Canadian Politician Okays Copyright Violation Because Nobody Cares Anyway

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Canadian Politician Okays Copyright Violation Because Nobody Cares Anyway

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A Canadian politician says people don't need to worry about changes to the country's copyright laws because content creators probably won't bother to sue anyone anyway.

As you may be aware, the Canadian government is currently in the process of reforming the country's copyright laws to bring them in line with the requirements of the digital era. While there's a reasonable consensus that these reforms are necessary and even overdue, many experts have expressed concerns over "digital lock" provisions, which allow content creators to effectively trump consumer rights by embedding some form of DRM into their material. The nature of the DRM is irrelevant; as long as it is present, the illegality of circumventing it overrides any legal right to duplication or fair use allowed by law.

Opposition to the reforms hinge almost entirely on this single aspect of the law. But while most of the government either ignores or glosses over questions about digital locks, Conservative MP Lee Richardson, a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, is selling a slightly different story: people don't need to worry about it because nobody really cares anyway.

"If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a lawsuit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved," Richardson wrote in a recent letter to a constituent. [PDF format]

I'm not sure what's more mind-boggling: the casual dismissal of outright illegality, the implication that these copyright reforms are more or less a waste of time or the suggestion - from an elected official, no less - that people can just go ahead and do whatever the hell they want anyway. A Canadian lawmaker actively encouraging Canadian citizens to knowingly break a law that his own party is at the same time aggressively trying to sell to the public as fair and friendly to consumers? It would be funny, if it wasn't so utterly appalling on every possible level.

As noted copyright critic Professor Michael Geist points out, even if Richardson's facile suggestion does have some rickety basis in reality - and I think we'd need to talk to people who've found themselves on the wrong end of an RIAA lawsuit before we made any firm judgments in that regard - it does no good for businesses, journalists, students or others who have to work within more legally restrictive frameworks. More to the point, it actually encourages disrespect for the same laws the Canadian government insist are badly needed.

"It is surprising to find Conservatives seeking support for their bill on the basis that Canadians need not worry about liability if they violate its provisions. Copyright reform is supposedly about updating Canada's copyright rules and fostering greater respect for copyright law," Geist wrote on his blog. "Yet the message from Richardson suggests the opposite since Canadians will have less respect for copyright law as even their MPs tell them they need not fear violating the law given the minimal likelihood of a lawsuit."

And if you do find yourself staring down the wrong end of expensive litigation? Maybe Richardson will pop by the courtroom and put in a good word for you.

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Richardson: Haters gonna hate.

The man is speaking the truth thou. As for business, i dont understand what kind of business needs to copy copious ammounts of a game and break the DRM in the process. or students. or journalists. the key word would be PRIVATE. if you dont go around spreading you made an internal copy of a game, no one is gonna look into it.

As content providers, if you the consumer don't like DRM fine, we'll get rid of it. Of course your not going to be able to download our content to your devices to begin with. We'll stream it to you, but your going to have to pay us a monthly fee if you want to keep streaming it. don't have internet? To bad.

Actually, they don't even say DRM. They call them "Technological Protection Measures" and under the extremely loose definition of a technological protection measure, a piece of tape on CD case counts.

Best of both worlds for the companies. They don't have to put any money into developing copy protection measures that will surely get cracked anyway, and yet they still have complete authority to sue you if you even rip the song from the CD into your iPod that you use to listen to all your music.

Andy Chalk:

"If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a lawsuit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved," Richardson wrote in a recent letter to a constituent.

Yeah, companies hardly ever go after you in a meaningful way if you defeat their DRM, just ask Geohots....

it's a shame, this guy sounds down to earth but if a fuss is made over what in my view is quite a realistic view of the matter, he'll be resigned and there will be one less reasonable polititian in ca.gov

OT gripe:
At the end of the day, the only one DRM ever inconvenienced was the consumer. Pirates get around it on day one and I've been on the sucky end of the DRM stick with audible and itunes before - it just makes things very difficult if you have a media server, as only the comp you installed itunes on can play the film - the xbox in the living room or the ps3 can't play it so i'm stuck with my comp monitor to watch films. and I can't put my audiobooks on my mp3 player as audible haven't deigned to write an app for my player.

