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DMCA Worldwide: Canada, New Zealand, USA 248

cdlu writes: "Citing the need for up-to-date digital copyright laws, the Canadian government is starting hearings into our own version of the US's DMCA. Do you still wonder why people protest at the G-8 and other such summits?" Meanwhile, New Zealand is also planning to reform its copyright laws to include DMCA-like restrictions, and in the USA, Congress is planning to double the number of FBI agents and Federal attorneys devoted to pursuing copyright cases.
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DMCA Worldwide: Canada, New Zealand, USA

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Western Europe (the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany in particular) has a much higher level of personal freedom than is accorded "

    Eh? Atleast sweden is a VERY unfree country.

    1: The government had monopoly over land based tv and radio until the early 90's. The secret police (sapo) decided who should be allowed to work there (and therefore influense all its viewers), they also fired anyone drifting away from the correct "truth" (socialist truth that is).The only free land-based TV (tv4) always gets into trouble with the government every time they highlighs something bad the government has done (except pointing out shortcomings in the welfare system, this they do like since they can increase taxes because of it).

    Only after satelite-based tv and cable became popular they let go of this, many politicials was against it until the end.

    Unlike countries where censorship is visible (by black boxes in papers etc) the swedish way is that censorship should exists but the pulic should not be aware of it.

    2: The government has stolen property from it's own citizens numberous of times.

    Sometimes large-scale like then the unions with help from the government basically stole money from companies that they said made "overprofits". This was called lontagarfonder. Observe that this was money that those companies had paid full taxes on and now was private property.

    Sometimes small-scale like the enormous amount of complaints about government abuses to the EU. Sweden is actually one of the countries in the world with most abuses by the government.
    Those abuses are normally either theft, there the government takes peoples money, claiming that those people has done something wrong (like avoided paying full taxes) WITHOUT evidence or in some cases even without anything at all indicating this (this is illegal in international agreements). The other example is that lack of respect for the juridical system. Only legitim courts should have the power to punish people, the accused one should have a lawyer, certain rights etc. In sweden the government agencies often don't give a damn about the courts and punish people on their own.

    Did I understand you correctly, you did call this freedom????
  • by DG ( 989 )
    Ladies and Gentleman of the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate,

    I cannot find words that describe my relief upon discovering that you are seeking public comment on the issues of Intellectual Property and Copyright in the digital age before going forth and making a law similar to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as it exists in the United States. This means there is still time to affect the law-making process, to prevent such a travesty of justice being imposed upon the Canadian citizenry.

    It is far, far better to prevent a bad law from coming into existence than to have it struck down after the fact.

    The issue here is that undoubtedly the majority of opinion that has been reaching your forum has been sponsored by the people with the most to lose, those being the movers and shakers in the music and entertainment industries - and perhaps more to the point, the people involved with the distribution and sale of pre-packaged entertainment media. These "middlemen" have made their fortunes profiting off an artificial limitation in the way that content is distributed from artist to audience (please note that I did not say "consumer"!) and now that technology has arrived that threatens their business model, they are pulling out all the stops seeking legislative protection for their cash cow,

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the automobile has been invented, and the representatives of the buggy-whip industry are before you seeking legislation to have the "horseless carriage" banned, lest the country (which we all know rests on the pillars of the horse-drawn carriage industry) collapse all around us. No doubt the people profiting from the sale of so-called "Intellectual Property" are describing the threat digital media poses to them in all manner of apocalyptic language.

    Allow me then, please, to raise a voice in defense of the "consumer".

    We have reached a new height in the course of human civilization, in that the duplication and dissemination of information and knowledge has never been easier or cheaper. Consider the Middle Ages, before the development of the printing press, where every book extant had to be laboriously copied out by hand. The vast majority of humanity was illiterate and uneducated, not because people were stupider, but because the rate of production of literary material was so slow that demand far outstripped supply.

    Furthermore, because the number of books was so small, it was entirely possible that the knowledge contained within them could be lost if all existing copies were destroyed - either by misadventure, or by purposeful suppression by those who disliked the views expressed in them.

    As time went on, and as the printing press, moveable type, and industrial paper production were developed, this became less and less true. Costs came down, availability came up, and books (and eventually audio recordings, and then video recordings) became more and more widespread. Along with this came a better informed, more educated public.

    We are now at the point where perfect copies of information - be they the written word, music, movies, or even computer software - can be made at zero cost, and the cost of distribution is near-zero as well. Any piece of human knowledge can be duplicated and published to any other human on the planet nearly instantly and with NO COST.

    It's worth taking a look at that statement "no cost", as I'm sure that those profiting off the current laws will take objection to it. When one has a digital copy of a work, it exists only as a number. There is no physical media associated with it - the supply of numbers is infinite. Thus, producing a copy consumes no resources (aside from the trivial amount of electric power needed to keep the computer operating) More importantly, the act of producing the copy does not degrade or reduce the original in any manner whatsoever, and the copy, being perfect, can also be used to produce other perfect copies. Note that at no time does the act of producing and publishing a copy deny the work to anybody - so nobody is "hurt" in the process. When I choose to provide a copy to someone else, my personal copy is unaffected. This, coupled with the ease of producing the copy, produces a strong motivation to share with others.

    One might argue that the middleman who sold the original work is being "hurt", by being denied sales of the information being duplicated. But nowhere in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, nor in the Constitution of Canada, is it written anywhere that people - or corporations - have the fundamental right to make money. If I buy a watermelon at the supermarket, it is mine to do with as I wish. If I choose to extract the seeds and grow them (thus denying a watermelon farmer and a grocery store the sales my future watermelon needs would produce) nothing wrong or illegal has taken place. Furthermore, if I decide to give away (or even sell!) my surplus watermelons, raised from those initial seeds (thus compounding the loss of watermelon sales) this is regarded as an act of altruism on my part, not an act of theft against the watermelon farmer. Why should digital data be any different than watermelons?

    Ladies and gentleman, it is not the place of the Government of Canada to enforce business models, especially BROKEN business models. If people have decided to sell a product that is easily duplicated and given away for free, that is their problem, not the Government's. A high-profile attempt at selling pet food over the Internet failed recently - should Pets.com have sought legislation requiring that the sales of pet food at the local depanneur be halted, in order that they be able to make money? Should the automobile have been banned to support the buggy-whip industry?

    But most importantly, there is a very real and dangerous cost that accompanies the attempt to enforce copyright law as it now stands in a digital world, a cost that our neighbors to the south are just now discovering - they having made the law before working out the repercussions. This is the REAL danger a law like the DMCA entails. Not that the entertainment industry might loose money, but that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the public are invaded and raped in order to satisfy the desires of corporations. Real people, in real prisons, for the heinous crime of providing duplicates of information to their friends!

    If a law like the DCMA is passed in Canada, then the simple act of copying a file and providing that copy to someone else becomes a crime. In order to enforce the law, it will require a level of monitoring of ordinary citizens that put George Owell's most paranoid works beyond the pale. Any company will be able to make a claim that their copyrights are being infringed, and the police will swoop in, confiscate computers, and send people to jail.

    If that sounds like the melodramatic claims of a Chicken Little, consider that it has already happened in the US

    Adobe Software (of California) produces a product called an "e-book" This is exactly what it sounds like, an electronic representation of a book. In order to help alley the fears of the publishing houses, Adobe's product encrypts the data in such a way as to (notionally) prevent copies from being made, and in fact, attempts to tie the data to a specific computer.

    In Russia, there exists a law that states that people are entitled to make copies of computer software and data for their own use - I believe this is to allow archiving and backup of one's computer programs. Adobe's e-book software violated this law, so an enterprising Russian computer firm reverse-engineered the encryption format on the e-books, and wrote a program that converted an e-book to a more standard, copyable format, so that Russian citizens might have access to their legal copies. The program in question was sold to Russians, and under Russian law, was totally legal and legitimate.

    Adobe was not particularly happy about this development. So when the principle programmer for this product arrived in the US for a conference (in which he made a presentation describing how the decryption of an e-book may be accomplished) Adobe had him arrested under the terms of the DCMA preventing "circumvention of a digital copy protection scheme" He was taken directly to jail, where he is being held on felony charges _without bail_. He is still there, awaiting trial.

    Imagine if the Soviet Union (back when the Soviet Union still existed) had made playing hockey illegal. Imagine Wayne Gretsky visiting the USSR to give a presentation on how to play hockey, and being arrested and thrown in jail, held without bail until his trial. This situation is exactly parallel to what has happened in the "Home of the Free" down south - and the irony of the person being detained by the oppressive state being a citizen of the former "Evil Empire" I trust is not lost on you.

    I'm certain that we'll be seeing more examples of this Orwellian behavior in the future. The Americans have passed a law that places corporate interests over the liberties and freedoms of the people, and in order to enforce that law, liberties and freedoms must be trampled.

    I would strongly dispute any claims made by the "IP Industries" that they are in any danger - in fact, there was strong evidence that increased exposure to new music via Napster was resulting in _increased_ music sales, not decreased sales, despite what the RIAA has claimed. But even if Napster et al was the kiss of death for the music industry, even if it resulted in the total collapse of that entire segment of the economy (the ultimate Chicken Little Scenario) is preventing that worth the cost to liberty and freedom? Do we want to create a police state in order that Sony Music may make money? Is the bottom line of Paramount Pictures so important, that we would send people they dislike to jail?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I am not exaggerating the scope of this decision. It is within your power to either support the greatest blossoming of education and literacy in human history, or to start the descent of Canada into a police state. That is what is at stake here. I served my country for one third of my life in order to protect it (as we thought at the time) from threats from a police state. Please do not undo my sacrifice by handing the country to those who would see progress and freedom stifled for their own purposes and profit.

    Thank you for this opportunity to present my view. Rest assured that I am not the only one with this opinion, and that I hope others choose to speak up an express it.



  • For the same reason that you pay EI on your paycheque even if you never collect it, the same reason that you pay for health care even if you only go for a check-up once every year, and the same reason you pay GST and (unless you're Albertan) PST.
    But these are, I assume, some form of insurance - they benefit the population, they do not make the assumption that if you buy a CDR you should be assumed to be using it for illegal purposes (despite a multitude of legal uses for CDRs).

