A Canadian author's perspective on "radical extremism" and copyright - Boing Boing

abernard102@gmail.com 2015-06-24


"As the Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has declared war on copyright reformers who object to his plan to bring US-style 'digital locks' rules to Canada, I think it's worth spelling out what my objections, as a Canadian author, are to his plan (my books are distributed across Canada by the excellent HB Fenn; last year I won the Ontario White Pine Award for best book; as I write this, my novel For the Win is on the Canadian bestseller lists). Minister Moore has proposed a law that would give near-absolute protection to 'digital locks' that control use, access and copying of works stored on a computer, mobile device, set-top box, etc. This is nearly the same policy that the US has had since 1998, when it brought down the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (actually, the American version is slightly better, since they've built in a regular review of the policy). In the intervening 12 years, we've learned two things about digital locks: 1. They don't work. Even the most sophisticated digital locks are usually broken in a matter of hours or days. And where they're not broken, it's mainly because you can get the same works by another means -- rather than breaking the iTunes lock, you break the easier Zune lock (or vice-versa), because you can get the same songs either way. So digital locks don't stop piracy. All they do is weaken the case for buying music, movies and books instead of ripping them off -- after all, no one woke up this morning wishing there was a way to do less with her music. So how could adding a digital lock make a paid product more attractive than the free version? 2. They transfer power to technology firms at the expense of copyright holders. The proposed Canadian rules on digital locks mirror the US version in that they ban breaking a digital lock for virtually any reason. So even if you're trying to do something legal (say, ripping a CD to put it on your MP3 player), you're still on the wrong side of the law if you break a digital lock to do it. Here's what that means for creators: if Apple, or Microsoft, or Google, or TiVo, or any other tech company happens to sell my works with a digital lock, only they can give you permission to take the digital lock off. The person who created the work and the company that published it have no say in the matter ..."



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Date tagged:

06/24/2015, 08:09

Date published:

06/24/2015, 04:09