From Michael Geist (http://www.michaelgeist.ca
) comes the news that Bill C-11 aka the copyright reform bill has passed. It grants a raft of consumer-oriented user rights, but also includes a controversial digital locks provision which basically trumps all these rights. It states that if a digital lock is present, you are not permitted to break it---even if you are doing so in order to do something that is otherwise permitted.
There are some specific exemptions which might soften the blow some:
- You can break the lock on 'computer software' for purposes of 'interoperability' so perhaps if an ebook could arguably be software, you could claim that breaking the DRM is permitted
- You can break the lock to make the work accessible if you have a 'perceptual disability.' So if you could argue that your prescription reading glasses mean you have a perceptual disability and your preferred ebook reader has font options you require use of to make the work accessible...
My issue with this law is that by criminalizing digital lock removal, they have set up a slippery slope they might not have intended. If buying a legal copy and stripping the DRM to read on your preferred device is now just as 'illegal' as downloading a free copy off the torrent sites, what incentive would a user have to choose the legal copy over the pirated one? Yes, piracy is 'wrong.' But now, so is stripping DRM off a legal copy. So, if you are going to 'break the law' anyway, why not have the free, unlocked version?