    This is the worst kind of kludge, it tries to paper over the massive cracks in copyright law by imposing an arbitrary tax on users of CDRs. Who will be taxed next? Perhaps all computers - they can be used for piracy. Perhaps cars? People can sit in their cars and listen to pirated music. Before long, the government will be paying SOCAN directly out of taxpayer's pockets.


  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:25AM (#2186472) Homepage Journal
    For example, currently all CDR sales are taxed, with the proceeds going to copyright holders. Of course, the real question is who gets the money, who wants to bet that it goes straight to the RIAA or a similar organisation which, no doubt, ensures that the little-guy gets his fair share </sarcasm>

    This idea is laughably broken - and anti-capitalist - what is next? Perhaps they will tax walking and give those taxes to Exxon, after all, it hurts oil companies when people don't drive.

    Why should someone who uses CDRs for, say, duplicating software such as Linux, have to pay money into the coffers of the record industry?

    Where is the competition that is supposed to drive capitalism when companies are being paid directly from government imposed tarrifs?


  • Yes, I know. But he'll still whine. :)
  • by Glytch ( 4881 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:33AM (#2186475)
    It's not so bad, when you allow for the fact that the media up here will cheerfully crucify any politician who shows any weakness. Witness Stockwell Day.

    Also, our ruling party, the Liberals (who are actually conservatives) doesn't have that big a majority in Parliament. If the four opposition parties ever get their act together, and if some Liberals vote against their party, the opposition could defeat the government's bill.


    But the Bloc will just argue over what the bill gives to Quebec, the Alliance will continue to commit suicide, the NDP will give very eloquent speeches but will end up making no difference at all, the Conservatives (who may or may not be conservatives, depending on whether their flipped heads or tails that morning) will do nothing, and John Nunziatta will whine.

    And the bill will go through, and Teflon Jean will get away with everything.

    Hey, kids! Let's play "guess which of the opposition parties the poster is a bitter member of!"
  • Oh yeah, silly me... So that's why DVD's cost about 50% more in the UK than they do in the States.

    Or because of VAT taxes, import duties, the high cost of doing business in general...

    According to my expat coworkers, EVERYTHING is more expensive in the UK. They'll typically buy computer gear here before returning home, just a few small items that'll make it through customs.

    Not that I'm excusing the asinine DVD regional encoding scheme, but hey, it was designed by Hollywood liberal control freaks :-).
  • And note, too, that we got put over the barrel with that stupid g.d. CDR surtax. Here I am, paying a fair fucking chunk of money to benefit Celine Dion, when all my CDRs are used for backing up my hard drive.

    Yes, there was a fairly sizable community protest against this stupid surtax. Tens of thousands of computer users wrote in saying that they use CDs for data, and that they weren't happy to get screwed over with a surtax.

    But the government implemented it anyway. Because, you know, the consumer simply *must* finance big business. God knows Celine needs my money.

  • Why should someone who uses CDRs for, say, duplicating software such as Linux, have to pay money into the coffers of the record industry?

    For the same reason that you pay EI on your paycheque even if you never collect it, the same reason that you pay for health care even if you only go for a check-up once every year, and the same reason you pay GST and (unless you're Albertan) PST.

    Canada is not 'all hail the gods of capitalism', it is a (mostly-)socialist-democracy. We're all in this together, like.

    Besides, I look at it as a good thing. If I buy a music CD-R, I pay a hefty price (all things considered) for 'blank media tax', which goes to 'the artists' (just like the $15 I spend on a music CD goes to 'the artists').

    Logically then, one can argue that I'm paying the music companies just like I'm paying the health care system. Ergo, just like I can walk into a hospital whenever I want and not worry because I've paid already, I don't have any moral dilemmas downloading soem BNL, Captain Tractor, Shania Twain (for example), and burning a 'dance mix' CD.

    I don't buy 100-CD spindles of CDs and burn/sell them, but I don't bat an eye when I want a miscellany CD of songs, even if I haven't purchased them. They're getting my money, and your money, and everyone else's money already. If you want to burn a CD, we've all paid for you already, so go hog-wild. You can even use my share, since I never do.

  • Violation of the Vienna Convention

    A Mexican national, Miguel Angel Flores, was executed in Texas on 9 November, despite appeals for clemency from the Mexican and other governments. He was denied his treaty-based consular rights, as were most of the 90 foreign nationals on death row in the USA. In November, the International Court of Justice in The Hague heard arguments in a case brought against the USA by Germany following the execution of two German nationals in Arizona in 1999. The Court had not issued a ruling by the end of 2000.

    This is from the Amnesty International 2001 World Report [amnesty.org], the section on the U.S.

  • The vote in the Senate was unanimous (the one abstention was not physically present) and the vote in the House was a voice vote; there is no record who which representative voted which way.

    Nice, huh?

    Jay (=
  • ...while Japan for various cultural regions isn't a bastion of democracy...

    Ugh! I need to proofread better. The above should read

    While Japan, for various cultural reasons isn't a bastion of personal freedom,it remains a democracy ...

  • Unfortunately the inexepensive whores we elected to office and their clients, the RIAA, MPAA, and various other Copyright Cartels and Information Barons are not stupid. Anyone with even a modicum of foresight can see the brain drain that is looming on the horizon for the United States as the Copyright Cartels and their lackeys, the United States Government, get down to strictly and ubiquitiously enforcing a law which defines criminality so widely that nearly every citizen is in some respect "guilty" and bans common (and necessary) engineering practices such as reverse engineering.

    In a relatively "free" market situation those most threatened, in this case programmers, software engineers, and security experts, would simply take their expertise elsewhere (Europe, Australia, or Latin America for example) until the United States feels the economic pinch of having no one willing to take the risk of writing software within its borders and mends its way.

    These Cartels are worldwide, and their influence is really unmatched by anyone. The Disneys, Time-Warners, and Bertelsmanns of the world had the entire industrialized world on the brink of opening a trade war with China over copyright violations ... an action that might have led to actual military conflict had China not backed down, and something which entailed economic risks for the west which were completely out of proportion to the "damage" being done by such violations.

    They are using this influece to strike pre-emptively, to get the whole G8 world on board before a brain drain of this kind can occur. What good does it do me, or anyone else, to give up one's comfortable life and flee the potential of having the FBI break down my door and imprison me for, say, having recorded music digitally off the radio or having downloaded MP3s if, by moving, I simply trade one set of thugs for another?

    If the laws are similar everywhere, nothing is disrupted, there is no brain drain, the United States never feels the natural consiquences of what they've done, and any pressures to reform the law or put an end to the Ludditesque witch hunts which have followed are neatly defused.

    I fear that the future is quite ugly for all intelligent, free thinking people everywhere.
  • The US can never "qualify for 'third world' status" by definition.

    I am quite aware of the etemology of "first," "second," and "third world." Yes, it dates back to the cold war when the "first world" was defined as the West, NATO in particular, the "second world" as the communist portion of the globe, and the "third world" was everyone else.

    With the end of the cold war these definitions became largely defunct, so much so that the usage of the term "second world" has all but vanished from the language. In common colloquial usage the term "first world" has come to apply to those nations which are prosperous, which have a high standard of living and are generally democratic. The term "third world" has come to largely apply to those nations which are impoverished (even Russia is often referred to as a "third world" country these days, in direct contrast to the earlier, cold war meaning of the term).

    You may play whatever semantic games you wish and apply obsolete definitions to the colloquial terms I used when making my point, in order to obfuscate the facts and opinions I presented, but the fact remains that, aside from our wealth, in virtually every other respect and by virtually every other measure the United States has far more in common with Mexico, Brazil, and Turkey than it does with Australia, Holland, Denmark, France, or Germany.
  • Out of curiousity, where do you rank Canada in your comparison? On the one hand, we have to kiss some ass to the USA below us... but we have (had in Alberta) good access to healthcare, school, etc.

    Since I haven't spent any significant time in Canada I couldn't really say, although my impression is that it has more in common with Europe WRT health care and basic social services than with the United States.

    You would probably be better able to characterize Canada than I ... I am merely trying to point out that the United States, contrary to very widespread myth among our population, isn't the be-all, end-all "first world" country we all like to think. Quite the contrary, we have in the last two decades become very "third world" in a number of important respects. Give us one good depression (read: loss of wealth among the middle class) and we'll be very "third world" in fact and in name, little different from any number of "banana repulbics" we so like to look down our noses at.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:59AM (#2186493)
    Did you forget the sarcasm tags or do you really feel that way about our country? Calm down.

    Having lived in the United States most of my life (including the last 8 years or so), and having lived for many years elsewhere (including Europe and Japan), and having travelled around the entire globe on two seperate occasions, I am under no illusion whatsoever that our country is the "freest" country on Earth: it isn't by a very long shot. Nor is it the worst place on earth.

    It does, however, have much more in common with most "third world" countries I have visited than with the democracies of western Europe or even Japan. Western Europe (the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Germany in particular) has a much higher level of personal freedom than is accorded Americans by our government, and while Japan for various cultural regions isn't a bastion of democracy, it joins western Europe in providing basic amenities to all of its citizens (that dirty word "socialism" again).

    The squalor one sees in the major cities of the Unites States (including tens of miles of it not too far south of my own home in Chicago) is matched only in places like Delhi, Mexico City, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, and the like. Not by Tokyo, not by Berlin, not by Paris, not even by London.

    Corruption? Yes, it exists everywhere, but not with the flagrance of the United States. Again, to come close to matching the kind of things one sees here, such as the DMCA and dissappearance of engineers who upset large corporations, you must travel to places like Indonesia, El Salvador, and Russia.

    The only thing keeping the United States out of the list of "third world" nations is our raw wealth, 98 per cent of which is controlled by less than 1 per cent of our population.

    Factor in human rights, political corruption, environmental policies and by many people's reconing the United States would already qualify for third world status, our notorious wealth notwithstanding.