*disclaimer: not condoning or encouraging anything in any way, just stating my view.

draythefingerless:
Richardson: Haters gonna hate.

The man is speaking the truth thou. As for business, i dont understand what kind of business needs to copy copious ammounts of a game and break the DRM in the process. or students. or journalists. the key word would be PRIVATE. if you dont go around spreading you made an internal copy of a game, no one is gonna look into it.

There is not enough space on this website to explain all the ways you're wrong, but maybe you could at least go look up any of the dozens of cases where people have been sued for breaking DRM.

ph0b0s123:

Andy Chalk:

"If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a lawsuit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved," Richardson wrote in a recent letter to a constituent.

Yeah, companies hardly ever go after you in a meaningful way if you defeat their DRM, just ask Geohots....

So don't make a public spectacle of cracking something then.

Can do!

RvLeshrac:

draythefingerless:
Richardson: Haters gonna hate.

The man is speaking the truth thou. As for business, i dont understand what kind of business needs to copy copious ammounts of a game and break the DRM in the process. or students. or journalists. the key word would be PRIVATE. if you dont go around spreading you made an internal copy of a game, no one is gonna look into it.

There is not enough space on this website to explain all the ways you're wrong, but maybe you could at least go look up any of the dozens of cases where people have been sued for breaking DRM.

ive seen people sue McDonalds because they dropped their hot coffee on their lap. Im not speaking on basis of principle. im speaking on pragmatic and real world levels. people get sued for the wrong things all the time. and of the dozens of cases, only a handful is rather innocent(just made a copy on dvd to have at home). more often than not, theyre bootleg style cases. on principle, yes this is wrong and yes it is stupid, but in the real world, the guy speaks the truth. NOW, I DUNNO HOW THINGS GO in the USA, but in Canada n Europe we dont have crazy suey events like those you speak of. or at least that number of them. you have to understand USA copyright and trademark laws are ridiculously more liberal and dangerous, and there is an entire business throughout the years, built on exploiting them.

This is all well and good until you and your device full of "your" music enter an airport. Then all bets are off...

Well, now when people argue Deh lar iz da lar. I can point to this, at least from the Canadian perspective. But I wonder if this may set a legislative and ultimately judicial precedent for ignoring laws when someone decides it wasn't relevant.

Here in the US, the courts ultimately ruled that cracking for private use was legal, so I can technically pirate (that is, download a cracked copy) if I obtain (or already own) a license to use. It also (thankfully) legalizes the no-cd cracks since I'm moving towards a disc-free system environment anyway.

Incidentally, watch for the coming documentary Hot Coffee which argues the litigiousness of the US is grossly exaggerated (nowadays with the intent of pro-corporate tort reform), and that the notorious hot coffee incident had legitimacy (e.g. actually caused third degree burns in four seconds and required an ER visit). This may be a case in which, like the insanity plea (which is notorious mostly because of the Twinkie Defense), we have fewer frivolous lawsuits than is widely believed.

238U.

Andy Chalk:
As you may be aware, the Canadian government is currently in the process of reforming the country's copyright laws to bring them in line with the requirements of the digital era.

Because any reform law to bring us into "the digital era" should be written by the people who have sent secrets to a foreign power and blindly quote the CRIA (the Canadian RIAA). Because the stewards of the digital era should be a group who appear to want the digital era to die off and be replaced with a second age of the CD.

Andy Chalk:
"If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a lawsuit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved," Richardson wrote in a recent letter to a constituent. [PDF format]

Sadly true. It's not realistic for a creator to sue because often the creator doesn't own the rights to his work. It's the OWNER that sues, and sues 30 people at a time to make it worth it.

