208: Pirates of the Frozen Wastes

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Pirates of the Frozen Wastes

Canada's videogame industry is the third largest in the world, trailing only behind those of the U.S. and Japan. Yet the friendly, soft-spoken nation is under increasing pressure from its southern neighbor to conform to stricter standards of piracy prevention. Andy Chalk examines whether the U.S.'s heated rhetoric is enough to melt through the hardy igloo of Canadian resistance to copyright reform.

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Nov 5, 2007
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I don't think anything will change anytime soon. We're probably going in election this autumn... and then spring if neither the Conservatives or Liberals get majority.
 

Lord_Panzer

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Feb 6, 2009
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ShadowKirby said:
I don't think anything will change anytime soon. We're probably going in election this autumn... and then spring when neither the Conservatives or Liberals get majority.
Fixed that for you.

Yeah, nothing is going to change anytime soon, and from the looks of it, it doesn't really need to. We're doing just fine, aren't we?
 

Clemenstation

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Dec 9, 2008
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Lord_Panzer said:
Yeah, nothing is going to change anytime soon, and from the looks of it, it doesn't really need to. We're doing just fine, aren't we?
We sure are. Thanks Michael Geist, for watching our backs!

I'm surprised the Canadian telecommunications oligarchy wasn't mentioned though. Wedged between Rogers and Bell, most of the country doesn't even have the option to download content because of bandwidth capping and throttling.
 

Trevel

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May 27, 2008
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Well, in some parts of the country it's Shaw and Bell instead of Rogers and Bell.

Thankfully, the Government seems to be catching on that Canada is a third-rate nation, telecomwise. Don't know if they'll do anything good about it, mind, but it's a nice thought.
 

Leifur

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Oct 17, 2008
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Not canadian myself, but i hugely support that it's not so strict with piracy.
 

Sparkky

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May 17, 2009
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excellent article.
and I was surprised as well when they didn't mention that rogers and bell make Canada their ***** when it comes to internet :p
I know Shaw has infrastructure on the west, but they rent from bell in the east, and if any of my packets head that direction.
BAM
shaped and filtered + 20 ping.
 

Sanaj

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Mar 20, 2009
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Yeah, I don't think stricter copyright laws will be implemented anytime soon here.

Oh, and the fact that the United States is adding us to their 2009 priority watch list is laughable.

Andy Chalk- "Canada's piracy rate of 32 percent is among the 25 lowest in the world, below countries like France (41 percent),
Spain (42 percent) and Greece (57 percent) and drastically lower than high-piracy countries like Russia (68 percent), Thailand (76 percent) and China (a staggering 80 percent)."

Thanks for the excellent article Andy Chalk.
 

Jsnoopy

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Nov 20, 2008
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I believe the U.S.'s position can be summed up in one short video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYSYipouABI
LULZ!
 

gtez

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Apr 8, 2009
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EA Sports 4 studios in Canada. EA Burnaby, EA Montreal, BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Montreal.
 

JustRadek

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Jun 30, 2009
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Pretty concise and very well-researched article; definitely a good read.

Might want to check "The Needles" link, though, as it gives me a 404.
 

The Patient Mental

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Jun 30, 2009
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Very good article! The, dare I say, *Real* canadian opinion about piracy and a decent explanation of "Canada's" attitude towards heavy handed US policy. Piracy, when looked at objectively, is wrong, however, gouging every penny out of consumers at every turn, putting unfair pressure on governments to help you do it, and driving the majority of consumers to establish unhealthy pseudo addictions to entertainment - to the point where if one thinks about it one has to consider the majority of ones life will be spent pursuing said mental occupations - is also very wrong. Bottom line entertainment industry, you brought this on yourself. It was you who forced the craving with multimillion dollar advertising campaigns convincing us that we must play this, see this, hear this - fine, but can we afford it all? No. So perhaps it is more like the child stealing the bread his family can't afford for itself. To a person, all of us could rationalize that situation, we could understand in that case. So, tounge in cheek I ask if popular piracy isn't the only logical outcome is a consumer based society that can't really afford it all anymore?
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Well written! It's nice for Canada to get some press time :)
I think the largest problem with the conservative bill C-61 is that it's not merely enforcing strict IP laws, but allowing large corporations to walk all over anyone who downloads an MP3 and sue them for tens of thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, IPSs can not give out information about their clients unless they are issued a warrant by the government to give the police information on a person. I have no doubts the conservatives would love to change that.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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I love how the US puts us on their list, while companies down there sue for $80+ thousand dollars PER SONG in some cases. What does this do to curb piracy? Steamrolling over people in the name of justice does nothing to help your cause. Mob mentality is a very powerful thing, and the internet is its breeding ground. Push the little guy, no matter how guilty he may be, and there will be countless others who will push back twice as hard. That's the major flaw with the US' approach to this whole thing, they're looking at it like it's a war to be won.

