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sean liddle -

There sure are a lot of guilt mongering white people walking around blathering on about how great Harper's speech was today.

Do people who have been wronged really sit about pining for an apology? Sure, an apology is nice but I have always been one to say if you are truly sorry for something you have done, repay the victim with some form of equivalent restitution, make a brief "sorry" in writing with a full admission of "wrong-ness" and find a way to make sure it doesn't EVER happen again.

How about Harper et al start doing the right thing and begin dumping oil money into the coffers of Dept. of Indian Affairs to ensure the reservations have decent water and stop yabbling on about how great they are with the speech.

And good on Lafarge. Now for municipalities to start mass municipal bio-fuel generation with organic wastes.

David Janes -

Yes, dumping money on aboriginal reserves has really done wonders for them. And there's a lot more going on with poor environment on reserves -- poor building, poor housing, poor water -- than can be solved by exactly the "big white brother" mongering sean's proposing. Nice of Taliban Jack to jump in and take credit; is there nothing he can't do?

Alan -

Harper thanked Jack(!) - no credit being stolen.

The opprotunity is for a new relationship. The past way has been shown to be wrong and that is what has been admitted.

David Janes -

I can't take your latter statement unqualified. All we can ever do is act as we think is best, so we have to be careful of endlessly revisiting the past to look for smaller and smaller grievances to address; note that I don't think this apology falls into that category!

sean liddle -

No David. I am not saying "dumping money" into the reserves hands to use as they see fit. INAC gets cash and builds water treatment facilities or upgrades wells, period. Obviously, given the Shawn Brants of the world who whinge and whine and have no common sense, money must be managed by the feds. When people have decent shelter, food and water, and a bit more control of their life beyond finding dood for their kids, they tend to evolve a bit and have the ability to expand their horizons. Unemployment drops, education levels increase, people strive to be like their neighbors down the road in the big city instead of wallowing in depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and eventually suicide.

And the way of the past in terms of residential schools etc is the past, the "my 18 year old was not even though of when it stopped" past. A simple apology is all that is/was needed, not the big media backpatting affair that will drag on for weeks.

Alan -

I think this reconciliation has an entirely different and larger meaning, if only because it is grounded in the Constitution at s.35.

James Bow -

<blockquote>
<i>"the effect of these provisions will be to make Canadians infringers for a host of activities that are common today including watching out-of-region-coded DVDs, copying and pasting materials from a DRM'd book, or even unlocking a cellphone."</i>

<i>Common? How many of you actually make a practice of nicking the goods of others like this?</i>
</blockquote>

How is watching DVDs purchased in the U.K. on North American DVDs theft?

I can understand why it would be wrong to "unlock" a cellphone if you were under contract with a particular carrier, but if you're not, why shouldn't you be allowed to take a cellphone that you purchased with one carrier and use it on another carrier? Why should that be illegal?

And taking material written by other people and presenting it as your own is clearly theft, but if you're quoting a paragraph for an essay, how is that theft? If getting past a DRM code to copy and paste a paragraph is illegal, then technically so is writing it out longhand. How does that make sense?

If the legislation before us makes ANY of these scenarios illegal, then the legislation has gone too far and needs to be amended, or defeated. For me, it's as simple as that.

David Janes -

There's longer term implications to this bill also. For example, by using a encryption program in an engine's programming, a car company could make it effectively illegal for anyone else to fix your car -- including yourself. This isn't a purely hypothetical example: this is being done now in ink jet printers. Since almost everything gets a chip these days, well...

I expect this bill will pass though, I'm sad to say. The loudest opposition seems to be the techno utopians, who are viewed probably correctly as kids who don't like paying for music and like to lecture billion dollar corporations about how stupid their business models are. And of all places, the Red Star is on the Tory's side.

Alan -

Quoting a paragraph is always OK under the reviewing power. Copying it out by hand is allowabe and what you should do. It stops whole copying by cut and paste - which is exactly what Adobe was doing in its firs generations anyway. A DVD bought outside of the licnsed area is another word for a bad paperweight. If I have the right to license my works and sell them at a rate that allows for mass consumption, the buyer should not have the right to insist that the license to use is ownership. This is a basic misunderstanding of the nature of the purchase.

Buying a car with a proprietary chip is no different than the six point headed screws that Crysler used to use on many finishing points accessible to owners. You could not buy the screw driver, however. Was there a bootleg trade in home car repair guys getting their hands on the drivers with six points? Should those guys write the law? Tech utopians is the word for it. Geist and Boing Boing and all the other thin-edgers who have no concern that the community seeks balance in its dealings.

David Janes -

Nor could you make the screw driver.

