Since the introduction of Bill C-11 last month, the digital lock rules have emerged as the most contentious aspect of the bill with both the NDP and Liberals indicating they cannot support the legislation without changes to those provisions. While most of the Conservative responses have stuck to the talking point that they believe the bill is balanced, Conservative MP Lee Richardson, a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, recently provided a constituent with another reason for why the public should not be concerned by the digital lock rules. According to Richardson:
If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a law suit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved.
In other words, Canadians should not be concerned by digital lock rules because they can simply break the lock without fear of being sued.
So let me get this straight. I’m not allowed to crack somebody’s DRM by law, but I can because nobody will ever use that law to come after me? Whatever you say, chief.
First of all, I’ll believe that when I see it. All kinds of people have done all kinds of things that aren’t realistic, legal fees and time involved notwithstanding. Remember all those file sharing lawsuits based on flawed evidence that swept up innocent people, made criminals out of grandmas and grandpas who had no idea what Junior was doing on the computer and tried and sometimes did extort unreasonable settlements out of people who didn’t understand their rights or have the money to fight back? What a dark chapter in the history of business and the internet that was. I sure am glad that’s ove…never mind.
but more importantly, if we’re not getting hauled into court so we shouldn’t worry about the digital lock provisions, why do we need them in their current form? If what Richardson says is true, should they not be rewritten to reflect their new spirit? As the article linked above points out, there are people and organizations who for one reason or another have to go by the letter of the law rather than the do it and hope for the best method that’s now seemingly being endorsed by the government. Why should I for reasons I’ve explained before or anybody else have to even think about these things before deciding if doing something completely reasonable is worth it? If this part of the bill wasn’t broken, we wouldn’t.
All that’s needed are clear, fair rules about what’s allowed and what isn’t, but I guess that’s too much to ask for. It would be nice if the governments we vote for in the hope that they’ll take care of these things properly and in our best interests actually did, instead of bending over and happily taking a hard one from the entertainment industry.