Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
"Digital locks" sometimes simply exploit the technical limitations of contemporary recording/playback devices. Today's technology can often make yesterday's digital locks ineffective merely as a side effect, much like improved resolution in digital scanners and colour printers have rendered some anti-counterfeiting measures ineffective.
Imprudent legislation could easily chill Canadian innovation and creativity in the technology space if prohibitions against making, selling, and using devices that circumvent "digital locks" are not tied directly to the use of those devices for infringing purposes.
I love this quote by a pair of economists about the problem of free digital goods:
"…charging price equal to marginal cost ($0.0) almost surely leaves the producer bankrupt, with little incentive to maintain the product except the hope of maintenance fees, and no incentive whatsoever to make another one except for that warm fuzzy feeling one gets from impoverishing oneself for the general good."
Bradford de Long and A. Michael Froomkin in their article "The Next Economy?"
Many erroneously assume the free distribution afforded by the Internet is incentive enough to drive creativity and innovation. This view is quaint, but in very unenlightened.
For a primer, I encourage people to read Information Rules by legendary economist Hal Varian and Daniel Shapiro. It is a great review of the economics of digital goods.
Lawmakers need to extend copyright protection further, not give in to rollback pressures. The Internet certainly lowers barriers to entry for creators of works, but it does nothing to foster quality or innovation.
The distinction between amateur and professional musicians, for example, has been useful over the decades. Without payment for works, all will be amateurs.
That can't be good.
David H. Brett
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 22:45] Comment ID: 326 Reply to: 320
Funny, Red Hat supports linux software that is given away free…they seem to be able to make a go at it.
A number of MMO's now release their software free and provide insentives for people to pay for virtual goods…
Virtual goods (ie digital media) can be associated with a $0 price tag like a number of artist do and then if someone wants something extra they pay for it. If you look to the past, most bands (including now famous bands) encouraged their audience to copy and bootleg their albums and tapes because they realized that even free advertising from good bands generates more ticket sales and since they didn't make anything anyway from the sale of the physical media then why bother not encouraging it…a unrealistic priced commodity (albums, CD's, videos, etc) could be controlled because only certain people could produce and distribute them, now with the digital age, the cost of production and distribution is next to 0.
Just look at the number of bands that give away music online to then sell 5-10$ CD's to sold out crowds at their events.
"professional" (I use the word professional loosly) artists that are propt up and distributed to a forced audience (i.e Raido stations) that regurgitate the same top 40 albums…their are too many good bands out their that give away their media free for the exposure and the legacy channels (except CBC) rarely play them unless somehow they show up on the top youtube music…if the bands can't make a living from touring then they are not a good band.
And to quote an Economist is like pulling rabbits out of a hat…it is all magic figures based on sometime incorrect assuptions, also you can spin figures any way you want…market places evolve, old business have to adapt or die…ala IBM.
dbrett [2009-07-21 23:50] Comment ID: 346 Reply to: 326
You have a very cynical but typical outlook CDN. But you should not knock economists, especially you do not understand what they are talking about.
Do you know WHY there is such a thing as "Top 40?" No, it's not to do with corporate conspiracies. It's to do with economics.
To "like" a song, you have to hear it first. How do you hear it? Randomly go to the Internet and find "good" music, sifting through millions of pages? No. You turn on the radio, or MTV, or a movie, or some forum put together by some who is not you.
Once you "like" a song, you want to hear it again. This is called "option value." Fans pay money for recordings so they can hear songs they like as many times as they like, when they like. Otherwise we all would only listen to the radio, such as FM, or Internet radio.
Other than live performances, option value is the only way for recording artists to generate income. Piracy robs artists of this faint hope of a return.
Music consumers are "risk averse." They like to hear what others have already judged as good. This is why 90% of the income goes to 10% of the artists. It's a "winner take all" market. It's not about some corporate bogey man forcing music on us.
The 10% at the top generate cash that spills over into the development of the next star. Many emerging artists get a shot a glory this way. But that pie is shrinking, due to theft.
The result is fewer artists getting a shot, fewer having even that faint hope of being a professional. This leads to fewer kids in band class. Innovation and creativity go down the drain.
Open source software development is a totally different conversation for another post. But let me ask you this: is the creator of Linux rich or poor?
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 00:01] Comment ID: 347 Reply to: 346
I will have to disagree with you on the above point of what is available on the radio…most radio stations will no play non-top 100 songs unless they are a specific genre radio show. They get their play lists from the media groups.
CBC is the exception, they showcase new talent all the time and direct listeners to those avenues.
With radio listeners way way down, and the younger audience getting music from the internet and from friends the whole issue is what is relevent…the play lists that are now digitally pieced together with the local adverts to hundreds of different radio stations or people finding better music from the internet…
It is luck that radio stations can't realistically judge their market share because if they found out then their advertisers would most likely be dropping them or at least lowering their contracts.
Radio still has a voice, but seriously do you believe what is played on the standard radio is the top 100 songs…
With regards to the 90/10 argument…that is funny that you used those figures because it was shown (I have to find the statistic) that only 1 in 10 artist that signs with a record label makes any money…the rest are held and can't release anything because the record label hold them in the wing….then lets them go.
I have a number of friends that are musicians and they all refused to sign on to the record deals because of the limiting of their work…they chose to continue to perform concerts and events and sell their CD's or provide free songs to their fans from their web sites…They are not hurting at all for money and they still enjoy working more then 2 hours a year for their pay….
dbrett [2009-07-22 00:09] Comment ID: 349 Reply to: 347
Indie musicians "not hurting at all for money." As if! You will have to "show me the money" on that one.
You are not getting my point. If it's "better music" on "the internet," how did they find out about that music? Don't you realize that bands need to MARKET themselves to get an audience?
Some bands are good at marketing and get an audience. That does not make their music "better."
Some artists are amazing but could not market their way out of a paper bag, so they languish in their parent's basement, eventually joining the postal service.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 00:21] Comment ID: 353 Reply to: 349
well without you qualifying hurting for money…if a band has talent, marketing skills and drive, then they survive and prosper…the others should find other lines of work.
Finding music is a word of mouth or a social experience…or through good adverts…radio is no longer the best way to distribute advertisi8ng to the top 40 that someone choses to highlight.
dbrett [2009-07-23 18:08] Comment ID: 702 Reply to: 353
Do you have hard metrics to back up you claim that radio has been eclipsed by a "social experience?" Do people stuck in traffic listen to the radio or get tips from their friends on what to download?
Artists, having no money available from labels hobbled by piracy, must engage in "do it yourself," guerrilla marketing. Hence Myspace and etc. But how much $$ is being made from all this?
For a reality check, I recommend people check out this website: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/
Chris Brand [2009-07-24 17:27] Comment ID: 830 Reply to: 702
But the labels aren't "hobbled by piracy". If they're suffering at all, it's due to competition. There's a good article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/jun/09/games-dvd-music-downloads-piracy that shows how decreased spending on music has been more than made up for by increased spending on games and DVDs.
dbrett [2009-07-24 19:52] Comment ID: 848 Reply to: 830
I will check out the links. Meanwhile, am I the only person on this blog who thinks piracy is a problem? I now there is a movement out there that thinks Copyright should be abolished or at least watered down, but it is a misguided philosophy. IMHO.
Yes, the Internet has "changed everything." I started an "Internet company" myself that was hailed as revolutionary. But the technological change does not alter the underlying principal that artistic endeavor and innovation is fostered by the right of those who create such works to exclusive rights to make copies of the works.
Are people arguing here the idea or the application of it? Copyright is not going away. Let's agree on that at least.
rinzertanz [2009-07-24 21:27] Comment ID: 855 Reply to: 848
It is becoming very clear that there are several camps on this board with vested interests. Pirates want it ALL for free and they really don't give a rat's ass how they get it, even if it means LOBBYING and DOMINATING a forum such as this. I've never read so many try so hard to redefine the meaning of the word -'theft'.
Alternatively, there are those who absolutely agree that Copyright is, at bare minimum, a necessity for 'working artists', regardless of discipline.
Then there are the super techs vs. the techie luddites. Plenty of problems there cuz they really do NOT speak the same language. It's like two different worlds colliding … Pirates vs Creators
Finally there are all those who are reading and NOT commenting on ANY OF IT cuz they cannot see their own 'interest' or problem being addressed, in specific or general terms.
