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Microsoft Misleads On Canadian Copyright Reform

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-have-it-both-ways dept.

Microsoft 107

An anonymous reader writes "As the battle rages over a Canadian DMCA, Microsoft Canada has published an op-ed in a political newspaper that Michael Geist describes as astonishingly misleading and factually incorrect. Microsoft tries to argue that Canadian copyright law provides no legal protections, even after it received one of the largest copyright damage awards in Canadian history just one year ago."

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107 comments

Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

ThomasFlip (669988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301200)

write an op-ed piece in China about how their standards are too lax. FU Microsoft.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (0, Troll)

glidermike (1062790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301378)

This is one reason why I refuse to use any Microsoft product! exactly right------F.U. Microsoft Go Ron Paul

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301424)

say something original. there are tons of users around here who caw like you do. it's old. the only thing interesting about it is that every linux user seems to have finally roosted as slashdont.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (0, Flamebait)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301458)

Oh, joy. Paultards have taken to spamming in-comment now...

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301592)

That's Paulestinians to you, sir.

Sig line, not inline. (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301974)

Oh, joy. Paultards have taken to spamming in-comment now...
In comment? Nah. Didn't you notice the two hyphens just above it. That means it was his sig line.

Like this one:

Re:Sig line, not inline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22303786)

That's all well and good, but he was replying to this post [slashdot.org] .

I smell it in your sweat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302218)

Sir, I can smell your fear in your sweat. It brings a smile to my face.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (2, Insightful)

Curtman (556920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304910)

Oh great. A story on Microsoft attempting to influence Canadian parliamentary decisions and you fucks turn it into a discussion about U.S. political candidates. Damn you.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301732)

I don't know how to break it to you, but you've got the wrong country.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

idiotwithastick (1036612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301912)

I never understood why people could be against Microsoft yet for Ron Paul at the same time. Isn't Ron Paul for small government hence no anti-trust laws (not mandated in the Constitution, right) which means that Microsoft wouldn't be punished for being a monopoly?

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302006)

I never understood why people could be against Microsoft yet for Ron Paul at the same time. Isn't Ron Paul for small government hence no anti-trust laws (not mandated in the Constitution, right) which means that Microsoft wouldn't be punished for being a monopoly?
Microsoft wouldn't be able to pervert the legal system, legislature, and bureaucracy into protecting and promoting its monopolistic practices, either.

We're willing to take our chances on whether they have a "natural monopoly" without the 3-trillion-pound gorilla mostly fighting on their side.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302108)

the government hasn't done anything to promote microsoft. i guess you're either a troll or you have no clue as to what you're talking about. there has never been a single law passed by the government that makes life hard on you open source lemmings. name me just one. i know you won't take me up on this challenge because you can't.
 
the most you guys claim is that they buy their way into the government. i hate to break it to you but even in small governments there is corruption.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

gr8scot (1172435) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304530)

Econ 101: regulation is a barrier to new entrants to any market.

there has never been a single law passed by the government that makes life hard on you open source lemmings. name me just one. i know you won't take me up on this challenge because you can't.
All big-business regulations favor the biggest businesses by making the cost of doing business prohibitively high to those who don't already have $ billions. You count them yourself.

the most you guys claim is that they buy their way into the government.
And into professional organizations, which re-classify their proprietary garbage as "standards."

W3C HTML 5.0 draft, section 1.1.3 [w3.org] , for example

i hate to break it to you but even in small governments there is corruption.
In every society, and every profession, there is some corruption. Smaller government means the corrupt ones in government have less power to abuse. There, I fixed that.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304642)

there has never been a single law passed by the government that makes life hard on you open source lemmings. name me just one
Here goes another answer for another smartass: DCMA sponsored by Hollywood lobbies paying cash miss Hillay Clinton and passed under her husband term in 2000. This law renders illegal reverse engineering under the premises it might lead to copyright infringment. It has been also used to stop research in several fields, so it's just not hampering open source lemmings but competion in general therms. I don't have the slightest glimpse of simpaty for your teachings, smartass.

They don't need the government's help... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22309898)

They just have to set up contracts and conspire with the other companies to screw us over.

Libertarians act like the 19th century never happened sometimes. I don't want to be doomed to repeat them. I don't want to go back. We came up with anti-trust laws for very, very good reasons.

I'm not kidding when I point out that there was blood in the streets, corrupt private police forces and near-slave conditions for some workers instituted by some monopolies.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302012)

In that situation i presume things would unfold such that MS wouldn't have been able to lock the market in the first place.

Re:Why doesn't Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22315066)

I never understood why people could be against Microsoft yet for Ron Paul

Maybe they like to watch pr0n, and he is in loads of movies after all.

