This is an open letter from my good friend Ryan Oram to the lawmakers in Canada reposted with permission:
The recording industry has begun to astroturf to get support for Bill C-32 and the digital lock provisions.
The Minister of Heritage has also called everyone against the bill
The response of a Canadian author (who has released all his novels under Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial) on “radical extremism” and copyright: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/23/a-canadian-authors-p.html
A great overview of the technology behind digital locks and the problems with digital media that need to be resolved: http://www.flora.ca/documents/digital-ownership.shtml
Note: The following was originally posted by [Ryan] on the Balanced Copyright for Canada Facebook page.
Rights and freedoms are not radical or extremist.
Consumers have just as much of a right to freedom of use as the artists have a right to compensation.
Besides, closed digital locks do not help artists as they do not prevent piracy. In fact, they encourage it as the free “pirated” media doesn’t have the limitations of the DRMed pirated media.
The closed digital locks serve only to protect the jobs of the middlemen in the media industry, as they force the artists and
consumers to rely on them for media creation and distribution.
Copyright in its current state doesn’t extend well to the Internet, as anyone has access to the means of publishing content. I agree that there is no way of preventing unauthorized publication of digital content without utilizing encryption. However, both the means of encryption and the means of access *must* be an open public good.
The current DRM systems are not designed to protect artists. They are designed to restrict use and access to our media and hardware. The media companies want to force us to buy multiple copies of their content, even though there is no technological reason to do so. So they have, in earnest, created one out of thin air. This is the reason why we can not play a video bought off of Xbox Live on our iPods.
The only successful content authentication system will be one that is universal to every device AND completely open source, utilizing open standards for the delivery, the container, and the encryption. This is because such a system is the only system the public will accept, as it will be a system under *our* control.
In the end, the people are never going to give up control of our bought and paid for media and hardware so media companies can line their coffers. And we will do everything possible to keep that control, even if that means we have to break a few locks along the way.
I think it’s telling that it’s web developers who are the most vocally opposed to this system.
We are the people who understand the technology behind these systems as we work with it every day. The Internet is built on open standards and specifications. We want the system currently place to be extended to support media. Closed DRM is fundamentally against the principles of universal use and access on which the Internet was created.
To the media industry:
When in Rome, it’s best to do as the Romans do. Work with us and respect our principles and values and we will likely be willing to work with your industry to protect your content.
It’s your call.
Technology can not fix societal problems. Piracy, as a black market, is a societal problem. You can never prevent people from pirating, as a few will ALWAYS find a way. You can only attempt to influence people to buy through efficient and productive technology.
I think it’s pointless to attempt to make an uncrackable system as the reason why people crack DRM is mostly because they want to get around the restrictions present in the media. Making a system that doesn’t restrict users in this way is a much more productive way to solve the problem, rather than trying to implement endless layers of DRM that will end up being hacked eventually anyways.
Mind you, there needs to be at least something in place to *deter* people from republishing the content without the author’s permission. So let’s just make that something using secure open parts, put in as few restrictions as possible, and call it a damn day.