Monday, June 07, 2010

How to get through to your MP about digital locks in bill C-32

The government is trying again to introduce "Digital Lock" into the Canadian copyright law with bill C-32. Previous attempts to do the same have failed, but there's immense pressure from the US to pass a DMCA-like law, so we will enjoy seeing this issue come back to us over, over, over, and over again, like "B" zombie movie sequels.

If you're interested in learning more, see Michael Geist's blog post on this issue. In this post I just want to offer a suggestion about one of the approaches that may convince your MP that digital locks are a bad idea.

Make it "about the children."

If you've ever been around kids, you know that "washing hands" and "being careful with stuff" is somewhere near the bottom of their priorities. When I buy a DVD, I am sure as heck not going to let my son handle it (well, he's only 18 months now, but the time is rapidly approaching when he's capable of picking a DVD, inserting it into a player, and pressing "play"). When such time comes, my strategy will be to rip the DVD and then either burn a copy, or stick the transcoded file onto our multimedia system with a large hard drive, attached to our living room TV.

Then I will store the DVD I bought somewhere far, far away from his reach for when the burnt copy gets scratched bad enough to be unplayable (probably a couple of weeks), or when orange juice enters the multimedia system.

Now, dear Member of Parliament -- do you really want to make criminals of all parents like me? Proposed bill C-32 makes it illegal to copy DVDs that are protected by digital locks -- even for purposes of making backups or transcoding the media I purchased and own into a different format ("format shifting").

Please don't turn your back on Canada's parents and children -- remove the digital lock restrictions from bill C-32.

Please write your MP. If you don't know who they are, find their mailing address here. Use your own words, and let your kids sign the letter. Let your message "hit where it matters most."

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