Saturday, May 13, 2006

Balanced Copyright Reform

Here's a copy of an e-mail message I sent to my MP on the subject:
Hello Mr. Poilievre,

It's come to my attention that draft legislation concerning "copyright reform" could be drafted in coming weeks and months (building on Bill C-60). I suspect you've already received a form letter or two on the subject of "digital rights management" or DRM, so rather than add to that pile, I thought I'd quickly relate a personal experience on the subject, to give you some perspective.

My wife recently bought a number of CDs for a road trip. She'd had her iPod digital music player for a while, but this was to be the first time we took it as our sole source of music for any length of time. With the FM transmitter she'd bought for it, we would be able to play it through the car stereo, the portable stereo of anyone we visited along the way, etc.

However, she quickly became frustrated with the Nickelback CD she bought. She couldn't import it into iTunes (iPod management software), or even play it on her computer. The digital rights management software on the CD prevented it.

It's that DRM software prevents this and other legal uses of the merchandise we purchase that makes it such an important issue. (The fact that it can also open our computers to breaches of privacy and security is a separate, but equally important, issue: Sony-BMG's DRM software is a chilling example of this.)

While the Canadian Coalition for Digital Fair Access has some good information on this issue (as does the more recent Online Rights Canada), it's the "Consumer Technology Bill of Rights" put together by in the U.S. that succinctly captures what I would like to see in any DRM-related legislation.

I'll just quote the point that's relevant to my story:

2. Users have the right to "space-shift" content that they have legally acquired. This gives you the right to use your content in different places (as long as each use is personal and non-commercial).

( for the complete list.)

Thank you for your time, Mr. Poilievre.


John Jarvis

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