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Canadian DOJ Warned About Unconstitutionality of Copyright Digital Lock Rules 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian House of Commons may have passed the Canadian DMCA, but the constitutional concerns with the copyright bill and its digital lock rules will likely linger for years. Michael Geist has obtained internal government documents that indicate that the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion warning about the potential for constitutional violations. The DOJ legal opinion warned of the need to link circumvention with copyright infringement and of the particular danger of not providing the blind with an exception. The Canadian law misses the mark on both counts with no link to infringement and an exception that blind groups say is 'nullified' by strict conditions."
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Canadian DOJ Warned About Unconstitutionality of Copyright Digital Lock Rules

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  • Dear Canada: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingSkippus (799657) on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:35PM (#40442863) Homepage Journal

    Dear Canada: (an open letter)

    As an American citizen, I know how bullying our government and corporations can be. Believe me, I am not any more happy about it than you are, and as a citizen with the power to vote, I really am diligently trying to change it from inside.

    That having been said, if you want to seriously stop being thought of as the 51st state (but a bit colder), there's going to have to come a time when you simply look the U.S. Department of Justice, the RIAA, and any other organization or company trying to steamroll you into making you more like us in the eye and say, "No." It's okay, really! Those of us who hate certain aspects of our government would actually cheer you on, and it might actually effect some change here when our government and citizens realize how ridiculous some of these demands are.

    Wishing you all the best,
    King Skippus

    • Of course, re-reading the summary, I am now thinking that it is referring to the Canadian Department of Justice, not the U.S. one. Sorry, but really, my post still applies since I'm pretty sure all of this has come about due to the influence of the RIAA/MPAA. This whole mess could have been avoided if Canada had stood up for its independence back when its version of the DMCA was passed by the House of Commons.

      To be honest, I was a bit confused why our Department of Justice would be sending love letters to

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a Canadian, thank you for your support. I too feel our Government has become a puppet of US (both Government and corporations). But then again I remember back to the mid 80's, when I really started paying attention to politics, and Brian Mulroney was really only a puppet of then Ronald Reagan. So really nothing has changed. Can it change? Sure anything is possible. Will it change? Probably not.

      We'll keep trying to change our ways. Thanks again for your support of the 51st state. We're not just a

      • Well, it has changed; back when Mulroney was in power, he actually got a Majority vote to push US policies through parliament.... Harper has somehiow managed to roll a majority government with the majority of voters voting against him. Part of his platform was that he would push US policies through parliament... and the country said "no". Now we have to ask him to change the voting laws in order to get him out of power.

        Good thing the Green Party is gaining popularity and skill.... although next election

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Harper has somehiow managed to roll a majority government with the majority of voters voting against him.

          Actually, given Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system, combined with having multiple parties with significant voter support, most (all?) of Canada’s federal majority governments have been formed with less than a majority of the popular vote, sometimes as little as one third of the total vote.

          I seem to recall that Harper’s current government is at or close to the record for a majority government with the lowest popular vote. When you take into account the number of people who didn

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      We the Sheeple of Canada (Baaah),

      Are much too polite to complain about our coming incarceration for doing what we do everyday, today.

      Only once our hockey and favourite coffee are illegal will we rise from our couches and build pitch forks and torches, only to wonder what to do with them.

      Until then, there's a Kardashian spectacle on TV...
      (Baaahhh!)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mashiki (184564)

        Hockey and the internet are the only thing people in Canada really care about. Maybe poutine, if they're in the mood for it. I kid, though you seem to forget that "Canadians" shut down the country in 1981 over wage and price controls instituted by the-then liberals(Whoo Trudeau) in power. If you think that we're still too polite to "sit back and not complain" then you know far too little about our own history. Let's not forget either more recently that we've managed to buckle various government agencies

        • by tiegs (579468)

          I kid, though you seem to forget that "Canadians" shut down the country in 1981 over wage and price controls instituted by the-then liberals(Whoo Trudeau) in power

          What are you talking about? Wage and Price Controls were from 1975 to 1978, long over by 1981. And Canadians did a lot of bitching and moaning during that time, but they sure did not "shut down the country." The Trudeau government implemented the controls for three years, just like they planned from the start. The controversy did not make the government change its course.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      I know how bullying our government and corporations can be.

