Friday, November 30, 2007

Canada may copy failed DMCA

It's coming...It's coming... (Sung to the tune of that McDonald's commersh from the late '80s.) A new copyright law may be coming in Canada to mimic the illegal DMCA that's ravaged the U.S.

The Canadian bill that's speculated to be like the DMCA is just the latest act by conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's administration to attempt to copy the inexplicably bad policies that the rightist thought police in the U.S. has already imposed. The bill was written by conservatives in secret without public input.

But because Canada has more freedom of the press than the U.S. does, websites there are boldly warning of the troubles that loom for Canadians if the bill passes. Like the DMCA, the Canadian measure would effectively make it illegal to remove viruses placed on your computer by Sony (that Sony claims is to stop CD piracy). So much for having control over your own computer, if you can't even stop a major corporation from secretly placing viruses on it.

Indeed, the Bush regime has been pressuring Canadian lawmakers to pass a Canadian DMCA. David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, actually helped write the new bill.

Reportedly, this bill and the DMCA merely enforce a 1996 WIPO treaty. Well, then why did the U.S. and Canada even sign this treaty? This brings up an important point about the DMCA and the fact that it conflicts with U.S. law. The Constitution protects copyrights - but with limits. The idea of copyright wasn't designed to protect the dinosaur media when it refuses to adapt to newer inventions like, say, personal computers. I'm not familiar with Canadian law, but in the good ol' U.S. and A. nation, the Constitution reigns supreme even in the face of international treaties. As the U.S. is a sovereign country, the Constitution gives itself this status.

There's simply no other way of explaining it. That's what sovereignty and self-determination mean. We Americans come from a mosaic of backgrounds, but the Constitution is the law that binds us together. Anything in the DMCA that's unconstitutional - as much of it is - should be considered legally void. If it was actually constitutional, it would be a different matter. (But that's not counting the fact that the DMCA was passed by a rogue Congress.)

For its part, the United States needs to just stand up and say it can't enforce a treaty that violates the law. Not like I expect the Bush regime to give a shit.


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