Prentice is one of those magical thinkers who seems to believe that saying something makes it so.
Despite what Michael Geist would like readers to believe, we introduced important amendments to the Copyright Act on June 12 using a made-in-Canada approach that will benefit all Canadians. It was necessary to bring the act up-to-date with advances in technology.
Having written to the minister and received a bullshit email in return, he seems enamoured of this "made-in-Canada" line. Yet Minister Prentice refused to consult with Canadians, with Canadian artists and creators, educators and innovators, let alone consumers. Mr Prentice, when confronted at his constituency office, stated that he was working in the interest and under the advisement of CEOs. To quote an old saw, now we know what you are, we're just haggling over price.
Perhaps in the addled mind of Jimminy Prentice, keeping American media conglomerates happy will "benefit all Canadians". One can imagine that he could harbour such delusions since he isn't willing to engage in dialogue with Canadian stakeholders or consumers. The groups that have been bending Jimminy's ear are false front organizations like the odious CRIA and pressure groups, both business and political, from the States. Funny that every major Canadian independent producer of note walked out on the CRIA, exposing them as a branch office of the RIAA, noted victimizers of children and serial litigants.
In a fit of largesse, Prentice has bestowed upon we lowly consumers the dazzling permission to time shift with our digital devices. That means that if you aren't home at a certain hour, you can record a program for later enjoyment. And then the law indicates that you erase that program. Never mind that with most digital cable and satellite services, timeshifting is built in. Shut up. Of course that also depends on the absence of DRM or a EULA that denies that new right, in which case, yer fucked.
Prentice also dug into his bag of puffery to give unto the digital serfs the magical right to engage in format shifting, meaning you can take media that you own and transfer it to another device in another format. Funny thing is that we already pay a fucking levy on every single piece of blank recordable media for the privilege of private copying. So, as a present we have been gifted with a watered down version of a right we already enjoyed, that we are fucking well paying for in the millions of dollars. And again, that right collides in mid-air with the manufacturer's right to deny through DRM or EULA. So essentially, you get nothing but a puff of smoke, a slap on the ass and a shove back out the door.
Now perhaps Prentice is just a shitty writer but look at the magically enhanced excerpt from his tract.
For consumers, it allows the recording of webcasts and TV and radio programs to be enjoyed at different times; music to be copied on devices such as MP3 players; and the copying of books, newspapers, videos and photos into different formats. It also limits statutory damages at $500 for individuals if they infringe copyright for private use, provided the material is not protected by a digital lock. (Currently, statutory damages could be as high as $20,000 for a single infringement.)
Well howdy-fucking-do Jimminy. Statutory damages are limited to $500 for individuals if they infringe for private use. Well that would be $5 grand for a ten song album, a mere pittance. But the tricksier qualification comes in the next phrase, provided the material is not protected by a digital lock. Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously like that magnanimous gesture still leaves the peons out here in citizenland labelled infringers because once that digital lock is applied, all rights and exceptions are revoked. And as far as the lie of damages being as high as $20 grand for a single infringement, well, until the law changes, we are still paying that levy for copying media for private use.
Prentice can squeal and bleat all he likes, his "made-in-Canada" line is just that, a fucking line. Under pressure from Canadian consumers, creators, educators, librarians, artists and archivists Jimminy Prentice chose to go behind closed doors and take his marching orders from American industry and government lobbyists. Sticking a made in Canada tag on it will not convince me or anyone else that is paying attention. And there are a lot of people paying attention.
Prentice can claim that he is promoting the protection of creators' rights but creators disagree, their objections have fallen on deaf ears. Prentice can claim that his garbage legislation protects access by students and researchers to materials and media but students, researchers and schools disagree and their objections have been ignored. Prentice can claim that this steaming pile of legislative nightsoil allows consumers to enjoy "everyday" use of copyright materials but in fact it criminalizes most uses and opens the culture to a feeding frenzy of litigation and corporate bullying. Mr Prentice, you may chose to stand in a field full of wet shit and declare it pudding but that does not make it so.