Canadian DMCA Rises From The Ashes – To Be Introduced Tomorrow?

by matttbastard

Don’t pop open the Cristal bottles just yet, kids. The fight for digital democracy and fair copyright is far from over. According to Michael Geist, word on the Hill says that despite a massive grassroots movement decrying the proposed legislation, “Industry Minister Jim Prentice has decided to forge ahead with the Canadian DMCA with the bill to be introduced tomorrow morning.”


Given the short delay, it is unlikely that the bill has been altered in any fundamental ways. Despite claims that Prentice was working to balance consumer interests, it would appear that he has decided that no further consultation with Canadians is needed. He has instead bowed to pressure from the U.S. and copyright lobby groups.

Thunderbird is go. Right fucking now:

  1. Write to your local Member of Parliament. Nothing is more obvious or more important. Letters (which are better than email) from just a handful of constituents is enough to get the attention of your local MP. It is often a good idea to ask the MP to forward your letter to the relevant Ministers. Contact information for all MPs is available here. Online Rights Canada also provides an easy way to write to your local MP.
  2. Write to the Prime Minister of Canada. Contact information here.
  3. Write to Jim Prentice, the Minister of Industry. Minister Prentice is responsible for the Copyright Act in Canada. Despite the fact that Minister Prentice trumpeted his pro-consumer approach on the spectrum auction issue, the rumour mill suggests that he supports DMCA-style reforms and has little interest in advocating for consumer concerns. Minister Prentice’s contact information is here.
  4. Write to Josee Verner, the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Minister Verner is one of the two ministers responsible for copyright policy in Canada. Prior Canadian Heritage Ministers have been perceived to be close to U.S. copyright lobby groups and copyright collectives. Ministry contact information here. Minister Verner’s contact information is here.
  5. Write to James Rajotte, the Chair of the House of Commons Industry Committee. Rajotte is an Alberta MP who chairs the powerful Industry Committee. His committee will likely lead the review of the bill. If the government tries to fast-track the bill, there will be enormous pressure to limit the diversity of voices before the committee. Rajotte should be urged to ensure that they hear from all stakeholders and all perspectives. Contact information here.
  6. Write to Canadian Heritage’s Copyright Policy Branch. The Copyright Policy Branch is home to a large contingent of bureaucrats focused on copyright matters. Contact information here.
  7. Write to Industry Canada’s Intellectual Property Policy Directorate. The IPPD is Industry Canada’s counterpart on copyright policy, though it addresses a broader range of IP issues. Contact information here.
  8. Write to your local Member of Provincial Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly. There is a strong provincial dimension to copyright reform, particularly given its impact on education, privacy, consumer issues, and property rights. In fact, some scholars believe that the law may face a constitutional challenge by overstepping into provincial jurisdiction. The provinces have remained largely silent on copyright, yet they may be forced to address many of the unintended consequences that arise from federal Copyright Act reform. Contact information for Ontario MPPs here.
  9. Write to your Provincial Minister of Education. The provincial education ministers, represented by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada pursued a disasterous strategy of promoting an ill-advised educational Internet exception rather than emphasizing the need for more flexible fair dealing and limiting the harms associated with DRM. Having lost badly, they need to step up to the plate to defend education interests. Contact information for Ontario Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne is here. For the other Ministers of Education see here.
  10. Write to your local school board or University President. Local school boards can play an important role in the copyright reform process by engaging teachers, parents, and students. Contact information for Ontario school boards here. Canadian Universities have done little to defend the interests of teachers and students by also failing to defend the need for more flexible fair dealing and the harms associated with DRM. Contact information for individual Universities here.
  11. Write a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Canada’s international copyright position. Canada has remained disappointingly silent on important international copyright issues at WIPO (for example, see my recent column on the WIPO Broadcast Treaty). DFAIT should be standing up for Canadian interests at such international meetings as well as during bi-lateral trade negotiations with the United States. They should make clear that Canada can meet the WIPO standards by doing far less than what is found in the DMCA. Contact information here.
  12. Write to Library and Archives Canada to ask that it support the preservation of Canadian heritage. The LAC should be a leading voice against the use of DRM that could lock Canadians out of their own heritage. Earlier this year, new legislation took effect that guaranteed the preservation of electronic books that contain DRM by mandating that they be provided in an unlocked format. Why should individual Canadians receive anything less? Contact information here.
  13. Write to the Competition Bureau of Canada. The combination of DRM and anti-circumvention legislation raises significant marketplace competition concerns. The Competition Bureau must become engaged on this issue by advocating pro-competitive reforms. Moreover, it should be investigating cases of alleged abusive use of DRM. Contact information here.
