[d@DCC] Answers from a private citizen to questions asked in the
committee meeting earlier today.
russell at flora.ca
Wed Nov 24 20:39:50 EST 2004
(Letter sent a moment ago).
Dear Scott Simms, MP for Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor,
I was part of the audience today at the meeting of the Standing
Committee on Canadian Heritage. You asked a few interesting questions,
and I wanted to offer my own reply.
I am a private citizen who is also an independent creator (software and
other literary works), ISP, and Internet consultant. I have been trying
to speak with MPs involved in copyright revision since the summer of 2001
when that round of copyright consultations started. I have not yet been
invited to speak to MPs in this committee, although I have spoken to the
Industry committee on related issues.
I noticed your concern about media concentration and the problem with
Canadian voices trying to be heard via centrally controlled media. While
you were discussing this in the context of the broadcast study, you need
to also discuss this in the context of the Copyright report. The first
recommendation from the recent report was WIPO treaty ratification.
These treaties were written largely to benefit incumbent broadcast
interests seeking to protect themselves from competition with the
Internet. The Internet is not currently a broadcast media at all, but a
citizen-to-citizen distributed medium of communication.
While there is a claim that Digital Rights Management (DRM - also
referred to under the related but not identical term Technological
Protection Measure) protects copyright, it is actually a replacement of
the public policy of copyright with private policy. This private policy
is authored by software vendors, executed on a citizens own communications
technology (home computer, VCR, etc), and is a regulation against uses of
that communications technology that are not in the private interests of
these software vendors. The outsourcing of government policy represented
by the WIPO treaties is a greater threat to Canadian creativity and
citizen participation than those identified in the broadcast study.
This is only one part of one of the recommendations, with there being
considerable problems with each of the recommendations in that report.
You also mentioned a concern about balance between the interests of the
recording industry and citizens. You mentioned that your own child just
"clicks a button" and distributes music, without really knowing this is
The Canadian Recording Industry Association would have you believe that
there is something stopping them from suing your child. This is not true.
CRIA recently launched a discovery case where they tried to get the
names of 29 music file sharing users, most likely children, so that they
could then sue them. They lost not because there are loopholes in the
copyright act as they falsely claim, but because they didn't provide
evidence that they owned any of the files that were distributed (uploaded)
via these networks. While uploading is illegal, downloading of music is
legal in Canada because the recording and music industry asked to make it
legal so that they could levy blank media as part of the private copying
regime. In no way are CRIA members the victims here.
It is important to realize that not all peer-to-peer distribution is
unauthorized. Many independent musicians deliberately authorize P2P so
that their fans can be extremely inexpensive components of their marketing
efforts. While this is claimed to be harmful to CRIA, it is not because
of infringement but because of the competition this adoption of
alternative business models represents.
Please consider meeting with me so that we can discuss these issues
305 Southcrest Private,
Phone: (613) 733-5836
Full contact information at http://www.flora.ca/#contact
This letter is licensed under the Canadian Attribution-ShareAlike Creative
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Code is Law: how software code regulates the activities of citizens,
and acts similar to law. How do we ensure transparency/accountability?
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