How Bill C-32 would make me a criminal.

Canada’s latest proposed DMCA Copyright Bill finally became available last night, and was brought to my attention while recording the latest episode of DyscultureD with Anthony Marco and Mike Vardy.

Because digital rights is such a hard sell to those who don’t immediately grasp it, let me show how C-32 would make me a criminal, three times over. Then you can decide for yourself if what I’m about to describe falls within reasonable use or not.

I. Suspect did willfully disrespect the region-locking of commercial DVDs.

It’s true. In the summer of 2008 I purchased two DVDs about a cat that blogs. They were region-locked for Japan and I got them to play here in Canada using illegal hardware that I got from a shady vendor known in hacker circles as “Wal-Mart“.

Even worse, I ripped and uploaded the intros from both DVDs for the purposes of scholarly review.

II. Suspect did willfully see what was not meant to be seen.

Yup, I downloaded and watched an excellent (if unfinished) documentary on hackers. And it was awesome.

It was funded by Kevin Spacey’s TriggerStreet Productions but shelved before release. The only other way I could have seen it was if I worked in the editing room on the film itself.

Under Bill C-32 my ISP could report me to the MPAA, where presumably I’d be extradited to serve ten years of hard labour as a production assistant on TMZ.

III. Suspect did willfully circumvent DRM to escape vendor lock-in.

Since Apple doesn’t make their popular fart app store/music player available for Linux proper, the only way I could get my hundreds of dollars of legally purchased iTunes tracks to play on my computer was to strip out the DRM. Actually they still won’t play because I can’t find a suitable decoder for Apple’s “Advanced Audio Coding“, but a lock is a lock and I broke it.

So there you have it, three counts of future-crime in direct violation of Bill C-32. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what’s your verdict?


  1. AC:
    Tony Clemente wants me to ask you where you are right now. He and the RCMP have a, uh, present for you.


  2. AC:
    I’ve been reading more of the reactions (Michael Geist is writing something almost daily for the Toronto Star, for example). Even the Globe & Mail (Canada’s Wall Street Journal, for those from outside of the Great White North) has the digital locks as the lead item. It’s definitely the hot button of this bill, and since it’s probably the aspec that will affect voters most directly, it’ll be interesting to see if it boils up to become a major issue or not.

  3. In my new article, “Modernization of the Inconceivable“, I explain why modernization of the copyright law based on compromise and concessions, without a good understanding of the underlying principles of copyright protection, is doomed to fail.

    Copyright laws exist either for the protection of the creator, or for the benefit of the public. There is no middle ground. As long as we keep entrusting the government (any government) to find the right “balance” between the two, we are destined to keep on making up exclusions from limitations on exceptions from the rights – without even stopping for a second to question why we are doing this.

  4. Copyright laws have gone too far. They exist to benefit huge corporations that try to dictate usage to the buyer.
    Actually, very little benefit will trickle down to the creator of the work.
    Sad, really.

  5. This is insanity. How corrupt is our government to allow this to even be considered? The world is worried about being green and at every turn someone thinks of a new way to create even more waste.

    Why is my government allowing greedy corporations to rob us and generate more garbage when the world is trying to reduce waste? Canada has no middle class left. We are either poor or we are rich and we will be forced even poorer or have no cheap sources of entertainment left. 

    Ontario’s highway 407 is a provincial embarrassment. We allowed our taxes to build something on Canadian soil then sold it to a foreign corporation that charges us per kilometre to use it. People are consistently billed wrongly or billed when they’ve never used it leaving them with no way to dispute the erroneous charges and they get transferred from one finger pointer to another but eventually give up and pay the extortion fees or forcefully have their license plates suspended by the ministry. Now they want to do the same with internet. Billing by the byte for bandwidth use is just pure greed. Cell phone companies started this way and have evolved to much better service and plans by doing the opposite with unlimited plans instead. The Internet Meter would be a complete step backwards to allow billing by the byte. This insane idea we would limit the internet to the rich only eventually.  The schools, the poor and the middle class would be drastically limited to internet access and any form of online entertainment like movie rentals, online radio, Skype and other online chatting and online gaming would be no longer an option to anyone but the rich. There is no reason to allow these greedy companies to charge for the internet by the byte. There is absolutely nothing good that will come of this. Canada prided itself on being a high tech nation and this draconian scheme would put us back in the dark ages and reduce our national internet use to that of a third world nation. 

    When compact discs were first introduced they were better quality made and the majority of them had a protective teflon type coating to reduce scratches. Now we have poorly made discs that scratch very easily. We won’t be able to use tools to make a copy to protect our investment. Instead we will have to buy a new copy of a movie or music disc every time they get scratched because of poorly made players or from kids or any number of things that can damage the disc. And instead of reducing waste we fill our landfill sites needlessly with more garbage from things we have paid for again and again because greedy politicians and corporations don’t care about anything but selling their products and lining their pockets. The crooked politicians try to sell you that it is a good law to protect copyrights when they know full well it won’t or don’t care because they are getting kickbacks to turn a blind on yet another nickel and dime scheme to further erode the middle class and to keep any source of entertainment unreachable to the poorer.

    I can record my TV shows or movies from my cable box onto a VCR and watch them later. What difference is there between that and watching TV shows online and recording it for later? Even more so what difference is there to sharing it? It was broadcast publicly already on public air waves and anyone could have watched it. Sharing TV shows would only increase the marketing potential for any show.

    I can record music I hear on the radio onto cassette tapes and make my own collection of music  but I cannot record my music from online radio to my computer? If I purchase an album online or at the store why cannot I make a backup onto my computer so I can listen to it there? I paid for the music. I am not selling it or sharing. I just want to be able to play my music unhindered on whatever device I choose to listen to it through.

    Please, someone for the love of god wake up the politicians that the working class in Canada cannot afford to keep getting gouged at every creative scheme greedy corporations can think of to squeeze more money from us.

    The only people that will benefit from this new copyright law are the people making counterfeit music  and  movie discs along with the greedy corporations forcing people to do without or fill our landfill sites needlessly. 

    Thank you for your time, 


  6. You have guts sir, not a lot of people will admit to stuff like this for fear of repercussion even though it helps to illustrate ridiculousness and courageousness.

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