James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 3

Since finishing the last article, I’ve been informed that the Parliament of the United Kingdom has passed the ‘Digital Economy Act’, and I’ve been reading Corey Doctorow’s tweets on the subject:

doctorow RT @xenijardin: #debill has passed. Makes DMCA look like a warmup act. @doctorow‘s on holiday, but I’d keep tuned to @BoingBoing for analys

doctorow No more “What’s a good digital entertainment bizmodel?” Now: “How do we kill these corps before they destroy democracy?” #debill

doctorow IP is XXIth Cen oil. Oil nation: hole in the ground surrounded by guns. IP nation: Great gash in the net, surrounded by corrupt laws #debill

doctorow Don’t know what kind of Lord Peter Mandelson is. I’m guessing the Lord Voldemort kind. #debill

doctorow Don’t think the entertainment co’s want to destroy society. But I think they don’t care if they do so in the course of seeking $ #debill

doctorow MPs who allowed the #debill to pass w/o real debate + over the howls of constituents have shamed their parties and the nation

doctorow RT @dajmeister not even a quorum even bothered to vote. #debill MPs can’t be arsed to turn up for work and do their jobs.

loveandgarbage @doctorow There have been some that did sterling work – including @tom_watson , @ericjoyce , @donfostermp , John Grogan, Bill Cash & others

doctorow When corporations weaponize copyright to use against civilians, they use artists as human shields #debill

doctorow Artists: our copyrights are being hijacked to attack our audiences. #debill

doctorow What will fans do when you stop being ‘artist they lost their virginity listening to’ and become ‘guy they lost their Internet to?’ #debill

doctorow Passing the #debill will legitimize piracy as an act of civil disobedience in the minds of fans. Nice work, #BPI

Streather @doctorow i’m reasonably sure when mandelson became a lord it was a Sith lord.

doctorow RT @LoufromBilbao: @doctorow They have made an ass of law. When the law is an ass, that’s an open invitation to civil disobedience. #debill

Corey Doctorow is a famous author, a creator, one of the people that the Digital Economy Bill is supposed to benefit. Note that I said ‘supposed to benefit’, it appears from Corey’s comments, that he thinks that the bill wasn’t designed to help the creators, but instead to make the creators slaves of the corporations that specialize in distribution.

But that is rather off-topic 🙂 Let’s get back to James presentation, and continue with ‘film.’ Film is an old term for what we now call video. James is under a bunch of misapprehensions here. First, in the TV Show section, he thinks that YouTube uses TPM/DRM. If it does, I’ve never noticed it. Since we have Rogers Slow-Speed Internet, I always download YouTube videos to watch them using the Video DownloadHelper extension for Firefox, and play them using Videolan, the best media player I’ve ever found. It makes Windows Media Player and Quicktime both look like junk. Don’t take my word for it, give it a try. Oh, and did I mention that there are versions for Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Syllable, Debian GNU-Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Slackware Linux, Mandriva Linux, Alt Linux, Fedora, Arch Linux, Open SUSE, Free BSD, Gentoo Linux, Net BSD, Solaris, Open BSD, and QNX. Seriously. Windows Media Player, Quicktime, and the moribund Real Media Player just can’t compete.

As far as Hulu and NetFlix are concerned, I’m surprised that James bothered mentioning them. He couldn’t have watched them. His office is in Toronto, he’s a Canadian, and since neither Hulu or NetFlix is available to Canadians, well, the only conclusion I can draw is that someone mentioned them, and he didn’t bother doing any research, because he sure as hell couldn’t have watched them.

Then he gets into movies. He mentions Content Scramble System, the incompetent DRM/TPM used on DVDs once again, and I won’t bore you with repeating how bad it is. He also mentions Adobe Flash Copy Protection, which since it is used by Hulu, which is USA only he can’t know anything about. He mentions Quicktime DRM, which isn’t Quicktime DRM, its Fairplay, and is one of the few DRM/TPM systems that doesn’t seem to be designed to make the consumer into a raving lunatic (Apple is one of the few consumer electronics companies that actually seems to care about their customers). And finally he mentions Blu-Ray, Sony’s latest attempt at consumer lock in, and one that based on the lack of titles available at our local video stores, is failing miserably.

So he’s telling us about things he can’t have any experience with, and he’s deliberately not mentioning things that conflict with his message. At which point I start wondering exactly why he is so wrong? Is he being paid to be wrong? Or is he not very bright. Since graduating from Law School isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, I know what I think.

The he gets into publishing. His wonderful example here is AZW, the DRM/TPM used on the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle has only recently become available in Canada, and I haven’t seen one yet. However there have been a lot of reviews in the U.S. Media, and there are some points that he doesn’t mention about the Kindle’s DRM scheme that need to be considered. For one thing, the device totally tramples on the WIPO Copyright Treaties. Now my original battles with Barry Sookman started when Barry allowed Doctor Mihaly Ficsor to post the article Dr. Ficsor: An invitation to Canada to join the international community by ratifying the WIPO Internet Treaties, which caused me to respond with the article An invitation to Doctor Ficsor to explain the value to the citizens of Canada in ratifying the WIPO Internet Treaties. Barry thinks we should adopt the WIPO Copyright Treaties, and I disagree. That’s fine. I don’t expect the entire world to agree with me, I know that I’m a genius (IQ of over 150), and most people just don’t have the intelligence to keep up with me :). Yes, I’m conceited. I do expect some logic though, and if James’ law firm is backing Canadian WIPO ratification, then why would he bother listing a device that tramples on the WIPO Treaties?

The WIPO Treaties state specifically that DRM/TPM use is to be decided by the author. Amazon implemented DRM/TPM on all titles, including those that were out of copyright. In fact from what I am told, one of the writers who’s works had DRM/TPM added was William Shakespeare, the ‘Bard of Avon’, and he died in 1616 AD. Since Amazon doesn’t have access to Doc Brown’s Delorean or the Tardis, I doubt that they were able to get the author to agree to the use of DRM/TPM.

So which is it? Do you want Canada to adopt the WIPO Copyright Treaties? If so, why are you not criticizing those who are not in compliance, like the United States (with the DMCA) and the United Kingdom (with the Digital Economy Bill). For that matter, where is Doctor Mihaly Ficsor, the supposed copyright expert? Why isn’t he criticizing the United States and the United Kingdom for passing legislation which is not compliant with the WIPO Copyright Treaties?

Logic people. Use some logic. I’ll try to finish this series tomorrow, I’ve just noticed that it’s 12:30 AM, and I have to get up early tomorrow.

Oh, and I should mention that this post, and all of the other posts in this series are being filed with the Canadian Government, as part of the ongoing Canadian discussion on Copyrights and Patents.

Wayne Borean

Thursday April 8, 2010

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