DVD

Bill C-11’s Digital Locks Provisions – Why ?

The digital lock provisions included in Bill C-11 are meant to curb the circumvention of “technological protection measures“, to halt piracy. But unfortunately many consumers currently circumvent digital locks to perform private copies of music recordings or to view films that are unavailable in their region.

At the moment Canadians are able to purchase music on iTunes and use this
program to convert their legally purchased ACC files to the mp3 format.

These consumers can also purchase region free DVD or blu-ray players from Amazon.com to play legally purchased discs that are not available in the formats compatible with North American players.

Neither of the above acts result in the unauthorized, uncompensated distribution of copyrighted works to third parties yet these acts could technically be forbidden by Section 41 of the Copyright Act if Bill C-11 passes.

Private Copying, as defined in Part VIII of our Copyright Act, is not exempt in Bill C-11. And Section 41 explicitly forbids the manufacturing, importation, sale or rental of technologies, devices or componants whose primary function is the circumvention of copy protection.

It appearently doesn’t matter that the copyright owners were compensated when the recordings were legally purchased from legitimate vendors and that if it weren’t for copy protection that these acts would be considered private copying in law.

The authors of Bill C-11 insist on labeling these acts “piracy”, even when consent is implied by the sale of these recordings to law abiding Canadian consumers.

The American entertainment industry has yet to specify what losses are incured in the private copying of copy protected works. They also failed to specify how they are loosing funds on legally purchased foreign recordings they refuse to sell in Canada.

Why are we allowing this undue, unjustified foreign influence on our Parlamentary processes ?

New Proposed Copyright Act Amendments

The Canadian government has just introduced a bill to update the Copyright Act in response to new technology and international criticism.

Bill C-32 will further legalize private copying by enabling consumers to record and copy copyrighted music, film and television programs legally for private use.

It will also enable the consumer to convert this material into other formats, so this material can be played back on various devices. And provisions in regards to “Fair Use” have been updated, enabling copying for the purpose of “research, private study, education, parody or satire”.

Unfortunately this bill also proposes limitations on these acts, by making the circumventing of copy protection illegal, which would result in a penalty up to $5000 for non-commercial violations.

Most record companies have yielded to consumers in regards to copy protection. But the DVD manufacturers still use these schemes, including a DVD region code that renders DVDs legally purchased from one region unplayable in another DVD region.

Blu-ray discs have similar region codes and many of the film distributors have decided to release films without this coding. But what if the record companies and film distributors decided to re-introduce these “technological protection measures” ?

What if they decided to release the material in a proprietary format, rendering the material unplayable on devices not licensed to play this material ?

We should have the ability to view and make private copies of material that we’ve legally purchased but the provisions would subject us to the whims of the labels, film companies and their distributors, some of which own the rights to distribute material in certain countries and regions without the legal obligation to do so.

Canada is generally lumped with the United States when it comes to foreign films, concerts and music video compilation releases so we are subject to trends that are detrimental to material that is not or was not popular in the United States because of language or other factors.

For example, I like a french pop duo called Les Rita Mitsouko but unfortunately they did not have enough of a following in North America to justify the release of a Region 1 version of their limited edition “Bestov” CD/DVD compilation in 2001.

If I had not imported it from France back then I wouldn’t have it now because it’s no longer being distributed. And this issue isn’t limited to francophone releases.

Norwegian pop rock band a-ha had released a video compilation entitled “Headlines & Deadlines” in 1991 in the United Kingdom. This compilation was re-released again in 1996 and in 1999, whilst North American fans waited for a Region 1 release. Why ? Because in the States they’re considered a “one hit wonder”.

Then there are the complications brought on by the mislabeling of regions by the retailer or distributor, like the “Toutes Zones” Johnny Hallyday DVD I purchased directly from his label, Universal Music France.

An All Region or Region 0 DVD would not require the circumventing of region coding, complying to the provision proposed by Bill C-32. But “Master Serie” was mislabeled as an All Regions DVD on the label’s site, the DVD’s package and on the DVD.

I believe the circumvention provisions should reflect the fact that DVDs that are coded other than Region 0 and 1 can be legally imported by Canadians, resulting in the collection of rights in the country from which the products were purchased.

The copyright holders of the content found on these DVDs were compensated for transactions that would not have taken place if protectionist measures were in place restricting the distribution of Region 2 DVDs to Canadians. And no restrictions in regards to the distribution of the aforementioned Region 2 DVDs were imposed on or implemented by the re-known online retailers I purchased them from (Universal Music France, Alapage, Amazon U.K).

I will be contacting my local Member of Parliament on this issue and will be posting updates in this blog.

You can find your local MP’s contact information by postal code.

Bill C-32 was introduced by Tony Clement, Minister of Industry.

Canadian Listings Completed

I’ve just completed the addition of both parts of the Canadian CD/DVD & Blu-Ray source listings to this blog, which can be found in the menu on the left side of this page, under Buy Stuff. I hope to have the memorabilia listings up by the end of this month.

BTW, I will turn on comments after the transition and will probably add a contact form for additions, corrections and comments.

EMI/Citi Financial & Arcadia finally on DVD

It appears that EMI is trying to work something out with the other labels to keep it’s assets from being taken over by Citi Financial.

Times Online reports that EMI has approached Universal, Sony and Warner and that Warner is preparing a bid for some of EMI’s assets with KKR.

All is not well at EMI.

Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Radiohead have all left the label since the company’s 2007 takeover by private equity group Terra Firma and they have recently been brought into court by members of Pink Floyd, according to this Times Online article.

Well, at least there is some good news for fans of Duran Duran and Arcadia in Canada. We will be getting the special re-releases of their CDs via EMI Music Canada in April, which will include bonus remixes and DVDs that include the music videos for these albums.

I’m particularly interested in the reissue of Arcadia’s So Red The Rose, whose music videos I wanted on DVD for decades. But the bonus material and videos on Duran Duran’s Seven And The Ragged Tiger reissue are also tempting.

Now if only EMI could release Kate Bush’s “The Whole Story” on DVD…