Canada Still Doesn’t Get IP

I’ve disputed a number of our intellectual property laws and copyright initiatives in the past. It would appear that our “Education Ministers” are heading down a very, very foolish path. Rather than this nonsense, perhaps working to enable a funding model to get our kids more accessible levels of costs for post-secondary education would be a better use of their time and our money.

Michael Geist is a very effective critic and analyst on Canada’s IP law among other things, and raises a very large warning in his recent post of Education Ministers’ Copyright Proposal Needs a Rewrite. It would appear from his analysis that we’re heading down a blind alley that can really only work to make things worse. A bad law is worse than no law. That’s something I believe it would be very useful to teach a course in to new and old legislators.

I’d also encourage you to read Michael’s other posts on DRM. I’m not a total opponent to DRM due to the inability of far too many people to respect the needs and rights and efforts of the artist. I am fine with DRM that allows me to work with the media and material in a fair way in my own uses and environment, which includes ripping to my iPod (I bought the music, but I don’t always agree with the format for playing it) but will not allow me to redistribute it freely without some barrier.

Conversely, being neck-deep in technology for a living, I know what proprietary formats do to really muck up honest people, and it’s just painful. ANY DRM is by definition at this point proprietary, regardless of vendor claims to the contrary. It’s a balance that is very difficult to strike properly because the simple fact that far too many people believe that copying music is OK. This is really inexcusable when the cost for a track is very cheap by any standard. I’m a musician, and though I don’t make a living from it, I respect the time and effort and talent required to create something people really enjoy. Anyone who does should compensate the musician. If an artist chooses รข la the Grateful Dead to release recording for free (tape trees) in order to drive people to live performances, and thus to make a living off of performances, that is their choice, not the choice of the listener. Some artists cannot perform their works, or do not choose the lifestyle of the road, and it is not our right via theft to force them to do so or to give up their art. DRM is a pain in the neck to all those honest patrons because too may people lack the respect for the artist to compensate their efforts. I doubt most of those people would be willing to do their job for free in return.

Read up on this copyright issue, and please, get on to your provincial education minister and other government representatives and express the need to strike a fair balance, which the current copyright law does quite well for education, and to understand the environment we’re moving into and look for ways that people are compensated for their time, and fair use is guaranteed. Canada doesn’t need to make the same mistakes other Industrialized nations are with Intellectual Property.

Currently playing in iTunes: Ain’t No Mystery by Smash Mouth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *