Crispin Cowan

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Crispin Cowan



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Submission from Crispin Cowan received on September 11, 2001 via e-mail

Subject: Copyright Reform: Avoid DMCA's Pitfalls

To Industry Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate and other concerned agencies:

I am a Canadian citizen residing in the United States, and co-founder of a company that specializes in secure Internet server software ( ) As such, I am highly familiar with the implications of the United States' DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and it is an unmitigated disaster.

The gives all rights to the publisher, prohibiting "circumvention" devices. This is a problem because anti-circumvention for general purpose computers is impossible. No, not just difficult, or an open problem, or future technology, but IMPOSSIBLE. The ONLY way to prevent circumvention of "digital rights management" (copy prevention) systems is to seal the entire computer inside tamper-resistant hardware and then cripple the computer. This makes ALL existing general purpose computing equipment and software equivalent to "circumvention devices." This is well-known to all educated computer scientists, but apparently not known to may legislators.

If the United States government persists in the madness of attempting to cripple the technology sector (a multi-trillion dollar industry) in aid of piracy protection for the entertainment industry (a mere multi-billion dollar industry) then they will eventually succeed in killing off the lucrative lead the United States presently enjoys in technology. If Canada manages to avoid this insanity, then Canada may actually stand to benefit, as technology developers migrate to free-er countries.

Please! Honor the Freedom of Speech principle in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Preserve the right to free expression in the form of programming. Avoid the madness of stupid laws like America's DMCA that do huge damage to large industries to assuage the fears of a much smaller industry.


Crispin Cowan
(Address removed)

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