The CRIA head once got up on a stage and said "we haven't sued anyone" after having sued someone. I trust their promises not to sue as far as I can throw the entire House of Commons.

'You shouldn't worry about a law because while what you're doing is against it, no one will sue you for it' is a problem, I feel. Canadian law and courts tend not to like this sort of approach, and tend to strike such laws down after ratification.

Andy Chalk:
A Canadian politician says people don't need to worry about changes to the country's copyright laws because content creators probably won't bother to sue anyone anyway.

And if we were all Canadians, this would probably be true.

Irridium:

ph0b0s123:

Andy Chalk:

"If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a lawsuit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved," Richardson wrote in a recent letter to a constituent.

Yeah, companies hardly ever go after you in a meaningful way if you defeat their DRM, just ask Geohots....

So don't make a public spectacle of cracking something then.

Can do!

Yeah, cause that's the only reason they went after him.

This would be the way Canada handles the adversity of a topic as hot as piracy.

And in other news, this is the main problem I have with DRM.

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If they're going to keep selling physical copies of CDs, they need top stop telling us we're criminals as soon as we want to put them on our iPods. I'm looking at you, iCloud.

0_o WaitwhoaWHAAAA

A conservative said that? REALLY? 0_0 That's unexpected.

Also, props to Lilani for the XKCD reference.

God i love my country. "Ya it might become law, but really its just to keep the U.S. off our ass and keep the companies who fund us come election time happy. We won't actually be enforcing it so just keep doin what ur doin."

In a perfect world where wealth, ideas and jobs are abundant I would agree with this guy 100%. Yet since it's not I want know what's he's on so I can join him in that world.

Nice to see someone in an elected office who knows that DRM is an uphill battle.

red dragon 52:
God i love my country. "Ya it might become law, but really its just to keep the U.S. off our ass and keep the companies who fund us come election time happy. We won't actually be enforcing it so just keep doin what ur doin."

If this is really the case then I'm content ^.^

In a way, he's right. If I chose to circumvent DRM on my own time at my own house, who would even know? It's kind of stupid that he's still pushing for a law saying otherwise though. I know Canada wants to be all buddy-buddy with America and all, but as a very red blooded American myself, nobody likes a sheep. Canada is it's own country and they are allowed to do their own thing, especially when an inane law like this comes along.

Well, he did say personal use. I really don't see the big deal as long as you only break it for yourself and don't share it with others (so people don't go "geohotz lawl").

Personal use, it just you tampering with it to make it more usable. If you've brought something and messed with it to get more access with a physical object, its completely fine, i see no reason not to do it with a piece of digital media, as long as you keep it for yourself.

Of course I might have read that wrong, in which case ignore the hell out of me. It is late and i've sworn off caffeine and am currently experiencing the withdrawal symptoms.

Yep. Companies don't care if you use "their" products in any strange ways, like downloading to an iPod, or uploading it to Youtube. That's why people and groups like TeamFourStar and Little Kuriboh never get bothered by the owner of the products they are parodying with their own shows. Despite the fact that parody is protected by law. Oh. Wait.

Sure, you can break TPMs on digital media for personal use and it doesn't really mean anything. It's not like Sony or Fox or Music Canada is going to pursue individuals for bypassing DRM so they can burn the song they bought off iTunes and listen to it in their car.

Unless, that is, they do, in which case you, the consumer, have very clearly broken the law and left yourself open to prosecution and litigation. And if your defense is, well, Lee said it was okay, you're gonna be pretty screwed when it's your turn in front of the judge. "Don't sweat it because nobody gives a shit" is great only up to the moment when somebody does in fact decide to give a shit, and I find it very troubling that a Member of Parliament is doling out exactly that kind of advice to people.

"It would be funny, if it wasn't so utterly appalling on every possible level."

This would be a good sentence, if it weren't such utter hyperbole on every possible level.

