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Re: [fsfc-discuss] "FSF Canada"

From: Russell McOrmond
Subject: Re: [fsfc-discuss] "FSF Canada"
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 18:19:37 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:9.0) Gecko/20111229 Thunderbird/9.0

On 12-02-14 06:38 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
You're welcome to send my previous message and this one to the list
if you wish.

Thank you. I forwarded the previous messages, and am copying the list on this message. Sorry for the delays, but I've been sick for the last few days.

        The current bill is a re-tabling of a bill that died when an election
     called.  We've already been told that anyone who appeared in front of
     the committee for the previous bill will not be allowed to speak at
     committee for the new bill.

I agree this is the most important issue in Canada right now.

Yesterday the committee met for the first time, and I listened to an audio recording this afternoon. The government has set a time allocation where they will send the bill back to the house (report stage) after March 29. They will have witnesses for a few weeks (Feb 27 to March 14), then do clause-by-clause consideration, then back to the house for the final reading before it likely passes the house. (My blog from earlier today http://c11.ca/5416 )

This being a majority government, it means that any votes go whatever way the Conservative party wants it to go. The only way any amendments to the bill will be passed, or for the bill to not pass as is, is if the Conservatives decide that is what they wish to do.

The opposition members can make arguments, but at this point they are at the same level as witnesses as far as trying to persuade the government.

It is an unfortunate situation, but it is the way of the Westminster parliamentary system under a majority government.

It sounds like they need to be educated one by one, by their

Agreed, but it has been hard. There are few of us technical people active in the debate, with far too many believing they can just 'write code' to route around bad laws.

Not that I have to tell you that, as you've been dealing with technical people not being willing to get political for much longer than I have.

> Michael Geist's ill-chosen term "digital locks" gives
the wrong idea, so it is an impediment to this.  The FSF calls them
"digital restrictions management (DRM)" and "digital handcuffs".

Mr. Geist is not a technical person, but he is quite willing to admit that in interviews/etc. He is involved as he saw a large constituency of people who were not being represented in the debate -- and has now become the most visible person offering alternative (from industry/etc) perspectives.

Unlike the lawyers on the pro-DRM side of the debate, Mr. Geist will talk to technical people. I don't know if he always understand us, but he is quite open to the conversations. I consider him an asset to our community, even if he isn't one of us..

Given the "digital locks" term is already there, it may be too late for us to change during this specific battle. This is why I've turned to talking about "the two locks of DRM", talking about an anti-interoperability/anticompetitive lock on content and a non-owner lock on our devices.

I'm trying to get Conservatives to understand that allowing the previous owner of our property (in this case, the computer manufacturer) to keep the keys, and for the government to disallow the current owner from changing the locks, is an attack on property rights. The Conservative party has the protection of property rights in their founding principles for the party.

Flipping attention from the content to the devices may turn out to be more productive than trying to re-educate people on language around DRM. There is much to be lost if content is only interoperable with "authorized" devices, clearly an anticompetitive problem, but denying computer owners the ability to protect their own rights may be something the Conservatives can understand.

I have for years also been making analogies between the TPM issue and the "long gun registry", something of particular interest to the Conservative party.

See: http://c11.ca/5414

(RMS: If you are using one of those tools to email you web pages, grab http://c11.ca/5209 at the same time)

While I'm not a party member, or agree with this government, I think we need to somehow use language that will appeal to Conservative party members if we want them to change their mind on this issue.

We also reject the term "TPM", along with the term "protection", and
say "technical restriction measures".


I tried to talk about "Intellectual property" being a confusing term when I spoke in front of the Bill C-32 committee, but it was obvious that this thoroughly confused the committee members.

The FSF can ask its members, and the DefectiveByDesign list, "Are you
Canadian, and do you want to take action against the digital handcuff
provisions of C-11"?

The question is: what should we ask them to do, especially given the time allocation that the government has imposed?

We've been hosting paper petitions that use the official parliamentary process http://c11.ca/petition , with the one I personally believe in the most being the "Petition to protect Information Technology property rights" which raises the issues discussed above (TPMs can be applied to both content and devices).

When a member tables petition signatures it happens during a specific part of the regular process of the day. An MP stands up and says the petition is being tabled, why people want it, and so-on. I've also been keeping running counts of signatures, and can try to get the MP to mention that as well..

I'm trying to think of something that would get the attention of Conservatives, given it is those members who need to be influenced to change this bill.

        Can the FSF ensure that someone is available to speak?  I can do my
     part to help get an FSF speaker onto the list to ensure that our
     critical voice is heard.   I've been active on this file for some time,
     and have gotten to know a number of the MPs who will be on the committee.

If it needs to be a Canadian speaker, I don't know anyone other than
you, but we can ask around as I said.

Not all the other speakers at the previous committee were Canadian. In one case we had someone available via teleconference (author Margaret Atwood, who is Canadian but wasn't in Canada at the time).

I wonder if someone like Mr Moglen was willing whether they would make allowances to have a non-Canadian do a teleconference?

I mention Mr. Moglen only because I've been told that his speaking style and rhetoric works for lawyers and non-technical people, and we have a committee full of non-technical persons who need to understand our concerns.

If it is for public speaking, we can arrange for me to go if it does not
have to be soon.  I don't know how much time there is.

I think we are down to the final few weeks before this bill gets passed, so believe we need to focus on speaking to parliamentarians.

Then again, even if we loose this battle it doesn't mean we'll loose the war. I don't plan to close up shop even if this "TPM" bill passes. We just have to move to next steps...

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
 Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
 rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!

 "The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
  manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
  portable media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own

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