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Microsoft Misleads On Canadian Copyright Reform 107

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-have-it-both-ways dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the battle rages over a Canadian DMCA, Microsoft Canada has published an op-ed in a political newspaper that Michael Geist describes as astonishingly misleading and factually incorrect. Microsoft tries to argue that Canadian copyright law provides no legal protections, even after it received one of the largest copyright damage awards in Canadian history just one year ago."
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Microsoft Misleads On Canadian Copyright Reform

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  • write an op-ed piece in China about how their standards are too lax. FU Microsoft.
  • What!! (Score:1, Funny)

    by EEPROMS (889169)
    What!..Microsoft lie!...noo , while Im here selling you Vista Super duper home edition for $799 would you be interested in some prime swamp property.
  • by sugarmotor (621907) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:24PM (#22301264) Homepage
    The article states

    But as is often the case, such discussions can have a real significance for individual jobs and on our economy in a broader sense.
    ... translates as "My employer is worried about their source of income"

    Stephan

  • by d_jedi (773213) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:27PM (#22301290)
    The MS article is factually accurate - copyright law does not protect ideas expressed in works. Mr. Geist even updated the posting to reflect this.
    • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:30PM (#22301330) Homepage Journal

      The article itself gives examples that aren't true. The author of the article is Michael Eisen, chief legal officer at Microsoft Canada, based in Toronto.

      Maybe a reader who lives in Ontario, Canada (and thus has standing) can do us all a favour and file a complaint with the Ontario Bar [oba.org] for Eisen's breech of professional ethics in misleading the public, and bringing the practice of law into disrepute.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        ... and bringing the practice of law into disrepute.

        How can an event thousands of years in the past possibly have any bearing on the present?

      • by thirty-seven (568076) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @02:16AM (#22303546)

        ... file a complaint with the Ontario Bar [oba.org] [link to Ontario Bar Association] for Eisen's breech of professional ethics ...

        IANAL, but I think such a complaint should be filed with the Law Society of Upper Canada [lsuc.on.ca].

        The Ontario Bar Association, founded in 1907, is a voluntary organization of lawyers, judges, and law students. Its website says that it represents lawyers' interests to governments and other organizations and "provides lawyers with opportunities to become more efficient and effective, to further their professional education and to keep abreast of current developments within the profession, nationally and provincially". So, in spite of its name, the Ontario Bar Association is not the bar.

        The Law Society of Upper Canada, founded in 1797, when Ontario was called Upper Canada, is "the governing body for lawyers and paralegals in Ontario" and "the Law Society regulates the legal professions in the public interest according to Ontario law and the Law Society's rules, regulations and guidelines." So, I believe that it is the bar.

        Aside: According to the Law Society's website: "The creation of this self-governing body by an Act of the Legislative Assembly was an innovation in the English-speaking world."

      • by dasbush (1143709)
        I wish I saw this earlier, might have made more of a difference. Here is everyone's phone number/email at the OBA in Toronto* :).

        Contact Page [oba.org]

        *Long distance charges may apply
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)
      So the article is technically correct in a weaselly way? I'm so reassured.

      What I could read of it (from the bit freely posted on the newspaper's web page and the excerpts posted by Geist), it's deliberately misleading. Ideas aren't protected by copyright ANYWHERE. That doesn't make Canada out of step with copyright law in the rest of the world. And the "trading partners" we're out of step with are... the US.
    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:18PM (#22301758)
      Also, it's not called the DMCA in Canada, it's called the DMCEH.
      • by Curtman (556920)
        Actually, what we've got currently is the YMCA. You May Copy Anything
    • The expression/idea dichotomy is a doctrine in copyright law; the legal usage of the word "idea" does not correspond well to what most people mean by the word.

      What would you call the intangible product of intellectual and creative activity? "Idea" and "ideas" seem to capture it the best. "Work" is problematic because it assumes those ideas have been captured in a medium. I realize copyright doesn't protect ideas until that has happened, but once it has happened it nevertheless protects intangibles.