If I may be so bold, I think Canada has pretty much found the near perfect balance between regulation and chaos. They just sort of let things do what they're going to do, they keep the occasional extreme cases in check, and things seem to work. I don't see EA pulling out of the country because of piracy rates, or Vancouver shutting down the TV studios. Look at Sweden, then have a bloody pirate party now. The world is becoming more and more accustomed to piracy, not because it doesn't think it's wrong, but because it understands that the old rules don't work, and like anything else they need to be upgraded with the times. In the same way they tried to ban violent music years ago and failed miserably, pirates and politicians are two different cultures.

The US needs to step back and realize that this is one war where force is the exact opposite of what is needed. Go ahead and put us on your list, that does jack all except make us laugh. And encourages a lot of people to mess with things even more. Look at the laws, realize maybe suing a 16 year old for $12 million because he downloaded Kanye's new album isn't the best way to prevent piracy, and for God sake hire someone younger than 50 who's (as cliched as this is) in touch with the youth of today. It's not your world anymore. It's ours. And a hell of a lot of us are pirates.
 

NDBurke

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Apr 25, 2008
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AC10 said:
Well written! It's nice for Canada to get some press time :)
I think the largest problem with the conservative bill C-61 is that it's not merely enforcing strict IP laws, but allowing large corporations to walk all over anyone who downloads an MP3 and sue them for tens of thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, IPSs can not give out information about their clients unless they are issued a warrant by the government to give the police information on a person. I have no doubts the conservatives would love to change that.
Hence why Jim Prentice (who proposed Bill C-61) was ever so covertly moved from being the Minister of Industry to the Minister of the Environment. And for those of you don't care about Canadian politics (which is roughly 99.999% of all people on earth), being the the Minister of the Environment for the Conservative party is like being the Minister of Human Rights for the Nazi Party.

As a side note, Canada also has kind of a similar thing going on with Marijuana. Although technically illegal, Canada has such a wide spread and otherwise law abiding Cannabis culture that tough enforcement against it would be an economic disaster. I fucking love my country.
 

DrFausty

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May 12, 2009
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It's worth remembering that a great portion of the "controversy" and "consensus there is a problem" is completely manufactured by the Canadian-flavor media oligarchy lap dogs. Dr. Geist has done an excellent job of showing, in detail, one example of how this spinning of the narrative results in utterly fraudulent "facts" becoming part of the frame of the questions themselves:

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4079/125/

Ironically, we've a great many customers for our anti-packetshaping/throttling service ( http://www.torrentfreedom.net ) in 'Canuckistan' - Rogers in particular has made a "business model" out of selling "unlimited" bandwidth and then promptly limiting it. Even though it results in more (happy) customers for our service, I still think it's utter tripe - if a non-lobbyist-protected company engaged in that kind of completely dishonest marketing/delivery of a service they'd be charged under consumer fraud statutes - and convicted. Of course, Rogers has bought a tocque-full of MPs so they don't have to worry about laws and stuff like that. Beh.

Fausty | http://www.cultureghost.org

(ps: Harper will stay in power - next time he loses a vote of confidence, he'll go right past the CG and get a 'note from his mum' - i.e. the Queen herself - saying he's allow to pretend to be 'leader' forever. . . democracy?)
 

guardian001

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Possibly my favorite part about the politics up here in Canada is that it doesn't actually matter who wins the election, since they'll be a majority government anyway. it helps ensure we don't get any sudden changes. Which is especially good when you consider how far the conservatives want to take things.

