A train on twisted tracks

The Canadian Federal government’s proposal to make consumers liable for legal damages of up to $5,000 if they break digital locks to copy movies, video games and electronic books appears dead on arrival.

The controversial legislation to modernise Canada’s copyright law is expected to clear a Parliamentary hurdle within days. Before it goes to a House of Commons Committee for closer scrutiny.

And then… nothing. Defeated.

Any copyright law must allow Canadians who have legitimately purchased a CD or DVD or other product, the ability to transfer their purchase onto personal devices such as an iPod, or make a personal backup copy on their computer, as long as they are not doing so for the purposes of sale or transferring to others. This would legalise such everyday practices such as using a personal video recorder to record a TV show for later viewing or copying music from a purchased CD (or MP3 download) to an MP3 player – but only if there aren’t any digital locks on the material.

So, what does the happy consumer get? Besides a big problem. Like a carnival game, where you have a  chance to win the big prize. Fair odds. Small though.  Until the legislative sleight-of-hand kicks in. Any rights the consumer has suddenly become overriden. Digital locks. If the picking hasn’t already started, well, it’ll kick up a few notches.

It’s one thing to have a copyright law. Another to realise that the only rights you have are the ones that a corporate computer code decides to give you.

It’s already quite European. North America is a bit behind. As always. In terms of fashion and thinking. Creative lag.

I’d love to see some videos and get some music from other countries, but I get the digital lock of ‘the video is not available in my country’. I can buy the CD, but not the MP3 file. I can’t even obtain a ‘free’ MP3 file because of my country of residence. Or my computer’s address.

My cookies are not happy.

And let’s not talk about ‘fair dealing’. Where students, educators, artists and satirists can break copyright under limited circumstances. Let’s bring back book burnings. It worked for albums back in the 80s under the PMRC.

Most digital users are not interested in ‘commercial theft’. I just want to enjoy my music or my favourite TV show. No, I’m not always home.  That’s why I program my PVR. And I’d like to watch something on my own time. When I can enjoy it. Yeah, I might save it for a bit if I liked the episode. Rewatch it.

It’s like Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’. The rise of the talkie versus the silent. No more ‘City Lights’.

‘Metropolis’ rising.


~ by hooklineandthinker on November 8, 2010.

One Response to “A train on twisted tracks”

  1. Wow, great blog.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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