[sc:internet-category ]In Michael Geist’s recent post about digital locks, he talked about who was actually impacted by the restrictions on circumventing digital locks for non-infringing purposes.
I personally agree that Bill C32 as it currently stands is far to restrictive to provide a practical, enforceable and fair implementation of digital locks. Mr. Geist’s logic is sound in the article, but I do believe it does not go far enough in finding the reality of digital locks in technology and how they impact consumers.
In the real world, every significant digital lock that has been implemented to “protect” content has been broken. And to heap insult on to injury, it hasn’t even taken much effort to do so. Most of the people breaking the digital locks are single users working in isolation. Image if any significant group of computer scientists were to put effort in to breaking digital locks…
Bill C32’s digital lock restrictions is based on a fallacy, that digital locks actually work. They don’t and it’s not news to anyone who has done even the most basic of searches on the Internet on jailbreaking, dvd decrypting or cracks of just about any kind.
Bill C32 will not stop this behaviour, just as the DCMA has not in the US. There will always be individuals who will circumvent digital locks for nothing more than the challenge of it.
Digital locks need to be treated much more like real locks. When I buy a house, with locks on it, I am allowed to circumvent those locks when I need to. Imagine buying a house, losing your keys and being unable to call a locksmith to circumvent the locks because it was illegal to pick them.
The content industry may argue that in fact you don’t buy the content, but instead just rent/lease it, like an apartment. However that argument falls flat very quickly, once you have “bought” your Bluray, you never again interact with the company, no ongoing fee’s, no limited time use, etc (yes, the most obtrusive of DRM can inflict these kinds of things, but that’s not what most people get and it’s only purpose is to restrict your use of the content, not produce an ongoing relationship between the consumer and vendor).
Once I’ve bought my Bluray, I expect it to work today, tomorrow and in 10 years without having to “buy” it again because someone else decided I shouldn’t be able to watch it anymore.
Digital locks are not the answer to the content industries concerns over copyright infringement. The best example of this is the music industry itself, which went from music formats with DRM to DRM free MP3’s. Did sales of digital songs suddenly crash because the DRM was removed? No, digital music downloads continue to grow and will eventually be the only way to get music due to its convenience and speed.
When infringement happens, there are laws to deal with it. Creating new laws that simply define everyone as an infringer do nothing to stop infringement and only create more problems for everyone.