Andy Chalk:
Sure, you can break TPMs on digital media for personal use and it doesn't really mean anything. It's not like Sony or Fox or Music Canada is going to pursue individuals for bypassing DRM so they can burn the song they bought off iTunes and listen to it in their car.

Unless, that is, they do, in which case you, the consumer, have very clearly broken the law and left yourself open to prosecution and litigation. And if your defense is, well, Lee said it was okay, you're gonna be pretty screwed when it's your turn in front of the judge. "Don't sweat it because nobody gives a shit" is great only up to the moment when somebody does in fact decide to give a shit, and I find it very troubling that a Member of Parliament is doling out exactly that kind of advice to people.

To be fair judges in a lot of "Mega Music Corporation X Vs. individual" cases have stated that a fair decission said cases is almost impossible to reach since the individual is so miss-matched in terms of legal and financial resources to the corporations and the legal damages being demanded so unrelated to actual costs and more to making example cases have been deemed unsafe both in the US and EU. These are outright filesharing cases and not DRM cracking (so far as i know there hasn't been any test cases against unfortunate individuals for this)

There is so much i see wrong with the current model of selling MP3s that consumers have a pretty legit civil defense they they are essentially being sold useless products and breaking DRM for personal use is reasonable; like copying a CD for back-up use.

I hate to sound like one of those piracy apologists but its just objectively a better option than any of the feckless music delivery services currently out there. First and foremost thet have Better quality; Even at their newer "iTunes plus" quality (usually more expensive might i add) MP3s are still only around 250kbps sold form online stores, often 192kbps or even sometimes as low as 128kbps is used. Stores will tell you that there is no audiable difference. This is a LIE.

Pirate downloads by contrast usually come at 320kbps as standard, some use more advanced varable bitrates to have a compromise between quality and size. Most albums also have been uploaded in FLAC format; full CD audio quality. On good speakers you CAN tell it makes one hell of a difference.

draythefingerless:

ive seen people sue McDonalds because they dropped their hot coffee on their lap. Im not speaking on basis of principle. im speaking on pragmatic and real world levels. people get sued for the wrong things all the time. and of the dozens of cases, only a handful is rather innocent(just made a copy on dvd to have at home). more often than not, theyre bootleg style cases. on principle, yes this is wrong and yes it is stupid, but in the real world, the guy speaks the truth. NOW, I DUNNO HOW THINGS GO in the USA, but in Canada n Europe we dont have crazy suey events like those you speak of. or at least that number of them. you have to understand USA copyright and trademark laws are ridiculously more liberal and dangerous, and there is an entire business throughout the years, built on exploiting them.

Ummm, just so that you know this, the lady that sued over the coffee actualy sustained a pretty severe burn, and the coffee was very ,very hot. Too hot to reasonably be serving.

From wikipedia:

On February 27, 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico, ordered a 49-cent cup of coffee from the drive-through window of a local McDonald's restaurant. Liebeck was in the passenger's seat of her Ford Probe, and her grandson Chris parked the car so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. Liebeck placed the coffee cup between her knees and pulled the far side of the lid toward her to remove it. In the process, she spilled the entire cup of coffee on her lap.[10] Liebeck was wearing cotton sweatpants; they absorbed the coffee and held it against her skin, scalding her thighs, buttocks, and groin.[11] Liebeck was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that she had suffered third-degree burns on six percent of her skin and lesser burns over sixteen percent.[12] She remained in the hospital for eight days while she underwent skin grafting. During this period, Liebeck lost 20 pounds (9 kg, nearly 20% of her body weight), reducing her down to 83 pounds (38 kg).[13] Two years of medical treatment followed.

During the case, Liebeck's attorneys discovered that McDonald's required franchisees to serve coffee at 180-190 °F (82-88 °C). At that temperature, the coffee would cause a third-degree burn in two to seven seconds.

