Some Good News On The Copyright Front?

For the first time in what seems like and probably is years, the United States has made a sensible copyright-related decision, and it will hopefully cause Canada to do the same.

A ruling by U.S. regulators that allows Americans to break certain digital locks on content and devices may throw a wrench into the Canadian government’s plan to reform copyright law.

The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, issued a set of exceptions Monday to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the U.S. law that in many instances makes it illegal to break digital locks put in place by copyright holders.

Among the exceptions are the following:

  • Allowing people to unlock their cell phones and install any software they choose on them.
  • Allowing people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.
  • Allowing college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.
  • Allowing computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.
  • Allowing blind people to break locks on electronic books so that they can use them with read-aloud software and similar aides.

All of these are great ideas and that last one is certainly near and dear to my heart. Thank you for seeing some sense, Library of Congress.

In light of the new rules, Industry Minister Tony Clement announced that his department will be looking at Canada’s proposed new legislation to see if there are changes that could be made.

Well, let me save him some time. Yeah, there are. They’re all listed above, and I’m sure if I thought long enough or talked to enough people, they’d just be a start. These changes can’t be made fast enough, and I fully expect your government to make them since up to now you’ve all been hell bent on subjecting Canada to U.S style rules instead of something consumer and user friendly.

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