No matter how much you want to declare the sky green, it's not going to change color. If I buy a DVD, I bought a DVD -- I didn't license it. It looks like a sale, it smells like a sale, it tastes like a sale. If they want to license the DVD, there should be a contract that has to be signed and counter signed. But to keep extending your logic, why don't we do everything as "licensing": no resale on any items, as it screws up my business model. No e-bay. Since people criticizing my product hurts my ability to make money, I should be able to insist on no bad reviews in my license. Although we don't have the technology to monitor people stealing my songs -- infringing my rights -- by singing songs in the shower, it should be fairly easy to track what's being played on the radio and sending a bill for enjoying my music.

Alan -

<i>If I buy a DVD, I bought a DVD -- I didn't license it.</i><p>No matter how many times you say that it is not true. You buy a license to the use of the work according to the terms set out. You may not like that. But you may also not like that you were not born King of the Universe either. If you were buying the work expect to pay the cost of production which, for a DVD, would be in the millions. You didn't. You paid jack squat. And you want to control every aspect of it for your jack squat.

David Janes -

That's a weirdly negative view of the world Al: the laws are what we make them. Sellers of DVDs may wish that they were "King of the Universe", but that doesn't make them that either.

Ben (The Tiger) -

1. I think apologizing for the past is dumb.

That said, the residential schools issue may be the exception that proves the rule. (Gov't misbehaviour so bad that other considerations fall by the wayside.)

2. Friday the 13th is dangerous stuff. We lost Tim Russert.

3. Re DVDs and licensing and all that. I take a passive-aggressive approach. Sure, do what you want with regions and all that. But be warned that if you make it complicated and messy to find DVDs in the right region (so where am I going to find that Region 1 version of "Statskii Sovietnik" in Russian?), I will tend towards trying to flout the law and break copy protection and do all that fun stuff.

4. Obviously the debate within the cabinet over when to apologize for the residential schools shows that it isn't Harper and his team of trained seals. It's a body that takes seriously the principle of ministerial responsibility and cabinet solidarity. (Which are -- we are finding -- not necessarily principles we enjoy watching be kept to the letter.)

Jay Currie -

I always love the argument that you are not "buying" a CD or DVD, rather you are buying a licence to, under certain terms and conditions, make limited use of the 1s and 0s it contains. So there is no actual ownership of the work on the CD. This makes perfectly good sense to lawyers and almost no one else on the planet. Which is why intellectual property is such fun.

Can you resell the dvd? Can you rent out the DVD? Can you lend your buddy the DVD? Better check the licence and recognize that the terms of that licence often include a term which allows those terms to be changed in future. Which is all fair ball to copyright lawyers.

Here's the problem: copyright law was perfected in an era when it was damned hard to copy stuff. Now, simply to play the DVD, your computer/dvd player has to copy a bunch of 1s and 0s. And, realistically, if it can copy them then the average techie will be able to too.

So now we are going to make that sort of tinkering illegal and, indeed, make the importation of the tools required to do this, illegal.

Which is conceptually rather elegant but practically impossible. These are digital tools. They propogate over the net and on thumb drives. What this silly bill is going to do is make this an underground trade and we know how well that works.

While I would like to see genuine protection for artistic creators, swallowing the DMCA whole with a dash of made in Canada mandatory ISP policing, is not going to do it. Instead it is simply a craven grovel in the direction of the dying American music industry and the ever lamer Hollywood movie biz.

Worse, by protecting these dinosaurs the CPC is simply postponing the day that these rusty relics are force to actually deal with the pricing and structural issues which they are trying to avoid by cowering behind an ever higher copyright wall.

Alan -

<i>I will tend towards trying to flout the law and break copy protection and do all that fun stuff...</i><p>Ben is at least honest and knows he is flouting the law. The idea that "the laws are what we make them" is what got Conrad Black hoosegowed. Sadly, Jay's conclusion "there is no actual ownership of the work on the CD" is the equivilant of playing catch with someone but forgetting that the ball has been thrown to you once it is in your glove. The owner is the creator of the work. You know it. You can't bear it. regardless, you get a use of it and that is it. <p>Shoplifting will continue, too, as will drunk driving. They will be against the law and those who are caught have no moral upper hand just because they fail to grasp the balanced relationships within society which some call dinosauriffic. It's all so sophomoric - "I should have what I have not earned but, because I really really want it, it must be mine!"

David Janes -

Do you think the little people, the non-lawyer class, should have a _little_ say in what we think the laws should be. Or should we just sit back in slack-jawed amazement of how good a job the professionals are doing running the joint?

Can I sing songs in the shower with a clear conscious?

