WALL-E, a Bill C-61 copyright criminal.

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WALL-E, copyright criminal.WALL-E, copyright criminal.

I just saw Pixar/Disney’s WALL·E.

What a sweet and wonderful film!

The theatre was full of kids, many of whom were absolutely terrified when it looked like WALL-E might die.

Have a listen to the director, Andrew Stanton, talk to reporters about his movie |MP3|. Stanton makes no bones about this being an homage to many of his favorite flicks. And it’s true, there are so many SF references in it. At one point Stanton even says ‘I wanted this to be “R2D2 the movie.”‘ I think he really nailed that.

But the really sad part, the part none of those young kids in the theatre knew, the truly despicable part, is that poor Wall-E would be deemed a dirty copyright criminal under Canada’s new copyright law. Bill C-61 would criminalize much of Wally’s behavior in the film. Now that’s something to really cry about!

Here’s the evidence against WALL-E documented in the movie (**SPOILER WARNING**):

1. WALL-E records audio from his favorite movie, Hello Dolly, putting in onto his own digital recorder (bypassing the macrovision DRM on the tape). A COPYRIGHT CRIME UNDER C-61

2. WALL-E archives the audio, he doesn’t merely time-shift it. He listens repeatedly! A COPYRIGHT CRIME UNDER C-61

3. WALL-E shares his DRM-broken music with his friend, another robot named EVE. A COPYRIGHT CRIME UNDER C-61

4. WALL-E watches Hello Dolly on multiple evenings, on the screen of an iPod. Hello Dolly is not available through the iTunes store, therefore he broke the videocassette DRM when he platform shifted it. A COPYRIGHT CRIME UNDER C-61

If for no other reason than to save the poor tear-drop eyed robot from being destroyed we should stop Bill C-61!

Posted by Jesse Willis

UPDATE: Here’s a terrific interview with with MP Charlie Angus (the NDP parliamentary critic on digital issues) – it mentions this post and lots of other great points about the utter terribleness of C-61.|MP3|

UPDATE: This post, or at least the graphic made for it, will be used by Marcia Wilbur, in a talk called “A Decade Under the DMCA,” which will be presented at The Last Hope which is a long-running hacker conference in New York on Sunday July 20th!

UPDATE: Here’s the Power Point Presentation by Marcia Wilbur, as was used in her presentation at the Last Hope hacker conference in New York on Sunday July 20th 2008. It covers the fallout of 10 years of the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which is the US equivilent of Bill C-61) |POWERPOINT PRESENTATION|

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47 thoughts to “WALL-E, a Bill C-61 copyright criminal.”

  1. As the planet’s been abandoned for 700 years, is it possible that Hello Dolly has slipped into the public domain? And how do you know that it wasn’t released on iTunes sometime between now and the day the planet was abandoned? Anyway, Wall*E, being a robot, isn’t a legal entity and can’t be a criminal (barring other legal changes between now and then). So really it’s his owner, the Buy N Large Corporation, that would be liable.

  2. Great article, however, you should preface the article with “Under today’s law…”. WALL-E the robot was created in the early 2100’s and the movie is set in the year 2805. ‘Hello, Dolly’ was created in 1969… by 2100 and definitely by 2805, that movie would surely be in “public domain”. Copying and so forth would be legal.

  3. The issue is not whether HELLO DOLLY, or any other work that was once copyrighted falls into the public domain or not. That actually doesn’t matter under Bill C-61. Rather, under Bill C-61 it would be a crime to jail-break any content (public domain or copyrighted) out from DRM. Any copy-preventative measures on content like Macrovision, encryption, region marking, etc., on media is subject to a minimum of $500.00 in penalties per file.

    See the letter by LibriVox’s Hugh McGuire for examples

    http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=2774

    or my own extended comments here:

    http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=2747

    Another issue some people responding to this post, or the BoingBoing pointer, seem to be confused about is that somehow Pixar/Disney is sending mixed messages. That is, “Consume (love) WALL-E, the lovable pirate, but don’t pirate WALL-E the movie.”

    Wall-E the character shouldn’t be locked up for wehat he does And neither should you or me. We shouldn’t have our homes taken away from us by multinational-corporations for doing what everyone has ever done with art.

    WALL-E’d be a criminal under C-61, but we don’t want to make him a criminal. We don’t want WALL-E or anyone doing the kinds of things he does to be criminalized.

    We don’t want C-61.

    People other than the copyright holders selling copies of WALL-E are LEGITIMATE targets. People transferring legitimate copies of stuff they own to other media (breaking DRM), time-shifting, archiving, sharing media with friends, none of that shouldn’t be illegal. WALL-E isn’t doing things wrong, even if the law says he is.

  4. Good post. Just saw the movie. Two thumbs up. I know your point isn’t about Public Domain, but the way the length of copyright keeps getting extended maybe Hello Dolly will, in fact, still be copyrighted 800 years into the future (ughh!)

  5. To reiterate, yes the point is not about Public Domain erosion and copyright term extensions.

    It is that under the proposed law whether a song/movie/book etc is still under copyright or in the public domain is beside the point. If you break a DRM protection measure you are breaking the law and are a criminal.

