Aren't politicians wonderful? It's no secret that the Big Content lobby has been pushing for much more restrictive copyright laws up in Canada, but it's still fairly stunning to see what they've convinced the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (made up Canadian politicians) to put into a report about piracy issues. Not one to shy away from biasing an entire report with an outlandish (and simply incorrect) title, the committee went with this stunner: "Counterfeiting and Piracy are Theft." That, of course, is simply not true. It may be illegal, but it's quite different than theft -- and no one who says they're the same is ever going to create a reasonable policy concerning the issue. But, then there's the real kicker. The Committee admits that it really has no idea how big a problem this is, admitting that all it has are "at best, very crude estimates." So what does it do? It basically picks a number at random. The committee chose an OECD report from 1998, despite the fact that the OECD itself just came out with a report showing that the real cost of piracy and counterfeiting is much lower. Then, once it had the completely chosen at random $600 billion number, the committee basically says "wow, that's a big number, we'd better pass a bunch of much stricter laws to deal with it." You would think that someone might pause to note that the push for stronger laws is based on a reported (and disputed number) that the same group admits isn't at all accurate -- but that apparently involves holding two thoughts in your head at once.
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