Alan -

What other rules or legislation allow for "public interpretation" after they have been brought in? Speeding? Maybe the average speed should be analyzed on a real time basis and speed limit signs adjusted accordingly so that no one has the burden of worry about traffic engineering. How about real property rights? I really like the view from your cottage so I get to stay there? I am sure more people would like to stay at your cottage than just you and, after all, your cottage is still there after they use it.<p>Libertarians slay me. For all the guff about property rights and the integrity of the individual this shows that is all really about me-me-me and screwing the next guy. Anyone who disagrees is bullying the little guy. What a load.

David Janes -

Really? Who's getting screwed under the current system? You must think that the guys who wanted to ban the VCR and tax the cassette tape into oblivion were visionaries, saviors of the arts and industry.

Alan -

That is bizzare. It's see-no-evil-hear-no-evil money-tastic. The owners of the works who lose the money owed to them for the license highjack, the lost value through lost exclusivity. Review Garth Brooks and Metallica's well known positions for starters.

But you know all this. You just like pretending it's not real. That means you don't have to get actually involved with the complexity.

David Janes -

Garth Brooks certainly doesn't look like he's starving to death to me, just because he can't monetize every little edge case of how his music is listened to. Metallica in a sec...

<p>
Here's a few amusing links:

<ul>
<li>
MPAA wants to stop DVRs from recording some movies. I.e. MPAA wants to ban the modern equivalent of the VCR from taping anything worth taping.

<li>
If your favorite collection was bought on PlaysForSure, you'd now have a bunch of bits playable on old hardware. In a decade's time, you'd have only a bunch of worthless bits -- don't forget, even though you <strike>bought</strike> licensed the music, it's a major crime ($20,000 fine per song cracked) to be able to play it on something you own.

<li>
The Right Wing Libertarian-packed Supreme Court of Canada actually believes that <i>user's</i> rights should not be unduly constrained.
</ul>

<p>
Metallica was right about Napster; there was little to that besides being able to steal music. However, Metallica (or whomever) is wrong about my iPod: if I <strike>buy</strike> license a song to play at home, I should be able to play it in my car too. That's just personal use and far more intrusive a restriction that what the SC considers undue constraint for <i>commercial</i> purposes.

Alan -

Oh, so if you are rich your property rights don't matter. You are sounding oddly socialist on this one.<p>I own 45s, cassettes and somewhere I am sure 8-tracks. Do I expect those media players to be continued? But I agree with the personal players. So why not various pay rates? Why not single media, multiple medium and copy at your hearts content formats with different price ranges? Given people will pay 99 cents for a single tune on iTunes, they will be willing to lay for anytihng as far as I can tell - not even a poster going with that rip off price.

David Janes -

IP != Property; they've just appropriated the word. But you're strangely big business on this one. I don't disagree with a lot of this bill, excepting that illegalizing numbers -- and that's usually all cracking software is is the application of a magic number to bits -- means that the deal between society and IP creators has been broken: i.e. you create stuff, we give you the mechanisms for monetizing it, and at some point in the future that IP becomes part of the commonwealth of human knowledge. Under this type of bill, almost all IP will _never_ fall in the public domain because players for it will not exist (this is not an abstract concern). That SC case re: copying -- watch publishers put all documents in custom copy protected players. Revenue lagging -- just do what MS did: dump your player format, introduce a new one and wait for everyone to repurchase as the hardware obsoletes. We exist in a world right now where the right balances exist between creators and consumers. Consumers are not asking for their existing rights (or privileges, if you prefer) to be taken away (i.e. time & format shifting for example). Few producers ... and certain almost no Canadian producers ... are asking for an increase in their ability to nickle and dime and 99 cent the consumers. So why bother f-cking with it.

It's also worth noting that this does almost nothing to stop large scale commercial theft, as that does require cracking. And also that people are happy to spend money on IP that is theoretically as easy to copy as music: look at the gaming industry.

Ben (The Tiger) -

I stand by my passive-aggressive Boston Tea Party position here.

I understand the intellectual arguments for IP, and I tend to buy that which I would have bought under the old regime.

But the more restrictions are put into place, the more likely it is that I'll extend a middle finger to these people and start law-breaking. I'm tired of re-purchasing licensed material which I purchased on older media, and I'm especially tired of being unable to indulge my foreign tastes because of region restrictions.

The more difficult and silly the government and the recording industry make it, the more I'll pirate.

I do not argue about whether it's right or wrong. I'm just saying, that's what I'm going to do. And so will millions more.

Alan -

<i>...you create stuff, we give you the mechanisms for monetizing it...</i>

This "break through" in law happened in the 1600s! Why don't you try taking down the Sale of Goods Act or the Wills Act while you are at it. I fear the geeks have been fed a whumping pile of lie by all the anti-copyright activists.

Ben, the tea party analogy works exactly in the opposite way. Appropriation of property by others illegitimately was what was at issue and that is what is at issue now. Put it this way. A client of mine once built a wonderful suite of icons for browsers. A large company simply cut and paste the whole directory. Stolen expression of an idea. You are saying that company had the moral right to do so.

The funniest thing, of course, is if you ever create something worth protecting and/or have your work stolen for another's profit you will change your tune in a heartbeat. Those who advocate appropriation without compensation are the unskilled not the unlawyerly.

David Janes -

You're just making up stuff now and putting it in my mouth. I certainly never said anyone had the right to commercialize other people's IP. What you're saying is that if I leave the telephone book in the house for the next tenant, I'm an IP criminal.

By the way, it's not a "socialist" position to believe that hardware and software can be sold with out government imposed monitoring.

Alan -

I quoted you. Monetizing or commoditizing things is what the law does. Without law, no property of any sort. Socialists believe in taking the property of others. That is what you seem to want to do.

David Janes -

<blockquote>
I own 45s, cassettes and somewhere I am sure 8-tracks. Do I expect those media players to be continued?
</blockquote>

Under the new IP regime, building a player for whatever the current equivalent of a 45 is will be illegal. I'm not sure how you scale my claim that "that's a really bad and stupid idea" to whatever it is you think I'm saying. What you're proposing is returning to a middle-ages guild world of proprietary locked up knowledge, labeled IP and rigorously enforced by the state. The Shoemakers Guild can assert that they have a "property right" to be the only people who can fix shoes -- society telling them to go screw themselves definitely hurts the Shoemakers Guild and their "property right", but that's tough for them.

Jay Currie -

"So why not various pay rates? Why not single media, multiple medium and copy at your hearts content formats with different price ranges? Given people will pay 99 cents for a single tune on iTunes, they will be willing to lay for anytihng as far as I can tell - not even a poster going with that rip off price." Well not very many people...The estimate is that iTunes accounts for less than 1% of the content on the world's iPods.

That said I think the idea of having various classes of licence - "no copy", multi-medium, one week, six months, life of copyright - is just the sort of creative idea that might have, if implemented at the launch of Napster, allowed the now dying major labels to adapts to the digital world.

One of the reasons I do not like the proposed copyright amendments is that they in no way encourage this sort of creative thinking. Instead they are looking to impose a retrograde technical solution which has next to no chance of working.

Canada has the opportunity - because of the sharing right embodied in the current Copyright Act and supported by the Federal Court - to bring significant innovations to copyright and the protection of creative work. Short term, limited, licences would be one innovation. The creation of a subscription system would be another. Shortening the period a corporation (rather than an individual) can hold copyright might be another. (This because, while people die, corporations, in theory, don't.) We might also want to look at the degree to which we are willing to recognize the public domain rules of other nations (yes I do mean the US where the Disney amendments have created what amounts to perpetual copyright.)

While I agree, Alan, that we should balance the interests of the creators against those of the community, I would argue that the adoption of the DMCA is of little benefit for either group - rather it is designed to protect the interests of non-Canadian corporations with agendas which have next to nothing to do with fostering artistic expression. (Just for fun, imagine the hysteria if, as a part of the Copyright Act, actual creators were given the right to terminate any agreement selling or licencing their personal work upon, let's say, two years notice.)

Ben (The Tiger) -

I'm not saying it's moral. As a matter of fact, I agree with the moral case for IP protections.

I'm just saying that it's what's going to happen.

I'll pay my money for things until it becomes a hassle to do so. When it becomes convenient again to obey the law -- as we saw in the move from (illegal, free) Napster to (legal, for pay) iTunes -- people will buy into the system.

Ben (The Tiger) -

Oh, and the Tea Party analogy is entirely apt.

The imperial Parliament had power to legislate for the colonies. They imposed a reasonable tax to pay down debt racked up in a war the colonists had started.

People just weren't willing to pay it. And then a bunch of rabble-rousers seized a shipload of tea belonging to the East India Company and destroyed it.

Alan -

Oh, OK. I've been doing an inordinate amount of reading on the founding of Kingston this week and perhaps assumed that no one would have the (yikes) 1780's Tory tint that I have been seeing things through.

Jay: now anti-corporatism as well? I can't believe the turn around in ideaology this fosters.

Alan -

<i>(Just for fun, imagine the hysteria if, as a part of the Copyright Act, actual creators were given the right to terminate any agreement selling or licencing their personal work upon, let's say, two years notice.)</i>

You can do this though registering a waiver under the <i>Copyright Act</i> or at least licensing the work to use the thing as they like. Isn't that what the Creative Commons was all about?

David Janes -

Oooo, burn.

However, we're (well, I'm) recognizing a difference between personal use and commercial use, and in particular, the use of state mandated tools and restrictions to enforce things within the personal domain.