  6. Happened to be in the theater at the same time as Mr. Jesse and all those kids. Couldn’t agree more. The point is that we reference media constantly. And the other point, of course, is that the film was surprisingly delightful. Hear, hear, Mr. Jesse! Or is that here, here…

  7. Not only should any law which a majority of the citizens violate be thrown out, but the legislatures who pass a law in which a majority of the citizens are in violation should have to serve the maximum penalty of that law.

    Short of a police state government, C-61 will never be enforcible. For our representatives to pass a law that requires a police state to enforce is just plain criminal.

    Bill

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  9. ROFL, are you guys sane? Re-read yourselves and think before post, this is soooooo nerd, ffs this is a animation movie just that. Go and eat your fast food, and let wall-e pack your shit.

  10. oh, I’ll do you a favor. The wall-e image used here is not legal.

    Modify or using copyrighted imagery without permission of their authors is ILEGAL.

  11. Increible… comedura de tarro por tergibersar una peli. Es como decir que la disney incita a la violencia o que Epi y Blas de Barrio Sésamo incitan a la homosexualidad… Bueno, los obispos mexicanos dijeron que el Asereje indicaba algo así como “Ser Ereje” e iba contra la fe y las creencias…
    Disfruta, aprende, y si eres un fanático, como diría un chotis: “anda y que te ondulen con la permanen”

  12. This post is a must-read, not only in America, but also in Europe, where our kind goverments are trying to cut our sharing and browsing freedom. Great job!!

  13. Queridos responsables de publicar este articulo en vuestra web:
    Aún no he tenido la suerte de ver Wall-e en cines, pero se que es muy buena pelicula por que he visto varios trailers y varios trozos de pelicula en Internet. Bueno, solo quiero decir que en esta pelicula, este entrañable robot no piratea nada, solo graba esas canciones para poder disfrutar solo el audio sin tener que observar también las imagenes de la pelicula. Y no piratea, pues si lo hiciese, haria varias copias y las venderia en un top-manta. Así que dejen de criticar así esta maravillosa pelicula que solo nos enseña lo que podria pasar en el futuro y nos hace reaccionar y empezar a cuidar más de la Madre Tierra
    ¡Sois una panda de criticones¡

  14. Dear responsible for publishing this article on your web:
    I have not yet been lucky enough to see Wall-and in cinemas, but it’s very good film that I have seen several trailers and several pieces of film on the Internet. Well, I just want to say that in this movie, this beloved robot Pirates nothing, just recorded these songs just to enjoy audio without having to observe also images of the film. Not Pirates, because if you do, make multiple copies and sell at a top-blanket. So stop criticizing and this wonderful film that shows just what could happen in the future and make us react and start caring more for Mother Earth
    You are a bunch of Criticon

  15. Encarna, when see the movie, you will notice that Wall-E does things that would have been criminalized under BILL C-61. I was not criticizing the movie, I was pointing out how absurd BILL C-61 was.

  16. There are a lot of elements in Wall-E that can teach us about economics. I even wrote how the present conditions demonstrated in the film affect the system of taxation of the fictional economy.

