View Full Version : Canadian Copyright Reform Bill C-32

June 2nd, 2010, 09:23 PM
Just read this article (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/06/02/copyright-bill-clement-montreal.html) on CBC. We've known that some kind of copyright reform bill was coming for a while, and it's finally here. Overall it doesn't seem as bad as it could have been, but it definitely leaves a lot to be desired.

Question for those who are more legally-informed than I: if it's illegal to break digital locks does this mean it's illegal for me to install libdvdcss so that I can watch my legally-owned DVDs on my Linux-equipped laptop? That's the impression I got, but I may be completely mistaken.

Anyway, for the rest of you Canadians on here, and international members who have an interest in such things, do you have any thoughts?

And specificially to Canadians, if you want to avoid having DRM enshrined in law get in touch with your MP and let the know about your displeasure!

Thanks to Mr Picklesworth we have a link to the complete bill: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4580265&Language=e&Mode=1

June 2nd, 2010, 09:30 PM
We defeated this bill once before. We can do it again.

June 2nd, 2010, 09:34 PM
Well, to be fair the last time it was proposed it was more draconian than the DMCA. And it's not so much that "we killed it" as much as "it died when Harper decided to prorogue."

If they just change the DRM segment to make it legal for consumers to break digital locks for their own personal use (i.e. when time/format shifting, making backups, or getting material for use in mash-ups and suchlike) I wouldn't really have any major objections to the bill. But that DRM clause is just wrong the way it is now.

June 2nd, 2010, 09:57 PM
If you are circumventing the DRM then yes, it's illegal.

June 3rd, 2010, 01:52 AM
Question for those who are more legally-informed than I: if it's illegal to break digital locks does this mean it's illegal for me to install libdvdcss so that I can watch my legally-owned DVDs on my Linux-equipped laptop? That's the impression I got, but I may be completely mistaken.

Much will depend on the final wording and scope and of the legislation, but broadly speaking, if what you do bypasses or otherwise renders the digital copyright protection ineffective, then it would be illegal.

June 3rd, 2010, 02:28 AM
The Conservatives have royally DMCA'd us. Not that the Liberals are any better. They've both sold us down the river when it comes to this. I don't know about the NDP, but I wouldn't be surprised if they too support it.

I don't really care about the provisions concerning filesharing, etc.. I don't agree with them, but I think they're less draconian than measures other nations have implemented. It doesn't really affect me since I'm not a "pirate".

I am a law-abiding citizen, and I regard the DRM provisions as a major threat to my freedom. Probably the biggest one I've personally faced. .... And I feel hopeless. When governments make a move on free speech, etc. people are mobilized, they clearly understand the threat. When it comes to stuff like this, the majority don't understand, and the majority don't care.

I'm almost certain it will pass without incident.

Dr. C
June 3rd, 2010, 03:11 AM
The anti circumvention provisions turn what on paper appears to be a balanced piece of legislation into a direct attack on many rights that Canadians take hold dear including non discrimination on the basis of language and ethnic origin, and freedom of religion. In addition to this there is a direct attack on Free and Open Source Software including Ubuntu.

The bill discriminates on the basis of language and ethnic origin by giving legal protection to DVD and Blu-Ray regions (allowing DVDs intended for US audience but not DVDs intended for French audience for example.)

It discriminates on the basis of religion by giving legal protection to DRM used to keep certain religious teachings out of smartphones as was the recent case with the iPhone.

It is a direct attack on FLOSS since it in effect requires propriety Operating Systems and the payment of license fees to view DVDs and to access electronic material from public libraries. The latter in contravention of the long standing tradition that material from public libraries a free for a patron to read.

It is therefore imperative to write to your Member of Parliament regarding the bill.

Mr. Picklesworth
June 3rd, 2010, 04:55 AM
Well, I read through it quickly. Some sections are pretty fair. For example, I think there's some nice stuff in section 29.21, establishing peoples' rights with creating non-commercial content that includes copyrighted material. As I understand it, the practical impact is pretty simple: cite your sources and you're fine.

