Canadian Tories admit that Canadians don't want DRM rules, push for them anyway

Canada's Parliament is debating bill C-11, the latest incarnation of a "modernisation" copyright bill, which contains a very controversial US-style "digital locks" (DRM) rule. Under C-11's digital locks rules, it would be illegal to remove any sort of anti-copying technology, even if you're doing so for a lawful purpose. For example, if a store sold you one of my books with DRM on it, I, as the rightsholder, couldn't authorise you to remove the digital locks (it would even be illegal for me, the creator of the book, to remove the digital lock!).

The debate included MP James Moore, the bill's principle advocate, admitting that digital locks rules were "not the balance that Canadians were looking for," and Industry Minister Christian Paradis saying that this stuff wouldn't be so bad, because, "Many products such as DVDs do not have digital locks and the market is doing its job in that respect." Except, of course, DVDs do have digital locks, and these locks are used to stop Canadians from format-shifting their lawfully purchased movies to their mobile devices, and also block people from watching the DVDs they bring with them to Canada (or receive from family overseas) from enjoying their property in Canada.

The Tories are supposed to be about the sanctity of private property, but they're very enthusiastic about taking away the right to use your property in lawful ways if doing so undermines the profitability of foreign entertainment conglomerates.

The discussion also featured some noteworthy comments from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who admitted:

Bill C-61, as it turned out, was not the balance that Canadians were looking for. We think this legislation achieves the balance that Canadians have come to expect. We tabled Bill C-61, there was the fall campaign, and then we came back. We re-engaged Canadians from the beginning. We went back to square one. We did unprecedented consultation on this legislation. We heard from thousands of Canadians in the process. We went across the country to town halls and we did open, online consultation. We arrived at Bill C-32.

Context: Bill C-61 and C-32 were the earlier incarnations of C-11, and in all three instances the most controversial aspect of the bill was the Digital Lock rules, which have remained intact in C-11.


  1. Was anyone under the impression that the Conservatives cared what Canada wants? They’re in power to enact an agenda based on a worldview. Not to care about people’s opinions or make sensible policy.

  2. It’s important to remember that, despite their party’s name, the folks in charge of Canada right now are actually not Tories. If they were, we might have a reasonable and responsible government. But these folks are Reformers, which means that they care not for evidence or science or anything else that threatens their fantasy world.

    Unfortunately, it seems that most Canadian conservatives feel they have little choice but to go along with these Reformers, or they simply can’t tell the difference.

  3. A couple of months ago, I downloaded some trial software for game design. Without my knowledge or consent, it also installed a DRM. One that used a rootkit and deliberately used filenames that were completely unrelated to either the trial software or the DRM.

    When I removed the trial software, the DRM software was left behind.

    I had to completely reformat my harddrive to be sure I had removed the DRM, costing me many hours of my time to reinstall the operating system, Windows Vista, my anti-virus and all my other software. And then I had to download all the updates, which took another 5 days or so.

    And that wasn’t the end of it. I’m on a flex plan with my ISP so all that extra data from all those updates cost me approximately $300 more on my bill. After speaking to a lawyer about this, I was advised that any attempt to recover the costs would be years to pursue and end up costing me even more in court fees alone, let alone any lawyer costs.

    If this bill passes, such a situation would not only cost a person in time and money, but also result in criminal charges.

  4. I wrote an email to my MP about Bill C-11 today and I did my best to be cordial and put things into layman’s terms.  I’m most proud of this statement:

    “Would you ask me to send you a second copy of this letter by mail so
    that you could read it away from your desk?  Of course not!  You’d just
    print it out.  That’s exactly the right I am fighting to retain.”

  5. Not surprising that the Reform-A-Tories are against private property rights.  They’re a Hard Left party that’s also: against the military (delving into the medical records of one of the veteran’s advocates to see if there was anything to use against him there); free-spending ($1,000,000,000 for the security at a photo-op plus a huge helping of pork barrel grants to good Tory ridings); soft on crime (they cancelled all of their own crime bills for over a year when they prorouged parliament); and a great proponent of the Nanny State (the War on Some People Who Use Some Drugs and so on).  Chairman Mao move over!  Dear Leader Harper is going to give you a run for your money!