What!! (1, Funny)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301220)

What!..Microsoft lie!...noo , while Im here selling you Vista Super duper home edition for $799 would you be interested in some prime swamp property.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301258)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
all goatse, all the time [goatse.ch]

Telling warnings of economic damage (4, Insightful)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301264)

The article states

But as is often the case, such discussions can have a real significance for individual jobs and on our economy in a broader sense.
... translates as "My employer is worried about their source of income"

Stephan

What is misleading is the /. summary (4, Informative)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301290)

The MS article is factually accurate - copyright law does not protect ideas expressed in works. Mr. Geist even updated the posting to reflect this.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (3, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301330)

The article itself gives examples that aren't true. The author of the article is Michael Eisen, chief legal officer at Microsoft Canada, based in Toronto.

Maybe a reader who lives in Ontario, Canada (and thus has standing) can do us all a favour and file a complaint with the Ontario Bar [oba.org] for Eisen's breech of professional ethics in misleading the public, and bringing the practice of law into disrepute.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301400)

... and bringing the practice of law into disrepute.

How can an event thousands of years in the past possibly have any bearing on the present?

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301436)

Do you use the Jewish Calender or something?

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301466)

*glances through time and space to the beginnings of time*

Oh, none at all i guess...oh wait existence is still here/here now/here again.

(i still got a smirk from your joke though =)

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (5, Informative)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303546)

... file a complaint with the Ontario Bar [oba.org] [link to Ontario Bar Association] for Eisen's breech of professional ethics ...

IANAL, but I think such a complaint should be filed with the Law Society of Upper Canada [lsuc.on.ca] .

The Ontario Bar Association, founded in 1907, is a voluntary organization of lawyers, judges, and law students. Its website says that it represents lawyers' interests to governments and other organizations and "provides lawyers with opportunities to become more efficient and effective, to further their professional education and to keep abreast of current developments within the profession, nationally and provincially". So, in spite of its name, the Ontario Bar Association is not the bar.

The Law Society of Upper Canada, founded in 1797, when Ontario was called Upper Canada, is "the governing body for lawyers and paralegals in Ontario" and "the Law Society regulates the legal professions in the public interest according to Ontario law and the Law Society's rules, regulations and guidelines." So, I believe that it is the bar.

Aside: According to the Law Society's website: "The creation of this self-governing body by an Act of the Legislative Assembly was an innovation in the English-speaking world."

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22309668)

Correct. Lawyers in Ontario are subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the LSUC.

Rule 6.06 covers public statements by lawyers. It provides:

"6.06 (1) Provided that there is no infringement of the lawyer's obligations to the client, the profession, the courts, or the administration of justice, a lawyer may communicate information to the media and may make public appearances and statements."

There's nothing in the Rule or the Commentary (parts of which below) about misleading the public. The Commentary is quite positive about lawyers' public statements. Interestingly statements have to be in the best interests of the client but are deemed to be valuable because they "assist the public in understanding legal issues". Advocacy and public education are often incompatible...

"A lawyer is often called upon to comment publicly on the effectiveness of existing statutory or legal remedies, on the effect of particular legislation or decided cases, or to offer an opinion about cases that have been instituted or are about to be instituted. This, too, is an important role the lawyer can play to assist the public in understanding legal issues."

Anyway there are other more general rules such as the general duty to uphold the administration of justice, etc. that might apply.

- Canadian law student

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (1)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22306452)

I wish I saw this earlier, might have made more of a difference. Here is everyone's phone number/email at the OBA in Toronto* :).

Contact Page [oba.org]

*Long distance charges may apply

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301620)

So the article is technically correct in a weaselly way? I'm so reassured.

What I could read of it (from the bit freely posted on the newspaper's web page and the excerpts posted by Geist), it's deliberately misleading. Ideas aren't protected by copyright ANYWHERE. That doesn't make Canada out of step with copyright law in the rest of the world. And the "trading partners" we're out of step with are... the US.

article hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301668)

actually the whole article in there in the comment section. Someone appears to have taken the authors advice and hacked the website. :-)

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (4, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301758)

Also, it's not called the DMCA in Canada, it's called the DMCEH.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301810)

I see what you did there. That's the best combination of lame and funny I've seen today.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301982)

I can deal with fame, but i would not want to be lunny.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304962)

Actually, what we've got currently is the YMCA. You May Copy Anything

Works are ideas (1)

Geof (153857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302250)

The expression/idea dichotomy is a doctrine in copyright law; the legal usage of the word "idea" does not correspond well to what most people mean by the word.