      The i
    • Accuracy is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST... (paraphrasing Frank Zappa)

      The update reads: note that if Microsoft is claiming that there is no protection for the ideas rather than the expression of the ideas, then this is correct, though it's true for all countries since copyright protects the expression, not the ideas themselves.

  • Why wouldn't they? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by esocid (946821) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:34PM (#22301372) Journal
    Why wouldn't they mislead about copyright reform. They already abuse the broken patent system and now are trying to claim that Linux violates their patents. They are just trying to perpetuate this broken system that is in need of good reform. We'll see how many people really call them on this bs.
    M$:You stole our code.
    L:No we didn't. Show us.
    M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.
    • by setagllib (753300) on Monday February 04, 2008 @11:52PM (#22302536)
      The claim against Linux is purely on patents, not on copyright. The SCO case was on copyright and that was very easy to disprove once some specific code claims were made. Microsoft can't accuse Linux developers of code theft based on patent violations. "Intellectual property" theft is a stretch even then, as patents can be infringed independently.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      to be fair MS has not "abused" the patent system YET. they have made rumblings and i have no doubt SCO was a test run, however i feel after seeing how that ended MS isn't going to try the same thing.

      in fact if anyone is the victim of our current patent laws, it is MS and companys like them. patent trolls hang from them like leeches attempting to get themselfs bought.

    • by dattaway (3088)
      What do you expect from a company who's founder bragged about stealing code from a college dumpster? His guilt trip seems to fuel a perfect business model: accuse others of how you became the wealthiest person in the world.
    • by houghi (78078)
      M$:You stole our code.
      L:No we didn't. Show us.
      M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.


      I believe we have seen a lawsuit that ran for a few years with almost the same wording.

      • by esocid (946821)

        M$:You stole our code.
        L:No we didn't. Show us.
        M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.

        I believe we have seen a lawsuit that ran for a few years with almost the same wording.

        Does this mean Microsoft will declare bankruptcy, assuming they are SCO in this case?
  • The Worst Part... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday February 04, 2008 @09:54PM (#22301536)
    The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...
    • by 6-tew (1037428)

      We don't care. We're not horribly uniformed or misinformed, we're generally apathetic about copyright. You might even call us melancholy. It's sad really.

      Oh well, guess I'll go browse some torrents.

    • by canuck57 (662392)

      I do agree with you, Canadians are misinformed.

      The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...

      Paid for by CBC - Government sponsored, $2B CAD and rising. You should read this, Outer Limit

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Well, the last few times a DCMA equivalent has been introduced the responsible minister has gotten fired or postponed the bill in the face of public pressure. The average Canadian might be uninformed about copyright on an absolute scale, but we seem to be doing pretty well relative to our southern neighbors.
    • by Jardine (398197)
      The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...

      Most people are uninformed/misinformed about every political issue. The thing about copyright is that the news media doesn't normally talk abo
  • Truth? Microsoft? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062)
    Why does anyone expect the truth from Microsoft anymore?
    • by causality (777677) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:34PM (#22301896)
      For that matter, why does anyone expect truth from any party with a vested interest? Microsoft isn't special in that regard.
      • by phliar (87116)
        In my dealings with people I expect people to be truthful, even when they have a vested interest. If someone does lie it lowers my estimation of them, significantly. They don't have to volunteer information, but no lying. I think most people are that way. Why, then, should a company be allowed to lie?
        • by causality (777677)
          That wasn't an idealistic statement about how I want things to be. That was a pragmatic statement based on how things are. The fact of the matter is, many large organizations lie and misrepresent, and a simple exercise of "follow-the-money" is usually sufficient to explain why. Never believe anything to be true unless you can independently verify it or it is consistent with what you already know to be true - in a world full of liars and monied interests, there is no substitute for this. Allowed or not,
      • There is this little thing called "ethics".

        Then there is the other little thing called "reputation".

        Who would be happy to sign contracts with a company that had a public reputation for being unethical?

        So most Microsoft partners must be unhappy :-)
        • by causality (777677)
          Until they're unhappy enough to stop giving any money to Microsoft for any reason, this has no practical effect whatsoever. Until then, it is expedient to not be so easily fooled. This is much easier and more effective than trying to reform Microsoft or anyone else, for that matter, since lies only "work" when they are believed.

