[kwlug-disc] Meeting with (not so new) MPs in KW region.

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Sat May 7 11:32:44 EDT 2011

On Sat, May 7, 2011 at 9:00 AM, Kyle Spaans <3lucid at gmail.com> wrote:
> This is where I'm worried that a lobbyist/politiker who knows more
> legalese will trip me up. When we buy a copy of a work of art
> (copyrighted) either in physical or digital form, does that copy
> become our property? Or are we merely licensing it from the creator on
> terms of their choosing? (E.G. "you buy this CD only to be played in
> CD players, not in other formats")

  This is why I use my "4 owners" presentation http://flora.ca/own ,
to ensure that the conversation doesn't fall down with a disagreement
over interpretations of a single one of the 4 owners.  It also ensures
that the rights of one owner isn't entirely ignored and trampled by
the interests of another class of owner.

  In the case of the owner of the physical media, you have some rights
(first sale, etc) in relation to that media.  It is the media itself,
not the content on it, that you are the owner of.  With a CD, DVD,
Book, etc there are always two owners -- not all ownership "transfers"
to you when the physical media is sold to you, just the ownership
rights attributable to the physical media.

Related to this you have to think: what about a digital download?  Did
I receive any property rights when there is no physical media?
Realistically the answer is no, and you need to realise that
purchasing a DVD and purchasing a digital download are two entirely
different types of legal transactions (property, contract, copyright,

  Starting with a 4-owners base allows you to explore each of these
issues without getting bogged down in every single detail all at once.

  When I give the presentation I tend to have two props -- and I hold
up one at a time to discuss the pair of owners that are represented by
each of the props.   This allows a conversation about non-owner locks
applied to digital technology to not get excessively confused with the
(entirely unrelated IMHO) interests of copyright holders (the other

> Perhaps the latter example is a little extreme, but wouldn't we have
> to take a different rhetorical approach if the "copyright & non-owner
> locks problem" was one of licensing rather than one of property? Or is
> there even a legal distinction between these?

  The most important thing to realise is that there are two locks: one
on content, and one on hardware/software.   Once you explain there are
two locks, not one, the rest of the conversation can happen much more


"When I am explaining DRM to politicians, I feel like I am Ralph Nader
back in 1965. He explained that with an automobile accident there are
two collisions: the car hits something, and the passenger hits the

  Don't worry about the lack of legal distinctions lawyers are trying
to push between these very different types of locks (who are the
owners, what the locks are applied to, etc).   We as a technology
community need to realise that when it comes to real-world technology
and scenarios that we are the experts, not them.

   Most of the lawyers on the pro-DRM side of the debate have
demonstrated they lack key technology knowledge.   In Canada it is
primarily lawyers associated with the law firm McCarthy Tétrault who
are pushing for this.  (James Gannon, Barry Sookman, CRIA president
Graham Henderson who was previously a partner).

   I've had conversations with Barry Sookman
http://creform.ca/search/node/sookman a few times over the years, and
while he is a strong supporter of C-61/C-32 style TPMs which
differentiate "use controls" and "access controls", he doesn't have
the basic technical knowledge to determine which is which in a
real-world scenario.  He gets it wrong fairly often.

  On the other side of the debate is people like Michael Geist who
similarly doesn't have a technical background, but that hires and
otherwise consults qualified technical people for his work.  Unlike
Gannon/Sookman/Henderson who will avoid (often aggressively reject)
input from the independent technology community, Geist and the
technology law professors/etc from that community are always open to

> I guess I have some more homework to do before writing letters (I'm
> going to try handwritten this time) to my MP. :)

  This is great to hear that there is some excitement for doing this!

  Let me know how I can help in any way.

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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