  14. Write the Office of Consumer Affairs or your provincial consumer protection ministry. The use of DRM raises numerous consumer concerns, potentially requiring specific consumer protection provisions and labeling requirements. The federal OCA can be contacted here. Provincial contacts here.
  15. Write to your federal or provincial privacy commissioner to ask for their support in protecting your personal privacy against DRM. Several of Canada’s privacy commissioners have publicly called on the government to address the privacy concerns associated with copyright reform, a position which deserves public support. In fact, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has argued that the copyright law should be subject to a privacy impact assessment. There is no indication that this has been done. Privacy commissioner contacts here.
  16. Raise the issue with your local library or school. The library community has been very engaged on copyright and will undoubtedly be a vocal stakeholder for any future reforms. At the local level, libraries can be encouraged to establish copyright policies that fully support user rights and to educate the local community on important access issues. Ontario public library directory here. Moreover, if you are in school or have children currently in school, inquire how the school addresses copyright issues. Does it take full advantage of user rights? Is it aware of how the education exceptions may be limited by anti-circumvention legislation?
  17. Join the Facebook Fair Copyright Group. Canadians are by far the world’s biggest adopters of Facebook. Join this group and participate in local and national advocacy efforts.
  18. Sign a petition. There are petitions calling on the Canadian government to adopt a balanced approach to copyright here and here.
  19. Add your name to the Online Rights Canada mailing list. Online Rights Canada is a grassroots advocacy group that brings together EFF and CIPPIC to focus on online rights issues. Mailing list information here.
  20. Ask each political party where it stands on copyright. The Conservative view on copyright will be apparent with the bill. The NDP is expected to oppose, the Bloc support (even though the bill will represent a significant incursion into provincial rights), and the Liberals could go either way. Raise the issue with each party and ask it to prioritize discussion and debate over this bill.
  21. Support music labels that offer their music without DRM or copy-controls. This one is easy since virtually every Canadian label does not use copy-control technologies. The exceptions are the foreign labels represented by CRIA such as Sony BMG.
  22. Ensure that your local retailer will accept returns on DRM’d products. Many retailers sell DRM’d products without altering return policies to account for the fact that the products may not function as expected. Raise this with your local retailer and encourage them to adopt liberal return policies for DRM’d products.
  23. Ask your ISP what it is doing to stand up for your rights. Canada’s Internet service providers play an important role in defending user rights by only disclosing subscriber personal information with a court order, informing subscribers of requests for their personal information, and by lobbying for an expanded fair dealing provision. Ask your ISP for its policies on these issues.
  24. Participate in a local meeting on copyright. There are a growing number of local “meetup” style meetings that bring together citizens concerned with balanced copyright. If there is a meeting group in your area, go. If not, get one started.
  25. Support more balanced copyright positions from artists and creator groups. Many artists and creators are increasingly abandoning policy positions that favour U.S. style reforms and instead embracing a more balanced approach. If you are a musician, consider joining the CMCC. If you are an artist, consider joining the Appropriation Art coalition. If you are a writer, consider pushing for change within Access Copyright.
  26. Use Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons, which adopts a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright provides an exceptional (and exceptionally easy) method of supporting both copyright and access. More information on the Canadian licenses here.
  27. Read license terms. My 30 Days of DRM project focused on the increasing use of contract to limit or eliminate user rights. Until legislation blocks the use of such terms, consumers should proactively read license terms and reject those that unfairly limit their user rights.
  28. Track media coverage of copyright. Until recently, media coverage on copyright rarely questioned the sound bites from the copyright lobby. That is changing, but Canada’s media should be challenged when it fails to do so. Letters to the editor or a op-eds are a great place to start.
  29. Educate yourself. There are lots of great sources for information on fair approaches to copyright. In addition to my site – particularly the 30 Days of DRM project and a forthcoming copyright microsite, check out,, CopyrightWatch, CIPPIC, Howard Knopf, and Jeremy deBeer. Another useful source is In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law, a book published last year by Irwin Law under a Creative Commons license. The book, which I edited, features contributions from 19 professors from across Canada. You can also listen to a podcast version of my Hart House lecture from last year or the podcast of my CFS talk from last month which also touched on these issues.
  30. Educate others. Once you know more about copyright reform issues, tell others. Educate friends, family, and co-workers. Copyright impacts us all.