  17. THIS IS A WONDERFUL MOVIE AND TO FIND A TOPIC SUCH AS THIS IS SO AMUSING.
    IN REALITY PEOPLE LEFT THE EARTH TO LIVE IN SPACE. EVERYTHING LEFT THERE WAS CONSIDERED TRASH.
    AND BASED ON TRASH LAWS, ONCE IT IS ON THE CURB IT BECOMES PUBLIC PROPERTY.
    WALLY WORKED HIS CUTE LITTLE BODY TO EXHAUSTION. I THINK HE DESERVES TO ENJOY HELLY DOLLY, PONG, ZIPPO LIGHTERS, AND ANYTHING ELSE HE FINDS AS PAYMENT FOR HIS SERVICES. I MEAN WHAT DID THEY GIVE THE POOR LITTLE GUY ANYWAY?
    HE WAS ALL ALONE , FOUND AN EVOLVED INSECT FOR HIS ONLY FRIEND.
    I THINK TO SAY HE WAS A CRIMINAL IS JUST PLAIN MISSING THE
    BIG PICTURE. HE WAS PAID HELLO DOLLY. HE WAS PAID IN ZIPPO LIGHTERS, HE WAS PAID WITH A RUBIK’S CUBE, AND A PLASTIC SPORK.
    HUMANITY THREW IT AWAY. THE COPYRIGHT LAWS DO EXPIRE AFTER THE OWNER AND NAMED OWNERS PASS AWAY. I THINK IT IS SOMEWHERE AROUND 100 YEARS DURATION. NO I AM NOT LOOKING IT UP TO BE EXACT.
    BUT IT DOES EXPIRE. SOMEHOW I THINK EVEN A SUPREME COURT JUDGE WOULD NOT CONVICT THE POOR LITTLE DUDE. HE WORKED AND SLAVED WITH NO THANKS, NO PAY FOR 700 YEARS. PLUS HE SAVED A PLANT AND PLACED IT IN A WORN OUT BOOT. THAT IS A GOOD RECYCLE MESSAGE.
    YANKEE MAGAZINE HAS A BOOK OUT RECYCLE IT. AND OLD BOOTS HAD PLANTS IN THEM. THEY SAID IT WAS A CHARMING ADDITION TO ANY GARDEN. SO LET WALL-E PLAY HELLO DOLLY TO HIS HEART’S CONTENT.
    THE MOVIE IS SO WONDERFUL. WHEN I FEEL SAD ABOUT SOMETHING, I PUT THAT MOVIE ON, AND IT TAKES THE SAD AWAY.
    EEEEVHAAAAA! WALLEEEEEE! BOOM! EVA NEARLY SHOT THE SINGING FISH
    ON THE WALL BECAUSE IT MOVED. THAT WAS A SONG. DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY. OHHH OOH OOOH OHHH OHH OHHHH OHHHH OHHHH OOOOOH OH OOOOH OOOHOOOO- THIS YEAR MY CHRISTMAS TREE WILL BE A WALL-E TRIBUTE. I PLAN TO PUT ON A PLASTIC SPORK. SOME TRASH THINGS HE SAVED. AND THE PLUSH CHARACTERS. I MIGHT BUY HELLO DOLLY SO I CAN HAVE IT SO THAT WILL MEAN DID WALLY STEAL HELLO DOLLY
    OR WAS HE SELLING IT? 8-) I TOOK A MOVIE REVIEW CLASS IN COLLEGE AND THIS DISNEY PIXAR FILM RATES SO HIGH ON THE SCALE FOR THE ANIMATION ALONE. THE STORY IS CHARMING AND DOES EVOKE EMOTION IN ADULTS AS WELL AS CHILDREN. SOME PEOPLE SAID THERE WASN’T MUCH TALKING IN THE FILM. ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS.
    TO SEE WALLY TOW EVA WITH A STRING OF LIGHTED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
    TO GO ON A LOVER’S BOAT RIDE, AND TO SIT AND WATCH A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET WITH HER WHILE SHE WAS ON SHUT DOWN MODE. NO WORDS WERE NEEDED. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE. WATCH IT A FEW TIMES. IT TOOK ABOUT 10 TIMES TO SEE IT ON HBO TO BE ABLE TO READ WHAT W A L L -E STOOD FOR- I AM BUYING THE DVD- BOUGHT ONE AS A GIFT. I CAME ON HERE TO FIND OUT THE NAME OF THE MOVIE IN THE MOVIE. I THOUGHT IT WAS MY FAIR LADY. HELLO DOLLY. I NEED THAT FOR MY TREE. I WONDER IF I CAN FIND IT IN BETA. THAT TAPE LOOKED SMALL – UNLESS THE TOASTER WAS FOR LONG BREAD. HA HA-
    IF YOU READ THIS, I HOPE YOU GOT A CHUCKLE AT LEAST. TWO SMILES THEN I DID MY JOB AS A WRITER. BEST WISHES TO ALL! WALL-E ROCKS MY WORLD!

  18. I ALMOST FORGOT THE BEST PART. WHEN WALLY HANDS EVE AH HELLO DOLLY, SHE PULLS THE TAPE OUT. WALLY GETS UPSET , SAYS OHHHHH! LIKE IT WAS THE END OF HIS WORLD. HE FIXES THE TAPE AND POPS IT BACK IN TO PLAY. HE WAS TRYING TO WRING HIS HANDS IN WORRY
    BUT WHEN IT CAME ON HE CLAPPED. HE ACTS LIKE A 3 YEAR OLD CHILD WHICH MAKES HIM SO CHARMING. A 3 YEAR OLD WITH THE MIND OF AN OLD SOUL. DO SEE THIS MOVIE. IT IS A WONDERFUL LOVE. IF ONLY HUMANS COULD EVOLVE TO BE LIKE HIM. STRONG WORK ETHIC. TRIES HARD TO MAKE A NEW FRIEND, YET HE STILL LOVES THE INSECT FRINED HE HAS. HE DOESN’T IGNORE IT LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY MEET SOMEONE NEW. THEY OFTEN BLOW OFF THE OLD FRIEND AND SPEND TIME WITH THE NEW ONE. WALLY STILL GAVE HIS BUG BUDDY A TWINKIE AND ROCKED THEM BOTH TO SLEEP.
    8-)

  19. OOPS I FAILED TO MENTION I AM NOT SCREAMING. I HAVE SEVERE HAND PAIN AND IF I TYPE IN LOWER CASE, I AUTO FIX SENTENCES USING MORE KEYS- AS A WRITER IT IS SECOND NATURE. BUT WHEN I AM NOT WRITING FOR PUBLICATIONS, I LIKE TO RELAX AND JUST TYPE, LEAVING GRAMMER ERRORS AND TYPOS. AM NOT SCREAMING AT ANYONE. SORRY I WROTE SO MUCH BUT THIS MOVIE REALLY TOUCHED MY HEART IN MANY WAYS.

  20. This is stupid because more over several times in the movie Wall-E shows that living in the United States and other Wall-E units were in other parts of the world probably is NOT in Canada

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