CANADIANS! Tomorrow is your best chance to fight the Canadian DMCA! Event in Calgary, national phone-in

If you're a Canadian and you want to talk to Industry Minister Jim Prentice about his proposal for a Canadian DMCA, a copyright law that's even worse than the ten-year-old American legislation that resulted in lawsuits against 20,000+ Americans without stopping infringement or paying artists, now's your chance!

This Saturday, Minister Prentice is hosting an open house in Calgary at his constituency office. This is the best chance we will ever have to make our feelings known about the Canadian DMCA. If you are in or near Calgary, plan on attending this event, along with local activist Kempton Lam (sign up on the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group).

Dress neatly. Be polite. Be firm. Be friendly. Ask the Minister tough questions (the CBC has collected over 250 questions about this, all of which Prentice has refused to answer) in front of his constituents, the people who voted him into office (you don't need to remind him that that the last two MPs who tried to introduce a Canadian DMCA lost their jobs -- he knows!).

Prentice's open house runs from 1PM-3PM tomorrow, Saturday, December 8 at 1318 Centre Street NE, Suite 105, Calgary, AB (details on Prentice's website)

Not in Calgary? NO PROBLEM! Plan on calling the Minister tomorrow or on dropping him an email, expressing your regrets that you can't attend the open house, but letting him know how you feel. Here are the numbers:

Ottawa office - (613) 992-4275
Calgary office - (403) 216-7777
Minister office - (613) 995-9001

His email address is: Once you send an email, print it out and mail it (no stamp needed!) to:

Jim Prentice
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The word is that the Minister's office is reeling from the overwhelming, national response to this badly written, badly planned bill. Bringing this legislation to Canada is Prentice's "series of tubes" moment, the point at which Canada's Internet Czar shows himself to be largely ignorant of its workings and power.

I believe that we can stop this bill. I will be calling the Minister tomorrow, and sending him a letter. I hope you do so as well. Canadians don't need to follow the US off the copyright cliff. We can have a sane and balanced copyright law, one that protects the Canadian public and Canadian artists.

Tell your friends. Tell your family. If you care about the net, this could be the most important thing you do this year. Take action and save the country.

See also:
Canada's DMCA won't get any consumer rights added to it for a decade Facebook group for fighting Canada's DMCA growing fast Ranting hand-puppet tackles Canada's DMCA HOWTO Fight Canada's coming DMCA copyright law
Canada's coming DMCA will be the worst copyright yet
Canadian DMCA: how it might have happened
CBC radio show needs your input for question with Minister responsible for Canadian DMCA Canadian Industry Minister refuses to defend Canadian DMCA in public


  1. This is WONDERFUL news to hear that we are hitting them hard with our views of displeasure on this bill. Yes, it IS a stupid one. YES we have to speak out!! Yes, I will be calling Minister Prentice’s office to express my views. Thank you Cory for helping spread the word. We need to keep Canada strong and free of unfair copyright laws that do no good.

  2. I’ll be phoning.

    An election is likely months away, and everyone knows it. Make this man so afraid for his job. He is elected to represent the interests of his constituents, not American businesses.

  3. It’s a shame I have to work and can’t get to the open house. I will be calling though, and expressing my regret.

  4. Definitely phoning this one in(walking from Halifax to Calgary ain’t likely).

    As an artist, I think it’s my duty to as he’s apparently doing this “on our behalf”(*cough*).

  5. Lets not put all our eggs in one basket. Every member of Canadian parliament needs to hear from us. Most MPs only accept letters from constituents, and each of us have an MP that is intended to represent us.

    We have some sample letters (In English and in French) on the Digital Copyright Canada site. Make sure you include your contact information, including and especially your postal code which staff use to look up whether you are a constituent or not.

  6. Yes, good point Russell. I’ve sent an email to my parents MP, on their behalf (and with their permission), and given their address, and postal code. After emailing them, simply print out the letter, stuff in envelope and mail to their House of Commons office. It is FREE POSTAGE (no stamp is required!) and please, needs to be done.