          Yes, there is such a thing as ethics. You can demonstrate what ethics is all about by what you value and by the way that you live your life. However, you can't control whether
  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:03PM (#22301638)
    Granted, it's one of those "free to read the whole article" ones, but a PITA that kept me from reading further nonetheless.

    Copy paste from someone else maybe?
    • Voilà (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      TORONTO-In a world preoccupied with other pressing and sometimes dramatic concerns, complicated, seemingly arcane policy discussions about copyright may not appear particularly compelling. But as is often the case, such discussions can have a real significance for individual jobs and on our economy in a broader sense. So it is with Canadas anticipated new copyright legislation, which was expected to be tabled in recent weeks, but now appears to have been delayed at the eleventh hour by its opponents.

      Our cur
      • TYVM, and there's a word for this type of article, scurillous [merriam-webster.com].

        BTW, I know it's against the spirit of /. commenters to RTFA, but anyone with mod points is invited to spend a couple on the parent of this reply. : )
  • For awhile there, with the OOXML, and other things, I was afraid that the big bad wolf had fallen in 'friends' with the little pigs. I thought and thought about that, and just could not get my head around it. If there is no monopoly to fight, or evildoers to rail against, life is just too surreal to contemplate. What, with people working together and profitability made second class citizen to cooperation and interoperability. Just when I was beginning to think that consistency was vanishing from the face of
    • by causality (777677)

      I thought and thought about that, and just could not get my head around it. If there is no monopoly to fight, or evildoers to rail against, life is just too surreal to contemplate.

      Henry David Thoreau once set out to live aloof of such things in order to simplify his life as much as possible and find out what there was to contemplate without such distractions. You might find Walden [publicliterature.org] a most refreshing read. The picture painted there is one I find far better than the petty shit we spend so much time fighti

  • Busted Microsoft (Score:5, Informative)

    by lancejjj (924211) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:19PM (#22301768) Homepage
    In years past, there was no way that Microsoft would have approved such a weak op-ed piece. Maybe some low-level manager approved this one, because it is simply an embarrassment to the company - with ridiculous examples that a high school student could rip apart regardless of the interpretation of their text.

    Sadly, Microsoft is at the point where it needs to step up its game and change the way it does business if it wants to remain relevant. This piece, and the purchase of Yahoo, are all signs that Microsoft can no longer manage to design its own future - instead, it needs to look to the outside to fix its internal shortcomings.

    To me, that means that Microsoft will be more apt to try to buy its way out of management failures - by buying companies such as Yahoo - which in turn will bring great new ideas and assets to Microsoft, but at the huge expense of making Microsoft substantially harder to manage.

    It could work out, but it's a slippery, dangerous slope, similar to (but different than) going into massive debt. But instead of a direct financial debt, it will be a huge on-going management burden - one that could only be controlled with strong merger-centric leadership.

    History is full of merger failures due to culture clashes. I doubt Ballmer is the guy that can pull it off. My prediction - Ballmer be put in the twilight in 2 years or less. You heard it from me.

    • While I'm not impressed with a lot of the things that Bill Gates et al have done its hard to call a business with tens of billions of EXCESS dollars in the bank a "failure". If you do then I assume that GW, who is responsible for putting the US trillions of dollars into debt is a success? :-)
      • 1) A business can have excess in the bank and still be "failing." MS in particular has *always* made it a priority to save for future expansions (so a lot of that excess existed before pre-Ballmer). This means nothing if they can't turn profits *now.*

        2) GW isn't responsible for putting the US into debt. He is responsible for the huge *deficit* (a year-by-year total, currently in the high billions), and threatens to take existing debt to record highs, but the trillion-dollar-debt was more or less inherite
  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:20PM (#22301784) Homepage Journal
    Amazing, Microsoft bends the facts to suit their own need to screw the customer even harder than before..... More News At 11.
  • "LYING" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 04, 2008 @10:30PM (#22301864) Homepage Journal
    "Misleading"? "Factually incorrect"? Why will no one reporting on lies just come out and call them lies? By pulling these punches, the writers/editors/publishers are lying.

