Jun 14, 2008

The Copyright Bill: A Complete Sellout

I've looked at the draft legislation and, along with comments on the web, have come to the conclusion that it's a complete sellout of the rights of Canadians. If not a betrayal and a big PR lie.

Let me state what I think the CPC should consider the RIGHT of all Canadians, and which the CPC should embody in any copyright legislation:

1. To be able to buy software, music and movies and whatnot in any form, whether on paper, film, , CD, DVD, downloaded, etc., and be able to do what they want with it subject to limitation on copies to third parties, etc. To be clearer, we should be able to legally use purchased/licensed material in any format WE want, at any time and for any duration WE want, anywhere WE want, no matter what suppressive "conditions" are arbitrarily imposed by the seller/provider.

These "conditions" can be implicit, covering the case where (for example) legally purchased and downloaded music can only be played in an Apple device.

2. To be able to legally circumvent "locks", EULAs, shrink wrap gotchas, website conditions and their ilk, in order to achieve point one above. In other words, if sellers or makers of these media put in a lock or EULA condition to prevent the point one "prime directive" (a.k.a. fundamental user right) from being achieved, then we would be legislatively permitted to over-ride or destroy these punitive locks. As a corollary, writers/creators of lock circumvention technology would be protected legally. The central point is that the RIGHTS of Canadians trump "conditions". Not the other way around, as is the case with the current despicable draft conjured up by the Conservatives. "Worse than the U.S. DMCA?" Yes, you bet! In spades.

3. To have Net Neutrality. More clearly, to put an end to ISP, carrier and backbone provider discrimination of traffic type. If some people are purportedly using a disproportionate share of bandwidth, then charge them more for that usage. Don't penalize everyone else! It makes me furious to use a Torrent to download the latest copy of openSuse Linux, a free and GPL piece of software, and then see it reduced to a crawl because, in the tiny little minds at Bell and other carriers, "Torrent = Stealing/Illegal activity".

4. Nail anyone who illegally copies, downloads or otherwise "steals" software, music, movies, etc. That part of the proposed legislation I can support whole-heartedly, although the Conservatives either lie or fudge when they use their $500 "penalty" in press releases or talking points. This is because they "conveniently" forget to mention coverage or applicability of other (much higher $) legislation that pertains to some parts of the Copyright Bill. Better still, the CPC bill should make clear that these other pieces of legislation either apply, or explicitly (by amendment there) do not apply.

5. Canadians should have the explicit right to back up their legally-acquired media, at any time, in any format, on any media. You should not be forced to pay again for music (or software, etc.) that you already own because of a hard disk crash, or you bought a new computer, or a format (think of VCRs or, for a bigger joke, the Betamax format) went the route of the Dodo bird. If you have the right to back up, you can restore that digital data to another device of yours, any time, no limitation.

As an aside I hope this would put an end to the odious practice of companies like Microsoft who limit the number of changes you make to your PC before your MS operating system becomes "invalid" and you are forced to buy another copy of their crap. If, over the years, you want to upgrade your motherboard, memory, hard drive, etc., you shouldn't have to pay another tax to corporations like Microsoft, let alone more PST and GST to our "consumer supportive" --- NOT!) Canadian government(s).

6. Suppliers (creators, sellers, re-sellers, agents et al) of software, music, movies, etc., should be explicitly forced to agree that the media and content they are providing does not encumber the purchaser/licensor, is fit and in an operable (merchantable) state, does not contain trojans, rootkits, spyware, virii, and other types of malware, and the installation or use of the product will not disclose any personal or identifying information to anyone, including the supplier or its agents, etc. The Act should also contain great penalties (jail and monetary, theoverwhelming majority of the latter paid to users, in addition to administrative penalties to the government) for any Supplier breaking these conditions.

That is the extent of my thinking now on the matter of the highly-deceptive "balanced" copyright draft legislation foisted on Canadians by a mendacious CPC government.

It's also my bottom line. If the Conservative government fails to put in these most elementary and basic rights for all Canadian users, we should have no hesitation to cast them out of office.

Because if they don't represent the views of ordinary Canadians, and translate that into legislative support, then we really don't want them governing, do we? After all, they also refuse to step in to stop the erosion of our free speech rights by so-called "Human Rights" tribunals throughout Canada, don't they?

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