What would you call the intangible product of intellectual and creative activity? "Idea" and "ideas" seem to capture it the best. "Work" is problematic because it assumes those ideas have been captured in a medium. I realize copyright doesn't protect ideas until that has happened, but once it has happened it nevertheless protects intangibles.

The idea/expression dichotomy is actually quite problematic. One court case found that the "idea" of a drawing of Mickey Mouse was "mouse" - which rather ignores all the other ideas that go into the image of Mickey, from the big ears and white gloves to the various feelings people have about Disney, their childhoods, and so on. What is the "idea" of a song? If you can't define one, does that mean every other intangible part of a song is protected? A character can be considered an idea according to copyright law. It's all very mixed up, and makes some significant assumptions at odds with what we now know about human communication (e.g. there is not any one idea corresponding to an expression, but a wide variety of interpretations, implications, connections to different contexts, etc. - but copyright imagines a single Platonic transcendental idea to which a given expression refers). I saw a fantastic presentation on this by Natasha Gerolami of the University of Western Ontario, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find a published version of what she said.

My point is that the law is one thing, ordinary language is another, and the actual world these attempt to refer to and categorize is something else altogether.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302722)

I would have liked to read the op-ed but I can't (it requires purchasing a subscription). So TFA basically has a rebuttal that's calling MS out for some huge offense, but effectively no link to MS's op-ed. And people are condemning MS without being able to hear both sides. This must be /.

Re:What is misleading is the /. summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22308996)

TORONTO-In a world preoccupied with other pressing and sometimes dramatic concerns, complicated, seemingly arcane policy discussions about copyright may not appear particularly compelling. But as is often the case, such discussions can have a real significance for individual jobs and on our economy in a broader sense. So it is with Canadas anticipated new copyright legislation, which was expected to be tabled in recent weeks, but now appears to have been delayed at the eleventh hour by its opponents.

Our current copyright legislation is woefully out of step with the international community in general and our principal trading partners in particular, despite our repeated commitments to do better. In 1996, Canada became a signatory to two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties-the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Weve yet to implement either treaty and have now fallen behind in providing a reasonable intellectual property protection regime in this country.

For too many, the debate over copyright reform has been boiled down to a discussion around doing things like sharing music or movie files over the internet. Supporters of reform are painted as wanting to stifle the creative impulse or protect profits in "cultural" industries; industries, they argue, that should be driven by a commitment to other goals.

But the reality is something quite different. Rather than stifling creativity, copyright reform is desperately needed in Canada to protect and encourage creativity. Just look at it from the creators viewpoint. Imagine youre an aspiring author who decides to self-publish on the internet in hopes of supporting yourself and catching the eye of a publishing house. Now imagine someone hacks into your website and accesses your work and begins using the ideas expressed in your work for their own commercial benefit. You should be protected, right? In Canada, you are not.

Now think about what this reality means not just for authors but also musicians, film makers and artists. Would you be inclined to share your work digitally given this risk?

This is a simple example, but the importance of copyright reform goes much deeper, with economy-wide implications. Canadians are told over and over again that we are not as innovative as our closest competitors and that this innovation deficit is creating a drag on our ability to compete globally. Copyright reform that brings our legislation up to internationally agreed-upon standards would help create greater incentives to innovate.

If we take our self-publisher as an example-that person is looking for innovative distribution channels to share their work. If digital distribution methods are not protected, what incentive is there for that person to seek other, even more innovative ways to distribute and commercialize their creations? Its the same for Canadian companies. Without protection, there may in many cases be no incentive for companies large and small to seek out new ways of reaching untapped markets or of coming up with innovative ways of besting the competition. A lack of protection is damaging in two ways. First, it leaves Canada far behind other jurisdictions in the world by ignoring the potential of the digital age. Second, the narrower and more limited channels of distribution will actually limit the volume of work available to consumers as less will be created in Canada in the first place.

In short, it is the absence of copyright reform that hinders creativity and innovation, not the opposite.

Does this mean that the expression of every creative idea must be kept under lock and key? No. Critics of the proposed law often raise concerns about how to provide for fair dealing. The existing Copyright Act already provides exceptions for research, study, the disabled, and more. These exceptions were developed prior to the advent of the digital age following meaningful and thoughtful consideration for the benefit of Canadians. There is no question that in reforming the Copyright Act it is important to continue to ensure that we strike the right balance between the rights of creators and users of works. That being said, perhaps one of the unintended benefits of it taking 10 years to introduce new legislation is that weve had plenty of time to assess what works and doesnt in other countries and to create an updated copyright law that truly works for us.

