Red Hat founder concerned over Bill C-61

Bob Young, CEO of online publisher Lulu Inc., has expressed concern in the past over the effects of copyright legislation on open source development.

Young founded Ref Hat Inc. in 1993, hails from Hamilton, Ont. and owns the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team.

His long history with open source development has him concerned about the provisions of Bill C-61 prohibiting software that circumvents technological measures (AKA technical protection measures, or TPMs).

Despite an exemption in Bill C-61 that allows users to circumvent TPMs for the purpose of making software interoperable, Young told ComputerWorld Canada Thursday this could have unintended consequences.

“I don’t want to come across as being hugely anti- (Bill C-61) but I am concerned about one particular feature,” Young said. “It errs on the side of making technology illegal as opposed to making behaviour illegal.”

Because technology could change over the next few years, it’s hard to predict the effect of making circumvention tools illegal.

“It’s the equivalent to making screwdrivers and pliers illegal because they can be used to break and enter instead of making the act of breaking and entering illegal,” Young said.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and while I admire the effort to try and restrain copyright theft, that particular piece of the act I don’t think is well architected. I think it’s the wrong way to go in stopping copyright theft.”

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