[kwlug-disc] government record on tech, copyright

Paul Gallaway pgallaway at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 10:09:20 EDT 2011

On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:12 PM, John Kerr <jkerr0102 at rogers.com> wrote:
> I do not like the bottom half of the copyright act. That is the parts that we can't break or
> tamper with the DRM or TPM. [...] The fact that some Bill was not forced through
> Parliament says a lot in favour of the Conservatives.

I don't like it either. However, I can argue that it says a lot in
favour of the opposition - perhaps more so since the legislation did
not pass. Forcing the bill through was not merely the choice of the
Government but clearly they were the ones who wrote it. They required
cooperation of one of the opposition parties which they clearly did
not have or else it WOULD have sailed through. They would not have
written it that way if it was not their will to include TPMs.

> Remember copyright is not a real button pusher with most voters, they could have
> pushed a Bill favouring the RIAA and most people would not have cared -- until after
> the fact.

I technically agree here where the key word is 'voters.' But I would
say that pushback on these two items was the largest public outcry on
any government related topic and were the two topics that resonated
most with young voters (and young non-voters) - perhaps many of them
non-voters. I feel copyright and UBB received more push back from the
public than the Afghanistan torture fiasco, blocking the will of
parliament at the senate level, "Harper Government" letterhead on
Government of Canada documents, electoral fraud, and contempt of
parliament [pick your own 'scandal' - there were a lot of them]
combined - all arguably more/as serious in terms of human/legal impact
but much less interest/protest from the public young or old. Copyright
and UBB are obviously big issue for a comparatively large segment of
the population that are normally considered inactive in voting (and
the fact that they are primarily young is my own assumption).

No, the public spoke loud and clear - I believe louder and clearer
than any other topic in the last sitting. The Government however chose
to ignore the public voice spoken at the town halls across the country
and proceeded with preparing the bill including TPM's in spite of
public feedback. Whether threat of C-32 is enough to get the youth
vote out is unknown. The proposed copyright bills have improved with
each successive government but this has more to do with public
education than anyone plucking the heart strings of the Government.

> And the Conservatives did bring the CRTC to task about the UBB.

To what end? UBB came about as a result for the industry's push for,
and the Government's allowance of deregulation. If it wasn't already
(and it probably was in most regards and not the fault of the
Conservatives alone) the CRTC is now broken. This has left industry
with no clear guide as to who is in charge. Striking down UBB was done
merely as a political maneuver. UBB was seen as a highly unpopular
decision and with an election looming it was an easy decision to make.
Normally I would say that any Party forming Government at the time
would have come to the same conclusion but this was also the umpteenth
time the Government handcuffed/fired an arms-length regulator (CNSC,
veteran's affairs, Stats Can etc.). In another instance where the CRTC
was over ruled by the Government (re: Wind Mobile foreign ownership),
the supreme court ruled against the Government and said they broke
their own rules for keeping an arms-length from the CRTC. I have no
idea what this means for UBB in the near term or the CRTC in the long
term. I'm not aware of any clear indication as to what the planned fix
is here and no one is talking about it this campaign.

I'm by no means in favour of TPM's or UBB but how the Conservatives
responded to these issues was not motivated by their collective
understanding of the technological issues at stake brought about by
the swell of public feedback. They were motivated by self interest and
political polling. The Conservative record on Tech/Copyright is at
best inconclusive, at worst ignorant - certainly not enough for me to
throw my support behind the Harper Government TM. As Russel pointed
out in other threads there are some good tech Conservatives out there,
but there are also some good NDP'rs and Liberal's on the tech front as

Vote for the best tech policy, vote with your conscience, vote for
your friend. Educate yourself first, get out to vote second, and hold
your representative to account third. Don't let it be surprised when
they do something they said they were going to do that you disagree
with (i.e. TPMs).

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