Lets hope 2008 brings renewed attention by Parliament to the pressing need to update our copyright law so artists, innovators and all Canadians can maximize their enjoyment of the benefits of the digital age.

Michael Eisen is chief legal officer at Microsoft Canada based in Toronto.
 

Why wouldn't they? (4, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301372)

Why wouldn't they mislead about copyright reform. They already abuse the broken patent system and now are trying to claim that Linux violates their patents. They are just trying to perpetuate this broken system that is in need of good reform. We'll see how many people really call them on this bs.
M$:You stole our code.
L:No we didn't. Show us.
M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (3, Informative)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302536)

The claim against Linux is purely on patents, not on copyright. The SCO case was on copyright and that was very easy to disprove once some specific code claims were made. Microsoft can't accuse Linux developers of code theft based on patent violations. "Intellectual property" theft is a stretch even then, as patents can be infringed independently.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302924)

to be fair MS has not "abused" the patent system YET. they have made rumblings and i have no doubt SCO was a test run, however i feel after seeing how that ended MS isn't going to try the same thing.

in fact if anyone is the victim of our current patent laws, it is MS and companys like them. patent trolls hang from them like leeches attempting to get themselfs bought.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302936)

What do you expect from a company who's founder bragged about stealing code from a college dumpster? His guilt trip seems to fuel a perfect business model: accuse others of how you became the wealthiest person in the world.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304472)

M$:You stole our code.
L:No we didn't. Show us.
M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.


I believe we have seen a lawsuit that ran for a few years with almost the same wording.

Re:Why wouldn't they? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22307260)

M$:You stole our code.
L:No we didn't. Show us.
M$:I'm sorry that is a trade secret, just take our word for it.

I believe we have seen a lawsuit that ran for a few years with almost the same wording.

Does this mean Microsoft will declare bankruptcy, assuming they are SCO in this case?

Consolation and condolences to Patriots fans here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301456)

I'm a "the glass is half full" type guy, albeit a NYG fan. For those of you Pats fans who are feeling gloomy today, let me say this: it's better to have the Giants' cock in your ass than a giant cock in your ass. Cheer up, Brady lovers. You'll live to suck another day.

Re:Consolation and condolences to Patriots fans he (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302026)

true story.

Tom Brady sucked my mothers dick after the game yesterday. she didn't even shave her nuts beforehand!

Making fools of themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301490)

Imagine you're an aspiring author who decides to self-publish on the internet in hopes of supporting yourself and catching the eye of a publishing house. Now imagine someone hacks into your website and accesses your work and begins using the ideas expressed in your work for their own commercial benefit. You should be protected, right? In Canada, you are not.

If your self publishing, you're making the content available, nobody would need to 'hack into your website' to get a copy. What they're describing has nothing to do with copyright, therefore further "input" from Microsoft or their mouth-pieces on the subject can only be ignored. Tell the legislators and tell the public, these guys are a joke.

Re:Making fools of themselves (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302354)

Unless "hacking a website" now means 'select all, copy (alt-tab to notepad), paste'. Did I just post hacking instructions?

Re:Making fools of themselves (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303454)

Depends upon who you ask. (Hint: Don't ask someone who doesn't at least understand what a browser is)

Re:Making fools of themselves (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304726)

Browse [reference.com] means: 1. to eat, nibble at, or feed on (leaves, tender shoots, or other soft vegetation).

... so a browser would be a salad fork.

Oh by the way, a couple of days ago, my wife let me know that she had "Closed the internet" a few hours previously. I opened it again as soon as I found out. Sorry, I'll try to not let it happen again.

Re:Making fools of themselves (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304996)

Like my mother.

What Operating System do you have, Mum?

(pause.....) I have Word. And Excel. And email and the internet.

Re:Making fools of themselves (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22307922)

My mother would say the darndest things too. She tried, honestly she did. But being a real life hypochondriac every time I'd show her a single web page because I thought it was cool (like Ebay or something back in the day), her first response was "Did you scan that for viruses?". She didn't know HOW to scan for viruses, and the whole notion that scanning a purely HTML page for viruses was kinda pointless was lost on her, but she wanted me to be scanning every individual page for viruses when I clicked a link.

Then there was the time when I discovered the emulation scene (Gameboy emulators at first, which ran pretty good on my old Pentium 75 - that whole era in time fascinated me). After telling her about that she thought it a bad idea because my computer might get "stuck" behaving like a Gameboy or an SNES :).

BSOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22301532)

BSOD - Business Strategy of Death

ERROR: A fatal exception occurred in BusinessStrategy.exe at 1-2-AFTERYOU-BALLSUP-00Y3AH. The program will now terminate.