I don't think we really need any strict copyright protection laws anyway. Like the article said, we're still one of the lowest on the list of Countries that actually pirates things. Why fix something that doesn't need to be.
 

Kawaii_Nai

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Dec 28, 2008
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I think Canada is doing just fine. Plus it has the nicest people on Earth.

In case you're wondering, I live in the U.S.
 

mudsoup

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Jun 16, 2009
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Its refreshing to read something that draws the political agenda, or lack of it,into this arena. We all need to pay more heed to whats going on around us politically.
A very thought provoking article.
 

ReZerO

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I don't pirate anything myself, but i'm happy with the way the laws are, i don't want more goverment/corperate control over the internet than there already is.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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fuck you. I don't drink and I hate hockey. now stop perpetuating negative stereotypes.
 

PodX140

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OK. My basic rundown of piracy is this.

You get your teen, maybe even early 20 year old, and he see's a cool song or movie or game ect. He then promptly downloads it. He didn't take any profits from the company. He never had any intention of buying the game in the first place, and not because he could download it, just because he wasn't that interested in it. he see's a free candy and grabs it, cause... its free candy, why not? And so, he tells his friends and gives away a bit of advertising, and sets some good game companies in his sights, for when he can afford their great games/music/movies.

Later, When this guy ages, he realizes that, "hey, i have money now. I want that great game/movie/music company to make more great stuff. For once i will buy this, because i feel that it deserves my hard earned money." But when stuff of slightly less quality comes along he says "well, i wasn't going to pay for it, but i might as well tell my friends about this game, maybe keep track of this company and see if they do make something amazing." In this situation, the company still receives something compared to if it wasn't available to download. They get free advertising, and a new person that tracks their products. And when they release something great now, they gain more profit as our aged man is now tracking them.

It's a win-win situation for everyone. The man doesn't have to worry about being punished for simply taking a free candy, and even giving something back to the company, and the company gets more rep and another consumer for when they make proper products. With this template, both consumer and company are being rewarded, and slowly the products that the company makes will be better and better in order for them to become richer and richer.

However, this template is not perfect, as you will have those that are abusive, who never contribute to their loved companies, because they feel "what does my $80 do?" They are then rewarded with a bankrupt company, and an increasingly worse product choice. These individuals should be punished, as they are currently being. With the way Canada is going, there is no way they can fall, unless the elephant gets really scary and Canada gives in. Well, America has barely ever made a good plan for Canada, and I say forget their complaints, they'll be wishing they had been more careful when they don't have our oil and water in a few years.

Canadian And Proud.
 

bkd69

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Nov 23, 2007
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Here's Ars Technica's article on the US Trade Representative's report that added Canada to the list of IP scofflaws:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/05/canada-joins-china-russia-in-us-list-of-ip-scofflaws.ars

Complete BS, of course. And by that I mean I mean the USTR report, not the Ars Technica article.
 

Jordan Deam

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SignificantBits said:
Pretty concise and very well-researched article; definitely a good read.

Might want to check "The Needles" link, though, as it gives me a 404.
Thanks for the tip - just fixed it.
 

MonkeyPunch

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Feb 20, 2008
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We could do with a lot more countries ignoring the United States' requests. (usually only there to further the U.S. than anything else)

The quote at the end of page two, is pretty much along the lines of thought I was having:
"I think what we can safely say is that the U.S. model is not an ideal one, and that Canada should not really be looking to the U.S. as an example of what to do but perhaps as an example of what not to do."
 

jemborg

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GIdub said:
We could do with a lot more countries ignoring the United States' requests. (usually only there to further the U.S. than anything else)

The quote at the end of page two, is pretty much along the lines of thought I was having:
"I think what we can safely say is that the U.S. model is not an ideal one, and that Canada should not really be looking to the U.S. as an example of what to do but perhaps as an example of what not to do."
It's unbelievable, even in the U.S. the using of the civil courts to impose outrageous punitive measures instead of just awarding damages is considered unconstitutional. Why should Canadians want to go there?

And even though Obama is a professor of constitutional law I don't see the situation changing.

