This is bad news for us Canadians: Format shifting, low damages put Canada on IP watch list
We’re now apparently lumped into the copyright axis of evil by the US private sector and they’re working harder to get the US Federal government involved in pushing us towards their draconian copy protection laws.
Backing up a second, let’s note that it is illegal in the US for someone who purchases media on a disk to copy it for their own private uses in any way they see fit. It is supposedly legal to make personal backup copies but it’s illegal to rip your own DVD, for example, because that’s circumventing copy protection. So, it is not legal to take a DVD you paid say $25 for and copy it to play on your iPhone. Most people seem to think this is ridiculous.
Next, note that Canada does have weaker media copying laws than the US precisely because years ago the industry lobbied the government to add a levy on the sale of blank media. This was pushed based on the argument that a known percentage of blank media is used for illegal copying, so compensate the rights holders in response. So, as things stand right now in Canada, “illegal” copying is taking place but the rights holders are being compensated, so it’s not really illegal. That’s why no Canadian can currently be sued for downloading media, but they apparently can for uploading (not sure if anyone ever has).
I’d personally be furious if Canada instituted their own version of a US DMCA copy protection law. I still firmly believe that if I have purchased media (music or video) I have the right to use it however I choose, not that my purchase is limited to this one physical disc. I don’t have the right to give copies (physical or not) to anyone else, but I should be able to put a copy on my iPhone or store it on my media center for easier viewing.
These DCMA-style laws simply attempt to achieve lock-in to a type of physical media. Bought it on DVD and want to make a copy to Bluray? Nope, go buy a Bluray copy. I think they’ll end up pushing more consumers to digital downloads, whether legitimate or not.