    "Calm down." Good Lord, that is what Americans have been doing for over thirty years, and that is why we have become fat, slothful, and too lazy to even consider speaking out to defend our own basic rights, much less the rights of foreign visitors taken into custody by our own, home grown, secret police, and then held incommunicado for days, weeks, months, sometimes years, and in at least one instance executed in direct violation of international norms and the Geneva Convention without having ever been allowed to speak with his consulate.

    Don't believe me? Do some research. The information is there, it just isn't being spoon fed to you on the evening news by Dan Rather.

    Once you've informed yourself a little bit I suggest you get out and see a some of the world outside of this one country you seem to place so much blind faith and trust in (and no, the hotel room, the lobby, the taxi, and the office of your branch office in Madrid don't count, any more than they would if that were all you'd seen of the United States. Then again, perhaps it is that very deficiency which prompted your knee-jerk reaction to my earlier post. Or perhaps it hit a nerve, being so close to home.)
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:30PM (#2186494)
    ... why the interests of major worlds governments and the Copyright Cartels coincide so well. Copyright provides the perfect ammunition for laying seige to the Internet and reigning in its most troublesom aspects, namely the freedom of information and the ability of people to speak out and be heard.

    I wasn't aware of their behaviour myself until the mid 90s when I got access to the internet and got some perspective from other media than the swedish state controlled. I was very uninterrested in politics before this.

    And they want your bitch ass back on the couch absorbing their spoon-fed message, not ferreting out uncomfortable truths and engaging in public discourse that could upset their applecart, expose their corruption and cost them an election (or a government). [Sorry for the harsh verbiage, but I'm trying to underscore what I think the real motive behind our governments' willingness to sell out our individual freedoms and rights to a bunch of Copyright protectionists is, namely to disempower those who have been so empowered by the internet. Copyright violators aren't the real target ... troublesom people who speak out and are heard on the net are, as are the tens of thousands of otherwise ignorant people they inform and enlighten.]

    We Americans are indoctrinated from childhood with the mantra "ours is the best nation on earth, there is no place where one can be as free as here in America" and so forth. It is shocking and disturbing to an American the first time we are abroad for any length of time and are forced to either live in blatent denial of the world around us or to acknowledge that, in comparison to most prosperous, industrialized countries we aren't very free at all, and that (aside from cheap living space because of the size of our land) our economic lives really aren't any better than those of many people who live elsewhere and have, on top of that, access to medical care and insurance a good 40% of our working people do not.

    Just as you were shocked to discover your government's ill behavior in the 70s (and I would take that coverage with a grain of salt. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but do recall the anti-communist hysteria of the west at the time and consider the "spin" put on those events might well be exaggerating the event, perhaps out of proportion with what happened), others have been shocked and roused to public action as a result of things they have learned outside of the corporate media that has been spoon feeding us these pleasant lies for so long.

    The last thing these governments want is for the majority of people to have access to this information, to become interested and active in politics as a result. Their comfortable lives and bases of power are thus threatened. Is it really any wonder they tried to destroy speech on the internet through the guise of "fighting pornography" and, when the Supreme Court shot that down, have turned to the much more potent and virulant notion of "copyright infringement" instead, criminalizing what for the previous two centuries had always been a civil offense and then forming task forces within our secret police (FBI) to prosecute such cases?
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:31AM (#2186495)
    Now it has turned out that I'll be doing my post-doctorate studies in the US next year and the Sklyarov case got me thinking if I might be in trouble because of my DeCSS mirroring. After all the MPAA lawyers argued that I was in breach of DCMA.

    Why on earth would you do something so foolish as to come to the United States, particularly after Dmitry Sklyarov has disappeared into our Gulag for violating the very same law?

    Any ideas?

    Yes. Go somewhere else to do your graduate work. Do not risk imprisonment in the United States ... unlike most civilized countries we are very bad about letting foreign nationals see their consulates or government representatives (we have even executed people without ever granting them this right, which is supposedly guaranteed by the Geneva Convention). We may be wealthy, but in most respects we are very much a third world nation, one whose corrupt politicians now have it in for programmers and free speech proponents such as yourself.

    Unless you would like to become another martyr for the disappearing liberties of a fat and lazy people who couldn't be bothered to care for themselves, much less some foreigh "troublemaker," I would strongly suggest finding a less oppressive country in which to study and not take the risk.
  • They started in the mid 70's and was continuing to the early 90's and then got a bit better. There are however still abuses.

    I'm not relying on foreign media, those just made me discover the whole thing. There are lots of information from independent sources in the country if you just search good enough.

    That is one of the beauties of the internet, and the primary motivation I suspect for the comming "War on Copyright Infringement." In an environment where ISPs are compelled under legal and financial threat to remove any offending material at the merest assertion that it might be infringing on someone's copyright, censorship by governments and corporate intersts will go from "impossible" (remember "the internet routes around censorship" soundbite of a few years ago?) to being trivial.

    Now, thanks to the DMCA, if they really want to get you (rather than merely silencing your voice on the 'net) they can arrest you on criminal charges for copyright violations (for the first time in our nation's history! Prior to the DMCA one could only be sued for copyright infringement, never arrested. There has always been a tension between copyright and freedom of speech ... now there is no tension, because the DMCA, by exploiting a semantic bug in the US Constitution, has guaranteed copyright enforcement through criminal law at the absolute expense of freedom of speech. Copyright is now paramount, and any freedom of speech you might have had comes in a distant second.)

    What, you say you didn't violate anyone's copyright, you merely posted information emberrassing or irritating to [insert your favorite Government or Corporation here]? When the evidence is an electronicly stored file, planting it is trivial. Indeed, manufacturing whatever evidence the Feds want to manufacture, for whatever purposes, is trivial. How on earth can you prove that that Metallica MP3 wasn't on your hard drive until after the Feds shut down your anti-FBI site, for example? It comes down to your word against their's, and unfortunately, here in the United States, people are very strongly conditioned to believe the word of a well groomed FBI agent over that of a "radical" "hacker" (well groomed or otherwise). What do you think all those Hollywood action films have been indoctrinating us with all those years?

    It is interesting your government ceased its wholesale theft in the early nineties. Wasn't that about the time the internet came into widespread use and information began flowing freely as never before? Perhaps merely a coincidence, but if so, an interesting one.
  • I'm a Canadian, this time I can make my voice heard. Err, I mean I can help kill some trees by putting it in writing.

    As has been pointed out on many occasions, snail mail is the only thing that gets through to a pol. I guess this is because the letter actually lands on their desk, they have to account for it, respond to it, file it, whatever. Then they have to think, "hey, if this insect^H^H^H^H^H person feels strongly enough to write me a letter, what might they feel like doing in the next election?"

    Would somebody be so kind as to supply some addresses?

  • Don't do it. I mean this very seriously, and I speak as a U.S. citizen who is so disappointed to see my nation deliberately turning away from the encouragement of science and technology. There is no way to predict what will happen in the future, but I wouldn't risk it until some changes to the U.S. law occur. I would hate to see anyone else go through the same sort of prosecution as Mr. Sklyarov in the U.S. courts, especially if it could have been avoided somehow.

    And if you decide not to take the risk, make sure you let your U.S.-based university know the reasons that you've made this decision. Maybe that will lead the U.S. to understand the true consequences of this law.

    I can understand your situation a little - for example, I wouldn't seriously consider traveling to China in the near future, mostly because of comments about the Chinese government I've made in the past online. Unfortunately, the quantity of liberty in the western world seems to be diminishing at just the time that we're trying to encourage the birth of liberty in the East.

    Remember: it's a "Microsoft virus", not an "email virus",

  • Much as we may hate the idea, copyright is a part of the way the world currently works.

    All problems in the world are "part of the way the world currently works." That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix any of them.

    The existing laws were written before they had any idea of what computers would one day be capable of. Updating them to include [to the same degree of fairness] digital forms only makes sense. Otherwise you are left with unequal protection, depending on the media.

    First of all, DMCA does not simply extend copyright on software to the same degree that it previously existed for books. It has never before been illegal to make devices that could be used to circumvent copyrights on books, much less restricting devices that just allowed fair use. Remember, in the United States, at least, copyright is exists soley for the purpose of promoting science and the useful arts. Essentially, it is a question of economic policy. The government offers copyright and patent monopolies on the theory these monopololies will promote creation of these works more more than impede it. There is nothing immoral about different copyright restrictions being available for different types of works. It's just a question of optimization.

    Secondly, your use of the term "unequal protection" is completely misleading. In this cotext, "unequal protection" is not either morally or economically harmful. Disecting your words further, "protection" is a misleading term to apply to copyright restrictions, since copyright is not an inherently moral issue. What is restrictable by copyright is not exactly what is considered plagurism, and copyright is also unlike property in that violating a copyright does not deprive the author of his or her copy--the only deprivation is possibly of the royalties created by a copyright law in the first place. In addition, "unequal protection" in a legal context refers to people being discriminated against by the law. The government taxing cars differently from boats or having different types of safety standards for different types of vehicles is not the moral or legal wrong that that terms refers to where it is used elsewhere, even if you could argue the term could mean that in English.

    There are real problems with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, both in terms of economics and freedom independent of any economic argument. It is not just a harmonization of existing law, and, even if it were, that would not be sufficient to justify it.

  • we have even executed people without ever granting them this right, which is supposedly guaranteed by the Geneva Convention

    Can you cite any non-wartime examples? I can't think of a one. The US has done some pretty dumb things in the past but I can't recall anything like this.
  • Okay, thanks for the references. I was not aware of this. It's a shameful situation that needs to be corrected.
  • If Norway has signed a treaty agreeing to prohibit access control circumvention devices then they would be obliged to prohibit those devices.

    Why should any treaty with the US as a party be considered binding. The US almost as a matter of routine ignores treaties.
  • The existing laws were written before they had any idea of what computers would one day be capable of. Updating them to include [to the same degree of fairness] digital forms only makes sense.

    So how should copyright laws be "updated"? (if at all...)

    Otherwise you are left with unequal protection, depending on the media.