Cancel or Allow

The Worst Part... (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301536)

The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...

Re:The Worst Part... (1)

6-tew (1037428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301806)

We don't care. We're not horribly uniformed or misinformed, we're generally apathetic about copyright. You might even call us melancholy. It's sad really.

Oh well, guess I'll go browse some torrents.

Re:The Worst Part... (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302796)

I do agree with you, Canadians are misinformed.

The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...

Paid for by CBC - Government sponsored, $2B CAD and rising. You should read this, Outer Limits:

There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity - and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to... The Outer Limits. Please stand by.

Outer Limits was far ahead if it's time. Fits right in with Microsoft's way of doing business. It is about control of YOU! Hey, Microsoft, any "cash envelopes" for our politicians?

Re:The Worst Part... (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303092)

Well, the last few times a DCMA equivalent has been introduced the responsible minister has gotten fired or postponed the bill in the face of public pressure. The average Canadian might be uninformed about copyright on an absolute scale, but we seem to be doing pretty well relative to our southern neighbors.

Re:The Worst Part... (1)

Jardine (398197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303498)

The worst part of this (beyond Microsoft's outright self-serving lies) is that most Canadians are horribly uninformed/misinformed about copyright laws and will believe virtually anything they hear making copyright FUD north of the border very effective. It would be nice if more people, like Michael Geist, tried to get the truth out there but sadly his sort are rare...

Most people are uninformed/misinformed about every political issue. The thing about copyright is that the news media doesn't normally talk about it. They think it's an issue that puts everyone to sleep. Basically the only people who talk about it in Canada are Michael Geist, Cory Doctorow, a few other bloggers, and Jessie Brown on the CBC Radio show Search Engine. People are listening though. As of this writing there are 39,962 members of the Fair Copyright for Canada group on Facebook. Ok, it doesn't take much effort to join a group on Facebook, but it does mean there are about 40,000 people who care enough about Copyright in Canada to click a mouse a couple of times.

Re:The Worst Part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304314)

U, you know... for being "horribly misinformed about copyright laws", it's important to note that the media cartel have been pushing for a Canadian DMCA since the American DMCA was created, but 8 years later there still isn't one. Microsoft can flap off at the mouth all they want; most Canadians view the copyright issue as "selling out to American big business", which is why public pressure keeps killing these sorts of bills.

Truth? Microsoft? (1, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301624)

Why does anyone expect the truth from Microsoft anymore?

Re:Truth? Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301896)

For that matter, why does anyone expect truth from any party with a vested interest? Microsoft isn't special in that regard.

Re:Truth? Microsoft? (1)

phliar (87116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302480)

In my dealings with people I expect people to be truthful, even when they have a vested interest. If someone does lie it lowers my estimation of them, significantly. They don't have to volunteer information, but no lying. I think most people are that way. Why, then, should a company be allowed to lie?

Re:Truth? Microsoft? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302766)

That wasn't an idealistic statement about how I want things to be. That was a pragmatic statement based on how things are. The fact of the matter is, many large organizations lie and misrepresent, and a simple exercise of "follow-the-money" is usually sufficient to explain why. Never believe anything to be true unless you can independently verify it or it is consistent with what you already know to be true - in a world full of liars and monied interests, there is no substitute for this. Allowed or not, people lie when they think they can get away with it, and it is up to you who hears the lie to decide whether or not it is believable. People and companies generally don't lie unless they think it will work, that it will be believed. I hope this clears up the non-question of whether a company should or should not lie.

Re:Truth? Microsoft? (1)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303736)

There is this little thing called "ethics".

Then there is the other little thing called "reputation".

Who would be happy to sign contracts with a company that had a public reputation for being unethical?

So most Microsoft partners must be unhappy :-)

Link to Op-Ed piece req. subscription (2, Informative)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301638)

Granted, it's one of those "free to read the whole article" ones, but a PITA that kept me from reading further nonetheless.

Copy paste from someone else maybe?

Voilà (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22303816)

TORONTO-In a world preoccupied with other pressing and sometimes dramatic concerns, complicated, seemingly arcane policy discussions about copyright may not appear particularly compelling. But as is often the case, such discussions can have a real significance for individual jobs and on our economy in a broader sense. So it is with Canadas anticipated new copyright legislation, which was expected to be tabled in recent weeks, but now appears to have been delayed at the eleventh hour by its opponents.

Our current copyright legislation is woefully out of step with the international community in general and our principal trading partners in particular, despite our repeated commitments to do better. In 1996, Canada became a signatory to two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties-the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Weve yet to implement either treaty and have now fallen behind in providing a reasonable intellectual property protection regime in this country.

