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Trying to curb music downloading

The Federal Government has been bogged down with AdScam, party switching and non-confidence votes, and as a result has been able to get precious little done. But it seems that instead of trying to devote time and energy to important issues, the government is introducing legislation against file-sharers and music downloaders; you know, public enemy number one:

The new legislation will contain rules that will make it illegal to hack or break into the digital locks often used to prevent the copying of movies and software – although it will remain perfectly legal in Canada to copy a CD for personal use.

“The digital locks themselves can be used to take away rights that users already have,” University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told CTV News.

The legislation also sets up what is called a notice-and-notice regime to handle complaints of copyright infringement.

Under this system, an Internet service provider will receive a notice from a copyright holder complaining about violations from its provider’s customers. The ISP would then send a notice to that customer.


Full disclosure: Yes, I download and share music. Yes, I’ll buy a CD if it’s really really good… but I admit I buy very few these days as compared to what I download.

I’ve long maintained that there’s no legislative solution to a technological problem. Copying technology will always be ten steps ahead of methods aimed at curbing it.

Record companies have tried everything: lobbying for legislation, introducing copy-protection technology, flooding download sites with false versions of popular songs, and even suing teenagers. None of it has made an iota of difference. Downloading is even more popular than ever.

This latest pitiful effort by the Canadian government to pretend to be doing actual work is just a finger in the dam, but it will do nothing concrete to close the floodgates.

Sooner or later, record companies will have to recognize that they were selling water in the desert, but it’s been raining for quite some time. Either they switch to selling umbrellas or they’re going to put themselves out of business… soon.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • josh 06.09.05, 3:59 PM

    Could you please clear something up for me?
    I stopped downloading after a virus deleted my napster folder with everything I had at the time, and I don’t listen to as much music anymore anyway.

    I’ve notice that ipod and all the ‘tunes’ sites are raking in lots of cash from legal downloads on an increasing basis. But are you saying that on top of that, people are largely using kazaa or whatever for ‘pirated’ stuff?

  • segacs 06.09.05, 7:42 PM

    Kazaa or other software (I prefer WinMX), sure. I don’t know if any real figures exist but most estimates put the percentage of “legally” downloaded files as a small fraction of the total; most downloading is still free and “illegal”.

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