Copyright for CanadiansCanadian MPP Jim Prentice is about to introduce a new copyright protection law into the House of Commons. This law is said to be more restrictive than the US DMCA law which has allowed the recording industry to sue itself into obscurity, and has let the MPAA put blinders on and decide that they should lecture their customers rather than innovate.

I am personally offended every time I go into a movie theatre, pay good money for tickets and popcorn, and then get told not to steal movies. Umm, you’re kinda preaching to the choir idjuts.

Rather than innovate, the recording industry and TV/film industries would like to legislate our behavior.

The proposed laws will make it illegal to circumvent any type of digital rights management software (DRM), and violators will be libel for fines up to $20,000 per file. Cases where individuals download songs and/or other digitized material will be capped at $500.00.

This will also make software that allows owners of DVD’s for example to skip the commercials placed in front of them, or to rip DVD’s to digital copies so that they can be played over media centers.

This will also give more rights to the Digital Broadcast Flag which allows TV Rights Holders to disable PVRing of TV shows, an increasingly common practice.

The Canadian Music Creators Coalition has come out in opposition of the bill, Wide Mouth Mason’s drummer Safwan Javed, says:

Rather than building a made-in-Canada proposal to help musicians get paid, the government has chosen to import American-style legislation that says the solution to the music industry’s problems is suing our fans

The time has come to turn the tables on these industries. Corporations are actually legally recognized as citizens, and as citizens they have to obey the laws of the land. Those laws are put in place to protect a country’s citizens. You not wearing a seatbelt does no harm to the country, but we have laws to protect those not wise enough to protect themselves on their own (though one might argue that perhaps Darwinism should be allowed to play out).

We need to protect these industries. They are making horrible mistakes, suing their customer bases and creating negativity, imposing restrictive digital rights management rules on their files and formats, and generally being poor corporate citizens.

Restricting what I can do with my CD’s, will only encourage me to seek out illegal files that I can transfer to my iPod. Not allowing me to record a TV show will mean that I stop watching that TV show (see any of the new shows that imposed digital broadcast flags this year, and which I therefore never got into because I missed the first couple of episodes). Making DVD’s with unskippable commercials encourages me to figure out an illegal way of skipping said commercials to maintain my sanity (sorry, but there’s only so many times I’m willing to watch the Wonderful World of Disney commercials).  Putting commercials before a movie telling people not to download movies only advertises the fact that you CAN download movies to people who are currently willing to pay to see your film in a theatre!

Most importantly, we must teach corporations a simple truism…you can not lose money that is not yours.  Somebody might download the latest Backstreet Boys album out of curiosity, but if that wasn’t available for free, they would never have cared.  We used to have something that allowed us to sample different types of music.  It was called the radio.  Of course corporations have homogenized it into uselessness.

How about lower quality free downloads of entire albums?  Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have made money off of me this year by offering up DRM free downloads of their new albums well before they were available in stores.  I downloaded Radiohead’s album off a P2P network because their site was swamped, and then went back to the site later to give them my ten bucks because it was a great album.

I am currently ripping my entire CD collection to MP3’s so that I can put all my CD’s away and keep everything on the network so it’s instantly available throughout the house. Some of these CD’s have old DRM which doesn’t even work on modern computers, so by ripping those I am still doing something illegal (never mind the fact that the original CD will still live in my home).

It should not be the business of a government to turn its citizens into criminals overnight, which is what this law would do.

Read more about this law at Michael Geist’s website: The Canadian DMCA: Check the fine print

When you’re done with that, go over to the Copyright for Canadians website to send a letter to your MPP.