…until we get to digital locks, which turn that on its head. That bit is also smothered in convoluted legalese. I'll need someone to simplify it for me without applying too much opinion in the process.
However, let's remember that Internet memes have helped sell CDs and movies. It is also up to content creators whether to apply digital locks, causing that other half of bill C-31 to kick in. If people just don't circumvent digital locks, opting to do awesome things with content that isn't so strongly restricted, leaving the other stuff to its own little closed ecosystem. Maybe the big media corporations would eventually figure it out and start being a part of the modern media environment. I know, it's a lot to ask; awesome things aren't as awesome when they are built around restrictions. It would be a solution, though.

This bit had me miffed, so I have something to write to my MP about:

Subsection 30.2 (5.02)
A library, archive or museum, or a
person acting under the authority of one, may,
under subsection (5), provide a copy in digital
form to a person who has requested it through
another library, archive or museum if the pro-
viding library, archive or museum or person
takes measures to prevent the person who has
requested it from

(a) making any reproduction of the digital
copy, including any paper copies, other than
printing one copy of it;

(b) communicating the digital copy to any
other person; and

(c) using the digital copy for more than five
business days from the day on which the per-
son first uses it.

This section is na´ve. The restrictions being described require restrictive computer software, which is not simple to deploy. Computer software is complex stuff; it has to be fine-tuned for every platform it targets, or it doesn't work.
Further, it is important that libraries be accessible. It should be possible for anyone to access their services, even if they are blind or otherwise disabled. In addition, a public library should not contribute to the grip that Microsoft and Apple have on the software market; their services should not lock people in to their ecosystems. However, I have not yet encountered, and I do not expect to ever see, a system for self-destructing, use-limited content that is:

…accessible, including support for screen readers and alternative interfaces. Amazon tried to do this with the Kindle by providing a built in text to speech system, but book publishers forced them to limit the feature.
…entirely cross platform. This is theoretically attainable, for example by using standardized, open platforms. The web is a good one, of course. However, it is impossible to completely “protect content” (as some businesses see it) in that environment since the content and its respective locking mechanism runs as a guest underneath the user's web browser. Many businesses would consider that too easy to circumvent, but perhaps the law can do something for us here. Does a simple message saying “please do not copy this” sufficiently meet requirement A? If not, what constitutes “preventing” a person from doing an act, in a digital environment where every bit of content is ultimately in the client's control?

Modern computer technology has an amazing capacity to bridge physical barriers. One of the strongest examples is accessibility. Given sufficient software and equipment, a blind person can use a computer to read the same unrestricted text content that anyone else can. That content can be translated, freely, with software like Apertium or Google's translation service, and it can be read aloud with software like Festival.

This technology does not complement analogue content; it revolutionizes it.

However, if copyright law mandates proprietary software that artificially suppresses this medium, anchoring it to the limitations of analogue technology, it will remain a secondary option; an alternative. That is a shame.

Dr. C
June 3rd, 2010, 05:22 AM
Is there an online link to the actual bill we can post on the forum? Thanks

Mr. Picklesworth
June 3rd, 2010, 05:24 AM
Is there an online link to the actual bill we can post on the forum? Thanks


That was my first time really using parl.gc.ca, by the way. I wish they showed this to kids in school. It would do incredible things if people learned to involve themselves in the democratic process. My fairly recent grade school experience was quite disappointing in that respect. Twelve years, and really the best they did was say “these other governments are not good. Democracy is good. Kay?”
(All right, they did history as well, but they have only themselves to blame for all those disillusioned youth).

They never really demonstrated democracy in a hands-on fashion, even though that whole “citizens form the government” thing is kind of the point.

Heh, I'd better stop myself. Where was I?…

June 3rd, 2010, 03:12 PM
Thanks for posting the link to the actual bill. When I started the thread yesterday it hadn't been made available yet. I'll edit the first post to include that link.