It's a pity this board is so user-UNfriendly, cuz it's often the 'quiet reflective ones' who have the best perspective and the most wisdom to offer …
Chris Brand [2009-07-27 17:34] Comment ID: 987 Reply to: 855
"redefine the meaning of theft" is amusing. dictionary.com defines it as "the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny." - it's the people who want to cry "thief" when their property hasn't been taken from them who are trying to redefine its meaning. It's a great shame, because people end up playing with semantics rather than talking about the actual issues. Many people jump to the conclusion that because I say that distribution without the permission of the rightsholder is not theft, that I also believe that it's not wrong, which is not true.
"rape" is also not "theft", but that doesn't make it acceptable. Call "rape" "theft" and you'll have people disagree with you. Characterizing those people as believing that rape is ok or as rapists will, of course, then generate an argument, but it's a distraction from any discussion about rape itself.
So let's talk about copyright infringement and discuss whether it needs to be broadened or narrowed (or both), but let's avoid calling it something else in an effort to bias the discussion.
rinzertanz [2009-07-27 21:02] Comment ID: 1008 Reply to: 987
I'm having a little trouble following the logic here:
1. You say "dictionary.com defines [theft] as "the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another"
you then say -
2. "that distribution without the permission of the rightsholder is not theft, that I also believe that it's not wrong, which is not true." - - huh?
In your opinion, is taking something from someone WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION theft, or not? Yes, or No?
Chris Brand [2009-07-29 15:14] Comment ID: 1110 Reply to: 1008
Yes, of course taking something from somebody without their permission is theft. Distributing something without the permission of the rightsholder doesn't "take something from somebody". What "personal goods or property" does the rigthsholder no longer have after somebody has distributed something without their permission ?
And, just to be completely clear, just because it isn't theft, that doesn't mean that it's acceptable. I don't believe that it is acceptable, and I'm not defending it. Lots of things are illegal and unacceptable but aren't "theft".
KickingRaven [2009-07-24 17:54] Comment ID: 834 Reply to: 702
dbrett - "…labels hobbled by piracy…"
There are so many false assumptions at play where Canada is being labelled a pirate society. At least take a few moments to view the video posted by our fellow Canadian, Michael Geist, called "Putting Canadian "Piracy" in Perspective" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TloG6qL3gg.
sjbrown [2009-07-24 18:43] Comment ID: 840 Reply to: 353
Radio is still the best, but it is diminishing. I would guess in a generation, it will be basically irrelevant. The impact of social networking sites and internet radio is growing in importance.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 00:26] Comment ID: 354 Reply to: 349
I should point out…Bill Gates was a genius but without Paul Allen we would not have the inovations for the last 20 years.
If people can't tell their weaknesses and hire someone to help then they are not going to be shown to the public…
Great talent does not equal audience.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 00:17] Comment ID: 351 Reply to: 346
Sorry I ignored the first 3/4 of your post because it sounded like a industry insider that wanted to confuse the waters but I should respond…
"To "like" a song, you have to hear it first. How do you hear it? Randomly go to the Internet and find "good" music, sifting through millions of pages? No. You turn on the radio, or MTV, or a movie, or some forum put together by some who is not you."
Actually now because of the limit on radio stations to hear good songs, you find them on the internet…through the social sites or whatever. Radio now is more about stuff you listen to in the background at work then what you choose to listen too…when you look at the figures of even in 2008 only 6.8 million people worldwide bought coldplay which was the top selling album…
if that was projected to just the US, that would be just under 7% of the average family consumption…if you looked at the complete world it would be <1%….
When you see other artist world wide generating 10's of millions of hits on Youtube or download of media…I think the statistics are a little iffy for radio top 40's…..
Sorry, just like TV, the good shows and music don't survive because of alternate distribution methods that are not tracked by the Neilson ratings or other such service…
RyanK [2009-07-22 19:19] Comment ID: 535 Reply to: 346
Top 40 music is a result of the corporate broadcast medium, not some intrinsic human nature. To claim that people would have to sift through the Internet to find good music is a laughable statement in the age of Google, Pandora, Netflix, and all the other increasingly powerful search and recommendation services. All of these services will help people find "what others have already judged as good" in a decentralized and far more accurate manner - avoiding payola and other scams that have plagued radio and other broadcast mediums.
Open source software works the same way, anything freely available will quickly be integrated into tools that help you find "the best" stuff, as with publicly available webpages.