    Why exactly? You appear to be falling for the corporate publisher line that "digital" makes the media fundermentally different in some way.
  • The DMCA artificially ends, or severely hinders, extremely important technical and legal discussions. It is a breach of the U.S. constitutional law of free speech.

    In addition it dosn't fit well with the IP clause in the US constitution...
  • Dude, our friendly congresscritters don't even read the damn bills they pass

    In which case they shouldn't be passing them...

    they can't - some are well over a thousand pages.

    Maybe someone needs to insert the odd few sentences which are unfriendly to "congrescritters". e.g. donating money to some cause or other or maybe even some anti corporate riders somewhere between pages 5 and 6 hundred :)
  • We spend the money needed to provide every district with new, standardized voting machines

    You don't need fancy "machines". What you do need is to drop NIH attitudes and use proven methods from the rest of the world. These include one election one ballot paper (rather than stuffing everything on one ballot.) And a transparent method for doing the counting.
  • Here in the UK a law was just passed making it illegal to work in the field of security without a license. Yes, that includes working as a consultant and running Bastille or tweaking a client's iptables setup or whatever. When the UK's various tech organisations rose up in protest the government replied that the law was intended to police nightclub biouncers and the like; they admitted the wording was sufficiently vague that it would cover IT workers, too, but "would we ever use it liek that?"

    Effectivly such "professional organisations" (and sometimes private individuals) are doing the job government is failing to do. Understanding how a law works (and how it could be abused/manipulated) is IMHO the primary task of an legislative assembly.
  • Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures

    If it's an "effective" measure how can it be circumvented in the first place?

    that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law.

    Does this apply to corporate middlemen anyway. Note that it says authors rather than copyright holders.
  • That measure will defeat itself. Canadian net pricing is absurdly low and dropping. Bell just backed out of a $2 increase that would only affect those without touch-tone because of the backlash.

    People hate random arbitrary increases in their monthly expenses, and a $3 jump justified by saying, "well, citizen, you're a thief! Pay up!" will not be well-received.
  • by alteridem ( 46954 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:34AM (#2186520) Homepage
    It appears that there are some rational minds in the decision making process in Canada which leaves some hope for reasonable changes to the law. We must all get involved though and make our ideas known. Read CONSULTATION PAPER ON DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ISSUES. [ic.gc.ca] The following bit from it is what gives me some hope...

    Domestically, some copyright stakeholders have indicated that in the absence of a prohibition against the manufacture and traffic in circumvention devices, would-be infringers can legally access the means that enable infringement. With respect to the possibility of sanctioning acts of circumvention alone, these stakeholders have also expressed the concern that attempts to seek legal recourse on the basis of such acts are costly and may not always be effective in providing a strong deterrent to infringement in a globally interconnected world.

    The departments acknowledge the concerns of these copyright stakeholders, but must consider these concerns within the framework of Canadian copyright law, where certain uses of works and limitations on copyright protection are recognized as serving legitimate and important public policy objectives. Such limitations are evidenced by the finite term of copyright protection, the fair dealing provisions and the exception provisions. These elements of our copyright law have been the outcome of extensive debate, consultation, jurisprudence and legal obligation, both domestically and internationally. Any attempt to affect that balance may require a reconsideration of the current extent of the exceptions provisions.

    The departments have considered the possibility of restricting or prohibiting the traffic in circumvention devices, while at the same time permitting devices that have, as their primary purpose, an activity that qualifies as legitimate, such as the enjoyment of an exception or access to material in the public domain. The difficulty is that devices which are suited to infringing uses are, by and large, equally suited to non-infringing uses. For example, a device used to circumvent a measure that prevents unauthorized copying will not distinguish between materials that continue to benefit from copyright protection from those that have fallen into the public domain.

    Under these circumstances, the departments question whether it is possible to establish a legal framework which, on the one hand covers virtually all activities that undermine the use of technological measures, but at the same time continues to reflect the policy balance currently set out in the Act. Such a change in the Copyright Act could potentially result in a new right of access, the scope of which goes well beyond any existing right, and would represent a fundamental shift in Canadian copyright policy. It could serve to transform a measure designed for protection into a means of impeding legitimate uses. In essence, a change of this nature would be tantamount to bringing within the realm of copyright law, matters (e.g., restrictions on use) which may be more properly within the purview of contract law. Given the rate at which the technology underlying protection measures is changing, it is difficult, under present circumstances, to evaluate the public policy implications of such a step. Perhaps the role of technological changes warrants a careful study to examine what will be the dimensions of the intersection of anti-circumvention measures with the current Act.

  • by alteridem ( 46954 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:26AM (#2186521) Homepage
    It looks like Canada is going to start charging tarrifs to ISP's for transmissions of copyrighted materials such as songs. This was started in 95 by the Canadian version of the RIAA, SOCAN and it slipped quietly through. This is really scary that this stuff is going on with little public input. For more info, read CONSULTATION PAPER ON DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ISSUES [ic.gc.ca] and more specifically Liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). [ic.gc.ca] For the lazy, here is an interesting bit from it;

    In 1995, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) had filed a proposed tariff (Tariff 22) whereby ISPs were asked to pay royalties for the communication of the musical works in SOCAN's repertoire over digital networks such as the Internet. In its decision of October, 1999, the Board asserted its jurisdiction to certify such a tariff. The decision is currently under review by the Federal Court of Appeal.

  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:53AM (#2186525) Journal
    Blair: Ohhhhhh, but mummy, i want a Digital Millenium thingy law too...

    Mum: No dear, you already have the millenium dome and look at it, you played with it for 5 minutes and now its just sitting in your city making a mess. We're not getting anymore millenium buzzwords OK?

    Blair: Ohhh ohhh but please! pleaeeeeese! all my friends at school have their own copyright laws - look even canada is getting one. And Mr Gates and some people from the MPAA said they would give me loads of money if i got one.. and, and i promise to look after it and feed it lots of criminals.... PLEEEEEASE!

    Mum: NO! we have enough laws already, look at that "killing welsh people on wednesdays with a crossbow" law, you _still_ havn't got around to clearing it up yet.

    Blair: Bloody monarchy

  • I was also very hopeful when I first read this, but I still thought it was absolutely necessary for me to send in a thought-through email, as I urge EVERY Canadian here to do.
    Go to http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp01099e.html [ic.gc.ca] (same link as parent message) and read particularly section 4.2.
    Next, go to http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp01100e.html [ic.gc.ca] and read through it, and then send email to copyright-droitdauteur@ic.gc.ca
    Please note that the email link on that page DOES NOT WORK (it links to the wrong email address), though the text of the link is correct.
    If you are a Canadian computer professional, this is IMPORTANT. It doesn't seem like a helpless situation, either, as you will see after you read that paper (or the parent message for the highlights). Send an email and soon!
    Just think, if we can keep Canada a friendly place for programmers to work, we can possibly end, or even reverse the brain-drain that's been going on for here for years and years.
  • > In the US, one of the main reasons the DMCA seemed to have happened in the form it did is the ridiculous influence of corporate money over our elected officials. Do politicians in Canada face a similar environment?

    Yes and no.

    "No", in that corporate lobbyists - and for that matter, nobody - has any power to see that bad law isn't passed, or that good law is passed - in Canada. If it's brought to the House by the governing party, it passes. If it's brought to the House by an opposing party, it fails. So no, the MPs aren't under any pressure from lobbyists, because...

    "Yes", in that, the MPs' votes don't matter. The Canadian system has a tradition of extremely strong party discipline, so that when the government (typically the members of the Cabinet) drafts a law and brings it to the House for a vote, it's guaranteed to become law.

    As such, the debating and voting are merely formalities, their results predetermined, because no MP dares to propose meaningful amendments or oppose passage of the legislation. For an MP in the governing party, it's literally a career-ending move - and often comes with expulsion from the party, meaning that one is guaranteed not to win (nor even to be able to run) in the next election. Because of that, for an MP in the opposing party, well, who cares. If the votes of more than 50% of the MPs are known in advance (and they are), the result is known in advance.

    So, all the "influence" and lobbying takes place at the Cabinet level, on the 10-12 people whose opinions actually matter, and everything's baked in from that point onward. The "debates" in the House of Commons are irrelevant, as are the opposition parties are irrelevant, and for that matter, so are the MPs.

    A majority government (which is where Canada presently has) in a parliamentary democracy has been described, and not too inacurately, as electing a benevolent (i.e. still restrained by the Constitution) dictatorship for five years.

    Which is a long way of saying "stick a fork in legal fair use in Canada, 'cuz it's done."

  • No, you're right on the dot.

    When I made my comment about the G-8, I was not thinking "thousands of people are going out to free Sklyarov!" or "they all want the DMCA revoked!"

    I was referring to the corporate attitude of Western governments. The wealthiest governments on the planet are defending the interests of those that keep them in office. Namely speaking, the corporations that provide them with the images that the vaste majority of the populations vote for.

    The G-8 countries have become corporations in their own right, and these DMCA-like laws are just one symptom of that corporations-defending-corporations mentality.
  • by Louis Savain ( 65843 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:54AM (#2186533) Homepage
    There is really nothing wrong with the idea of a a world government as long as it is not a fascist one. Fascism has had a long history. The current western world is a continuation of the fascist Roman empire which was a continuation of the fascist Babylonian empire. Only the seat of power has moved over the millenia.

    Computers and the internet are the latest tools in the arsenal of the fascist. Record keeping has always been the true basis of their power to control the masses. Now that we have all been numbered (social security numbers, driver's license numbers, etc...) it a simple thing to spy on the citizens of supposedly free countries. By forcing ISPs to spy on everybody, the governments of the world are in fact instituting Big Brotherism as the de facto form of modern government. Why? Because we are all slaves and the slave masters need to have control over their slaves.
  • Spoiled and rich?!?!?! This is in the country were[sic] 95% of the $ is in 5% of the population. I'm sure the same shit is in the other countries as well.

    First, as bad as inequality is in the United States, please find a citation for that number. If you find a citation, think long and hard about what it means.

