally recieve it /unless/ they're in positi

        • that's a very good point, almost entirely invalidated by the EULA of "you don't own the software, you've purchased access to it" if that didn't stand up in court then modifying the DRM wouldn't be illegal (hell, modifying the software wouldn't be illegal).

          Don't get me wrong, i don't think it should be this way, but that's the way it is.

        • I don't think that can be right, because that 'B' is not a person. And things that are not people cannot own things, can't break laws etc. You've got to have a person in position 'B'. If there is no person in position 'B', then the media, whatever it is, is worthless, and the person who actually paid for it - I repeat, the /person/ - can get their money back under consumer protection laws. After all, they've paid for something and not received it. And they can't legally recieve it /unless/ they're in position 'B'. But under DRM, everyone in position 'B' is /also/ in position 'C'.

          Nonsense. Plenty of merchandise is sold under the assumption that the buyer has the proper equipment to make use of the item. Light bulbs for example. You have to have electricity and a light fixture in order to make use of a light bulb. Should you get your money back if you buy a light bulb, but don't have electricity, or don't have a lamp to put it in? Of course not!

          DRM is the same way. You have to have an approved media player to enjoy the content of the media. Attempting to extract the content

      • by Rary (566291) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @07:05PM (#37533378)

        In DRM, B and C are NOT the same person. B is the approved* media player equipment. C is the consumer.

        The problem is that B is not a person, but rather a device that is the legal property of C. It makes no sense to grant rights to an inanimate object that are not also granted to the legal owner of that inanimate object. B and C should be, legally speaking, one and the same.

        • by BitterOak (537666)

          The problem is that B is not a person, but rather a device that is the legal property of C. It makes no sense to grant rights to an inanimate object that are not also granted to the legal owner of that inanimate object. B and C should be, legally speaking, one and the same.

          But that is simply not true. Just because you buy and own an gun doesn't mean you have the right to use it to kill somebody. Owning a piece of equipment doesn't grant you the legal right to do whatever you want with it.

          • by Rary (566291)

            But that is simply not true. Just because you buy and own an gun doesn't mean you have the right to use it to kill somebody. Owning a piece of equipment doesn't grant you the legal right to do whatever you want with it.

            I didn't say that the owner of an object has the legal right to do anything they want with that object. I said that, if a legal right is explicitly granted to an object, then that right logically extends to the owner of that object.

            I'm not aware of any legal right having been granted to gun

        • In DRM, B and C are NOT the same person. B is the approved* media player equipment. C is the consumer.

          The problem is that B is not a person, but rather a device that is the legal property of C. It makes no sense to grant rights to an inanimate object that are not also granted to the legal owner of that inanimate object. B and C should be, legally speaking, one and the same.

          DRM, despite the name, isn't about granting rights. It is an encryption protocol. In encryption circles, A is the sender, B is the intended recipient, and C is the one trying to intercept the message. A, B, and C do not have to be people.

          I'll give you an example: the range safety system used whenever NASA launches a rocket. There are radio controlled explosive charges on board the rocket, so that the range safety officer can destroy the rocket if it veers off course and heads towards populated areas

          • by Rary (566291)

            In encryption circles, A is the sender, B is the intended recipient, and C is the one trying to intercept the message. A, B, and C do not have to be people.

            I agree that, when discussing encryption, A, B, and C do not have to be people. However, I wasn't discussing encryption. I was discussing legal rights. The issue isn't just that C is prevented from reading what B can read by virtue of the encryption mechanism, but that the law also makes it illegal for C to even attempt to read what B can read.

            So, again, from a legal perspective, how can the law grant a legal right to an inanimate object, while denying that right to the legal owner of that inanimate object?

            • Nobody is saying that legal rights are extended to inanimate objects except you. What is being said is that only authorized devices are permitted to decode DRM protected media, just like only licensed vehicles are permitted on roads, and ULC approved extinguishers count when the Fire Marshal does an inspection.

