We Wouldn’t do it Here So Lets do it to the Canadians

Joey the Accordion Guy has a write up on a bill going through the Canadian legislature right now that would essentially make it illegal for anyone to copy videos or music to their ipod or as a backup copy. It would also mean everyone with a PVR would have to use the crappy “broadcast flags” and wouldn’t be allowed to tape shows if the station had a show flagged. This sucks because this is a law that we told them to “go screw yourself” when they tried it here now our government is ramming it down someone elses throat. Have a look at Joey’s breakdown and make up your own mind. If you’re Canadian (and I know there are some who read this blog) talk to your MP and tell them “no way Jose. Not in America. Not here.”

Joey Devilla: “The new Canadian copyright bill, Bill C-61, was not written for you and me. Canadians with a stake in this law, ranging from customers (I try not to use the term ‘consumer’) to libraries and educators to artists, record companies and other entertainment industry groups — were not consulted. Bill C-61 was written to the specifications of U.S. officials and American entertainment industry lobby groups, who pressured the U.S. government of approving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law that has been used by the music and movie industry as an excuse to harass customers and turn litigation into a profit center.

One of the provisions of Bill C-61 is that you are allowed to make a backup copy of a legally-purchased CD or DVD or transfer it to your MP3 player or computer for personal use — if and only if there isn’t a digital ‘lock’ that prevents such backups. If a song or movie has some kind of copy protection scheme, that allowance is gone.

The practical upshot of this is that the watching your DVD of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is perfectly legal if you pop it into your DVD player, but illegal if you copy it over to your iPod for viewing on your next business trip. The movie studio would rather you bought another copy, which would only be authorized for play on your iPod. And that mix CD you were planning to make for the car for your roadtrip to the cottage? You’ll be breaking the law for each song that you transfer from copy-protected sources. Want a backup copy of your hi-def The Seven Samurai DVD because you love the film so much and want to keep the original in a safe place? The industry has a simple solution: buy another! Making a backup copy’s illegal, after all.

…Another provision of Bill C-61 allows you to record television shows on your PVR. That is, if the broadcaster doesn’t disallow recording, which it can do by embedded a ‘broadcast flag’ within the signal — a digital signal that tells your PVR that it’s not allowed to record the show, because that will cut into sales of the DVD box set of the show that they’ll eventually release. In other words, in many cases, your PVR will actually be less capable of recording shows than its clunkier, lower-fidelity predecessor, the VCR.

Here’s another way the VCR has an edge over the modern PVR: with a VCR, you can keep a permanent library of your favourite shows, which will last as long as your tapes do. No such luck with a PVR under Bill C-61: PVRs built in compliance with the bill are not allowed to keep a permanent library of your shows. They will be built with a limited amount of storage and with no backup capability, and just to be safe, all shows recorded on a PVR will be deleted if they are kept for longer than a pre-specified amount of time.