    Bill Gates (to name one of our favorite odious examples) does not have 40 billion dollars locked up in a box somewhere. The money is moving around doing things. Maybe he "owns" it (whatever that means) but other people get to do things with it in the mean time.

    Case in point: The bank and I own a quarter-million dollar house in Seattle. My name is on the title, renters get half of the floor space to use as they see fit, and my bank gets a nice fat check every month. Who "owns" the asset matters at some level.

    The bank doesn't get to sleep over or hold barbeques here. I do.

    Further, while the protesters may understand a little about the problems (inequality in the industrialized world, while probably not 95/5, is still clearly too high), I have seen scant few realistic solutions from the anti-globalization camp. The solutions for the developed world are all right, so long as no actual base of political support is required to make them a reality. The tosh I read about what spoiled rich kids think the developing world is like or should be (I spent seven years working and travelling all over Asia) is so throughly detached from reality as to defy belief.

    Anyhow, this is all fine and well, but the topic was/is the DMCA.

    The DMCA was written because the last major reworking of copyright law in the late 1970s was designed for the age when (to crib from Negroponte) intellectual property existed primarily as atoms, not bits. It could not keep up, and could not be bandaged to work for the age of distributed networks, encryption algorithms, and the like.

    It is obvious that the DMCA, or at least the interpretation excercised by the Federal court system of the US, has some serious flaws.

    The two (or three) questions people should be asking are this:

    #include "ianal.h"

    1) Can existing (i.e. pre-DMCA) copyright law realistically be extended solely through case law to work in the digital age and to protect legitimate copyrights? (I would say categorically not)

    2) Is the DMCA so fundamentally flawed that it needs to be rewritten, or does it simply need better case law to clarify the bits we don't like?

    3) (A syllogism of 1 and 2 actually, rather than a unique question). Can another country (say Canada), write a law which embraces the intended principles of the DMCA, without the industry-driven abuse which has happened in the US? (I hope so).

    My 2 cents for the evening.

  • Does anyone have a list of which Congresscritters vote in favor of the DMCA? I've been trying to find that information, but I can't seem to find any web site that tells me who voted in favor of (or against) a particular bill. I would think Thomas [loc.gov] would tell me, but it doesn't.

    Also, what was the DMCA bill number?
    Lord Nimon

  • Does the DVD forum specs specify explicitly how hard the DVD regional code must be to defeat? I assume that if the company wasn't explicitly publishing these instructions, but somehow, some non-company "hacker" found them, that it shouldn't be an issue. Like how Xing was not held accountable after its player was cracked by the DeCSS people.
  • How many publishers have going out of business that can be attributed to piracy? Where are all the sob stories?
  • If you add your comments to the Canadian Copyright suggestion thing, PLEASE DONT TROLL. And please, actually read provided documentation so YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

    Thank you for your time!

    (Just trying to make the world a better place)
  • I am Canadian... and big business didn't seem to be that big of a factor in Canadian legislation, at least not as bad as it seems to be in the US. We don't really have lobby groups etc. (at least if we do, they are low key).

    What we do have is an inability to elect people who actually understand the concept of governing a country.

    I think the problem is that Canada has a political body has a hard time standing on its own on any given issue. We tend to bend to the will of others. Since we are basically an extension of the US as far as marketing products and the Media, our leaders (like the fucking sheep they are) look to the US for guidance.

    Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be a Canadian in almost all respects... politics isn't one of them.


    DOS is dead, and no one cares...
  • "Do you still wonder why people protest at the G-8 and other such summits?"

    Yes I do as a matter of fact. I wonder why a bunch of spoiled rich american/eurotrash kids are affected by a political version of Munchausen by Proxy so early in their lives. The key to prosperity for the third world is trade. The economic system is irrelevant, only a handful of nations can even come close to self-sufficiency in this day and age. Even socialist nations must trade with their neighbors to get what they need for survival and economic growth. That point is 110% lost on the protestors in Genoa and Seattle and the whole anti-globalization movement itself.

    The American people are to blame for the DMCA as much as anyone. The average American doesn't care what their Congresscritter does so long as they support one or two things the average voter likes. Those of us that actually care what our congresscritters do, must find ways to defeat them even if they have they have popular support. We can do that by giving donations to organizations such as the EFF, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and the Individual Rights Foundation. These are the organizations that fight the cases we dislike, but are powerless to stop since our congresscritters pass the laws we dislike anyway.

  • While I agree completely with your first and second points, and I find your third to be an interesting proposal, I think it is flawed thusly:

    Consider the previous US presedential election. It may have worked well here (discounting extreme minority parties such as the Libertarians), because we can assume that almost nobody would have voted for {Gore,Bush} nor {Bush,Gore}. Most of the people that voted in this system would have used it to place {Nader,Gore} or perhaps {Nader,Buchanan} - or {Gore,Nader}, {Bush,Nader} (the last one sounding quite unlikely of course).

    What would happen when the votes were tallied would be iterative - the primary votes are counted. Whoops, Gore wins, even though N number of people voted for Nader. So, all those who secondary-voted for Nader get their votes changed. Now perhaps Nader has a majority somehow. But wait! What about the people that voted for {Nader,Bush}? Now their votes drop to Bush because their 'minority' choice didn't win. Now perhaps Bush has a majority. Ooh, what happens next? All the people that voted {Nader,Clinton} drop their votes to Clinton, because Bush won after the first iteration.

    Now Nader is completely out of the running, because a majority of voters simply did not vote for him as their primary choice. The vote returns to the in-place two-party system once again at this point, and we have the same problem. Nobody wins except the politicians.

    Now, in reading this over I see that my logic is slightly flawed, but I hope you can understand what was trying to come out of my head here. The situation would get even more confusing (I think) if there were three candidates that each earned roughly 1/3 of the popular vote.

  • This is a (very) rough overview of the letter I am writing. It doesn't flow particularly well right now, but the ideas are there. I thought I would throw it to the wolves to get some feedback before I finish it:


    I am a computer programmer with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Calgary. I am currently employed as a software engineer developing entertainment software.

    My current position exists almost entirely because of the existence of copyright law. Under existing laws, I can and do make a respectable living. I obtained this position because I am an inquisitive and creative person. The desire to figure things out or to take things apart and figure out how they work is the main driving force behind advancement in all fields.

    I am gravely concerned that the introduction of laws to "prevent the circumvention of technologies used to protect copyright material" will undermine the rights of those who which to use the materials.

    Copy Protection vs Access Prevention

    Copy protection has been used by producers of copyright materials to prevent the copying of materials in a manner that would violate existing copyright law. Such measures, unfortunately, also prevent the users of copy protected materials from freely using the materials within the bounds of the Copyright Act. Additionally, copy protection also inhibits, or entirely prevents, such materials from ever entering the public domain, even when the copyright has expired.

    All computer data is merely numbers. These numbers are interpreted to represent different things, such as words, pictures or sounds. It is impossible to prevent the duplication of simple numbers, and generally counterproductive. For instance, that is how information travels across the Internet. Data copied several times as it passes through systems on the route to its final destination, where a copy of the data is stored for use. The Internet is all about copying. At its most basic level, that is the only thing it does.

    Attempts to "copy protect" data that is transmitted via the Internet, and most other forms of copy protection, would be more accurately referred to as "access prevention." Everyone is free to copy the data, but it is useless to anyone without the appropriate "key" to access the data.

    Access prevention is commonly achieved through software, by "scrambling" data in such a way that it is not usable without performing a "reverse scrambling" process. A simple form of "scrambling" is the "secret decoder ring" method. A message can be "protected" by substituting one letter of the alphabet for another. For instance, if we substitute each letter of the alphabet by its preceding letter, the word "Hello" becomes "Gdkkn." To reverse the process, merely replace each letter with each successive letter of the alphabet. More intricate methods exist to "protect" data more effectively, but the general procedure is similar.

    The problem with criminalizing circumvention technologies should be obvious: it is necessary to circumvent the copy protection to use the material at all.

    This raises some very important questions: Who is authorized to create "circumvention technologies?" Who is authorized to use them, and when? Who dictates the terms under which such technologies may be used?

    Freedom to develop software.

    The skills that make me valuable as a software developer are the same skills that could be used to circumvent copy protection. Presently, there are no laws restricting the type of software I may write or possess. Current copyright laws restrict what I may do with this software, and need no further extensions.

    Copy protection programs are no different from other types of software, they are merely a set of step-by-step instructions. Computers allow these instructions to be carried out very quickly, but the instructions could be performed with simply paper and a pencil.

    Freedom to explain how specific copy protection methods work.

    This is a fundamentally a matter of freedom of expression. It is also necessary to ensure companies providing copy protection are not making false claims about their software.

    Beyond this, as there is no difference in functionality between software "authorized" by the copyright holder and "unauthorized" software, it does not seem reasonable to draw a distinction between the two.

    Freedom to use materials within the bounds of the existing Copyright Act.

    Access prevention technologies obliterate all fair-use aspects of copyright and deny the ability to use materials freely within the limits of the Copyright Act.

    For example, if "secret decoder ring" style protection is used, it must remain legal for me to study how the "decoder ring" works and to build my own, should the device break or be inadequate to allow me to use the material in otherwise legal ways.

    Securing the transition to public domain.
    Public domain tools to permit access are not allowed to exist, even after copyright expires. This prevents materials from entering the public domain.

    Additionally, current software is frequently only commercially viable for less than five years, often closer to six months. As technology advances rapidly, software becomes obsolete very quickly. This software is not able to benefit society in the public domain under the current duration of copyright. Extending the copyright duration would merely make this problem worse.

    It may be worth considering substantially reducing the copyright on specific works, but allowing copyright to be maintained on individual components of characters, music and artwork to promote the continued creation of new works.
  • Anyone know what is the situation in EU? I have heard rumours of bad things coming - could someone provide hard facts so I know what to write to local politicians.
  • I'd like to hear from some Canadians who are more familiar with their own political system on this one. In the US, one of the main reasons the DMCA seemed to have happened in the form it did is the ridiculous influence of corporate money over our elected officials. Do politicians in Canada face a similar environment? (It was my understanding they did not, or it at least wasn't anywhere near as bad.) If not, why would they be persuing this?
  • "98 per cent of which is controlled by less than 1 per cent of our population."

