Michael Geist has been blogging for a few weeks now about the return of the copyright bill, its “constitutionally suspect” protection of digital locks, and its widespread public opposition. It gets tabled tomorrow.
So, let’s get this straight:
Despite the resounding criticism of industry, educators, and the public;
despite the leaked cables that show the Canadian government actively catering to US interests;
despite Supreme Court rulings that uphold a “large and liberal” interpretation of fair dealing;
despite the government’s own acknowledgment that digital locks aren’t subject to copyright protection;
despite the availability of a simple solution to resolve public concerns and uphold WIPO obligations (the lawful-use circumvention clause);
and despite the adoption of similar solutions by other states like the UK and even the USA itself —
The Heritage Minister @jamesmoore_org and the Harper regime are still determined to push through a copyright bill that outlaws breaking digital locks on copyrighted content and devices, even when for lawful purposes (of which there are countless examples). In the process, this undemocratic bill will produce a law so absurd that it breeds disrespect for the law generally; it will also criminalize by default large sectors of the citizenry.
Perhaps that is precisely the point: so that — at a time when crime rates are at their lowest point in 40 years — a government which prides itself for being “tough on crime” can actually create more crime to get tough on.
This week’s developments present another opportunity to remind the citizenry why we should all care about copyright. A comment posted to Geist’s blog by one “Grey Goose” tersely spells out the big, grim picture:
DRM is indirectly about control of networks, and specifically THE network; the Internet, and the very culture of sharing.
Moreover, nations are now arguing in the UN about how to govern and reign in the Internet while 90% of the world is dying from lack of basic information and technology (rain barrels, pumps, agricultural and manufacturing tools, algorithms, and basic psychological strategies for emotional well being – all of which 100% solvable with kindergarten-level ‘sharing’ and kindness).
Meanwhile, in Canada we are happily patenting ideas and, like any good 1st-world nation, crafting laws like these so we can continue to corner markets, bottle access, and sell it to those who are perpetually (axiomatically) desperate. Because, you see, there is no 1st world if there is no 3rd world.
On behalf of every homeless person who starves to death on the curb of a grocery store this winter, I salute you Canada. Bitterness through and through.