OT: yay for our conservative government being phenominal idiots again. >_>

Scrumpmonkey:
Stores will tell you that there is no audiable difference. This is a LIE.

Well for the average consumer who doesn't CARE about music and just wants to listen to the newest pop hit with their 50c earbuds... there really isn't much of a diff between 128 and 320kbit/s.

Of course the sorts of people who care about music usually try to buy retail CDs of bands that can't afford to tour, bands that tour make most of their revenue through that anyway, and retail CDs give back the largest amount to the artists.
I've personally had bands encourage pirating their music and spreading it to as many people as possible, because they recognise that gaining a fan is better then getting the few cents of a digital sale.

Edit:

lotr rocks 0:
Ummm, just so that you know this, the lady that sued over the coffee actualy sustained a pretty severe burn, and the coffee was very ,very hot. Too hot to reasonably be serving.

I can't verify the claim and it's highly likely that this is false somehow: but I have heard of someone who sued a drill company because there wasn't an explicit warning saying "Do not stick drill up nose"...
Working in retail leads you to believe stories like that though... some people are too stupid to live and if you work retail, you WILL meet one of them Q.Q

and people wonder why i have no faith in my government.(for you Americans out there we currently have in charge a guy whos bush times wesbro baptist church divided by Stalin and has a majority government to push through every one of his half baked ideas(he already tried to get rid of free healthcare for no reason whatsoever).)

SoulSalmon:

Scrumpmonkey:
Stores will tell you that there is no audiable difference. This is a LIE.

Well for the average consumer who doesn't CARE about music and just wants to listen to the newest pop hit with their 50c earbuds... there really isn't much of a diff between 128 and 320kbit/s.

Of course the sorts of people who care about music usually try to buy retail CDs of bands that can't afford to tour, bands that tour make most of their revenue through that anyway, and retail CDs give back the largest amount to the artists.
I've personally had bands encourage pirating their music and spreading it to as many people as possible, because they recognise that gaining a fan is better then getting the few cents of a digital sale.

Hell look at how much money Radiohead made from the "Pay what you want" scheme for "in rainbows", look at the revival Trent Reznor has had since he gave away the raw files to a lot of his music/ started NIN remix/ Gave away the NIN Album "The Slip"/ Gave away the first "Ghosts" album (seriously he's done loads of great stuff, look him up). The man eventially won himself an Oscar for his score work on "The Social Network". Free music can be promotinal heaven.

I am one of those people who still buys CDs (although compression rates these days sometimes tempt me to actually buy some limited run Vynl) and i am a big supporter of the bands i love. Im of the opinion the music industry needs to find a combinaiton of several new models in order to survive. The net worth of a copied MP3 file is zero therefore the market value will always tend towards zerp. We have cut out huge costs in digital distribution so why are many downloads MORE expensive than CDs?

"A Canadian lawmaker actively encouraging Canadian citizens to knowingly break a law that his own party is at the same time aggressively trying to sell to the public as fair and friendly to consumers?"

A few too many liberties as far as interpretation goes. Nothing he says in the snippet suggests the constituent go out and violate copyright.[1]

Didn't the US recently have a motion going through the system that would prohibit people from using ANY copy written material (or so the common interpretation went), so no more fan covers of songs or displays of protected footage from movies and games unless licensed?

Our policy: Don't Piss in the pool. We know you're going to use copywritten material sooner or later, which is fine as long as it's for personal use. But if you start making wads of cash and/or denying someone else theirs, we now have 20 new ways to prosecute you. Honestly it's worked pretty well so far.

tg851:
and people wonder why i have no faith in my government.(for you Americans out there we currently have in charge a guy whos bush times wesbro baptist church divided by Stalin and has a majority government to push through every one of his half baked ideas(he already tried to get rid of free healthcare for no reason whatsoever).)

That right there? To try drawing direct comparison from the PM to Bush, to people who picket soldier's funerals and to a guy who mass murdered millions of his country men? That's reason to endorse the use of prophylactics right there.