  7. I will be there in person. As a computer nerd in Calgary I feel that it is my duty to be there on behalf of all the nerds of Canada.

  8. Thanks for posting this Cory, I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I will be attending in person tomorrow.

    What drives me crazy in this debate is that current Canadian copyright laws are fair (for the most part) and work. Pandering to media companies who are unable to keep up with consumer trends just delays the inevitable changes that have to occur in the industry.

  9. Okay, I’m trying my best, as a slightly literate computerphile to express why the Canadian DMCA is “BAD”….

    Found this link to a FAQ about why the DMCA in the U.S. is bad.
    Anyone else got anything better? I want to have facts to show people who ask “why should I care about this? What’s in it for me?” questions on the Facebook group. So far, I’ve put this down.

    Anything else I should be putting in there?

  10. When I was a new reader of BoingBoing, I was a little mystified by all this talk of “DRM,” as it was never made clear what the letters stood for. Eventually (meaning a few months later), I overcame my laziness enough to find out.

    I wonder how many BB readers have no idea what “DMCA” means. I’m betting that it’s many.

    Define your obscure acronyms, people!

  11. We’ll be there as well. I’ve already called his office and haven’t been called back yet.

    Hopefully we’ll make an impression, but please, contact your own MP as well. We need to hit them hard and broadly.

    Here’s the link to a list of all MPs at the Parliament site:

    Fight the Stupid!

  12. Does anyone have a link to the proposed legislation. I’ll take your word for it that it’s bad, but I’d still like to see it before I attend the open house.

  13. @ Donovan

    The text of the legislation isn’t up yet. Here’s a link to the Order Paper for that day.

    It seems that when the text is released, you should be able to click on the link (under Introduction of Government Bills, No. 3).

    I intend on showing up at Mr. Prentice’s open house just to let him know politely, in person, that I’m interested and concerned about the bill, and that I’d appreciate his feedback, and to encourage him to not hide from the issues. (And to ask him to go on CBC’s Search Engine to answer some questions about the proposed legislation, among other things…)

    Anyways, here’s the link:

  14. I wonder how many BB readers have no idea what “DMCA” means. I’m betting that it’s many. Define your obscure acronyms, people!

    Of course, typing DMCA into Google and hitting “I’m feeling lucky” isn’t all that difficult. And on that note, what’s “BB”? :)

  15. Here’s the letter I sent to the Minister, by post and email:

    Dear Minister Prentice:

    As a Canadian living abroad, I’ve been dismayed by the news of the proposed Canadian WCT/WPPT compliance bill that your Ministry is introducing.

    I have been involved with WCT/WPPT implementations since 2001, working as an NGO delegate at WIPO and helping to found copyright reform groups in Canada, Europe and Africa. There are lots of ways to implement WIPO compliance (if Canada needs to do so at all — we have no treaty or trade obligations to implement WCT/WPPT, after all). The Industry Canada proposal is out of step with the global climate in WCT/WPPT implementations and repeats the mistakes of the 10-year-old DMCA disaster, as well as adding many of its own made-in-Canada errors.

    Notice-and-takedown is a failure — removing information from the Web is like getting food-colouring out of a swimming pool. No matter how cheap and convenient it is to force an OSP to remove material from the Web, it will never be cheap enough to keep up with determined pirates. As Paris Hilton, the King of Thailand and the RIAA have learned, this is a fool’s errand.

    But the easier N&TD becomes, the easier it is to abuse. I’m sure you know that commercial entities like Diebold and groups like the Church of Scientology have used fraudulent DMCA takedowns to remove criticism of their actions from the net. Lowering the cost of censorship in never good policy.

    Anti-circumvention has also been a failure around the world. As a technical matter, the information security community around the world has a consensus that it’s impossible to design a system that can, on the one hand, display media to its owners (e.g., a DVD player, which lets you watch the “protected” movies on your DVDs), that is ALSO capable of preventing you from making copies. These systems are designed over a period of years, by top engineers who spend millions of dollars of their employers’ money, but they are broken in minutes, for pennies, by kids. I spent several years in three different TPM standardization efforts (the US Broadcast Flag, the OASIS XrML group, and the DVB CPCM body in Europe) and all of these engineers will secretly admit that their efforts are ineffectual at preventing copying. Last year, the Blu-Ray anti-copying scheme was broken by a teenager on a message board who called himself “Muslix64” — without ever seeing or touching a Blu-Ray device, over the course of a single day.

    The real reason that companies seek TPM protection is that TPM legislation allows them to write private law. Add some TPM (however ineffectual) to your product and you gain the ability to abuse consumers and block competitors, with the full might of the state behind you. Our Fair Dealing limitations and exceptions may contain exceptions for criticism, education, format shifting and so on, but if you need to circumvent to attain these uses, you’re breaking the law. This lets someone in a Redmond boardroom trump Parliament, due process and fair trading standards, just by embodying a business model in code.

    Compounding this is the anti-competitive force of TPM rules. Anyone can interoperate with a CD, but only licensed parties can interoperate with a DVD, because the latter has a TPM on it, while the former does not. That means that if DVD TPMs are too onerous, competitors can’t offer DVD owners a lawful better deal by entering more flexible products into the market. The cartel ends up controlling all features and competition.

    This is why the RIAA’s member companies are dropping TPMs for their music — they’ve seen that once they allow Apple and its ilk to control the format for their products, Apple also gains control over pricing, distribution and other terms. The publishing world is also dropping TPMs from their product lines — across Bertellsmann, Elsevier and Holtzbrinck, business units are eliminating TPMs from their product lines.

    The reasoning is simple: since TPMs are all cracked, every work released with a TPM shortly appears on P2P without the TPM (BigChanpagne, who monitor P2P networks for the RIAA and others, say that it takes less than 180 seconds for a song to go from the iTunes Store to P2P). That means that every potential customer for a download gets to choose: pay money for a TPM-restricted version, or get the cracked version for free. The presence of TPMs on a file does not incentivize customers to do the right thing: no music fan woke up this morning looking for a product that let her do LESS with her music.

    If Canada must adopt the WCT/WPPT, it should strive to avoid the pitfalls experienced by previous adopters of these treaties.

    One way to do this is to look to the draft language emerging from the Access to Knowledge Treaty under discussion at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights (disclosure: I am a co-author of this treaty). Access to Knowledge (A2K) establishes a set of international norms for exceptions and limitations to copyright laws that protect the interests of citizens, educators, archivists and people with disabilities. The treaty has been a genuinely multi-stakeholder process, with input from scholars, the World Blind Union, telecommunications companies (including AT&T and Verizon), Medecins Sans Frontiers, rightsholder groups like the International Music Managers Federation, standards bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium and the Internet Engineering Task Force, and many other NGOs.

    A2K contains model language concerning balanced implementations of WCT notice and anti-circumvention rules, language that does not impinge on Berne, the WCT or the WPPT (A2K is intended to be adopted by countries that are signatories to these instruments).

    I hope that you will listen to the voices of Canadian citizens, artists, scholars and industry who are calling on you to put the brakes on this process and consider a made-in-Canada solution to the copyright wars that takes the high road, safeguards our national interests, and steers us clear of the US failures.


    Cory Doctorow

    Canada-US Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy, 2006-2007

    Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Fellow, Royal Society for the Arts

    Winner, Sunburst Prize for Best Canadian Science Fiction Book

    Contributing Writer, Wired Magazine; Make Magazine; Information Week, CBC

    Co-editor/co-owner, Boing Boing

  16. Ok so people can send a paper letter very easily online here: This is a free service, no stamp or envelope needed. So Take the 5mins and write your mp.

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