    Redistribution of the wealth eh? At least the US can give anyone the chance to start a company or win the lottery or get rich somehow. It makes perfect sense to take money away from rich people and give it to the poor.

    Say you worked all your life to make a very successful business, now you find out the government wants to steal 50% of YOUR income and give it to people who refuse to work. Hmmm decisions decesions. Work hard and get money or sit on my ass and get money. Which would you pick?

  • Note that the Canadian government is looking for public comments [mailto] on these new proprosals... (see article [ic.gc.ca] for details)

    I believe you all know what to do...
  • by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:16PM (#2186570)

    Printing press and phonograph invented

    Copyright is invented, a controversial law from the beginning.

    Publishers rise to control physical distribution, pay authors--though not always fairly. There is no alternative.. people need books / records, authors need some cash. This system works relatively well for awhile. Consumers bootleg copyrighted materials by exchanging physical media. Losses are minimal and individuals aren't worth prosecuting.

    Copyright law changes at the whim of publishers, effectively eliminating the creation of public domain works by extending the length of copyright indefinitely. Artists and authors increasingly produce "works for hire," which are then owned by the publisher they work for.

    Popularization of the Internet and new data compression algorithms render traditional means of disseminating information nearly obsolete overnight. Some artists and authors realize that they don't need publishers anymore. Publishers ignore the Internet, seeing little threat.

    Consumers realize that they can obtain copyrighted works on the Internet instead of paying for getting them on traditional media. Publishers for the most part look the other way.

    DMCA quietly slips through Congress, in the guise of protecting US businesses and complying with international copyright treaties.

    Napster shows the world the power of P2P information exchange with each user contributing a small part of the whole. Publishers get worried, can't sue every user, fumble for recourse. Napster falls and DMCA is challenged in numerous cases, but wins out in the end because money is power and those behind DMCA have lots of it. Consumers watch the Napster case curiously, stop using it after it's clear the end is near.

    Publishers finally realize that the future of distribution is online and design crude digital copy control technologies which are protected under the DMCA. Each successful attempt to defeat these measures is crushed legally but is given little attention by the media.

    Consumers aren't as comfortable with the new intangible online media and would prefer to keep buying books and CD's. Sales stagnate. Consumers don't realize the implications of future technologies that they have not yet experienced and remain quiet.


    Publishers attempt to phase in online media sales. Some consumers bite, but are quickly frustrated by the inability to read an e-book or listen to music on multiple computers they own. HDTV arrives with its own copy protections. VCR's recording functions stop working. Copy protected audio disks don't work in consumers older players or in car players. Works are distributed in both old and new formats while consumers are encouraged to buy new (and better) hardware that supports the new formats. [This process would likely take at least 10-20 years given the installed base of CD players, saturation of the home computer market, and lack of inexpensive, eye-friendly electronic books]

    Just when the publishers think they have won the war over content, a movement similar to Open Source is established that sweeps the world and begins a modern cultural renaissance. Publishers disappear. The public domain expands rapidly. Artists and authors are fairly reimbursed by using alternative business models and handling distribution themselves. (eg. give away music, sell concert tickets) The world is a better place.

    Wishful thinking? People said the same thing about Open Source 5 years ago and IT hasn't even fully taken off yet.

  • Did Bleem circumvent any access controls, or was it a simple case of reverse engineering?

    It depends on how it can be applied under the DMCA. The Bleem software (as far as I know, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) was created before the DMCA, so the considerations made then were different. The reason that Sony sued Bleem is more of a case of piracy than reverse engineering. I'm not completely aware of what the decision was there.

    The ability of someone else (eg. Sony) to prosecute the creators of Bleem under the DMCA depends on what exactly Bleem is violating. Is it the law against circumventing access controls, since the PlayStation console acted as an access control because you had to have one to play the PlayStation games? Or is it reverse engineering because it allows you to play PlayStation games on the PC by simulating the PlayStation hardware through software?

    A half-decent lawyer could possibly make a case out of either of those points, but chances are they won't because Bleem isn't widespread enough to be a problem. This, of course, wouldn't rule out "preventative" litigation to prevent the software that reverse engineers PlayStation hardware from spreading (as is the case with Dimitry Skylarov). Of course, I could be completely wrong and if anyone has any further comment to make on this topic, feel free.

    Self Bias Resistor

  • At the present time, I recall the levy is still set at $0.07 per CD-R. (That's $0.07 CANADIAN.) Ooooh, yeah, sounds hefty to me. Yeah, the principal sucks if you only do data, but for music it works out to less than a penny a track. Note that for Audio CD-R (the restricted type) the levy is more like $0.77.

    Second - and not widely known - once you have purchased "levied blank media" you are allowed to copy from an original CD in your possession to a blank. This IS the Copyright Board's ruling. So - rather than being considered a thief, the levy may make what you are doing LEGAL.(*)

    * - As I understand it, you have to be copying from the original, not from a duplicate, and you cannot distribute or sell the copies. But as far as I can tell, my friend can loan me the original CD, and I can copy it to the blank for my use, and then return the CD.

  • Wow---maybe we can get microsoft to start bashing it.

    But seriously, what exactly is the justification for these up-to-date copyright laws? Are all these countries really just the subject of mad lobbying by the RIAA and the MPAA, because I really don't know who else could possible support these idiotic laws.

    And isn't it also funny that the bastion of freedom (USofA) in some ways now has more restrictive personal rights than Russia?

    The ironies of History.

  • I agree that those new laws (DMCA and alike) is unfortune and it would be better if they was not needed.

    The problem is that copyright law are so horrible abused by huge amounts of people that the situation just has to be dealt with.

    The DMCA is not needed to criminalize copyright infringement in a digital environment (despite what U.S. lawmakers appeared to believe when they helped it coast through our system) -- existing laws do this, and they aren't harder to enforce than the DMCA. Even if you believe that society is abusing copyright law and not vice versa, the DMCA is just lumping groups like 'people who make tools with the potential for being used for copyright violation' and 'people who give details publicly about a scheme to restrict access to copyrighted material' in with the same group as 'copyright infringers'. In the sense that it is more likely for a corporation looking to threaten potential copyright infringers to find someone to make an example of in the courts, I suppose one could say enforcement is easier... but creating an atmosphere where free speech is no longer tolerated is IMHO more immoral than letting minor cases (or even Napster-sized cases) of copyright infringement slide.


  • Two words: Condorcet voting. Look it up.
  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:31AM (#2186576) Homepage
    Do you still wonder why people protest at the G-8 and other such summits?

    There are many issues involved in anti-globalization rallies...wages, sweatshops, environmental laws, police brutality, corporate dominance, biotechnology, racism, classism. Of course, next to all of these, the ability to watch DVD's on Linux computers is also present, but it isn't what has been drawing hundreds of thousand of people into the streets since the Dedication in Seattle.

  • Um, I'm not the original poster, so maybe I'm wrong... but it seemed pretty obvious to me that the line
    Do you still wonder why people protest at the G-8 and other such summits?"
    was referring to the growing power of transnational corporations to impose their will and agenda on formerly sovereign nations... which is exactly one significant reason people protest at the G8 and such.

    I don't think the original poster was asserting that protestors are all Free-DVD agitators; just that they're expressing their frustration with the same root causes as we do, even if the issues involved are superficially different.

  • Here you go:

    Comments - Government of Canada Copyright Reform

    c/o Intellectual Property Policy Directorate
    Industry Canada
    235 Queen Street
    5th Floor West
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0H5
    fax: (613) 941-8151
  • by DeeKayWon ( 155842 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:29AM (#2186579)
    In the first /. story about the Sklyarov situation, someone posted this link [globetechnology.com] to an article by an Ottawa law professor. Here's a juicy exerpt:

    The Canadian proposal acknowledges the need for protection against acts of circumvention, but suggests that the U.S. approach goes too far. It notes that prohibiting the mere distribution of circumvention devices is often unworkable, blocking legitimate activities and altering the copyright balance. It also points out that technical-measures legislation may create the need for a new positive obligation on copyright holders to provide consumers with access to their work under certain circumstances, so that encryption can't be used, for example, to thwart copyright exceptions such as "fair dealing" that users rely upon to make copies of small portions of a work.

    So while it is important we get our comments in, it looks like the government already sees the real problems with the DMCA. So let's fire up our word processors and clinch the deal, shall we?

  • by rneches ( 160120 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:41AM (#2186580) Homepage
    Ha ha! We know who you are. You are Craig Mundie, aren't you? Admit it - You've been exposed!

    Now, you're suppose to post something like "I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky, meddling kids and their van!"



  • by rneches ( 160120 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:30AM (#2186581) Homepage
    Well, maybe the US government (and the poor fools commonly known as voters) will get a wakeup call about their own nation's DMCA when a US citizen gets extridited to or detained in New Zeland or Australia, like Jon Johanson and Dimitry Sklyarbov were in the US. The law, in any country, is wrong. Unfortunatly, it seems that the prominent victims of the DMCA have been forginers, and the US is known to be particularly callous towards forgin nationals (especially those from non-english speaking contries).

    It really sucks that this would be the case. Let's just hope that the poster-boy US citizen who gets nailed by a forgin version of the DMCA is appealing enough that the press will run the story as front-page news.


  • I was chatting about the DCMA and the Sklyarov case with a friend and he asked me if I had participated in mirroring the DeCSS code. I live abroad and gladly mirrored the DeCSS thinking I was safe from any kind of prosecution and laughed at the letter addressed to me by the MPAA lawyers.

    Now it has turned out that I'll be doing my post-doctorate studies in the US next year and the Sklyarov case got me thinking if I might be in trouble because of my DeCSS mirroring. After all the MPAA lawyers argued that I was in breach of DCMA.

    Any ideas?

  • I made a little over $11K during my senior year in high school (1997-98) and I generally had 20-25% of my income withheld. And I also ended up having to send in a check on April 15th. It only goes up from there, and does so quickly.

