Summary: Canada will need to decide whether its copyright and patent laws are determined by corporations in the country down south or by the Canadian people for the Canadian people
Canada’s parliament is currently struggling with opposition because people realise that copyright laws, for example, are being exported from other countries rather than constructed domestically to serve the interests of Canadian people, including artists (it’s not surprising if one follows the money). Yes, artists too are complaining about Bill C-32, the latest news on which can be found in the posts below:
I appeared before the Bill C-32 legislative committee as part of a hearing that addressed a wide range of issues including digital locks, fair dealing, and statutory damages. I’ll post the full transcript once available, but in the meantime, the video can be streamed from the Parliamentary site and my opening statement can be found below.
Much of the reasoning in that CMEC K-12 decision will be used by Access Copyright to justify its effort to extract $60 million a year from Canada’s post secondary educational institutions outside of Quebec. AC will surely argue that if a kindergarten student is worth $5.16 per annum, a university/college student is surely a bargain at $45/$35 a year or even twice the price. Moreover, AC will surely argue that if what a Grade 6 teacher tells her students to read cannot be fair dealing, then neither can what a professor tells a grad student to read be fair dealing – even if it is for “research”.
Like most students, I am dismayed by the claim that the so-called “education exemption” proposed in Bill C-32 will allow for the widespread expropriation of intellectual property, a falsehood repeated most recently in this letter.
If the Conservative government is serious about modernizing copyright in Canada they will need to learn the word compromise. This is the message being sent to Heritage Minister James Moore by New Democrat Digital Issues Critic Charlie Angus.
“The Conservative copyright bill ignores the needs of Canadian consumers and is a total attack on artist,” said Angus (Timmins – James Bay). “The New Democrats are firm in our support for consumer protection and artist royalties.”
One of the more interesting exchanges during Wednesday’s C-32 Legislative Committee hearing involved questions on the bill’s reforms to statutory damages. The bill proposes to establish a maximum statutory damages penalty of $5,000 for infringement that the court considers to be non-commercial. That contrasts with commercial infringement, which carries a $20,000 per infringement maximum. Note that the minimums are roughly the same – non-commercial infringement has a $100 minimum, while commercial infringement’s minimum is $200.
There is a world of difference between a “license” (which one can take or leave) and a tariff, which arguably has the force of law (leaving aside questions such as whether it was validly issued or whether an “interim” tariff can ever have such a force).
Thanks to Wikileaks we now also know how copyright laws are made up. From the news:
Spain’s Congress is about to vote on a new and extremely harsh copyright/Internet law. It’s an open secret that the law was essentially drafted by American industry groups working with the US trade representative.
But it gets gets more interesting: 115 of the Wikileaks cables intercepted from the US embassy in Madrid were tagged with “KIPR” — that is, relating to “intellectual property,” The big question has been: will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that has the complete trove of Wikileaks cables release them in time to effect the vote on the new law?
Intellectual property policy has long been closely linked to U.S. trade policy, so it should come as little surprise to find that it appears to figure prominently in the cables obtained by Wikileaks. Although only a couple hundreds have been posted thus far, the Guardian has supplied a full list of all 251,287 cables. The list includes tags for each cable, so that the subject matter can be decoded.
Yesterday we mentioned Amazon quite a lot in the daily news summaries and in TechBytes, our audiocast. It’s the American conglomerate which is being slammed and boycotted a lot in recent days because of its actions (and then coverup) regarding Wikileaks. How evil does Amazon want to be? And the latest news is as follows (starting with PayPal doing the same evil thing):
PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.
The latest cyber-attacks on WikiLeaks make the case for the EU to criminalise the software tools enabling such crimes and for setting up a 24-hour alert system where citizens and companies can flag up attacks, EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has said.
GOVERNMENTS around the world today stressed that just because they are trying to crush Wikileaks to death, it does not necessarily mean that you will be next.
Of course the ultimate irony is Pravda justifiably criticising US for trying to stifle a free press in Valerie Plame, YES! Wikileaks, NO!
[Dr. Roy Schestowitz directed me to the TED TV interview with Julian Assange which is well worth watching.
As usual, for accessibility I'm hosting an OGG conversion here: Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks
And this is the higher quality YouTube version:
That last summary of Wikileaks news was written by Laurel L. Russwurm, who is a brave Canadian lady. She too understands how her country is being compromised by sources of illegitimate (and often foreign) power. Last month we wrote about the Canada-Amazon story [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], wherein it’s made clear that Amazon is distorting Canadian for Amazon’s own interests. The Canadians are fighting back against it and Robert Pogson, who is also a Canadian, calls it “Canada’s Bilski”. “If you can patent method A and method B,” he writes, “Is method A+B patentable? What about A-B? Wake up, commissioner!”
start writing those amicus curiae briefs #patents #canada
Amazon was also mentioned here some days ago:
For example, even the famous Amazon.com 1-click patent has a limitation requiring a ‘response to only a single action being performed.’ The user necessarily is the one who performs this ‘single action’ after going to the web page and searching for the item. If simple user involvement were enough to give rise to divided infringement, few, if any, software patents could be infringed.
A Groklaw-hostile site,
ipwars.com, has this post titled “Business method patents before the Commissioner”:
The Deputy Commissioner did not think that reciting in a computer to do all the calculations helped. The change in state or information in the computer was not sufficiently substantial to secure a patent.
To clarify, software patents and business method patents are not entirely separable. This is why In Re Bilski mattered so much and there might be a ‘second Bilski’ even in the United States where Microsoft Office is at risk of embargo. We shall cover that later. █