For too many, the debate over copyright reform has been boiled down to a discussion around doing things like sharing music or movie files over the internet. Supporters of reform are painted as wanting to stifle the creative impulse or protect profits in "cultural" industries; industries, they argue, that should be driven by a commitment to other goals.

But the reality is something quite different. Rather than stifling creativity, copyright reform is desperately needed in Canada to protect and encourage creativity. Just look at it from the creators viewpoint. Imagine youre an aspiring author who decides to self-publish on the internet in hopes of supporting yourself and catching the eye of a publishing house. Now imagine someone hacks into your website and accesses your work and begins using the ideas expressed in your work for their own commercial benefit. You should be protected, right? In Canada, you are not.

Now think about what this reality means not just for authors but also musicians, film makers and artists. Would you be inclined to share your work digitally given this risk?

This is a simple example, but the importance of copyright reform goes much deeper, with economy-wide implications. Canadians are told over and over again that we are not as innovative as our closest competitors and that this innovation deficit is creating a drag on our ability to compete globally. Copyright reform that brings our legislation up to internationally agreed-upon standards would help create greater incentives to innovate.

If we take our self-publisher as an example-that person is looking for innovative distribution channels to share their work. If digital distribution methods are not protected, what incentive is there for that person to seek other, even more innovative ways to distribute and commercialize their creations? Its the same for Canadian companies. Without protection, there may in many cases be no incentive for companies large and small to seek out new ways of reaching untapped markets or of coming up with innovative ways of besting the competition. A lack of protection is damaging in two ways. First, it leaves Canada far behind other jurisdictions in the world by ignoring the potential of the digital age. Second, the narrower and more limited channels of distribution will actually limit the volume of work available to consumers as less will be created in Canada in the first place.

In short, it is the absence of copyright reform that hinders creativity and innovation, not the opposite.

Does this mean that the expression of every creative idea must be kept under lock and key? No. Critics of the proposed law often raise concerns about how to provide for fair dealing. The existing Copyright Act already provides exceptions for research, study, the disabled, and more. These exceptions were developed prior to the advent of the digital age following meaningful and thoughtful consideration for the benefit of Canadians. There is no question that in reforming the Copyright Act it is important to continue to ensure that we strike the right balance between the rights of creators and users of works. That being said, perhaps one of the unintended benefits of it taking 10 years to introduce new legislation is that weve had plenty of time to assess what works and doesnt in other countries and to create an updated copyright law that truly works for us.

Lets hope 2008 brings renewed attention by Parliament to the pressing need to update our copyright law so artists, innovators and all Canadians can maximize their enjoyment of the benefits of the digital age.

Michael Eisen is chief legal officer at Microsoft Canada based in Toronto.

news@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times

Re:Voilà (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304998)

TYVM, and there's a word for this type of article, scurillous [merriam-webster.com] .

BTW, I know it's against the spirit of /. commenters to RTFA, but anyone with mod points is invited to spend a couple on the parent of this reply. : )

Thank god, my life is calm again (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301682)

For awhile there, with the OOXML, and other things, I was afraid that the big bad wolf had fallen in 'friends' with the little pigs. I thought and thought about that, and just could not get my head around it. If there is no monopoly to fight, or evildoers to rail against, life is just too surreal to contemplate. What, with people working together and profitability made second class citizen to cooperation and interoperability. Just when I was beginning to think that consistency was vanishing from the face of the earth, MS has come to my rescue and reassured me that they are evil, and always will be. ohhh, how nice it is to know somethings will never change... I can sleep again.

Re:Thank god, my life is calm again (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301936)

I thought and thought about that, and just could not get my head around it. If there is no monopoly to fight, or evildoers to rail against, life is just too surreal to contemplate.

Henry David Thoreau once set out to live aloof of such things in order to simplify his life as much as possible and find out what there was to contemplate without such distractions. You might find Walden [publicliterature.org] a most refreshing read. The picture painted there is one I find far better than the petty shit we spend so much time fighting over.

Busted Microsoft (4, Informative)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301768)

In years past, there was no way that Microsoft would have approved such a weak op-ed piece. Maybe some low-level manager approved this one, because it is simply an embarrassment to the company - with ridiculous examples that a high school student could rip apart regardless of the interpretation of their text.

Sadly, Microsoft is at the point where it needs to step up its game and change the way it does business if it wants to remain relevant. This piece, and the purchase of Yahoo, are all signs that Microsoft can no longer manage to design its own future - instead, it needs to look to the outside to fix its internal shortcomings.

