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Comment Misinformed Canadians Re:Proudly Canadian (Score 1) 104

You're not as familiar with Canadian law as you think you are.

The private copying regime came into existance in 1997, not the 1980's, and is only one year earlier than the USA's DMCA. It also only applies to audio recordings -- downloading anything else that is under copyright without permission is just as illegal in Canada as it is in the United States.

It is unfortunate that some of our idiotic politicians (mostly Liberals) mis-informed Canadians about the state of Canadian copyright law in their desire to pass DMCA style laws in Canada.

Comment Re:Sorry (Score 2, Insightful) 569

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

You forgot the real issue here, which is that Bono, Gates and similar pseudo-philanthropists are actively involved with making a variety of "teaching" (sharing of knowledge) expensive and/or illegal. This is the core of what Bono is ranting about this time, suggesting the world's governments should go as far as the human rights violations in China to (theoretically -- no proof of "benefit") grant him more money.

There are those who think that making knowledge scarce, including criminalising private citizens owning and controlling their own communications technology, is the only way to make it possible to pay authors/inventors for their important contributions to society. This ignores all the experience and research to the contrary. Whether you believe this or not, you must admit that deliberately making knowledge scarce and thus more expensive greatly harms the interests of the worlds poor.

Sharing: the way to Make Poverty History.

The repercussions of deliberately making knowledge scarce will be an underlying issue that will show up in many global conflicts in the next decade, whether talking about poverty, western economic recovery or global climate change.

Comment The letter was not from the Government of Canada (Score 2, Informative) 227

I think you are missing that this is not a letter that was sent from "the government" of Canada. This was someone who is an advisor in the Intellectual Property Branch of Environment Canada.

For all I can tell from the government directory, this could be a private sector consultant. His entry doesn't look much different than my own when I'm on contract to the government. Try looking up my name in January in , as I am returning to a contract at Agriculture Canada doing Linux Sysadmin/GIS work.

An email from me, regardless of what email address I use, should never be confused as an official statement from the Government of Canada.

Comment Re:Oh, hey, (Score 1) 1011

"When you tax energy everyone will suffer"

Obviously we will have to agree to disagree, and leave it at that. You are trying to state as fact something that pretty much all evidence (including from countries that have actually done it) suggests otherwise.

There are none so blind as those who poke their own eyes out.

Comment Re:Oh, hey, (Score 1) 1011

This is nonsense.

Taxation is not a yes/no question. When you transfer taxes from income/profit taxes onto energy this is effectively a tax decrease for energy efficient businesses/individuals and a tax increase for energy inefficient businesses/individuals. Encouraging US businesses to become more energy efficient is clearly good for the US economy, especially as energy prices will continue to increase in the future.

You also presume that tariffs no longer exist as a policy mechanism, and that inefficiently produced goods which are effectively subsidised by foreign governments will be allowed to directly compete. This will cause trade problems for those countries subsidising their inefficient businesses.

Comment Re:Oh, hey, (Score 1) 1011

I hope you realise that you have made your own set of ASS-U-ME's that bias where you stand on this issue. You take some controversial ideas as axioms, and pick and choose which unknowns you will demand irrefutable proof of.

You said: "carbon taxes that would demolish the economy". I have seen no credible evidence to back up this type of claim. In fact, everything of credibility I have read over the decades suggests the opposite, which is that transferring taxes from some of the places it is now (such as income) onto emissions/pollution/etc would have a long term benefit to the economy. This has the ultimate effect of reducing these emissions, reducing the externalisation of these costs onto society (and thus governments) to clean up, and ultimately reduces taxation. I have been a supporter of what is called the "Green Tax Shift" for a much longer time than I have been aware of climate change.

You appears to have a "sky is falling" attitude towards this beneficial economic correction. Taking your own tone, I believe it is you that has to come up with 100% irrefutable evidence of your claim of economic harm before anything you say can be taken seriously.

Comment Re:Why I'm dropping endorsement/etc of Lulu (Score 1) 222

A random Joe from the street?

I'm confused who we are talking about here. Copyright is a statutory monopoly, and as such always needs to be balanced with competition policy. The issue here is leveraging one monopoly (copyright) to potentially create another through "tied selling". That "other" market is the digital technology market.

Authors should be the ones that decide what technology they use to create their works, and audiences should be the ones that decide what technology audiences use to access those works.

I have very strong views when it comes to technology (obviously ;-). Some might even say my views on technology property rights might be "religious" in nature *grins*. If an author wanted to say that only people from a specific religion were allowed to read their books people would be up at arms pretty quickly. I don't think that allowing copyright holders to impose technology choices on audiences is any more valid than allowing them to impose any other personal or lifestyle choices on audiences.

The irony here is that while copyright can be abused to create monopolies in the technology market, the copyright holders encouraging the monopolies are not themselves the beneficiaries. In the case of Lulu they have become a marketing arm of Adobe (the provider of the DRM system they chose), and it is Adobe and not Lulu (as publisher) or the author that is benefiting from this tied selling.

I do not disagree with the premise, but I do not think that there is an explicit obligation on the manufacturer to make the device "controllable".

I'm not suggesting anything about adding control that doesn't exist, but clarifying who has control when that control already exists.

Computer hardware is already controllable through software. Where control exists it should be in the hands of the owner, not any third party. That owner may opt to grant control to others, but owners should never be forced to to first wrestle control away from others. While some technologically sophisticated owners will be able to exert their own rights easily, a majority of citizens will be at a disadvantage.

Like I said, it should be fair game for him to put DRM in, and fair game for you (as an owner in full control of your possession) to remove/disable/circumvent it.

While this would be far better than the direction governments are going, I still believe it is insufficient. We could run around in circles with complex and largely unenforceable labelling laws that try to make clear what limitations foreign locks might have on technology when we have a far simpler situation of simply not allowing these types of foreign locks to begin with.

It is not, nor it should be, illegal for me to sell you a safe which is locked, without also selling you the key to it - so long as I clearly tell you so beforehand (because there's reasonable expectation on buyer's side that, normally, keys come with the safe).

Interesting example, but I don't think it qualifies. Most consumers realise that there is a key and who would have them when buying a safe, but are not as informed consumers when it comes to technology. Remember that most people believe that DRM is something that is applied to digital content, and are unaware of the DRM applied to hardware/software. Nearly all the politicians I speak with believe that content can make decisions on its own without the assistance of hardware, something far closer to science fiction than science.

Your analogy is also not the same thing as a safe that can't be opened when there are no keys isn't valuable to anyone. In this case keys do exist, it is just the previous owner or manufacturer that has the keys and these third parties claim the legal right to use these keys against you (the owner) at will.

Since you used a different analogy, does this suggest that you disagree with the analogy I use in the documentation around the Petition to protect Information Technology property rights? I find when it comes to property rights that people understand it in the context of their homes better than anything else.

When I entered into this debate back in 2001 I believed as you do, that the law should have nothing to say about these locks (IE: legal to put them on, legal to remove them). I then spent years talking to creators and politicians of various types and came to the conclusion that this was not sufficient as a majority of those involved (including those drafting the bills) had absolutely no idea how any of this technology worked. Most were (and still are) unaware that there are two sets of locks (on content and on technology) with two different sets of problems.

I think it is unfair to lump this into a "buyer beware" as most people are not sufficiently technologically literate. I think it would be a bit elitist for us technical people to blame it on consumers.

How the technology is implemented is, frankly, irrelevant, all that matters are side effects (e.g. "this game will need an active Internet connection every time you start it").

Here is where we clearly disagree. To me the specific rules of any given DRM system are irrelevant, it is entirely a matter of who gets to decide the rules (choose the software) and whether people are being dishonest about the relationships. It is far easier for people to understand the concepts of "buy" vs "rent" (even with all the complexity of rental agreements) than to pretend something is "buy" when it is actually "rent" and thus they don't know to look at the details of the agreements (written in legal contracts, or written in software rules).

