Michael Geist warns that a new Canadian copyright bill is only a few weeks away.
I, for one, hope it’s in the form of a DMCA-style law. I’ve just been feeling a touch too free lately, you know?
According to the Ottawa Citizen article Geist references, U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins says that “no one expects the law to be identical [to America’s], but hopefully it will be compatible.”
“That means that Canada would have to meet the three criticisms of its current copyright law put forward by the U.S. Trade Representative earlier this year in its Special 301 report, which includes implementing an international treaty signed in 1997 (WIPO), as well as incorporating some of the elements of the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act.”
This is bad, because, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
“[T]he DMCA and DRM have done nothing to stop “Internet piracy.” Yet the DMCA has become a serious threat that jeopardizes fair use, impedes competition and innovation, chills free expression and scientific research, and interferes with computer intrusion laws. If you circumvent DRM locks for noninfringing fair uses or create the tools to do so, you might be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.”
In practice, this means that I will not be allowed under law to play DVDs on my computer. Seriously. As I’m running the Linux operating system, I need to break the (albeit weak) encryption on the discs to allow for playback. But this violates the DMCA. I have no intention of pirating (Arrr) the content, nor even sharing it, I merely mean to view the content I purchased. But the DMCA does not even allow for this simple, innocent use.
Chilling, indeed. But, then again, it’s often quite cold up here. I suppose we’ll just get used to it…