Saturday, November 05, 2011

Kill Switch

In case you hadn't heard, there are some bad intellectual-property laws coming down the pipes. First up we have the so-called PROTECT-IP act in the U.S.; read all about it in this article, which is called "Kill Switch" because the bill gives companies a "kill switch" to block websites (I don't know the details... I'm too tired to look into it further today.)

Then of course there's ACTA, the so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was recently signed by 8 countries and, naturally, has little to do with counterfeiting. Some of ACTA's anti-citizen provisions have been toned down since the days when ACTA was a strictly secret document, but it's still an ugly mofo. Signatories include Canada, the U.S. and Australia, but the fight isn't over since For more, read EFF's recent post on the subject.

And finally, the Conservatives have reintroduced a copyright reform bill, bill C-11 (replacing bill C-32 that existed before the election). While not as bad as its predecessor, bill C-11 makes bypassing digital locks illegal, even if you have an otherwise legitimate and legal reason for doing so. For instance, if C-11 becomes law you can still legally copy a CD (that you purchased) to your computer or to an MP3 player for personal use, but it will become illegal to copy any part of a DVD or Blu-Ray disc (that you purchased) for any reason, including legitimate reasons such as making an excerpt for commentary (as news programs do when they play a few seconds from a music video to introduce a story about the artist in the video). It will be illegal solely on the basis that DVDs use digital locks (i.e. encryption) while CDs don't. The Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights (CCER) is urging everyone to send letters in opposition to this bill.

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