The National Post’s Don Martin reports that the copyright bill could be introduced next week with confirmation of the broad outlines of the bill I reported on earlier this month. Martin, who, describes the forthcoming bill as heavy-handed, reports:
All signals suggest Heritage Minister James Moore has triumphed over the objections of Industry Minister Tony Clement, setting up Canada to march in excessively protected lockstep with a United States that boasts the toughest laws against pirated music or movies on the planet.
In Geist’s latest post (May 25, 2010) on this issue,
The foundational principle behind C-61 was the primacy of digital locks. When a digital lock (often referred to as digital rights management or technological protection measure) is used – to control copying, access or stifle competition – the lock supersedes virtually all other rights. The fight over the issue has pitted the tech-savvy Industry Minister Tony Clement, who has reportedly argued for a flexible implementation, against Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who has adopted what many view as an out-of-touch approach that would bring back the digital lock provisions virtually unchanged.
Moore has declined to comment on his position, but his approach raises some difficult questions …
I have posted elsewhere about the impact that intellectual property law (which includes copyright, patents, and trademarks) can have on the practice of science/innovation, i.e. crippling it, and on how the number of patents received are used as a measure of scientific progress. It’s interesting that a measure for progress can also function as an impediment to it.
In contrast to the usual discussion about copyright, Mike Masnick (Techdirt) has written an article (May 24, 2010) that highlights the notion of fairness-based legal liability. From the article,
His [Marshall van Alstyne] most recent paper, co-authored with Gavin Clarkson, explores both how strict intellectual property rights lead to socially inefficient outcomes, and how “fairness” principles could be much more efficient. The paper uses a combination of real world examples, previous research and game theory to make a rather compelling case.
Basically, it explains all the reasons why intellectual property leads to hoarding of information that slows innovation:
Property rights provide incentives to create information but they also provide incentives to hoard it prior to the award of protection. All-or-nothing rights, in particular, limit prior sharing. An unintended consequence is to slow, not has- ten, forward progress when innovation hinges on combining disparately owned private ideas.
Apply this thinking (“… they [property rights] also provide incentives to hoard it prior to the award of protection”) to nanotechnology and the other emerging technologies all of which are highly dependent on interdisciplinary cooperation and you can see what starts happening. Then add some of the current copyright craziness (a YouTube clip of This hour has 22 minutes),
As the video makes clear, once ownership has been awarded, i.e. you have a copyright, there are the issues of control for the purposes of your business model.
It would seem that if the ‘new’ bill resembles the old bill, Canadians will be faced with the possibility of less innovation via this new law despite the feedback the government received during last summer’s public consultations and at a time when it’s been recognized that there is too little innovation in Canada.