              Or to put it another way, you have the right to use your DVD player to watch the DVD. You do not have the right to rip an ISO of the DVD, run that through a decoder, and save the video stream.
              • by Rary (566291)

                Nobody is saying that legal rights are extended to inanimate objects except you.

                And you, apparently.....

                What is being said is that only authorized devices are permitted to decode DRM protected media

                Yes. Exactly. The law permits the authorized device to decode the DRM protected media, while preventing the owner of the authorized device from doing the same. That was my point. As you said originally, in the context of encryption, B is the device and C is the consumer. In the context of the law, C is specifically prohibited from doing what B is specifically permitted to do, even if C is doing so in the act of doing something otherwise entirely legal, such as simply watching a legal

  • Ubisoft is still alive?

    • What did you think the fit of pissing and moaning over DRM was really going to affect their bottom line? It's a bit of bad PR they can hand wave as propaganda on the part of baby eaters, pirates and terrorists.
      This may shock you, but Sony hasn't crumbled under the weight of the rants about boycotting them yet, either.
      Punishing shitty companies is actually quite difficult, unfortunately.
  • by Demonantis (1340557) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @06:46PM (#37533200)
    if our politicians could at least write law so that it looks like it would stand up in court. I understand that there is a fair bit of stuff that isn't clear cut with the whole body of law considered that needs court time. But in instances like this it feels like the politicians are just giving into the lobbyists without even giving a second thought about the values the country that gave them their job was built on. It is rather sickening.
  • How, you ask ... simple ; wealth is power. If you allow people and groups to amass more wealth than others, it is inevitable that they will use that power to make things in the aspect of life that you dont allow people to gain unlimited power - politics.

    In this case, its particular private interests in music/movie industry, representing a very, very small group of population in respect to the ownership of the wealth contained in that interest, directly subverting and influencing politics, which they were
  • by TRRosen (720617) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @07:24PM (#37533584)

    Hey what this says is circumventing DRM is a violation of a civil contract with the rights holder and not a violation of the copyright itself. That would mean you can only be held responsible FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES. It would be very hard if not impossible for anyone to establish any damage from an individual breaking DRM for fair use. It's the copyright laws that have the outrageous statutory damages.

    • The MPAA, RIAA and fair use don't exist in Canada. Please don't assume your laws apply here.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday September 27, 2011 @08:33PM (#37534306)

        The MPAA, RIAA and fair use don't exist in Canada

        CMPDA (Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association) ~= MPAA
        CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) ~= RIAA
        Fair Dealing ~= Fair Use

        Not the same, but not exactly different either.

        Fair Dealing in Canada I'd argue is actually superior to fair use in the States.

        The Canadian Supreme court clarified in one of its rulings:

        Procedurally, a defendant is required to prove that his or her dealing with a work has been fair; however, the fair dealing exception is perhaps more properly understood as an integral part of the Copyright Act than simply a defence. Any act falling within the fair dealing exception will not be an infringement of copyright. The fair dealing exception, like other exceptions in the Copyright Act, is a user's right. In order to maintain the proper balance between the rights of a copyright owner and users' interests, it must not be interpreted restrictively.

    • by mark-t (151149)

      While that's all very well and good, it still makes you a criminal if you format-shift an encrypted movie for personal use when the copyright holder didn't expressly say you could.

      I'd rather have the extreme penalties for infringing on copyright than be labelled a criminal for doing something that any consumer is going to conclude is perfectly fair and reasonable.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Dunno about .CA, but in .US, there is a little difference between violating a civil contract and being a criminal.

        • by mark-t (151149)
          I wasn't trying to suggest that there was a difference. I was only saying I have less of a problem with extreme penalties for actually infringing on copyright than I do with people who aren't infringing on copyright being rendered as criminals anyways for doing something that is actually a perfectly reasonable expectation from the consumer (such as format shifting a digitally protected work for their own personal use, using a technology that had not been anticipated by the publisher).
          • by cbeaudry (706335)

            What he's saying is loosing in court /= being criminal.