[1] And of course no one here has their interests served by spinning the story for their own gain, no sir.

The3rdEye:
Nothing he says in the snippet suggests the constituent go out and violate copyright.

Right, telling people that they won't face any penalties for violating copyright isn't encouraging them to ignore the law in any way whatsoever.

No sir.

Well, it's a problem with democratic first world nations that there is too much focus on getting elected that nobody wants to do anything that is going to bring about actual change or involve large scale action. There is always backlash to that, and backlash influances the chances of being elected again the next time around.

The bottom line is that these kind of copyright and intellectual property laws are needed, especially in a "big picture" sense when your looking at what nations like China have been doing for the last few decades.... laws having to be fairly consistant, you can't for example complain about China say stealing billions of dollars by manufacturing knock off goods based on someone else's patent or property (or say opening a section of an amusement park based on someone else's works) while saying it's just fine as long as the people in your own back yard do it.

The issue with Canada is that if they pass laws like this, they have to enforce them. Enforcing the laws means having to arrest people and put them in jail, and with a big issue like this it means LOTS of people being arrested and going to jail. When you see a ton of people being arresed over something that was being overlooked a few weeks ago that tends to upset people on a lot of differant levels, and influances the odds of the politicians getting elected again negatively.

As things have seemed to me, Canada has been dancing around the idea of actually enforcing copyrights and such, instead taking a stance (as explained to me) that the country will pay what it thinks is fair to the property owners and let it's people do what they want.... which is a problem on a lot of levels which I won't go into. The point here seems to be that Canada is concerned about civil liability as well, and intentionally doesn't want to pass these laws specifically because it means that they would have to allow companies coming in and making examples out of people.

Canada is pretty much waffling I think, because it understands the issues at state and the big picture, but doesn't want to deal with it on a more practical level in it's back yard. It's pretty much dancing around the issue of actually doing anything that is going to involve it actually having to enforce laws/judgements on it's own people, especially in response to a set of behaviors it has been more or less encouraging.

The fact that it's become an issue in Canada to even this point is kind of scary, and really a lot of it has to do with the economy. While I don't think Canada has been hit as badly as the US yet, I think it's realizing that China's "robber economy" is responsible for a lot of the current problems globally, all that great trade with China and its cheap knock off products is showing it's dark side where all the money lost by the countries whose patents and IPs have been stolen and knocked off is starting to catch up, and it's getting to the point that diplomatic games with China "lending" the money it stole back to countries like the US that it's been victimizing to preserve the peace aren't working.

In short I think Canada would like to actually show a united front with the US and some other countries here, despite it's relationship with China, but at the same time it doesn't want to enforce those principles on it's own people. Canada's very liberal take on patents and intellectual properties has been benefitting it for quite a while, albiet in more of a consumer piracy sense, than one where it's been knocking off and producing goods based on patterns and ideas invented/owned elsewhere to sell for it's own profit (with cheap production in sweatshops making that profit high indeed... at least for China... Canada isn't anything like that at the moment).

That's how I see it at any rate.

Now yeah, with a lot of the Canadians I've run into who have proudly bragged about their ability to pirate and violate IP laws and such, I can see how the goverment changing it's tune is NOT popular and why we're looking at situations with "do nothing" desicians being made by politicians who are afraid to pull the trigger so to speak.

Of course while I'm supporting anti-piracy legislation here, I *DO* tend to agree that there needs to be some guidelines on what companies can actually do to protect their property. I've oftentimes compared the whole "piracy" issue as a battle between gang bangers and the mafia, both sides are ridiculously corrupt and wrong, and the ones who get screwed are the bystanders who aren't directly involved. The gaming industry has gotten waaay too corperate and greedy, and absolutly ridiculous with their protection schemes which are as much about data mining and user tracking as they are about protecting themselves.

That comment is gonna bite him in the ass. Hard.

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