Sunday, December 09, 2007

Canada, Israel, DMCA and Sovereignty

Michael Geist points to a very perceptive post by Ariel Katz who is at U of T about Israel's recent new copyright law.

According to Ariel:
Israel's new act has revealed its copyright priorities. Overall, Israel decided to increase the flexibility of its copyright law and make it more open and friendlier to users, educators and innovators. It decided to reduce the ways in which copyright law can work to restrict competition. For the time being, it decided not to enact anticircumvention rules that have the potential to work in the other direction. This choice is compatible with Israel's innovative and creative record. This choice is essential for a small economy whose citizens' brain is the only natural resource. Canada should seriously consider doing the same.
(emphasis added)

At the risk of being politically incorrect, let me point out something obvious here. If any country would seem to need to be beholden to the USA, it would probably be Israel. Yet Israel fiercely asserts its independence from the USA in many ways, and wariness of the DMCA approach is apparently one of them. Mazel Tov to Israel! Doubtless, this overall spirit of independence is one of the reasons why successive American administrations seriously respect Israel.

Canada is not nearly so dependent on the USA as Israel. Canada's very survival is not at stake. (Actually, it is in the long run as a result of the kind of pro-American pandering that we may soon see on this file, but not in the immediate day to day sense that Israel faces). However, Canada has forgotten that we won the war of 1812, which I was proudly taught way back when was the only war America has ever lost. That, of course, was well before Vietnam.

So - if Israel can call time out on the DMCA and assert copyright sovereignty, what is the matter with Canada?



  1. I couldn't agree more. Ignoring the more obvious DMCA criticisms as they relate to the Canadian public's property, privacy, and fair dealing, it is not even in the interest of *Canadian content producers* to preserve the status quo. iTunes is just one solution to current copyright "problems." We should be encouraging Canadian artists to capitalize on technology, and even embrace it as the paper on which advertisements are written. We are entering a media renaissance of living, local, human media. Read-only media is leaving the stage. The LAST thing we should be doing is codifying the death threats of a stagnating business model into our national morality. We should be feeding our national soul, not selling it. All the world is a stage, and the Internet is the biggest stage yet. Let's not let the butterflies in our stomachs discourage us... Just think of it as Living television, with picture in picture in picture in picture in picture... This is a struggle against the one-way current of broadcast media. Expanding fair dealing will create new patterns that people will pay for, only assuming they can use it in their own next stage act... We have to come to terms with this trend and give up the right to silence other peoples' voices if we are going to move forward together.

    I could go on...

    So I will. :D

    We should be withdrawing copyrights' ability to control non-commercial uses, which only serve to impede criticism and innovation/competition. Living with other people is about letting them have their own opinions as long as they aren't trying to force them down your throat. Welcome to the world... I'm very pleased to meet you.