Soapbox Time: Bill C-11

As a deeply invested and full time participant in the digital economy I try to follow and get involved in matters that will impact the technology world in Canada.  Right now the Conservative majority government is trying to pass Bill C-11, an update to copyright legislation.  In it they have tried to achieve a few goals such as meeting Canada’s commitment to WIPO treaties, supporting Canadian content producer’s rights to protect their investments and property, and also supporting Canadians’ rights to purchase and consume content in whatever manner they wish.  Where it falls down though is the overriding inclusion of an escape clause.  Basically the entire set of rights granted to Canadians can be thrown out the window if the producer uses a “digital lock” on their product.  If someone breaks that digital lock they are breaking the law.  Period.

This topic is near and dear to my heart and I find myself heavily invested in it, as it touches on my belief that technology should serve people and not the other way around.  I have been in contact with my local Conservative MP, Russ Hiebert, to express my concerns numerous times over the past few years (bill C-11 was originally known as bill C-32 years ago).  I find it disconcerting that politicians are making these decisions while ignoring input from specific parties or groups.  These parties vary from people involved in growing Canada’s technological prowess to pretty much every other political party in Canada.

I urge anyone concerned about copyright, digital locks, or content creation and protection in Canada to at least visit Michael Geist’s excellent blog on these matters.  If your hackles rise when you hear the details about how this legislation is going to be passed then please speak up to your MP as soon as possible.

Two months ago (yes 2 MONTHS) I wrote Mr Hiebert an email trying to frame my concerns in a way that any parent today could understand.  For those interested here is the conversation, including his response received today in the mail, and my latest email back to him. Continue reading

Open Source Products – A Better Customer Experience

A great example of how working with Open Source Products leads to quicker problem solving, user success and support.

Needed help figuring out what channels I record the most.  Help in IRC pointed me to the exact line of code where a related product issued the exact query I was looking for.

I am a strong advocate of Open Source projects and those who choose to work on them.  Just this week I was involved in a great example of how this different approach to software products can enhance the user/customer’s experience. Continue reading