            Violation of civil contracts is not a criminal act. You can do it all day every day for as long as your wiish.

            When you dont pay your bills, thats violation of civil contract.

            • by mark-t (151149)

              You can break the law all day every day for as long as you wish too... but if you get caught, you'll still be paying a penalty.

              Differences between jail-time and financial penalties notwithstanding, where's the difference, exactly?

              • by cbeaudry (706335)

                You cant eliminate the most important difference and ask what the difference is exactly...

                THAT is the difference. And its a major one.

                If you screw someone over for 20$ in a way that isn't criminal, you wont do 1 day in jail.

                Might cost you 500$ or more in court costs, reparation and penalties. But that is leaps and bounds better than even 1 month in jail wouldnt you say?

                I think you are being disingenuous or simply obtuse.

                Here in Canada and its pretty much the same everywhere, there is a Criminal Code of Law

                • by mark-t (151149)

                  I'm not exactly sure how I spinned off on that tangent. but infringing on copyright in Canada *IS* a criminal offense, not a civil offense one anyways.

                  My opening point was that I would rather there be extreme penalties for doing something that actually infringes on a copyright holder's rights than be labelled a criminal for format shifting a DVD for my own private use just because the copyright holder didn't want me to (simply by incorporating a digital lock). Under Bill C-32, both are just as illega

                  • by cbeaudry (706335)

                    I am Canadian and to my knowledge copyright infringement is not a crime yet.

                    Though, like you, I loath bill C-32, it hasn't passed yet. And thus does not apply for the moment as such.

                    Now I wont ask others to sympathize with those that copy others materials, but I don think they should be slapped with hefty fines, penalties or thrown in jail.

                    We live in a digital age. Copying is easy, simple and harmless.

                    The industry, the government and society need to get with the times and find a way to make it work. When so

                    • by mark-t (151149)

                      I am Canadian and to my knowledge copyright infringement is not a crime yet.

                      You are mistaken. It is a civil matter in the US, but actually against the law in Canada. See Bill C-42, passed in 1985, an ammendment to the Criminal Code of Canada. Prior to that, the Canadian Copyright Act was covered by Bill-C24, passed in 1921.

                      Copying is easy, simple and harmless.

                      Easy and simple, I'd agree with. Harmless, not so much, when it comes to matters of copyrighted content.

                      You see, copyright is supposed to be

                    • by gmhowell (26755)

                      In the US, there are two types of copyright infringement, civil and criminal.

              • by gmhowell (26755)

                Differences between jail-time and financial penalties notwithstanding, where's the difference, exactly?

                Prison rape is a pretty substantial difference.

                Losing the right to vote, the right to gun ownership, the right to freely travel (without checking in with a PO)...

  • Multi-Terabyte disks X 24 disk RAID controller. + $1,000 Computer = Entertainment execs. are terrified.
    Next up."Renting a movie or game is PIRACY!."

    Regulation is their last best hope.

    • Multi-Terabyte disks X 24 disk RAID controller. + $1,000 Computer = Entertainment execs. are terrified.

      Probably no more so than if you had a rig with a half terabyte hard disk. They don't admit it, but the entertainment execs know that there comes a point where you don't need to buy any entertainment whatsoever, and that point comes pretty quickly. Pretty much anybody nowadays has the capacity to hurt them as much as is possible through piracy. All they need is the will to actually use their power in this w

      • by Jiro (131519)

        Boycotting does indeed give them political capital to strengthen copyrights (though not monetary capital). Haven't you ever heard them say "our sales are down because of pirates so we need this copyright crackdown and these DRM laws"? If the sales are actually down because of boycotts and not piracy, they'll still claim the lost sales are caused by "piracy: and use that as an excuse.