It's over the top, they got away with patenting or copyrighting (lasts longer) natural phenomena like genomes, instead of just the products that may be derived from said research. It's like saying "I discovered oxygen so therefore you should pay me for breathing". You shouldn't be able to do that with naturally occurring stuff- just your inventions... but they get away with it.

And there is a reason why these rights lapse- because the public domain is important to general creativity. But it's not like the "conservatives" understand balance (that goes for extreme lefties too).

It makes me laugh that these litigators etc. think that preventing software "piracy" (read: sharing) will lead to extra sales that justify the expense of pursuance and the ruined lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Most corporations generally have a narrow psychopathic mindset when it comes to profits- so I guess it should be expected.

Regards to a Commonwealth cousin from Australia.

PS: Whilst not-for-profit sharing is not a criminal offence in the U.S. they cheerfully want other countries to make it so. Where will the line be drawn we should ask ourselves? If I lend my bought CD to you to listen to should that be considered an offence? Should sale of recording devices be prevented?
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Canada's "southern neighbor" can eat a dick.
Keep your dirty DRMs to yourself!
 

KDR_11k

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The US's insistence on international copyright treasties is just a political pressure tool anyway, the US signs international treaties for stricter copyright bills so they can tell their own population "we're only adjusting to international standards" when they again extend the copyright on Mickey Mouse. This way the population of the country doesn't get a chance to protest.

Besides, we all know how signing treaties with the US worked out for Canadian lumber...
 

R.O.

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Mar 13, 2008
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Lots of pirates up there probably even worst than China. Just let them pirate it. If you can't afford to compete you gonna go outta business eventually when things are made that you can't steal or copy.
 

ntnimara

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Oct 3, 2008
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it's good to be Greek :p

also.. Canada sounds like a great place :)

strong Gaming industry and easygoing anti-piracy action

I somehow expected this to come form somewhere like the Netherlands or Scandinavian countries
 

RelexCryo

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Andy Chalk said:
Pirates of the Frozen Wastes

Canada's videogame industry is the third largest in the world, trailing only behind those of the U.S. and Japan. Yet the friendly, soft-spoken nation is under increasing pressure from its southern neighbor to conform to stricter standards of piracy prevention. Andy Chalk examines whether the U.S.'s heated rhetoric is enough to melt through the hardy igloo of Canadian resistance to copyright reform.

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"Copyright law reform may not sound like much of a minefield, but persuading Canadian citizens to give up the rights that they've enjoyed for years is a risky proposition."

I mostly agree with your article, but I don't totally agree with that statement. It is currently illegal for for the vast majority Canadians to carry handguns in the wildnerness for self defense against wild animals like bears. Granted, you could carry a shotgun, but that is pretty damn incovenient, lugging around all that weight. Which means you have to either incovenience yourself by lugging a big heavy gun everywhere, or go defenseless while camping in the woods.

Canada does a lot of things much better than the United States, and your right when you say we could learn from you. But I think there are some downsides to living in Canada as well. In America, there are less bears, so you generally aren't in much danger while camping anyways. In Canada, not only is the sheer number of wild animals in the wilderness far greater, but carrying a weapon for self defense is a lot less conveninent. If you are someone who enjoys camping, this can be a problem.

The average Canadian might not care about the right to defend yourself against bears with a handgun, but if you are a hiker who enjoys long walks without being encumbered, it would seem like a violation of your rights and very annoying.
 

Bullfrog1983

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Nothing realy changes whenever the government sets up a "study" or "consultation process" to get the solution to a problem. They pretty much hire a bunch of people they know to cushy jobs where they pretend to do work for a few years until they find out that their "data" was inconclusive. A fair read of the situation, as far as I can tell.

As a Canadian I personally have to align myself with the pirates on this dispute. Yar.
 

yaydod

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Nov 29, 2011
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very nice article.
Very good points, i hope the US will get out of their paranoide drug induced minds, but they get MONEY, so .... cant do much agaisnt MONEYYYYYYYY.
 

iblis666

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Im from the US and I have to say one thing to my neighbors to the north: please ignore us, most all of our politicians are in the pockets of multinational conglomerates that wish to control everyone

btw anyone else not give a fuck about copyrights any more but used to before they fucked everything up?