h/t Scruffy Dan.

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Bigmouth Strikes Again

by matttbastard

Hey Moz–go stuff yer gob with the “I was misquoted” bollocks, mate. Listen to Billy re: the first rule of holes, k? You were caught on tape soul-kissing the spirit of Enoch Powell; drop the writs and embrace your latent nativism, you fucking wanker.

h/t Nunc Scio

Update: Yolanda Carrington takes a stroll down memory lane re: Moz’s longtime flirtation with fascism, highlighting his by-now familiar response to criticism:

Morrissey’s pattern is predictable: When challenged about his wink-wink nudge-nudge comments and actions, Morrissey protests that he isn’t racist and that he is being set up by his accusers. When he’s playing around with the lives of people of color, it’s no big deal; it’s only when he feels he’s under attack and needs to defend himself does he gets serious about racism. It’s the same old pattern that we stateside people of color have seen time and again, this time on the other side of the Atlantic.

Via Racialicious.

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Acceptable Victims

by matttbastard

Croghan27 @ Bread and Roses:

This has been an idea that has stayed in me [consistently] since hearing about this terrible act.

How many Iraqi children have been killed by the hoodlums of Blackwater, other ‘contractors’ and even some members of the regular armed forces? How many women raped, people maimed and humiliated in front of their loved ones?

Yet, when it happens to a pretty blonde white girl from Texas, with apparently connections to the Republican establishment – shit flows down from a great height, in the press, on TV and all over the internet.

The individual act is bad enough – but that it is only despicable when it happens to one of ‘us’ leaves me very uncomfortable.

Yup. 1 million+ corpses (not counting the countless others still living in the quagmire), the overwhelming vast majority completely nameless and faceless (if not non-existent, considering how controversial acknowledging the actual death toll is, to say nothing of admitting that–teh shocking!!1–‘our boys’ will actually treat the dehumanized as less than human). But touch one of ‘our’ (blonde-haired, blue eyed, no-doubt-patriotic Red State-residing) women and suddenly a GOP stalwart from TexasTexas–becomes a fervent anti-VAW crusader.

Yeah. Tell me another one; I think I’ve heard this story before. Shark-fu hit it hammer/nail stylez with her succinct-yet-stunning post ‘Black and Missing‘, which I believe can apply to any (dark-skinned) ‘other’, regardless of national affiliation:

I can’t help but wonder if decades of consuming their own product haven’t resulted in the media buying the notion that black people being the victims of crime isn’t news because black people are the acceptable victims of crime. [emph mine]

Related: Melissa dips her teaspoon into the same well of inspiration; pale also opens the silverware drawer.

Update: More from BJ Bjornsen and Dave @ The Beav.

Update 2: A teaspoon just isn’t enough; somebody get The Queen a bucket.

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