        • Not if the only things available to download on the limewire or the pirate bay were tumble-weeds. Tumble-weeds and linux distros.

          If people actually gave boycotting a try, rather than just go straight for the download, then we have them making a verifiably false claim, and it allows us to publicly oppose them without fear of lawsuit.

          • by dryeo (100693)

            They (the *aa's) would just put content on the pirate bay or/and limewire etc. These authoritarian types have no problem with breaking the law, just a problem with you breaking the law, or rather their moral code.

  • Since there's no public trust, no lockbox with all the keys for every DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray ever released, the provisions of the DMCA and it's Canadian equivelent, illegally extend copyright to Infinity.

    Since you can never place it into public domain, without first breaking the law by decrypting it, it is a direct violation of copyright law.

    ie - Encrypting content is illegal.

  • They're forgetting you can't use any DRM protected materials in an igloo anyways.

    .
    ..
    ...

    Just so you all know, I am Canadian, and I mean every word I said.

  • Give artists/distributors the choice – their works can either be protected by copyright, or by DRM, but not both. If the DRM is effective then they won't need copyright protection. Plus it's illegal to break the lock. That said, if the lock is broken, the content is no longer protected and the public can do what they like with it (except the person that broke the lock – they're going to prison, if we can establish who they are...)
  • So I rename "song.mp3" to "song.mp3.DRM" and share it. This is my crappy solution for DRM. Rename that file and I can sue for damages?!?
  • This doesn't even make sense in Canadian law, but it is the kind of wording used in authoritarian laws in the US, like some draft versions of the legislation for the bailout scam or the terror laws eliminating human rights. I would suggest this is a big clue as to the true origins of the proposal.

  • by Nemyst (1383049)

    So, assuming I create my own DRM-protected file using my own algorithm and then proceed to crack it, I've violated a law?

    What if I trick politicians into cracking my DRM? Do they go to jail? That'd be lovely.

  • By law I have fair use rights, DRM takes those away without my consent. I want compensation.
  • While unpopular with the /. crowd, IP laws are a "contract" between society and creator. The creator gets rewarded with a temporary right to prohibit others from copying etc. After that period, the creative work enters the public domain. It should be blindingly obvious that of the IP laws, it is the copyright law that has become completely out of whack, given the insane duration of copyright.

    With DRM it gets even worse: The creator (or usually the person who obtained the rights from the creator) doesn't int

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:10AM (#37536810)
    Digital Restrictions Management and copyright are so obviously "unrelated" as in:

    Anti-circumvention provisions being "bad law and bad policy" as Lawrence Lessig called them in his 2001 op-ed piece Jail Time in the Digital Age [nytimes.com] must be the reason why they get adopted the world over (Ayn Rand comes to mind [slashdot.org]). :-( It's a logical next step for him to have focused on corruption research.

  • This is comparable to me loosing my car keys, breaking into it, and then being jailed for circumventing anti-theft protection.
  • Basically, if you break DRM even without violating copyright in the process you can still be held liable, and from this any defense based on copyright law (fair use, etc.) is not valid in such cases.

    I break the lock on someone's door, I'm guilty of breaking a lock AND whatever I did on their property.

    I break the lock into my own house, I'm guilty of.... nothing.

    Simple analogy.

  • My take on what this means after reading his blog is that the copyrighted material is viewed as [intelectual] property. Breaking this lock would violate property protection, which is part of provincial law, and not federal law. So it would be unconstitutional to enforce a federal law that would control something that is within the provincial duristiction.
  • Provincial elections are about a week away.
    If you really want to ensure that politicians listen to the electorate, send a clear message to the PC party by voting AGAINST them.

    Otherwise, stop complaining.

    (Yes, I know the difference between the provincial and federal governments, but it's still the same parties with the same people effectively calling the shots.)

    • by dadragon (177695)

      The Conservative premier of Newfoundland and Labrador campaigned against the federal Conservatives. Just throwing that out there.

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