    Now, if you are rich and earning more than a couple hundred thou a year, you've generally got some accountants keeping your taxes well below what I was paying. So the IRS's attempts at "taking from the rich and giving to the poor" usually ends up as "taking from the everyone else and leaving the rich well enough alone".


  • Can anyone explain to me why a voice vote is not a horrible way for a legislature to act? Seems to me that it just gives every conressman a license to lie and cheat their constituents. Secret voting is fine for the masses, but our representatives do in fact have to answer to us.

  • I was going to say, yeah, it's all about the money, but I believe you've touched on a few other issues as well.
    I'm not trying to start a flame war, but wondering about your opinion. I'm a canuck living in the states btw.
    Would you say that Canada, on average, has more government corruption or the USA, or not.

    It seems to me that government corruption is known as "campaign contributions, military contracts and $500 hammers" in the states while in Canada, it's airbuses and "fast" ferry's.
  • I tell you this. If someone went to Jack V.'s house and put a hole in his head (Just like the Irish do it - with a drill, so one would not have to face minimum sentencing laws for murder with a gun), and left a note saying he did it because the entertainment industry was unfair to artists, etc.. Mr V's um.. replacement would probably be a lot more careful about who's shoes he stepped on.
    Now, that's probably not going to happen, and this is:
    Some people are going to make a few signs, protest for a few weeks, get pepper sprayed and beaten with 4 foot steel clubs buy the thugs in black, aka. the police. Jack won't even hear about the protests (he doesn't care, even if he does), continue paying his "campaign contributions" to politicians, and smoke Cuban cigars while drinking hundred-year-old wine with an actually disease-free hooker.
    Now. I think I've made it clear that Jack and you live in different societies. What do you work for - $30 an hour? $40? Majority of the people in the country make under $15. Perhaps a new /. Poll idea is upcoming.

    Hell different worlds. The majority of the politicians don't care about what some pimply-faced Napster user who is at least 4 years away from voting (assuming he/she ever even registers to vote) has to say about the DMCA. Like someone said before. The politician's dilemma is a bag of money on my left hand and a letter on my right.
    (Btw, even if the politician does care about being re-elected, he doesn't give a shit about Napster boy. Why? Because he knows that about half of the voters will vote for him anyways (because of the wonderful, two party, pre-chosen candidates [reminiscent of Stalinist Russia] American democracy) and s/he also knows that the guy running IS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING because s/he also has a bag of money in the left hand from the exact same people.
    So. That, in a nutshell, is why you won't matter to the majority of the senior politicians in this country. Mind you, there are exceptions, but unfortunately they are too few and far between to matter in a vote. Mayors, etc tend not to matter in these situations.
    If you want to repeal a law, you must get a large number of companies, who have money to spend on this - and by the way, have a very personal interest in getting the law repealed.

    Besides, if you boycott music, what you are doing, in effect, is letting the music industry claim (to the lawmakers, at those nice parties, with 75 year old wine and "escorts") losses to a yet unknown form of piracy, ooh. CDR's, then Freenet or some encrypted form of gnuttella, which will be banned shortly after the unencrypted one, or if not banned, made useless.

  • I thought Europeans liked bush on their women. I mean bushes, Argh. You know what I mean.
  • Spoiled and rich?!?!?! This is in the country were 95%of the $ is in 5% of the population. I'm sure the same shit is in the other countries as well.
    Dude, our friendly congresscritters don't even read the damn bills they pass - they can't - some are well over a thousand pages. I think there was an informal survey and not one congresscritter read the DMCA or COPA from front to back.
    Moneybag on the left, reading material (includes your letters) on the right. Which one is the critter to choose...
  • Natural Law is based on SO MUCH MORE than just yogic flying. In fact, their policy is not so much that everyone should learn yogic flying (not levitation!), but that by all participating in it we can channel our positive energy much more efficiently.

    The real advantage of voting Natural Law is that every vote made a difference. For example, in my riding last election we broke through the 30 vote plateau, and I was able to witness my role in the democractic process directly at work. No one who voted Liberal could say that.
  • by SlushDot ( 182874 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:39AM (#2186599)
    See this Register story about the DVD Forum upset at many Chinese made players that have easily defeatable region coding. [theregister.co.uk]

    But the worst the DVD Forum can do, according to the article, is bar the Chinese companies from using the DVD name or logo on their product!

    Fine with me. Big whoop. I'll buy a "DVD compatible" player or a "binary video disc player" anyday. Yeah! Then maybe we can get some firewire outputs on 'em too. DVD could be so much better if it wasn't so closed, proprietary, s3cr33t, and litigous at any 3rd party innovations.

    This is like the start of the PC clones all over again. And we all know the clones won out in the end and made PCs into deeply discounted commodoties.

  • For the record, there's a section in the New Zealand review titled New Exceptions or Permitted Uses [med.govt.nz]. At least they're thinking about the rights of the user not being trampled on.

  • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:14PM (#2186603) Homepage Journal

    ...and following up on it, here's the more detailed link about the rights of users [med.govt.nz] under copyright law in New Zealand.

  • You're right cdlu. I'm sure the DMCA was on the forefront of all the G-8 protesters' minds. Things like human rights, third world debt, worker exploitation, that's all secondary.

    What a joke.

    Moderators, you're DAMN RIGHT this is flammage/troll, but it needs to be said.
  • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:18AM (#2186610)
    Oh yeah, silly me.....

    So that's why DVD's cost about 50% more in the UK than they do in the States.

    So tell me again, who's paying ?
  • Well, what is the definition of a circumvention device? This [globetechnology.com] professor thinks Canada needs to defend copyright holders but the potential of abuse by big corporations are very high unless this issue is addressed.

    This is the problem. When I first read the dmca here on slashdot I kind of supported it. I assumed a "circumvention device" is something like an illegal cable decoder or illegal dvd copying system. I read a few comments on how it may kill software and I thought these guys were nuts. Oh ya, like the FBI is going to go after a linux hacker. Get real. That coudl never happen. I am sick of slashdots socialistic idealogies.

    Well, its the corrupt lawyers always look for loopholes and lie through the roof with a laws intention all for money. Its these assholes who falsely interpreted what a circumvention device is. They try to interpret the law and abuse their powers like call the fbi to persue a russian who broke a USA law and then say they did it because of an international treaty. To recieve a warrant of arrest in the states, a lawyer would have to convince a judge first before a warrant of arrest can be made. But in an internation trade treaty you are guilty until proven innocent. Loophole 1 found on a weak definition of a circumvention device and loophole 2 because they can go around the bill of rights with such a treaty. Just call Ashcroft and then throw lots of money into court case and you win hands down.

    Anyway back on topic, if we have a judge interpet exactly what a circumvention device is then the dmca will not be a big threat. THe politicians assumed it refered to Chinesse pirates making illegal cable boxes and not speech or lines of code runing few use routines. The idea of a hyperlink, paper or even a TONGUE, yes a tongue is a circumvention device because some can speak on how to circumvent. This is silly and the corrupt lawyer whores are the ones f*cking with people for their own personal profit. I am amazed this kind of prosecution is even legal. There should be some law agaisn't constant legal harrassment. I belief there are a few liberal laws which state that someone can countersue someone else over this but its difficult to prove. You really have to proof that a corporation did this agaisn't you peronally in internal docuements, and big corps will likely illegally destroy its own documents or not submit them. Because they wont submit anything, you therefore have no proof you can't countersue. Kind of like the chicken and the egg theory.

    If the canadian government would relise the potential of abuse like this professor has stated, then the law can be explicitly written to specifically what a circumvention device is. Both parties would win and decss would not be outlawed. I am all for banning illegal sattelite and cable boxes but college books, code, and freedom of expression? THis is too much and quite rediculous.

  • I don't know if EFF can provide you any advice but you might want to mail and ask them anyway.

    If nothing else it will remind them how high profile of a case they've got in their hands. DCMA not only complicates the lives of American professionals but also may cause significant grief to highly educated foreign visitors.

    It might also improve their response time/effort if in the same mail you'll ask if non-US donations are welcome... ;-)

  • Absolutely. Dodgy, is Europe. A foggy night in the Channel and the whole damn' place is cut off.

  • Any Canucks on this list, CHECK THE LINK there is a mailto: portion, they're accepting comments until the 15th of september... a few thousand gentle reminders that the DMCA (and likely and DMCA-derived law) is in violation of our right to free speech (detailed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms) might be enough to make them at least take a hard look at what they might be legislating!!!

    I for one DO NOT want to see the DMCA making its way north, the rest of this part of the world is doing all it can to get rid of the fucking thing... why in gods green earth would we want to take it off of their hands?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    note to US citizensGOOD LUCK, YOU'VE GOT ALL OUR SUPPORT!!!!

  • ... of the music industry are legendary. Perhaps that's why 40 years after a recording has been made and 20 years after an artist's death I am asked to pay 30 dollars for a CD that costs the recording industry 0.10$ to manufacture - and this for an artist they no longer support, advertise, or even know about half the time. If I use my friend's copy or borrow one from the library and record it I might be liable to being classified as a "pirate", or being compared to a terrorist (see recent statements about librarians who, acting within their legal rights by sharing materials, are compared to terrorist extremists).

    People like Jack Valenti have demonstrated they have no understanding of current technology, that they are inefficient and stupid (see his alt2600 deposition [cryptome.org] - it would be laugable if it weren't so sad). I mean this is a guy who needs more cars and houses at his disposal than whole towns in order to live "comfortably" and he is a small fry compared to others. In other industries (like coal mining, steel production) this state of affairs leads either to the end of whole industries (with mass layoffs) or to a huge reduction in output. But the backers of DMCA want to change the legal system to support their entirely unnecessary industry (Courtney Love's description of which is not flattering) and seem to believe their companies deserve to be protected. They are using their influence to achieve these ends.

    I suppose it isn't surprising though - I mean in the US the oil industry names tankers after members of cabinet (a cabinet that is rabidly pro-oil and with zero support for alternative energies) and the government proposes changes to tax laws that will likely save just Bush and his cabinet over a billion dollars. Wealth and power is what it's all about. The wealthy need their power to feel safe about all the money they have and are naturally more greedy (since they have more stuff) - I don't blame them. It's when their greed results in anti-democratic law-making that impedes innovation that it needs to be pointed out and resisted.