And yes, Linus, the closest thing that you would understand as the "creator" of Linux is very rich. Not only does he not have to worry about material comforts (because he is well paid for working on Linux), he gets to work on what he loves and he doesn't have to pay any of the 1000s of other people that help him improve his software. Not to mention the value he has created for himself in reputation and the value he has contributed to Linux, which he and anyone else can use freely.
More importantly, if you are measuring the effectiveness of copyright by how rich it makes individuals or corporations and not by how much added value it brings to society as a whole, then we have a fundamental disagreement. Artists only need to make enough as artists to get them to make art rather than do the second best thing they could do. I know my number is much less than what you'd consider rich.
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 13:33] Comment ID: 660 Reply to: 346
"To "like" a song, you have to hear it first. How do you hear it? Randomly go to the Internet and find "good" music, sifting through millions of pages? No. You turn on the radio, or MTV, or a movie, or some forum put together by some who is not you."
Wrong. I do find my music on the internet. I can't stand the radio OR MTV.
"Once you "like" a song, you want to hear it again. This is called "option value." Fans pay money for recordings so they can hear songs they like as many times as they like, when they like. Otherwise we all would only listen to the radio, such as FM, or Internet radio."
Or I can download the album, let my friends hear it, and then the whole lot of us will see the artist live when they are in the area next at the price of $20 a ticket. Hell, I'll even buy the CD to support there tour. I don't care that I have it already, I like the artwork that accompanies the disc.
"Music consumers are "risk averse." They like to hear what others have already judged as good. This is why 90% of the income goes to 10% of the artists. It's a "winner take all" market. It's not about some corporate bogey man forcing music on us."
I will judge what is good with my own ears, thanks. The top 10% of 'artists' don't get my money OR my attention. It's hardly music, anyway. If I wanted T&A I'd go to the strip club. I'm looking for good music.
"Open source software development is a totally different conversation for another post. But let me ask you this: is the creator of Linux rich or poor? "
Linus is certainly not hurting for cash. And he's pretty happy with his job. What percentage of people working in the copyright paid model can say the same?
In short, I think you haven't even tried to look into the depth of artists that do what they do simply because they care. You are talking about pop-culture 'artists' that sell themselves out for the biggest buck, and I can't see a legitimate reason to protect them. I am talking about people who do what they do because they love it. If they are good enough to be recognized, they will succeed regardless of copyright law. Raw talent does not go ignored.
Chris Brand [2009-07-22 15:09] Comment ID: 444 Reply to: 320
How myopic. There were professional creators (musicians, authors, sculptors, etc) before copyright law even existed. The business model of "selling copies" may well be a historical aberration, no longer possible now that copies are essentially free, but just because you can't sell copies doesn't mean that you can't be a professional creator.
Trying to maintain the price of copies when economics tells us they should be free is amazingly short-sighted and guaranteed to fail.
KLow [2009-07-22 15:15] Comment ID: 445 Reply to: 444
Yes. But there were very few of them, and they were beholden to a patron to support them. I personally do not want to move back to a time where only the very wealthy can afford new content.
Chris Brand [2009-07-22 15:28] Comment ID: 463 Reply to: 445
People also had much less free time and money back then, so nobody could really be an "amateur creator".
Just as economics tells us that you can't charge for copies of works, it also tells us that people will fulfill the demand for creative works that clearly exists (indeed there are already many examples of creators who encourage people to make copies of their work because that's not how they make money). They just won't be charging for copies. So you don't need to worry about "a time when only the very wealthy can afford new content".
yngnstclair [2009-07-22 23:00] Comment ID: 577 Reply to: 445
Well, with Technical Protection Measures (DRM) we may just be going back to that period, where only the rich can support new content.
How can a library offer enrichment if all media is locked down? What happens when copyright expires, do we have the right to break the locks then?
KickingRaven [2009-07-22 18:34] Comment ID: 515 Reply to: 320
I love this quote from Lawrence Lessig from his book titled "Free Culture":
"A free culture supports and protects creators and innovators. It does this directly by granting intellectual property rights. But it does so indirectly by limiting the reach of those rights, to guarantee that follow-on creators and innovators remain as free as possible from the control of the past. A free
culture is not a culture without property, just as a free market is not a market in which everything is free. The opposite of a free culture is a "permission culture" "a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past."
yngnstclair [2009-07-22 22:12] Comment ID: 567 Reply to: 320
This is easily disproved with empirical evidence. The *very* software that this website uses (GNU/Linux) was developed by a community, for free for all to use and modify. The interesting thing is that an entire business model has developed around these "free" projects. IBM, RedHat, Cisco and Google all make extensive use of "free" software. It would be highly inappropriate to call this community "amateurish". The evidence is to the contrary.
