[kwlug-disc] Wikileaks and C-32

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Sun May 1 13:07:14 EDT 2011

On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:
> If I understand correctly, the U.S. attitude is changing, over a long time,
> e.g. Apple / Android no-DRM, etc.

  Apple is the strongest pro-DRM entity there is, and iOS is quite
DRM-infected.  They are the most active single entity opposing DMCA
exception rule-making in the USA. It has been speculated that possible
close ties between Heritage Minister Moore and Apple has been why C-32
was as bad as it was on the DRM issue.   (Speculation -- nothing
specific in a Wikileak/etc yet).

  Android handsets are a mixed bag, and while it is possible to get a
completely unlocked Android-based phone that isn't going to be the
experience for everyone.  Remember that while Android is open, its
liberal licensing does not limit the TiVOization of the hardware such
that the manufacturer or carrier can apply non-owner locks.
Anti-circumvention laws will be abused by these device manufacturers
and telecommunications carriers to disallow owners from changing or
otherwise removing these non-owner locks.  There are Android-based
devices that are as locked down as an iOS device.

  Yes, this has nothing to do with "copyright", but who said that DRM
was ever really a "copyright" issue rather than the back-door to
circumventing property, contract, competition, consumer and other

  It is true that now that they have Access Controls protected in US
law that they are being more honest in admitting that they aren't as
concerned about "digital locks" on content.   Claiming this was about
protecting the interests of copyright holders was just a distraction.

> I did find it interesting in the links that Canada has not ratified the WPO
> (WIPO?) treaties. (Someone did state that we're following them, we just
> haven't actually gone through the political process of ratifying them. All
> else being in place, otherwise.)

  Canada could not ratify the two 1996 WIPO treaties with the existing
legislation.  Changes are required.

  The debate will have been about what is actually required.  I've
echoed many globally who suggest that it is possible to ratify the two
1996 WIPO treaties (There are 6 Copyright related treaties total
administered by WIPO, 2 created in 1996
http://billc32.ca/faq#obligation  ) without having DRM protected under
Copyright law.

   This uses the same logic as what the USA does to claim they are
adherent to WIPO treaty #1 (AKA Berne Convention) without protecting
moral rights under their copyright legislation (leaving it to other


> Which is to say ... the stated reason for the U.S. to be on Canada's arse
> about all this.

  The USTR/USPTO specifically want us to protect Access Controls,
which are not at all part of the two 1996 WIPO treaties.   Access is a
novel concept in Copyright, and creates an opt-out of all the other
contours and balance in Copyright law.


  This is why we need politicians to spend the time to understand the
dynamics here, and to be strong enough to articulate just why what the
USPTO/USTR are asking for is wrong.   This is not at all about "better
protecting creativity" or stopping copyright infringement, but about
circumventing the traditional contours of existing laws in order to
privilege very specific business methods.  In an international trade
context it should be understood as protectionism, not free markets.

>> They need our materials and if they choose to suffer without them the
>> Chinese are always in the market. We have more than one customer.
> That's worked out so well for us, hasn't it?

  This is because of weak politicians -- and why it matters to elect
strong politicians.

  An MP being a lap-dog for the temporary leaders office for any given
political party means that this politician will be useless when it
comes to standing up for the rights of constituents when lobby groups
(some alleging to represent governments) come knocking on their door.

  I commented on some of the MPs in C-32 committee, and there is an
obvious difference between people like Mr. Braid and fellow
Conservatives Mike Lake or Dean Del Mastro.  Or people like past
Industry Minister Tony Clement.

  Mr. Del Mastro was even willing to stick his fingers where he knows
he'll get electrocuted, like thinking out loud on whether it is a good
idea for the federal government to be involved in broadcasting (IE:
CBC television) rather than just in content generation that is
available cross-platform.   I know I'm happy that people are finally
talking about that.  (Note:  I'm a fan of CBC.ca and all their
podcasting )

  Whether you agree with what Mr. Lake, Del Mastro and Clement have to
say on any given issue, you knew they were strong politicians willing
to stick up for what they believed in -- even when it might contradict
the talking points from their party.

  And Mr. Braid?

>> If anything it's a decision to be moral instead of "rolling over" and
>> taking the money.
> Mmmm. Not sure about that. The essential difference is what we consider
> 'moral', and they consider 'moral', are different things.

  I'm not so sure it is that simple.   Sometimes it requires
constituents making it clear that they are being backed up.

  On UBB it was clear Canadians were behind the politicians who were
questioning the incumbent phone/cable companies.  Given this, nearly
all parties presented a position against UBB, for better or worse.

  On Copyright the politicians were getting mixed messages -- how many
collective societies or other intermediaries who allege to be speaking
on behalf of creators were echoing the same "theft is theft" rhetoric
as the USTR/USPTO?   For politicians to stand up to that they have to
have clear constituent support that isn't as visible yet as it needs
to be.  It requires that we do what we can to better fight the
"Canadian" groups who falsely claim to represent us.

> It was reassuring, however, to see the Conservatives not acting any too
> swiftly on things, for fear of backlash and losing vote splitted seats in an
> election. (Enlightened self-interest.) I am bothered by whether or not that
> will still be true after this election.

  I will be very interested to see what the configuration of the house
is tomorrow evening.  It has become a lot more exciting than it was
going in.

  The other question is -- how involved have we as a community of
technically literate people been between elections?  How often did we
meet with our MPs to ensure they had a sound understanding of the
impacts of various technology law?

Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!

"The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
 manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
 portable media player from my cold dead hands!"

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