To me, that means that Microsoft will be more apt to try to buy its way out of management failures - by buying companies such as Yahoo - which in turn will bring great new ideas and assets to Microsoft, but at the huge expense of making Microsoft substantially harder to manage.

It could work out, but it's a slippery, dangerous slope, similar to (but different than) going into massive debt. But instead of a direct financial debt, it will be a huge on-going management burden - one that could only be controlled with strong merger-centric leadership.

History is full of merger failures due to culture clashes. I doubt Ballmer is the guy that can pull it off. My prediction - Ballmer be put in the twilight in 2 years or less. You heard it from me.

Re:Busted Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302678)

Its ezer to buy success then create it these days i guess.....

Microsoft Not Exactly a failure (1)

Zygamorph (917923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22305726)

While I'm not impressed with a lot of the things that Bill Gates et al have done its hard to call a business with tens of billions of EXCESS dollars in the bank a "failure". If you do then I assume that GW, who is responsible for putting the US trillions of dollars into debt is a success? :-)

Tagging: Im-shocked-honest-I-really-am (2, Funny)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301784)

Amazing, Microsoft bends the facts to suit their own need to screw the customer even harder than before..... More News At 11.

"LYING" (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301864)

"Misleading"? "Factually incorrect"? Why will no one reporting on lies just come out and call them lies? By pulling these punches, the writers/editors/publishers are lying.

There, I said it. And I feel better already for telling the truth.

Re:"LYING" (1)

vldmr_krn (737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302060)

Why will no one reporting on lies just come out and call them lies?

When you're saying someone is lying, you're accusing them of having a bad motive. Maybe this wasn't an attempt to deceive. If there's no earthly way for you to believe that, then others will draw the same conclusion.

It's politeness and diplomacy. Understand it before you fight it.

Re:"LYING" (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302222)

Oh, it's easy to understand. Lying is when you say something you know is untrue. Microsoft's op-ed writers know what they're saying is untrue. "Motive" is a convention, a manner of speaking, that isn't as important as what facts and evidence can demonstrate. Microsoft's op-ed writers were lying. Failing to call it lying isn't "diplomacy", it's permissive cowardice.

Re:"LYING" (1)

vldmr_krn (737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302498)

Oh, it's easy to understand. Lying is when you say something you know is untrue. Microsoft's op-ed writers know what they're saying is untrue. "Motive" is a convention, a manner of speaking, that isn't as important as what facts and evidence can demonstrate. Microsoft's op-ed writers were lying. Failing to call it lying isn't "diplomacy", it's permissive cowardice.

And they would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you to point out that they were lying.

Re:"LYING" (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303094)

If only more people would follow my simple, clear example, there'd be less lying.

Re:"LYING" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302136)

They probably don't say that because "lies" means that it was intentional while "misleading" and "factually incorrect" do not. While we can reasonably assume that the lying is intentional here in Slashdot comments, the reporter has a duty to distinguish between fact and speculation. Calling them liars conflates the two.

Re:"LYING" (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302260)

It's easy to prove the op-ed writers know just as well as their critics in this story that their assertions are false. That's lying. It doesn't matter if their "intention" was to lie, so long as they knew they were saying in public something that was false.

Besides, even "unintentional lying" is merely an oxymoron, not an actual contradiction. If you don't bother to see whether what you're saying is false, though you're responsible for doing so.

Re:"LYING" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302684)

It's easy to prove the op-ed writers know just as well as their critics in this story that their assertions are false.

Go on then.

Re:"LYING" (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302822)

Well, I'm not the journalist who took it on themself to show Microsoft's op-ed was full of false statements, that anyone at Microsoft expert enough to have the op-ed job should know better. And so either did know better or willfully ignored the truth. These op-eds get reviewed by corporate lawyers who have that express responsibility. Though at Microsoft, the positive effects on Microsoft PR are of course weighed against the value of the truth vs the costs of lying per se.

So it's obvious that it's lying. If I were going to publish this post as an actual journalistic exercise, rather than an obscure conversation with an Anonymous Coward, I'd complete the journalist's obligation of the rest of the research to identify the specific evidence. But the basic story painted with lies is easy to see here.

Re:"LYING" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304594)

anyone at Microsoft expert enough to have the op-ed job should know better.

Yes, because in the history of the world, nobody has ever been too incompetent to do their job properly, right?

So it's obvious that it's lying.

But the basic story painted with lies is easy to see here.

I'm not saying that it's not obvious. I'm not saying that it isn't easy to see. Go back and read my comment again. I am saying that it is extremely difficult to show this to be a fact rather than speculation.

Do you understand the difference between saying that you believe something and saying that it is factually true?

