May 27, 2008

Unbelievable

Posted in computers at 9:46 pm by Mike Milinkovich

Last week I read that the CRTC (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is studying the possibility of regulating the internet. Like that is even remotely possible. Or desirable.

With the increasing popularity of online broadcasters such as Joost, Hulu and even YouTube, the CRTC has grown concerned that traditional broadcasting regulations outlining required levels of Canadian content are threatened.

Jeez, did it ever occur to these folks that the very reason people use these services is so they can watch what they actually want to watch, rather than what government regulators think is good for them?

Then this week I read that the Canadian, US and other governments are seriously talking about turning border inspectors into “copyright regulators” with the authority to inspect laptops, iPods, cell phones and the like to determine whether they have illegal copyright materials. And if they do find something which the inspector (in their sole judgment) determines to be an illegal copy of copywritten material, they can detain you, fine you and/or destroy your device.

Oh my. It really does seem that there are going to be some major political and regulatory battles over the next couple of years. But these ideas are just such utter nonsense it staggers me that policy makers would even consider them.

All I can keep thinking of is the time I sat beside a Canadian federal court of appeals judge on an airplane. He told me that he mostly adjudicated patent and copyright cases. He also told me that he had never used a computer in his life and had no idea how they worked.

It ain’t gonna be pretty.

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