    There, I said it. And I feel better already for telling the truth.
    • by vldmr_krn (737)

      Why will no one reporting on lies just come out and call them lies?

      When you're saying someone is lying, you're accusing them of having a bad motive. Maybe this wasn't an attempt to deceive. If there's no earthly way for you to believe that, then others will draw the same conclusion.

      It's politeness and diplomacy. Understand it before you fight it.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Oh, it's easy to understand. Lying is when you say something you know is untrue. Microsoft's op-ed writers know what they're saying is untrue. "Motive" is a convention, a manner of speaking, that isn't as important as what facts and evidence can demonstrate. Microsoft's op-ed writers were lying. Failing to call it lying isn't "diplomacy", it's permissive cowardice.
        • by vldmr_krn (737)

          Oh, it's easy to understand. Lying is when you say something you know is untrue. Microsoft's op-ed writers know what they're saying is untrue. "Motive" is a convention, a manner of speaking, that isn't as important as what facts and evidence can demonstrate. Microsoft's op-ed writers were lying. Failing to call it lying isn't "diplomacy", it's permissive cowardice.

          And they would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you to point out that they were lying.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They probably don't say that because "lies" means that it was intentional while "misleading" and "factually incorrect" do not. While we can reasonably assume that the lying is intentional here in Slashdot comments, the reporter has a duty to distinguish between fact and speculation. Calling them liars conflates the two.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        It's easy to prove the op-ed writers know just as well as their critics in this story that their assertions are false. That's lying. It doesn't matter if their "intention" was to lie, so long as they knew they were saying in public something that was false.

        Besides, even "unintentional lying" is merely an oxymoron, not an actual contradiction. If you don't bother to see whether what you're saying is false, though you're responsible for doing so.
    • Yeah, probably. But Canadian libel laws are so harsh it's probably not worth taking the risk. They place the burden of proof on the defendant, who must demonstrate that the statement was true. IANAL.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Actually, I think that if someone says something in public that could damage the person they're talking about, then the burden of proof is on the person saying it. But simply citing the evidence that someone said something they knew was false, or that the subject willfully ignored the truth when speaking of it, when they say that person is lying, should constitute sufficient proof to dismiss any libel case. And to recover defense legal fees, as well as the ironically reverse damages for falsely accusing som
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      Because misleading and factually incorrect are what you call someone who doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to come right and out and lie to your face. It's not a compliment.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Microsoft had the guts to lie in this op-ed. It's the journalist covering it (and Slashdot repeating them) where the guts are lacking to call it "lying".

        That's how the lies live on. Because "not a compliment" is not a condemnation.
  • ive been around computers a long time 20 years , ive seen so many examples of software piricey thru the years ive seen software companys put protections on there software and just as fast people find a way around it ,no matter what laws are passed , there will always a way around things like that and as technology progresses so will the crackers methods
  • by vldmr_krn (737)
    First, the "Microsoft" article requires a subscription to read, meaning that very few people will read it and will know about it only through what an opponent said about it.

    Second, what is Microsoft's involvement with the original article, which was published by a Canadian political paper called "The Hill Times"?
  • Michal Geist started the Fair Copyright for Canada [facebook.com] Facebook group a few months ago, and it now has almost 40,000 members. Check it out, if you're Canadian and use Facebook.
    • Fair to who ...?

      Copyright should be fair to the consumer and the producer, it does not need to be fair to the distributer

      It is an anti-market, government condoned temporary monopoly to encourage innovation
          The DCMA (and the proposed Canadian equivilent) do not encourage innovation they encourage the established copyright holders to resell thier existing roducts again and again ....
  • I had fun tearing [rustybadger.com] this one apart. This lawyer type is so full of crap I bet his eyes are brown.
  • Seriously, as I've repeatedly said here and elsewhere, nobody at Microsoft authorized to talk to the public - and many who aren't - ever says or writes anything that isn't a lie.

    Microsoft does not sell software. They sell lies.

  • Microsoft Lie? Reporters Lie? Horsefeathers, I tell you. Never have there been more upstanding and Democratic institutions as these two entities.
    Keep fighting the good fight, Papa Bear!

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