Reverse onus in Canadian libel law (1)

Geof (153857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302284)

Yeah, probably. But Canadian libel laws are so harsh it's probably not worth taking the risk. They place the burden of proof on the defendant, who must demonstrate that the statement was true. IANAL.

Re:Reverse onus in Canadian libel law (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302482)

Actually, I think that if someone says something in public that could damage the person they're talking about, then the burden of proof is on the person saying it. But simply citing the evidence that someone said something they knew was false, or that the subject willfully ignored the truth when speaking of it, when they say that person is lying, should constitute sufficient proof to dismiss any libel case. And to recover defense legal fees, as well as the ironically reverse damages for falsely accusing someone of libel.

FWIW, lawyers bringing frivolous libel suits should be disbarred after bringing 3 in any 10 years, or a lifetime of maybe 5 or 6.

Re:"LYING" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302638)

Ordinarily, people wish to give the benefit of the doubt to the authors of such obviously wrong nonsense. For example, the writer from Microsoft could be an innocent and clueless idiot when it comes to copyright law rather than maliciously trying to fool people. I suppose you could argue that nobody is so clueless that they would think copyright covers ideas rather than expressions of them, but some people do have honest difficulties with the concept.

It's one of those old rules: never ascribe to malice what can also be attributed to stupidity.

Remember, there is no practical limit to the amount of stupidity that is possible in the universe. I doubt the situation is any different at Microsoft.

Re:"LYING" (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302786)

Stupid lies are still lies. Motives matter to the person themself, and if documentable with evidence can be used to predict whether someone will do something again. But "benefit of the doubt" is sloppy journalism. If they're going to report on someone's public statements, and especially if they go so far as to point out they're false, an actual journalist will find whether there's evidence that the liar knew the truth, or willfully ignored it.

I'm interested in the results of these strangers and their lies. How they feel about them, not so much. Unless they regret lying enough to not do it again, which usually involves being exposed as a liar in so many words.

Re:"LYING" (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303140)

Because misleading and factually incorrect are what you call someone who doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to come right and out and lie to your face. It's not a compliment.

Re:"LYING" (0, Redundant)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303874)

Microsoft had the guts to lie in this op-ed. It's the journalist covering it (and Slashdot repeating them) where the guts are lacking to call it "lying".

That's how the lies live on. Because "not a compliment" is not a condemnation.

it will never stop (1)

calicowboy75 (1233294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301874)

ive been around computers a long time 20 years , ive seen so many examples of software piricey thru the years ive seen software companys put protections on there software and just as fast people find a way around it ,no matter what laws are passed , there will always a way around things like that and as technology progresses so will the crackers methods

Re:it will never stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22302074)

You're kidding, right?
Based on your writing and your own admission (around computers 20 years), I'd estimate your age at around negative 8 years.
Please, if you're going to try to fool someone into thinking you're older than you are, at leas try to spell correctly and use proper grammar.

Captcha: verified.

foul (1)

vldmr_krn (737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22301920)

First, the "Microsoft" article requires a subscription to read, meaning that very few people will read it and will know about it only through what an opponent said about it.

Second, what is Microsoft's involvement with the original article, which was published by a Canadian political paper called "The Hill Times"?

Re:foul (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303682)

The author of the article, Michael Eisen [microsoft.com] , is chief legal officer of Microsoft Canada.

Fair Copyright for Canada facebook group (1)

perp (114928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22302040)

Michal Geist started the Fair Copyright for Canada [facebook.com] Facebook group a few months ago, and it now has almost 40,000 members. Check it out, if you're Canadian and use Facebook.

Re:Fair Copyright for Canada facebook group (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22305218)

Fair to who ...?

Copyright should be fair to the consumer and the producer, it does not need to be fair to the distributer

It is an anti-market, government condoned temporary monopoly to encourage innovation
    The DCMA (and the proposed Canadian equivilent) do not encourage innovation they encourage the established copyright holders to resell thier existing roducts again and again ....

Re:Fair Copyright for Canada facebook group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22306118)

Fair Copyright for Canada is a group opposing the proposed DMCA-like law, which you would know if you had either checked the link or recognized the name Michael Geist from TFA.

Michael Liberal Geist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22305832)

yawn

Like shooting fish in a barrel, of course (1)

who's got my nicknam (841366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22311208)

I had fun tearing [rustybadger.com] this one apart. This lawyer type is so full of crap I bet his eyes are brown.

Microsoft lies! Film at 11! (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22314020)

Seriously, as I've repeatedly said here and elsewhere, nobody at Microsoft authorized to talk to the public - and many who aren't - ever says or writes anything that isn't a lie.

Microsoft does not sell software. They sell lies.

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