The real lesson is that a business model, real innovation, and most importantly profit (see Google) has developed around the use of this software. While the marginal cost of this software may be zero, the economic benefits are clearly seen.
This is the greatest empirical evidence that there is *no* need for extensive and locked-down copyright restrictions to generate economic benefits.
Now, specific to the music industry, certainly new technology presents challenges for the industry to adjust their business model, but the evidence of the free software movement is that a diverse and innovative economic model can develop to support a zero price model.
Furthermore, I don't believe anyone but the most ardent reformers are calling for an abolition of copyright, but instead a new flexibility in the law to accommodate the desires of Canadians to enjoy new media in the format that they desire. There is no call for all music to be given away for free, but I shouldn't need to buy a new copy each time I want music on a different playback device.
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 09:10] Comment ID: 630 Reply to: 320
The distinction between 'amature and professional musicians' is irrelevant. The distinction made should be between 'skilled and unskilled musicians'. I've seen a lot of 'professional' musicians with no skill. Just look at the top 40 hits in the last 20 years to see what I'm talking about.
"Many erroneously assume the free distribution afforded by the Internet is incentive enough to drive creativity and innovation. This view is quaint, but in very unenlightened. "
I don't intend to offend, but this seems like a lot of big words to basically say 'the free-content model is a failure and anyone who disagrees must be dumb'.
I don't buy it.
Alexandre Enkerli [2009-07-28 13:39] Comment ID: 1058 Reply to: 320
David H. Brett said:
"The Internet certainly lowers barriers to entry for creators of works, but it does nothing to foster quality or innovation."
polbel [2009-09-11 05:07] Comment ID: 2432 Reply to: 320
there is a David H. Brett, CEO of Knexa.com maker of knowledge management software. if it is you it would explain the corporatist POV you demonstrate. and the simplistic conclusions you expound. being an amateur artist means loving your art instead of the money you get from it, and that has to be good. lol hysterically :-)
could only find part of chapter 1 of "information rules" on ebook-search-engine.com so it won't have the impact in my life it could have had, had it been instantaneously fully available on the net instead of having to cough up 3.98$ + S&H on amazon.com for a used hardcover copy (new is unavailable but would have been 25$) which i will not get, having no shelf space left in my personal library…
Reduction of copyright term to the 25-year range. Elimination of Crown Copyright. Resistance to prohibitions on reverse engineering, to media industry-influenced technical specifications in electronic devices, to a regime where a notice of infringement can suppress speech without verification of infringement.
Legal bans should be on use, not on invention.
We need to be sure to avoid setting legal limitations on creating copyright protection circumvention devices. This is important on multiple fronts.
The new devices themselves are of course innovative. They also encourage creating better copy protection. Innovations in both these areas of technology have been a driving force in recent history for technological advancement. Also, this little battle is educating people and encouraging our next generation of software developers.
Lastly, as laws across nations vary, and companies are not careful about ensuring users rights are protected, copy protection mechanisms may need to be overcome simply to ensure the comsumers are able to exercise the rights provided to them by the law.
Ryoung [2009-07-21 14:59] Comment ID: 218 Reply to: 217
I agree, but i would push towards saying that the ban should be on commercialisation. The flaw in the anti-circumvention law is that anyone who attempts to "hack" a digital protection is breaking a law. This is equivalent to creating a lockpick to try to open your own luggage lock is illegal.
However selling lockpicks to the general public should definetely be banned because you don't want to make those types of tools readily available.
The problem with the internet is that you can find those digital lockpicks pretty easily for free and no one will ever try to crack down on those.
It is clear that anti-circumvention laws are tools used by large tech corporations to protect their monopoly over their technology.
For example, if you want to make a custom remote control for a TV you can't since you must reverse engineer the IR signals that are sent from the original remote in the first place. So you must first ask (pay) for permission in order to do so.
There are plently of real examples of various companies doing exactly this.