    1. Rather odd to read Harper’s party described as Hard Left. They are aligned with the GOP in the US in many ways. They are investing billions into new military equipment(new contracts came out this week), advocate for Supermax prisons as the US has, are introducing a draconian omnibus crime bill that would make Texas blush, are pushing Tar Sands development and the Keystone pipeline at the behest of energy companies and are very much for private property rights as long as that property is in the hands of their corporate cronies. Hard Right would be closer to the mark.

    2. I think you’ve confused right and left, the party is as far right as Canadian politics has swung since the Christian Heritage Party.  They are pro-military spending more on miltary than any previous government, corrupt (the above spending example is an example of typical Right wing pork barrel policy,) abysmaly hard on crime in that they are close minded and making “super jail” decisions that have proven disasterous in the states (See the fact not a single litigator agrees with their move to american style laws towards scentencing and they deliberatly postponed votes to ensure a majority to force it through without ammendment,) and the war on drugs is a right wing contruct.  The left in canada at least advocate legalization of pot and the propogation of injection centres.  Do you even know what the difference between right and left is?

  6. I’ll also ask you Canadians to consider the term Digital Rights Management.  There’s no such thing as digital rights – they’re just digits and you can copy digits without any restrictions.  If such  thing existed your digital rights would inherently be limitless.  The only way for your digital rights to be managed is to have them revoked!  Digital Rights Management makes it illegal for your to copy numbers from one place to another.

  7. Yikes.  “[U]nprecedented consultation”, “thousands of Canadians”, “went across the country”, and the Industry Minister still talks like there was never a fuss over DeCSS.

  8. I hear the Conservatives plan to scrap the Long-Gun Rights Management.

    They said it was unfair to have overly-broad restrictions on a technology simply because it could be used to commit a crime.

  9. The conservatives aren’t interested in what people want. Surprise.

    Also, is it just me, or are bill’s numbered at random?

    1. Also, is it just me, or are bill’s numbered at random?
      They’re numbered in the order they’re introduced in the current session of parliament. Bill C-61 was near the end of one session. Then that session finished (vote of no confidence against the ruling party in this case) and any bills that hadn’t finished being passed yet died. C-32 was a similar situation. Another vote of no confidence causing an election. The Conservatives have a majority now though, so a vote of no confidence is extremely unlikely. C-11 will almost certainly be passed in some form. Eventually the Supreme Court will take a look at it when someone challenges it.

    2. They’re numbered in sequential order of introduction into Parliament. Bills in the House of Parliament are prefixed with “C”, and bills introduced in the Senate are prefixed with “S”.

  10. For the sake of all the fine Canadian Artists, writers songwriters, poets, authors, in this country, we must support their legal right to a decent living from royalties and such – this is one way we can support our “Arts” a vital part of the very fabric that binds us together, boasts our difference from the rest of the world. “Stealing” Ann Murray’s work for example does not support upcoming Canadian artists, and sure as hell does not help her survive. Harper , I hate it! But honest is honest, and folks must be rewarded for their work, and fairly.

    1. As a Canadian Artist who hopes to (someday, somehow) collect royalties, I’m fairly certain that DRM is not the best way to enforce that.

    2. Not for my sake, yet I make music (artist in Residence for 2001 OYR High Performance Rodeo, also commissioned by the city of Calgary to perform for the opening of Public Art Works, et cetera), visual art (fusing pointillism with traditional Chinese painting),  and am currently writing a work of non-fiction. I don’t give a f*** about the ‘rights’ of artists. I WANT people to use/reference my stuff. Squeezing Canadians to give cash to large corporations may keep Celine Dion or Brian Adams in the ‘cris gravy’, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to help me out. Not one bit. Let me make mix-tapes I can give to friends, or get out of my face. (*sound of me getting back to making stuff…)

  11. I await the day (not holding my breath) when all this the copyright warriors realize that there are really only two ways media will be handled.

    Either embrace what an end user license should be and allow consumers to purchase the rights to media and have it on any platform in any format they want (i.e. services like STEAM).

    Or continue squeezing as much money as possible out of consumers and charging them every time they want a different format of media and accept that by doing this they are selling that particular piece of media like a physical object (i.e. like a car or a bicycle) not just the rights and therefore since it’s a piece of property the consumer owns he/she can do whatever he/she wants with it (modify, circumvent, break, destroy, etc.).

  12. Gee I pay a fee arleady for any media I buy even if I am putting original material on it (this was to help artist recover money from illegal copying). 
    DRM…bow to the almight corporation and america.
    Maybe we just all stop buying any recorded media with DRM for one month…

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