My Response To David Ellis’s Post
David Ellis wrote post with respect to Why is TekSavvy getting trashed for not challenging Voltage? He brings up several key points I wish to address.
First off with the copyright debates, everyone including myself chiming in has their own biases. By not understanding this, is to not understand the debates surrounding the different parties involved and where they stand on certain issues. I’ve followed Knopf for many years, and he has my respect for the work he has done with respect to privacy and copyright law, and ensuring consumers issues are present within those laws. Teksavvy didn’t even show up to the copyright consultations.
David’s perspective on the issue with “safe harbor” is that when dealing with copyright complaints ISPs must remain completely neutral and exclude from all other laws as a neutral carrier. There are debates within the communications academic world with respect to how neutral ISPs need to be. These debates within copyright policy have already happened and been decided on by lawmakers, and these debates should not be present considering the course of Government around copyright law, and case law history behind this. Even David’s own peers are coming out against Teksavvy and supporting Knopf’s position.
The law on Safe Harbor in the new copyright legislation (s.31.1) states :
“A person who, in providing services related to the operation of the Internet or another digital network, provides any means for the telecommunication or the reproduction of a work or other subject-matter through the Internet or that other network does not, solely by reason of providing those means, infringe copyright in that work or other subject-matter.”
The only thing this provision does is absolve ISPs from “copyright infringement”, not other legal requirements businesses must follow within Canadian law, and I have to question the motives on people who believe “safe harbor” should be used in a fashion in which tries to absolve ISPs from all other laws surrounding business in this country. In no way does this provision state immunity under any other law. That’s just simply not the ideology I personally believe Government intended when drawing up those laws, and should not be used as such. The fact that it is, should be extremely concerning to law makers, the business community, and ISP customers across the country.
David’s post paints a picture of Teksavvy being the victim in all of this. It’s unfortunate Voltage had to slam this on Teksavvy’s door step. However it’s also unfair to misuse a law to basically claim immunity around the very basic foundation that ensures confidence in business and the economy in Canada, and try to trump that as a winning position that requires support from Canadian consumers. ISPs have a direct responsibility as do many businesses in Canada to ensure the validity of requests.
There are huge implications for Canadians. Known misuses of copyright law in other countries including the US should be a concern especially when looking at this at the very basic level here. I have a feeling this movie in the coming months will expose a lot of that. There are hundreds if not thousands of examples where copyright has been used to quell decent and intimidate. I’ve provided examples of this within the business community in a previous post.
To simply stand back and allow personal information to be obtained on spotty evidence, can and will open the system up for abuses. Canadians were very clear with respect to lawful access legislation the government tried to bring in that wouldn’t provide any oversight on your privacy. The public interest in this is very clear, and as a consumer advocate and a member of the open internet community, I have a responsibility to not only fight for that interest, but also to provide clear answers for consumers going forward.
I can announce that going forward the Canadian Gamers Organization is committed to ensure Canadian consumers get clear answers with respect to ISPs role under current privacy law. We will be watching what transpires on Monday, and going forward we will work to ensure that Canadians receive clear, unbiased information on ISPs direct responsibly to their customers under our privacy laws. In our view that shouldn’t even be a question at this point considering the law on this, but if that has been challenged, consumers need to know exactly where their rights lie on this.