Dear Canada: I’m going to break the law

Well, it would appear that short of an Act of God (or, heaven forbid, some actual common sense runs through Parliament), Bill C-61 will forever handcuff Canadians and prevent long-term technological evolution. It’s one of the worst-written pieces of legislation to hit Canadians in years, as it does not take real-world habits into account at all (short of the negative views, of course), and penalises everyone for something most of them haven’t done.

I’m going to get the Government in on a little secret. I’m breaking it. I refuse to let your ridiculous industry ass-kissing paperwork prevent me from moving with the evolutionary tide. I’m breaking the law and doing what I think is right.

Well, I will if/when I return to Canada — I’m currently living in Costa Rica.

Here’s my single major problem: You won’t let me evolve. DVDs are dead. They are ubiquitous, that I won’t argue. But they are dead. The whole Blu-Ray/HD-DVD argument was a total non-event because it didn’t matter who won — Apple had already beaten them to the punch. Download the movies at half the price, and with all of the quality. It’s not about physical media anymore — it’s about data files.

Maybe you missed the whole MP3 revolution? Why do you think so many music stores are closing, or desperately clawing their way online to weather the storm? I can’t tell you the last time I bought a CD. But I can tell you where all my music is — on a networked drive.

Yes, NETWORKED — already in violation of Bill C-61. It’s there for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to lose anything. Data files are much more volatile than CDs thanks to hardware failure. Loose a hard drive, and you lose your entire music collection. So my music is on a RAID 1 NAS device to ensure that loss doesn’t happen.
  2. Since my wife and I combined our personal CD collections into a single unit, we want to be able to listen to them from our computers — both of them. Hey, maybe you didn’t know that many Canadian households are now have more than one computer? Well, fancy that!

And I’m not stopping there.

The concept of scheduled TV is dying. It ain’t dead yet, but it’s not far off. The TiVO was the first stab in the back, the DIY PVR was your sucking chest wound, and the release of TV shows to iTunes and Hulu — well, there’s your kill shot. (And I’m not even counting the illegal forms of distribution through the ‘net!) It’s here, folks, like it or not.

I’m going to build a PVR. A big one. My friend Doug built his own — three TV cards so he can record two shows while watching a third, all at the same time. And why not? I don’t want to sit through 500 channels of shit. Most of what’s on the air these days is utter garbage, and the good stuff is often on when I’m either not near a TV (which is normal) or on at a time when I’m asleep. So I’m gonna watch what I want when I want.

And now here’s where I’m really gonna piss you off…

I’m going to put all of it on my home network. Yeah, that’s right, a network. My televisions (however many I end up having, it doesn’t matter) will be “smart” — they’ll have a little computer attached to them (say, like the Apple TV, an off-the-shelf product) that links into my media library.

Oh, did you not notice that both Microsoft Media Center and iTunes were media libraries? How sad that the Government doesn’t even realise the current state of affairs, let alone plan for the future.

I’ll be able to watch whatever I want from any TV in the house. All my music, TV shows, movies (yep, even the ones that were on the DVDs that I purchased legally), home movies, internet radio, and so forth, will all be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any computer in my house.

But no, dear Government, I will not be broadcasting that to the world. I do have my limits, and the security of my at home network is paramount. It will be high-speed, but it will also be high-security, for a reason. Firewalled, encrypted, and monitored. Because this is my family’s stuff, not the public’s. And last I checked, Canada was still a constitutional monarchy, and not a socialist state.

So, please fine me. Take me to court. I’ll be more than happy to take such a ridiculous set of legislation to the Supreme Court of Canada and have it struck down. I’ve got lots on my side, including musicians, artists, prior art, and — this is the hardest one to have in court, but I feel it’s the most necessary — common fucking sense.

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