Bill C-11 Threatens Canadian Digital Consumer

From The Sputnik – February 15, 2012

Despite the recent defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States, its sister bill is creeping its way through the Canadian House of Commons.

Bill C-11, better known as the Copyright Act, is a federal bill that would change the way that consumers can interact with digital media.

One of the main provisions of the bill surrounds digital locks, which could restrict a customers access to DVDs, CDs and e-books.

The bill is being lobbied by companies associated with the entertainment industry, which has drawn numerous critics who argue the federal government is playing to appease corporations rather than citizens.

While those in the music industry claim that digital locks are necessary for the economic stability of the industry, Michael Geist has spoken out against the validity of these claims.

Geist, a law professor and chair of Canada Research in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has been rallying against the bill through his blog since it came back in front of Parliament.

He argues that Canada is one of the leaders in music sales, ranking sixth in the world in digital music sales.

Essentially, digital locks are a tool which prevent consumers from using purchased media across different forums.

For example, someone buying an e-book for an e-reader would be limited to using solely that e-reader to read it. Digital locks would prevent the consumer from shifting that content onto a computer or different e-reader, and Bill C-11 would actually make doing so a criminal offence.

The same situation applies to transferring downloaded music from a computer to a MP3 player.

Marc Laferriere, the federal NDP candidate for Brant in the 2011 election, spoke out about this exploitation of consumers.

“Anytime we update our platform device, we’re looking at having to buy content again,” Laferriere said. “I don’t think that’s the interconnectivity, or the multi-use way that technology should be going. I think that if I buy something on my iPad, I want it to play on my computer, I want it to play on my TV, and if I update my iPad to an iZad or whatever is the next reiteration, having to buy Ghostbusters 2 seven times is not my ideal way of going through life as a consumer.”

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The 100-Song Road Trip

Back in October, one of my good friends and I came up with a half-baked drunk idea that the two of us were going to put together a playlist of 100 songs, 50 a piece, decide in a direction, and just drive. Once that hundredth song ended, we would find a place to stay, park the Jeep, and go get drunk. Then we’d spend the next day just checking out the city or town we were in, and depending on the level of excitement in terms of nightlife, we’d either stay for another night of shenanigans or just call it a night.

Well, last weekend the plan went into action, after a couple of weeks of arguing over songs and which direction we would take.

Coming up with music was both easy and hard. We’re both big fans of classic rock through to more 80’s prog-rock type music up into nostalgic “90s rock” (for lack of a better term). We both hate country, so that was easy. In terms of more modern bands, we ran into some issues. I, being a fan of some hip-hop, was quickly shut down when I tried to throw some J. Cole, Drake & Kanye West into the mix. He, being a fan of stuff like Maroon 5 and Cee-Lo, had some songs of his own shut down. Eventually, we found the newer bands we liked, and we were set to roll.

A bicycle sits in a tree at Notre Dame - Kyle W. Brown

But, we still needed a direction. At first we thought about heading east, keeping it in Canada. I realized that we were going to end up way too close to my hometown for it to have any sort of adventure to it, so I put the kibosh on that. He wanted to go through Buffalo, try to make it somewhere on the east coast. I suggested we make course for the midwest, the heartland of America, if you will. So, we consulted, and alas, the midwest won. Off we were, with the goal of making it to Chitown.

The ceiling of the Student Center at Notre Dame - Kyle W. Brown

On the drive we ran into some random fellow outside a gas station peddling contraband cigarettes, got caught in traffic in Detroit and were fearful for our lives (it wasn’t even all that bad), went from one timezone into another, then back into the first one five minutes later, and saw the beautiful town of Paw Paw.

We never quite made it to Chitown…but we were close! (I think?) We ended up pulling into South Bend, Indiana, home of the University of Notre Dame and…uh, Notre Dame football and…Notre Dame students! We were able to find a nice Scottish pub to drink the night away, and then spent the next day just walking around the monstrous (to a guy coming from Laurier, anyway) campus.

In our brilliance, we went on the weekend of American Thanksgiving, and as such, most of the students were actually at home, and therefore the massive frat and sorority parties we geared ourselves up for were simply not happening. So, we called it a good trip and headed home.

The Engineering Honor Society symbol - Kyle W. Brown

On our way back we did stop at an Applebees in Jackson, Michigan, though, and had a really bitchy waitress and some stomach-upsetting food. So, maybe that was karma that we never should have left and the greatest night ever was waiting for us back in South Bend…probably not, though.

You can find the playlist after the jump.

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