  • We need to go farther. Perhaps /. or some other geek friendly site will sponsor a bit of web space to organize a simple campaign, centered around the following:

    [Joe/Jane] Doe Congresscritter[yes, be more polite in the actualy letter]:

    In recent months, it has become blatantly obvious that the act of Congress generally known as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is unfair, unreasonable, and quite likely unconstitutional. Considering those facts, this letter is a call for the immediate and unconditional repeal of the DMCA, as well as a call to never again pass such an odious law. It is my intention to keep an eye on the progress of anti-DMCA efforts, and if the law is not repealed by the next election in which your term is up, I will not vote for you under any circumstances, and will encourage others to do the same. Upon this point there is no negotiation. The DMCA must go, or those who allow it's continued existence will go in it's place.


    [Joe/Jane] Q. Voter

  • You cannot gain the credibility needed to get the attention of lawmakers if you are breaking the very laws you are fighting against.

    Well, you have the wrong idea on two counts.

    Firstly, breaking an unjust law IS a way to get the lawmakers' attention, it is known as civil disobedience, and has some rather successful precendent in U.S. and international law.

    Secondly, the issue with RIAA/MPAA is, essentially, the hijacking of the culture of a people for the sake of making money. What they do is analogous to extortion, similar to a street gang charging a 'toll' to walk on 'their turf'. Perhaps boycotting all music outlets save those not aligned with the RIAA would get some attention, but it will also represent undo loss in quality of life for those involved. Now, suffering for what one believes in is certainly to be expected, but not when the likelihood of success by that suffering is smaller than the likelihood of success down a more comfortable path. Rosa Parks made her impression by riding the bus, not walking instead.

  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:26AM (#2186622)
    "the Canadian government is starting hearings into our own version of the US's DMCA."

    Much as we may hate the idea, copyright is a part of the way the world currently works. Take a look at the bottom of this page, notice the "The Rest(c) 1997-2001"? The existing laws were written before they had any idea of what computers would one day be capable of. Updating them to include [to the same degree of fairness] digital forms only makes sense. Otherwise you are left with unequal protection, depending on the media.

    The problem with the DMCA is that it was slipped in by the copyright holders and is way too heavily in their favour (including ignoring various other constitutional concepts). The DMCA isn't bad for simply being an extension of copyright law - it is bad for being a biased extension.

    All Canada is doing at the moment is starting hearings about their own version. The idea of hearings is that they give everyone the chance to speak up and prevent the kind of abuses that are in the DMCA. So, instead of complaining that it's happening - it will almost certainly happen whether you like the idea or not - start making your opinions heard; block the copyright holders from simply writing their own law; ensure fair use remains a concept; and produce a sensible version Americans can point their simple minded government towards as a good example.

  • thanks for moderating me up, but what i really wanted was some replies...

    anybody have any ideas?
  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:38AM (#2186625)
    What's going to happen to Bleem! ? That was one program that would've been definitely illegal under the DMCA, yet they won the court case against Sony. So what happens there?

  • The DMCA effectively makes it illegal to question bad encryption.

    The DMCA is an attempt to accomplish by putting people in prison what should be accomplished by improvements in software quality and in copyright law.

    The DMCA artificially ends, or severely hinders, extremely important technical and legal discussions. It is a breach of the U.S. constitutional law of free speech.
  • How is it that governments throughout the world are now considering measures similar to the DMCA without waiting for chalenges in the US and to see what the effect of public outcry will be here before risking the same thing in their countries?

    Is it that these issues aren't getting enough visibility in other countries (or parhaps not getting enough visibility in the US) or is it that corporate proponants of the DMCA foresee that it will be ruled unconstitutional in the US and they want to have similar legislation enacted in other countries before it goes down in flames in the US. This way a portion of the market control aforded by the DMCA can be maintained by international corporations who have operations in countries where DMCA-like legislation was enacted before it was deemed unconstitutional in the US - with the assumption that after it is ruled unconstitutional in the US, getting backing for similar legislation in other countries would be untenable.

    This brings us back to the point of presenting a unified front in opposition to such things as the DMCA. There was an editorial on K5 [kuro5hin.org] mostly discussing .NET but that souhed on this issue of lack of coordination of the groups opposing various corporate and government initiatives (mostly Microsoft Hailstorm but it applies equally to our response to the DMCA).

    I have been sugesting in various places that our reliance on the EFF and other such organixations to fight these battles should be re-evaluated and was planning on writing an editorial on the subject but it looks like I was beaten to the punch [kuro5hin.org].

    On the bright side, at least the canadian covernments is soliciting public comment [ic.gc.ca] before proceeding with their legislation.

  • I had a hilarious argument with a woman at Comp USA one day. I was standing there picking out CDs and she was frantically hunting for an "audio" writable. I explained to her that there was no difference whatsoever, that the computer would see both CD's as the same object, and furthermore I had burned at that time dozens of audio CD's from "data" media with no problem. She simply disconnected her ability to think critically, denied everything I had said, and went on. People's ability to do this is sometimes truly amazing.
  • See http://www.eurorights.org/eudmca/ [eurorights.org]. The directive articles themselves are at the end of http://www.eurorights.org/eudmca/CopyrightDirectiv e.html [eurorights.org] and it really looks like that bad things are coming our way. Especially bad looks the part "(b) have only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent, or ". Also, the recitals say that "In particular, this protection should not hinder research into cryptography. " but nothing like this is ever mentioned in the articles. The page mentioned above also links to Wiki site with some discussion on this.
  • There's an obvious fallacy in your reasoning in the second paragraph: If copyright didn't exist, they couldn't have "proprietary" software. They may try to keep it secret but if the source gets out, there'd be no legal recourse to recapture it. And, how would they protect it in the first place? If the source was public domain, they couldn't expect any of their programmers to sign nondisclosure agreements, etc, etc.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:15AM (#2186639) Homepage Journal
    I can just envision a scenario where countries all over the world, under pressure from the U.S., enact DMCA-like laws only to have the U.S. DMCA law overturned by the Supreme Court. Then the U.S. can point to the DMCA-like laws in those other countries as being examples of how those countries don't respect free speech like the U.S. does...
  • Well, I doubt any one of these "DVD compatible" player could be imported to US, in view of the fact that merely 'discussing' an encryption algorithm would violate DMCA.

    I'm currently located in China and we use full-region DVD player for viewing more expensive US and Japanese version of Hollywood's movies, because far east version are always not available.

    They delay the release of far east version so that US people wouldn't be able enjoy cheaper version even if they could get a full-region DVD player. So your plan wouldn't work. :)

    Americans want full-region DVD players for saving cost in buying DVD, while Chineses buy them for viewing more expensive US version. Irony isn't it?
  • I'm seriously thinking of doing a site just to keep track of all the laws being enacted around the world that are obviously (to us, at least) Broken - in the sense of b0rked, crap, useless, stupid, malicious, counter-productive etc.

    Here in the UK a law was just passed making it illegal to work in the field of security without a license. Yes, that includes working as a consultant and running Bastille or tweaking a client's iptables setup or whatever. When the UK's various tech organisations rose up in protest the government replied that the law was intended to police nightclub biouncers and the like; they admitted the wording was sufficiently vague that it would cover IT workers, too, but "would we ever use it liek that? no no nooooo, how could you ever THINK such a thing?" etc. IN Australia they're trying `to ban porn. And of course the EU is looking at a DMCA-like law to cover all 350 million European Union citizens.

    Apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at ALL... </hhg>

    PS Baggsie me gets first dibbs on craplaws.org!

  • by Sarcasmooo! ( 267601 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:43PM (#2186646)
    The DMCA employs federal agents as tools to increase the profits of companies that can't or won't provide adequate security for their customers.
  • by MulluskO ( 305219 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:27AM (#2186654) Journal
    Yes, it's called the European Union Copyright Directive [grammy.com].

    As a future ex-patriot I'm beginning to wonder where I'm going to go.
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:50AM (#2186670) Journal

    The Canadian government is influenced by business, as is any government. However, this is complicated by a few things. Firstly, the government has been dominated by one party for nearly a decade, while the opposition parties have basically crumbled -- so there is virtually no effective opposition at the federal level. Secondly, information technology issues get little attention from the public -- there are a number of more pressing issues currently facing the government such as aboriginal rights, the poor state of health care, and regional discontent. It's hard to get anyone to pay attention to anything else. Thirdly, US policy has influence over Canadian policy -- since the US is our biggest trading partner, it is difficult for us to pursue economic policies that come into direct conflict with theirs.

    Finally, and possibly most importantly, us Canadians don't have a culture of defending rights and freedoms. Many British loyalists settled in Canada after fleeing the American revolution. We were granted independence from Britain peacefully in 1867, under the motto of "peace, order, and good government" (note the lack of mention of liberty). We have gun control and socialized medicine. We had neither a constitution nor bill of rights until 1980 -- they were controversial at the time and many Canadians still think them unnecessary. Sure, we get uptight about freedom of speech and so on, but there's no tradition of "live free or die" -- we like consensus, getting along, and doing what is in the public interest over what is best for the individual. I suspect that new regulations on copyright enforcement will recieve a relatively easy ride in Canada.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:33AM (#2186671)
    "Congress is planning to double the number of FBI agents and Federal attorneys devoted to pursuing copyright cases."

    Is this the same FBI that lost all those books full of evidence in the McVeigh case? The same FBI that has managed to lose God knows how many government-issued and government-bought pistols and computers (with who knows what on the hard disks)?

    The FBI's reputation is going down the tubes right now, and any Congresscritter that actually goes along with this idea is shooting themself in their political foot.

  • by KilljoyAZ ( 412438 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @10:23AM (#2186672) Homepage
    The DMCA was written so the United States could be WIPO treaty compliant. Basically, if your home country's name is on this list [wipo.org], you're in deep trouble.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal