So, I've finally made my way throughout the bill, taken my time and tried to truly understand what our government is trying to do here.
All-in-all... there's a lot to be proud of.
See, in reading the Copyright Modernization Act side-by-side with the original Act from the 80s I realized that there's a lot that needs to be updated.
Sure, a good deal of it was pretty self-explanatory -- like giving teachers the ability to make digital copies of their work and hand them out to their students -- and some of it is on the edge of mindboggling (If someone holds your camera and takes a picture of you, they're the copyright holder, not you) but as an 'update' it's not bad.
Yes, you can rip/backup your own DVDs for personal use. No you can't give copies of those digital files to friends.
Yes, for personal use, you can move your music however you want.
As long as you don't mess with any digital locks on the way there... in regards to anything... at all. Ever.
Well, if you're a civilian.
If you're acting on behalf of a School, Museum, Archive, Library, Encryption specialist, Interoperability... person, or an agent of the police or RCMP then digital locks are just an annoyance.
But for the rest of us?
*Big Red Buzzer Sound*
Which, as I look at the whole of this thing, is pretty much the largest stumbling block of the whole deal.
And it's sort of a weird thing, too 'cause when I was reading through this bill I'm there nodding along (or off in the case of some of the language) and then all of the sudden they come out of nowhere with:
YOU SHALL NOT PASS (digital locks in any way shape or form).
What I found even more frustrating is that it seems like you're not even allowed to IMPORT the content if there's a version elsewhere in another country that doesn't have a digital lock on it.
That's a shit-load of power to just hand off.
I mean, really. You had me on-side for a good amount of it until, well, here.
And yet, I still sort of get it. I really I do.
I understand that we have treaties that we've signed and intellectual property to protect (unfortunately, not ALL information is meant to be free... us content creators gotta eat too...) but we can also put our own Canadian spin on things; Make laws and regulations that work for us as a country.
'Cause let's be honest here, us web-savvy, tech-consuming, money-generating Canadians like to do what we want (when we want) with the content we purchase.
So here's my proposal -- Mr. Von Finkenstein, I hope you're listening -- if this Bill passes with that Digital Lock language left in then I want you to pass a regulation that says that Canadian Citizens are to be made aware that the content they are buying is digitally locked down to the medium they purchased it on.
And I mean by putting something right there on the front of the package, maybe a nice, stylized pixelated lock.
Something that let's us know what NOT to buy.
You see, the more I think about it, the more I've come to realize that a whole lot of this 'digital lock' strategy seems to rest on the ideal that we're just going to be unaware little munchkins that just blindly buy whatever is released to us... if it's locked down or not, we won't know or care.
And then, if we break the rules then we're liable to be nailed for it.
I think, like the old-time 'offensive Rap-label lyrics' warnings, we should have it be made crystal clear to us what we're buying and exactly what limitations that are on it BEFORE we agree to the purchase.
Not great for the bottom line, I know (telling people what's in the chicken nuggets before they eat them) but we Canadians deserve to be better served when it comes to our digital rights.
If it's just about the money then why not play it legit and all cards on the table?
I know that for myself, as a content creator, what I'd be tempted to do is offer something that comes with 3 'device' installs for a lower price or offer an 'unlocked' version for a higher price.
But if you're intent on doing it, on 'locking down' digital content to whatever it came on (or one device/medium) then, as a Canadian consumer I want the right to know about it.
Then we can, as the Conservative pundits are always so happy to say, 'let the markets decide'.
P.S: Also, since I'm still puttering around here in dream-land could you also see about releasing versions of your bills in 'regular' language? Something inclusive that those of us who don't speak legalese can understand and debate? I damn-near gave myself an aneurysm reading this thing on my own. Thank you.