Friday, June 13, 2008

Canadian DMCA: Good for Whom?

Creators, distributors or consumers? I’m sure the “Conservatives” would argue all of the foregoing, although critics will undoubtedly beg to differ. Michael Geist, for example, lays out many cogent objections to provisions buried in the “fine print” of the Bill that seem to undermine or directly contradict the benefits to the consumer being touted by Industry Minister Jim Prentice.

“Really what the government is saying through this legislation is that creators or – more accurately, content distributors – can use digital locks ... and through those technologies determine the legal rules and the technological locks trump the exceptions that are in the act for consumers.” — Prof. Jeremy de Beer, University of Ottawa

I don’t pretend to understand all of the implications involved and haven’t a clue whether Bill C-61 is a particularly good or bad piece of legislation, but if, as is claimed by the folks at Digital Copyright Canada “this bill reduces certainty in the marketplace, not increases it” and “it will likely be decades before we fully understand how this bill will be interpreted by the courts,” then it’s somewhat difficult to see how we as consumers (and in some cases creators) are any better served now than was previously the case.