Canadian musician-turned-MP challenges minister on new copyright law

Michael Geist sez,
NDP MP Charlie Angus [ed: ex- of punk-rock act L'Etranger] has issued a lengthy letter to Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement that challenges them on the digital lock provisions in Bill C-32 [ed: This copyright bill says that any rights the public get in copyright, such as privacy, the right to sell or lend media, the right to rip or time-shift media, etc, are null if they are blocked by a "digital lock" or DRM]. In a release on the letter, Angus states "the digital lock provisions will subject Canadians to arbitrary limitations on their legal rights of access. The government is trying to create the impression that this unbalanced approach to digital locks is necessary in order to bring Canada into compliance with WIPO and the Berne Convention. Nothing could be further from the truth." He adds:

"The government is establishing a two-tiered set of rights. Bill C-32 offers rights that consumers will be restricted from exercising. These provisions make a mockery of the claim that the bill is balanced and pro-consumer. Either the government has a faulty understanding of international treaty obligations or is looking to use these existing treaties as a cover to pursue a specific political agenda. The New Democratic Party will challenge any provisions that would lead to unbalanced and arbitrary copyright legislation."

The letter delves into much greater detail on the digital lock issue, discussing how there is flexibility at international law with Angus emphatically stating "I believe the government will be unable to produce evidence that these onerous digital lock provisions are the result of existing treaty obligations." As result, Angus makes a formal request that the government seek an opinion from WIPO on the issue of exceptions to digital locks. [Ed: the minister responsible for the bill says that the digital locks rules are required to comply with a UN treaty from the World Intellectual Property Organization. He's wrong.]

Angus Calls Out Moore on WIPO: Says Fails to Understand Treaty, Makes Mockery of Copyright Balance (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. I think they understand perfectly well what they’re doing. Who contributes money to the political parties of Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement? And who’s interests will they serve? It’s all pretty clear to me.

  2. Right fucking on Charlie.

    In my opinion, breaking or circumventing a digital lock (TPM) should never be criminalized. If someone breaks a digital lock to commit copyright infringement, then their only crime is copyright infringement. We have laws on the books to deal with copyright infringement, and I agree that they should be enforced.

    I especially like the work that the Software Freedom Law Center does that depends on these laws to enforce GPL compliance.

    But I’m willing to compromise to the position that Charlie is suggesting, where TPM circumvention is only criminalized when directly tied to copyright infringement. I still disagree with criminalizing the production or distribution of TPM-circumvention devices or software.

    P.S. I’d happily wear the label ‘radical’ with pride, but don’t consider myself an ‘extremist.’

  3. received today (on a DRM locked PDF)from Canada’s Colette Downie,Marketplace Framework Policy Branch Strategic Policy Sector;
    “Dear Sir/Madam
    As one of the many[royal subjects] to have [been subjected to]the nationalist “consultation process”[ing]…the govt[wants]to “modernize” the Copyright Act.
    This adresses many of your expressed provides exceptions and statutory damages for infringements and sets out liability…for search engines”

    shall we call it the ‘going Downie Bill’?

  4. Well would ya lookit that.

    A politician doing his job.

    Someone buy that dude a beer.

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