A letter to the Canadian government

January 28, 2012

In the wake of the SOPA debacle in the US, Canada has it’s OWN issues with upcoming legislation. Specifically the C-11 bill. This is the letter I just wrote to the many ministers and MP’s supporting this bill:

Canada used to represent fairness and democracy to the world by treating its citzens’ with respect and decency with regards to legislation. It is quite alarming, then, to see how the pending C-11 bill appears to be written entirely in favour of the media and entertainment industries with scant regard to the rights of the individual Canadian. Sadly the Canadian general public cannot afford lobbyists and other pressure groups, meaning it is left to the honesty and integrity of those governing the country to ensure that any legislation is balanced for the greater good, and not for the financial gain of a select few, or to engage in legislation that would render a large proportion of the population criminals.

There are many troubling issues in the legislation.

Firstly, you would essentially render PVR’s illegal without broadcast flags. Why? Where is the common sense in this?

The anti-circumvention provisions included in Bill C-11 unfairly equip corporate copyright owners and distributors in the music, movie and video game industries with a powerful set of tools that can be utilized to exercise absolute control over Canadians’ interaction with media and technology and quite possibly even undermine Canadians’ constitutional rights.

We would be legally prohibited from making copies of legally obtained items. Also denied access to the tools required to make copies within the law.

I am allowed to own guns for legal purposes, despite those routinely being used for criminal acts. This makes C-11 all the more ridiculous. I can legally own a device that can kill people, yet NOT obtain a tool to copy a movie or CD I purchased to my iPod?

There is also the issue of copy protection for software. The bill would make it illegal to “crack” your software to circumvent the protection. This, despite the fact that any long time software user on the PC will have been in the position st least once where copy protection has prevented them from running their legally obtained software. Any law which makes the individual in this situation a criminal is unjust and unfair.

Then there is the issue of accusations of piracy. On several occasions I have been forced to download software from the Internet because my LEGALLY PURCHASED media has been damaged or there was some other issue or technical limitation preventing me from using it. Under C-11 it appears that were I caught doing this, my ISP could be forced to kill my Internet connection.

What happened to the burden of proof? Due process?

This is troubling enough, without mentioning the fact that with more and more people relying on wireless networks, and more and more security issues regarding the use of wifi (such as the recent WPS crack on WPA encryption which renders the current best wifi encryption available cracked in under 10 hours, and in many cases cannot be protected against) you have placed people in the situation where they could lose their Internet without them having done anything. A real world comparison would be someone steals your car because you left the keys in the ignition. They drive to the library and photocopy a book. You are then arrested.

C-11 is legislation aimed at protecting dinosaurs from the asteroid that’s already here. Rather than having Canada lead the way with evolution, you introduce legislation that stifles technology and crushes peoples rights. Canada could, and should be, a beacon, as it has been on so many occasions in the past. Legislating fair copyright law that benefits the people at large would set a tremendous example to the world.

Instead, at a time when Canada could be leading the way and being a force for good, it seems you care less and less for the electorate and any sort of fairness, preferring instead to defer to corporate interests and lobbyists. At least if you do strip Canadians’ of their rights and criminalize a vast percentage of the population and give all encompassing control to the media and entertainment industries, I can at least say I tried to ask you to see reason and decency.

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