[d@DCC] EFF note on Canada's private copying regime.
russell at flora.ca
Tue Dec 16 10:00:24 EST 2003
(Sending a copy to the digital-copyright.ca forum)
I see you quoted in the LA Times:
Attorney Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
which advocates civil liberties in cyberspace, said the Canadian
board's levy had glitches but was a more promising way to address
file sharing than the RIAA's tactic of suing users.
"The levy approach puts money in the pockets of artists," he said,
"something the litigation approach doesn't appear to be doing."
I think we should chat more about this. While I believe education is
better than litigation for the interests of musicians, I am not convinced
that levying is better than litigation. This regime harms not only the
rights of the end users who have to pay the levy whether they use the
media for music or not, and no longer have input into which musicians get
paid, but also harms the creators' rights by replacing their rights with a
"right of remuneration" only ever received by Intermediaries and their
The vast majority of musicians are loosing with this situation which
will reduce the number of people who pay for their music through regular
channels. Receiving works without traditional licensing with the copyright
holder is no longer considered either illegal or immoral.
The levy is entirely unaccountable to those paying it, and many of us
consider it to be a form of "taxation without representation". They are
already trying to apply this levy to the Internet which should be raising
red flags for the EFF far greater than regular attempts to tax the
(Search on "Tariff 22" and "SOCAN v. CAIP" and ongoing court cases for
Earlier this year I wrote an article that spoke about how this type of a
regime, extended outside of music, could decimate the Free Software and
most other industries dependent on copyright that have multiple active
Content industries on slippery slope with demand for blank media levy
Here is a "letter to the editor" I wrote about a story in the Canadian
The EFF was very helpful to us in 2001 with our "Canada DMCA opponent"
My hope is that the EFF may also weigh-in on this situation as well in a
positive way. EFF is often only seen as protecting citizens rights, but I
have found that we can be successful in achieving our same goals in the
context of creators' rights:
a) The right for creators to be in control of the tools of creation and
communications of their works. This is another way of opposing interface
copyright and back-doors to interface copyright such as legal protection
"Any 'hardware assist' for communications, whether it be eye-glasses,
VCR's, or personal computers, must be under the control of the citizen
and not a third party."
b) The right for creators to be in control of their own business models.
This is another way of opposing replacing creators' rights in copyright
with a "right of remuneration", or industry associations imposing business
models on creators through "litigation over education" campaigns attacking
peer-to-peer services which may be being used for the legal distribution
of creators works.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than
politicians should be bought. -- http://www.flora.ca/russell/
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