Friday, March 11, 2005

A Dumbass New Law, Brought to You by Dumbass Politicians

This is a horrible idea. Forcing educational institutions to buy expensive licenses in order to access freely available content. Outlawing 'parasitic' VoIP. Coercing ISPs into kicking off a subscriber if a content company so much as insinuates that said subscriber is getting access to copyrighted content (in effect, making it easier to prosecute file sharing than it is to stop child porn. Priorities, people.)

None of this shocks me. The recording industry is scared shitless of anything new that it doesn't own. At the same time the Canadian government - like governments everywhere, I suppose -tends toward the control-freak mentality, so it's no surprise that they'd grasp at any pretext to crack down on internet use, and damn the collateral damage.

The sad thing is, I'm really more amused than angered by this. Reason being, it doesn't particularly worry me. Not that I think the legislation won't pass - at the very least, I imagine a watered-down version will get through quite handily - it's that I can't see it being even minimally effective. One word, people: encryption. It's simple, really. Just lock everything down using a decent RSA algorithm, make it prohibitively expensive for the authorities to take a peek at what you're up to, and the law becomes impossible to enforce. Set up private darknets, accessible only to people vouched for by existing members who know them personally, and impenetrable to anyone else. Such inscrutable networks already exist. One of my friends already uses one, and swears by it (I haven't bothered yet. I'm cheap.)

Of course, none of this would be necessary if content were reasonably priced, given the low and dropping costs of storage and distribution. $0.05 per song would be entirely reasonable. But perhaps its a little much to expect content industries to adapt to changing technology ... it's not like we live in a capitalist economy or anything.

As a concluding note, if any of this strikes you as it does me - namely, as wrong-headed foolishness or (less charitably) cynical opportunism, communicate your displeasure to the following individuals:

Industry Minister David Emerson:
Heritage Minister Liza Frulla:
Toronto MP Sarmite Bulte:

(I didn't bother gathering contact info for the Canadian recording industry association, because there's only one way to communicate your displeasure with a corporate entity: don't buy their shit.)


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