      You ain't seen nothing yet.
      - Mitt

    • by digitig (1056110)

      That having been said, if you want to seriously stop being thought of as the 51st state (but a bit colder)

      Colder than Alaska? I'd call it a tie.

    • Dear American,

      Our government doesn't give a flying fuck, the papers don't really report on news like this and no one is willing to push back. So here we are getting fucked in the ass. Which is really strange as Canada is built on immigration and the same people who escaped their corrupt gov don't seem to really want to to anything about our sovereignty being invaded by US interests.

      You see its easier for the US to go after countries like Canada one by one as we are alone unlike the EU countries where they c

      • by J Story (30227)

        Dear American,

        Our government doesn't give a flying fuck, the papers don't really report on news like this and no one is willing to push back. So here we are getting fucked in the ass. Which is really strange as Canada is built on immigration and the same people who escaped their corrupt gov don't seem to really want to to anything about our sovereignty being invaded by US interests.

        You see its easier for the US to go after countries like Canada one by one as we are alone unlike the EU countries where they can band together and stay off the invasion.

        Regards,
        The guy who is building his stash of guns.

        I doubt that the Liberals, if they were the governing party now, would be doing much different. Canada's interest in diversifying trade with countries other than the US did not begin with the current Conservative government, but has gone back decades. The stark fact, however, is that geography and our common heritage mean that the US is destined to always be Canada's primary trading partner. As a result, Canada often has little choice but to accommodate the ravings that come from Washington/Hollywood. In th

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for the advice, but we, the citizens of Canada, have already made it clear -- repeatedly -- to our government that we really, really don't want this kind of crap and that they shouldn't bow to the demands of US corporate interests. Unfortunately, our current government managed to acquire a majority position (*cough* voting irregularities *cough*) so are in a position to not give a rat's ass what the citizenry want.

    • Re:Dear Canada: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:47PM (#40444105) Homepage Journal

      To get into the trade "club", we have to give things up that we consider inalienable. Rock, meet hard place.

      As the government of the day is more concerned with trade and less with issues of care/harm, they chose the rock.

      A wise government would chose neither, but instead move the subject sideways to a place where both trade and rights are honoured. For example, they could honour DRM only if the company held a Canadian copyright, and agreed to make excerpts available, for a nominal fee, whenever the use was legal in Canada.

      For an example of a seriously wise move, have look at Politicians need courage to dismantle supply management [theglobeandmail.com] by Martha Hall Findlay

      --dave
      ps: Martha is my former MP

      • by J Story (30227)

        To get into the trade "club", we have to give things up that we consider inalienable. Rock, meet hard place.

        ...

        For an example of a seriously wise move, have look at Politicians need courage to dismantle supply management [theglobeandmail.com] by Martha Hall Findlay

        I had taken this argument by Ms. Findlay (a former Liberal Member of Parliament) as "permission" of sorts for the current governing Conservative party to use dairy supply management as a bargaining chip in trade talks. She has apparently expressed interest in becoming leader of the Liberal party, and if she tries and succeeds, she will be able to beat up the Conservatives on the details of trade concessions, but not on the broad concept.

        • by davecb (6526)

          In fact, she proposes that supply management, supported by her own party, is badly broken and needs to be fixed. One of the side-effects was to cause massive consolidation in the industry, displacing individual farmers. A second was to make Canada look like it wasn't playing fair in international trade, her area of expertise. A third was to drive up the cost of milk.

          The PR benefits, alas, go the the government of the day. The real benefits go to the dairy farmers, who also get a reduction in the cost of (

    • Re:Dear Canada: (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:10PM (#40444455)

      Skippus, the current government we have up here was elected by fraudulent means.