I'm curious why the objection of having truth in advertising extend to whether something is called "buying" or "renting"? It seems far more efficient and less government intervention than trying to police marketing material and other labelling.

Comment Re:Why I'm dropping endorsement/etc of Lulu (Score 1) 222

Before we head down the DRM on devices thread, I hope I've made clear why I've dropped endorsement/etc of Lulu. They are not involved in devices, only content. They offer a choice of DRM and DRM-free to authors, something I don't personally believe authors should have a choice about for reasons that have to do with competition/anti-trust law (tied selling, refusal to deal, etc) and not copyright or property law. My opposition to DRM on content is for reasons different than my opposition to DRM on technology.

I endorsed Lulu in the past because I thought they were different than traditional publishers on this critical point, and their recent changes indicated to me that they are not different and thus should not be endorsed.

Enough on that....

"If any DRM features are explicitly enumerated to you before you purchase the device, I still don't see the problem."

I have yet to see a device that accurately explained how its use of foreign locks worked. Some of them gave temporary examples of some of the logic a DRM system used, but never the fact that the device is intended to be under the control of the manufacturer (executing logic determined unilaterally by the manufacturer) and not the person who possesses it.

I have blogged where I call DRM "Dishonest Relationship Misinformation. When I purchase something, that should mean that I should be able to control what I own (for lawful purposes of course). If someone else wants to retain control, then they should have to retain ownership and all the rights and responsibilities that go with that. Someone other than the owner can posses something, and that is called a rental (or similar relationship).

We have a whole series of laws in most countries that make rental relationships clear between the owners and renters. There are limits on what the owners can do, some rights of the renter are protected, and there are responsibilities for both parties.

By claiming something is "sold" and the purchaser does not gain ownership rights is simply dishonest, and opens the door to a whole series of abuses and misunderstandings. We need the right set of legal rules (rental) to be invoked when the relationship is in fact rental in nature.

So, I don't have a problem with digital technology being rented to people for those people who want that type of relationship. We can even have "rent to own" relationships where the device is unlocked after a contract expires. What I have a problem with is all the fallout of being dishonest about the relationship and claiming that a rental is a "sale" where your property rights aren't honoured.

See also: Petition to protect Information Technology property rights

While people recognize and will protect their property rights for their homes, cars and other such property, most are unaware of the attacks on the rights associated with information technology.

Imagine the builder of your home or the manufacturer of your car put locks on your doors and refused to give you the keys. They used the keys as a way to only allow you into your home when you have gained their permission to do so, and only under conditions they have set. The builder/manufacturer has made arrangements with other companies such that they will protect the interests of these third parties against you, the owner. The builder/manufacturer has also gone to various governments to make it illegal for you to remove their locks in order to put your own locks on, so that you can protect your property rights.

"You know what you're buying."

YOU may know what you are buying, as a fellow technical person. What far too many technical people seem to forget is that they are in an extreme minority. I have spent years doing my "I am holding up 4 things in my hand" presentation on explaining DRM, and few had even the slightest idea of how this technology worked before I gave the presentation (and unfortunately only a few more after). The vast majority of people do not know how these things work, which is why being honest about the relationship (rental vs ownership) is so critical. We have these different set of laws for a reason.

Comment Re:Why I'm dropping endorsement/etc of Lulu (Score 1) 222

Read the article at I am not talking about DRM on content which only limits interoperability to "authorised" devices. I do not own the copyrighted work simply because I purchase a copy.

What I'm talking about the DRM on the authorised device, which is something I do own.

You may also want to check out: The Two Locks of DRM:

When I am explaining DRM to politicians, I feel like I am Ralph Nader back in 1965. He explained that with an automobile accident there are two collisions: the car hits something, and the passenger hits the car. While automobile safety up to that point concentrated only on the first collision, it was quickly understood that safety features should concentrate on the second collision. This gave us dashboards that weren't made out of metal, seatbelts, air bags, and other such second-collision safety features. We have the same problem with DRM where policy makers think there is only one "digital lock" being discussed, when in fact there are two and it is the lock they are less aware of that is the source of most of the controversy.

Comment Re:Why I'm dropping endorsement/etc of Lulu (Score 1) 222

It may be that I should have kept that statement out of the comment, given it is not my greatest concern. Even if DRM did decrease infringement I do not think it is justified. I consider the harm to authors and their readers of anti-competitive locks on content and anti-property locks on technology to be greater than the harm of any amount of copyright infringement.

That said, I'll see where our discussion can take us.

If a computer can access the data and code, so can an adequately motivated and technically sophisticated infringer. Once a single person unlocks the content, they can then share it the same way they would have if the "copy control" never existed. Other less motivated or less technically sophisticated infringers would then use the DRM-free work, and the fact that they aren't personally motivated of technically sophisticated enough doesn't matter.

I don't think I can "prove" this as I accept this as an axiom. It isn't a "lie" as that would suggest I was saying something I thought were false.

What you pointed at was examples where a pattern seemed to exist. It would require analysing the other variables to know exactly why the statics being used to indirectly measure infringement showed differently in different scenarios. It is hard to believe a claim that the "only" variable is locked or unlocked content, and that unlocking content induced infringement. This is one of the flaws of many studies done on infringement -- they presume there are a far too limited number of variables. (IE: believing that the only variable differentiating the music industry in 1989 to 2009 is infringement, and then claiming that any revenue differences can be attributed to this one variable).

Notice that I said motivated infringer. This is one of the things that even the proponents will acknowledge, which is that copy control is only a "speed bump" that would deter only the least motivated infringers. It is also a "speed bump" for customers as well given all DRM inconveniences authorised users in some way, so needs to be analysed in that context. While every legitimate user is inconvenienced by DRM, it only takes one motivated and technically sophisticated infringer to make the DRM irrelevant.

I will ask a related question: Had someone said "making false (but common) claims that DRM would increase revenue", would you have had an objection? Lulu didn't claim that using DRM would increase revenue, only that DRM would "prevent piracy and unlicensed distribution."

Comment Why I'm dropping endorsement/etc of Lulu (Score 2, Interesting) 222

Read some of the comments. There appears to be a lack of support for a boycott. Some because they don't consider DRM to be a problem or believe that it should be the authors choice, and some because they don't support the concept of consumer boycotts at all.

Here is why I'm likely to boycott Lulu, and recommend against them whenever asked. I've already cleaned up my storefront to only indicate this removal of support.

First I offer for what I consider DRM to be, given there isn't a universal meaning for this acronym. It is also an explanation for less technical people about how DRM works, rather than the unscientific "magic" that some people believe it to be.

I believe that authors imposing technology brands on audiences (DRM on content) is even less legitimate/moral than audiences imposing prices on authors (IE: copyright infringement). I don't condone either, but consider DRM to be worse.

I consider the activity of locking technology such that the owner does not have the key (DRM on hardware/software) to be a direct attack on property rights. I consider this a form of "theft" that should be made clearly illegal -- not encouraged (through locks on content), legalised or legally protected.

In the case of Lulu the blog article was clearly encouraging authors to put DRM on their content, making false (but common) claims that DRM would reduce infringement. DRM on content then imposes/encourages specific brands of technology, specifically technology that is locked down against the interests of their owners.

Lulu is and should also be held to a higher standard. This is a company founded by Bob Young who knows better when it comes to the harms of DRM. If this were an old-economy publisher adding DRM-free digital distribution to an existing DRM-only system, this would be seen as a step in a positive direction. In this case this is a theoretically new-economy publisher adding and promoting DRM in addition to a long-standing DRM-free system, clearly a step in a negative direction.

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