A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

10 December 2007

Changed My Mind--I'm Kinda Fretted About This

Okay, so this government is supposed to be anti-crime.

So you'd expect that they'd want to introduce meaningful anti-crime legislation, something with a little teeth in it, right? Something that'd protect the Canadian public, maybe?

Sadly, no.

The "crimes" this government wants to tackle are often not really crimes at all. In recent months this government has:

1) Tried to raise the age of consent for sex from 14 to 16. Doubtless this will clear lover's lanes around the country.

2) Introduced "anti-dealer" legislation and asset forfeture without considering the legalization or decriminalization of offences such as simple posession.

3) Made moves to scrap the gun registry, allowing more unlicensed, untraceable firearms into Canadian communities, over the objections of a majority of Canadian police chiefs.

Let's see: Morality by decree, a War on Drugs, and no gun control--can Canadians think of another country with this sort of stupidity going on? I can. And Stephen Harper thinks it's a place he wants to live. However, rather than move to that place he's decided to try and recreate Canada in its image.

Witness the latest "anti-crime" bill popping up on the radar: the US-style (Canadian) Digital Music Copyright Act.

Canadians already pay a hefty tax on blank media. The "blank media levy" is applied to digital content and devices no matter what you're going to use them for. So if I buy a CD-R to back up the content I myself have created, a fee is charged--theoretically to compensate content creators for digital piracy.

A side note: Thus far I have received no payment. I wonder how many other artists have?

But now lobbyists filling the plates and pockets of Members of Parliament have managed to get industry minister Jim Prentice to step forward and have a third shot at this. The previous minister, Bev Oda, lost her post, possibly because of backlash from the discovery that she was being fed both calories and cash by the Music Producers Association of America, or the nearest equivalent, to push this crap at us. Check the field of links at the bottom of that post to see the whole sordid story.

I wonder what Prentice is charging for his services?

Again, the Conservatives seem to be moving toward the US-style legislation on this: toward laws that treat people who buy expensive digital junk as criminals. You think I'm joking, O Avid fan? Go buy yourself a $30 legal Napster card. You remember Napster? They used to be a gang of thugs and criminals enabling music piracy until they figured out they could make money selling crippled songs to their customers.

Mme Metro last year used a Napster card to download some audio stories and music from their online store.

She had to install their crippleware on her computer, in order to play the memory-sucking tracks in some proprietary format.
She was required to "register" every portable player she meant to put them on, which meant installing said crippleware.
When the "three month subscription" ran out (it wasn't), everything stopped working. And Napster refused to respond to any attempts at contact.

In other words, Mme paid $30 for music in digital form. Had she spent $30 on CDs it would still be playable. But instead, she has nothing, because Napster is a big fan of "digital rights management". Guess whose rights they're managing?

And as far as I can tell, that's just the way the conservatives want it. And they DO NOT want public participation. The CBC compiled a list of 250 questions for Jim Prentice, who refused to answer any of them.

I ask any Canadian Avid Fans to write your MP--just a short polite note, asking them not to support US-style "command-and-control" digital rights legislation.

BoingBoing's latest post on this.

Online Rights Canada (ORC).

The CBC program Search Engine posted a list of 250 questions for Jim Prentice

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At 5:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you figure that scrapping the gun registry will permit MORE illegal and untraceable firearms. All firearms are traceable thats why they have serial numbers. If a firearm is already illegal, no one is going to register it to begin with.
Prior to the registry you still had to have a FAC to purchase a weapon. When a purchase was made by said FAC holder the weapon info was recorded and submitted to Ottawa. So, there already was a system in place for "registering" all legally purchased firearms. The difference is now they also know the shoe size and sexual orientation, etc. of the weapon owner.
The police can now look up the address they are responding to and see it once had an occupant that owned some sort of weapon and now approach with guns drawn due to a neighbors complaint that your stereo is too loud.
The rifle used in the Quebec shooting that caused the creation of the registry was (to my knowledge) legally purchased. So what difference would it have made if it had been registered, other than to confirm that the asshole was the legal owner?
The gun registry was and is a useless waste of BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.


At 9:02 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

I agree that the government was completely dishonest about the costs, but I disagree about a couple of your points.

Not that this is the place to discuss it--we started with DMCA, you recall--but just to throw in one of them:

If the registry is such a total failure, why is it that Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has consistently backed it year upon year?

At 11:19 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe IH answered your question before you even asked it, Metro:

"The police can now look up the address they are responding to and see it once had an occupant that owned some sort of weapon and now approach with guns drawn due to a neighbors complaint that your stereo is too loud."


At 6:57 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Stripping out the hyperbole from that statement (bearing in mind that this post was, again, about copyright law rather than gun law):

The police now know whether, when they respond to a complaint, they might have to be prepared to defend themselves against someone with a firearm.

I can see how that might be a bad thing ... sure, I can ...

At 8:37 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they prepare for that with law-abiding citizens who have registered their guns and therefore are likely also obeying safe-storage techniques, ie, the gun is nowhere near readily available. Yup, and that's when they shoot the family dog or a kid accidentally, all because the dad legally hunts ducks every few years.

Conversely, they go to a thug's house, who doesn't show a registered firearm, and they're completely unprepared for the shotgun at the door.

Yup. Makes perfect sense.

As for more stringent copyright law, bring it on. Why shouldn't people pay to republish my copyright-protected work? I write for a living not to donate to everyone's cause/blog/corporate image.


At 10:12 a.m., Blogger Metro said...


First: How many wrongful shootings have their been by cops in the situation you describe?

Second: This isn't a gun-control thread. I merely used the example of scrapping the registry (along with the age-of-consent laws and the War on Drugs) to point out that the Conservatives aren't into legislating to fight crime so much as legislating to pander to their base, which includes a fair number of gun owners and concerned Christianists.

Third: We're talking not about copyright law as applied to print, but to digital media. And we're not talking about rectifying some situation in which copyright holders are somehow left vulnerable to theft.

We're talking about messing with laws, which are perfectly satisfactory as they stand, for the benefit of music corporations rather than artists.

Your writing is safe from violations of the type you describe, and will be for quite some time after you're dead--all under the current law of the land.

However, it looks as though the question may hopefully become moot.

Waiting to see ...

At 1:03 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back at you, Metro: How many cops have been shot because they've been caught off-guard? Is the registry providing some false sense of security?

Enough already. You and I avoided politics in real life. Let's keep it that way in the cyberworld.



At 1:29 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Or at least if we must you and I discuss politics, let's get some alcohol involved. Any ideas for a disgusting drink?

Scrabble? Prepare to be defenestrated!

Wanna know a secret?

At 2:57 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you have consonants...

PS I don't drink, so I'll win the political debate hands down (unlike this Scrabble game).


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