Regulate Usage of Technology in the Correct Laws

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Submitted by Russell McOrmond 2010-07-05 14:01:13 EDT

Theme: Digital Infrastructure
Idea Status: +8 | Total Votes: 14 | Comments: 0

As we look towards our own digital strategy, we need to avoid making some of the mistakes other countries have made. As one example, the Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property rights Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure was part of the National Information Infrastructure task force work in the USA in 1994 and 1995. This report became the basis of some of the most controversial policies within Copyright, which many people consider to be harmful to not only the interests of a majority of copyright holders but also other users of digital technology.

The worst ideas that came out of that working group were incorporated in the USA's 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and can be seen in both the Bill C-61 in 2008, and the recently tabled Bill C-32. The core issue is one not related to Copyright itself, but to what many have called Paracopyright. Paracopyright This is law that protects not copyright itself, but an umbrella of tools that are separate from copyright but are claimed to be useful to copyright holders. These tools often implicate areas of law that are separate from copyright, such as laws around electronic-commerce, contract, or property, which just happen to be useful to copyright holders.

The problem is that if legal protection for usage of technology (AKA: technological measures) is not tied to the legal construct that these technologies are theoretically protecting, then the checks and balances of the law are erased. We need to ensure that technologies protecting contracting terms are protected in contract law, e-commerce in e-commerce law, and so-on.

While the example I give is in the context of inappropriate changes to Copyright law, the same concept should be applied to other modifications to law. Whenever uses of technology are protected or prohibited in law, then this policy must be added to the law that most closely matches the specific use/abuse of technology.

Further reading on this issue:

Federal Bill C-32 tramples areas of provincial jurisdiction

Bill C-32

Q: Why is it a problem that "access controls" are protected by the DMCA and Bill C-32?

Bill C-32 — Access controls

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Suggested URL: Why is it a problem that "access controls" are protected by the DMCA and Bill C-32?


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