      They're actively blocking the investigation into voter oppression with the line "They should have filed the complaint before they found out about the fraud!" [www.cbc.ca] The head investigator into the biggest case of voter oppression had his budget cut by seven million dollars and was forced into early retirement last week. [nationalpost.com] A recent court decision found that fraudulent votes for a CPC candidate were greater than the difference, forcing a by-election. [680news.com]

      Several senior members of the government are under investigation for election fraud, including the head of the Ethics Committee. [nationalpost.com]

      The party has plead guilty to breaking election law in the last three elections, and responded by appointing those that did the fraud into Senate positions. (Our senate is appointed for life!) [canada.com]

      The 80% of us that did NOT vote for the current bag of asshats are waiting patiently for the investigations to conclude. Stewie's lucky it's not the US or he'd be leaving Parliament Hill in a custom-fitted pine suit.

      I am mad enough to riot and drag people bodily from the Hill.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > I am mad enough to riot and drag people bodily from the Hill.

        I doubt it, since you aren't currently doing that. ...which is exactly what politicians on both sides of the border hope for: Whine and bitch yourself blue in the keyboard, but in the end, do absolutely nothing. Even with all that Occupy business (remember that?) nothing's changed.

      • "Skippus, the current government we have up here was elected by fraudulent means."

        Great headline, if only it were true.

        For the sake of argument let's say the claims (and that is all they are) turned out to be true. How many fewer seats would the government have? Enough that it wouldn't have formed the government? No.

        Your guys lost. It happens. Get over it.

    • Re:Dear Canada: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by steelfood (895457) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:16PM (#40444549)

      Unfortunately, what you're not seeing is that there's a huge "content" industry in Canada. American production companies like to go to Canada to make their films. Said production companies would threaten to leave if they didn't get their way.

      What the Canadian government doesn't see is that these companies don't really have anywhere else to go.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    drunk with their own power. Under Harper, they will find a way to end the career of any civil servant ... or judge I'm sure ... that dares makes any ruling they don't like. They certainly aren't worried about the Canadian Constitution.
    Canada has been trailing the USA for years ... but it finally caught up and showed it could have a government that makes the Bush Administration look honest, caring, and competent.

  • I wonder what would happen if I showed up at a police station with a CSS-protected movie DVD (exhibit 1), an iPod (exhibit 2), showed the duty offer the same format-converted movie on the iPod, and cited the relevant section of the new copyright law prohibiting circumvention of "digital locks"? Would they charge me or laugh me out of the station?

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:54PM (#40444219) Homepage

    the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion warning about the potential for constitutional violations.

    Quick pro-tip, Canada: You're supposed to stuff your DoJ with ex-RIAA lawyers [tomsguide.com], then you won't have that problem.

    • One of the saner parts of our system is that DoJ-stuffing is significantly more difficult here. Senate stuffing, on the other hand, is trivially easy, and they keep the position for life (which does limit the windows in which the stuffing can take place -- or limits the life expectancy of Senators).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You know.. this has me wondering if they did it on purpose.. The rest of the law is pretty fair, it's just that one clause that really ruins it, but IF they knew ahead of time it couldn't withstand a constitutional challenge, could it be they added it to appease the US long enough to gain entry into the TPP knowing that clause would eventually fail a challenge and we would end up with the law we wanted??

    • You think a motley collection of onion farmers are that sophisticated? The PM is a low functioning retard and his cabinet cannot reach that bar. The sleazy group that give them their marching orders - the little shits - are not so stupid, but they are blind with greed.
      No, they blew the jizz out of their noses, collected their booty and moved on. Mercifully, the work of decent minds from the past will undo this crap; but not until many have suffered.
      Demagoguery - the strategy of cowards - has been unde

  • by 6Yankee (597075) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @07:41AM (#40450739)

    Would that be the DMC, eh?

  • Maybe we need this to fail big time, and I mean a big serious failure on Harper's administration and the fed gov so that when they let it go and cancel the whole thing, they wont touch it until someone (or something) makes sense with this type of law.

    It's the same as saying that you need to fail to succeed in your later attempts

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