Canadian Official Admits Last Copyright Bill Was Solely About Keeping US Diplomats Happy

from the and-the-latest? dept

One of the points that Michael Geist has made time and time again is that it seems like all of the attempts at copyright reform in Canada (and, I would argue, in many other countries) has had little to do with setting up the best system for either creators or the public, but about satisfying demands from the US (which are funneled from the entertainment industry through diplomats, through processes like the USTR's infamous Special 301 report). Geist now points us to a new paper, where the chief of staff of the Industry Minister back when the last copyright bill was introduced admits that it was entirely about satisfying the US. There's no subtly here at all:
Of particular significance are comments Haggart obtained from Michele Austin, who served as Maxime Bernier's chief of staff when he was Industry Minister.

According to Austin, the decision to introduce U.S.-style DMCA rules in Canada in 2007 was strictly a political decision, the result of pressure from the Prime Minister's Office desire to meet U.S. demands. She states "the Prime Minister's Office's position was, move quickly, satisfy the United States." When Bernier and then-Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda protested, the PMO replied "we don't care what you do, as long as the U.S. is satisfied."
This is tremendously problematic for a variety of reasons. While the pro-stronger-copyright's more entertainingly ridiculous spokespeople are trying to spin a new story about how modern copyright only works if it's all based on the US's system, that's empirically absurd. The problem, as has been shown over and over and over again, is the simple fact that there remains no empirical evidence that stronger copyright benefits either creators or society as a whole. In fact, a lot of the evidence these days suggests exactly the opposite. Because of that, locking the entire world into a single system, based on nothing but claims from a particular industry, seems unwise. In fact, you would think that the exact opposite position would make sense. We would be much better off with a system where countries tested varying types of copyright law, so that we could actually see the impact and start to make actual decisions based on the data, not claims from those who abuse the system for profit. Tragically, rather than do that, it looks like Canada has decided to just go with the most political expedient system, even if that comes at the expense of content creators and the public at large.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Ben (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:03am

    Re: 3rd Strike?

    Well this is the third one of these ridiculous bills. I don't think anyone doesn't see through the insane digital lock provision as well as others. And knowing that the PMO directly is looking to satisfy the US pretty much guarantees this bills death. Although not outrightly spoken, there is an anti-American mindset that runs in Canada. Whenever something like this shows up, where the Americans are pushing something, it tends to cause a backlash. Considering how the last two bills went, and how after the copyright consultations were completely ignored, I imagine this bill will go for the same ending.

    However that doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels. I have already wrote and sent a letter to my MP, the opposition and the PM (though as if he really cares), and have been informing everyone I know about the bill and to do the same. Many of my friends and family are now involved. I hope all Canadians will do the same.

    As well, in general, I appreciate every day that we have someone like Michael Geist who brings these issues both to the light and in a way that everyone can understand. Without his knowledge and organization of the resistance to these changes, I couldn't imagine where Canadians would be right now.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:42am

      Re: Re: 3rd Strike?

      Be more specific, Ant-American Foreign Policy. I am American and frankly disgusted with how our politicians cater to business interests at the expense of the consumer.

       

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    PaulT (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    "modern copyright only works if it's all based on the US's system"

    Wow, I'd not heard that one before. It could be true, I mean look at how the UK has no successful artists due to their copyright... erm, I mean Canada... France? Australia? Japan? India's film industry isn't so big, right? What morons.

     

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    identicon
    BBT, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    "The problem, as has been shown over and over and over again, is the simple fact that there remains no empirical evidence that stronger copyright benefits either creators or society as a whole."

    Gonna go out on a limb and say you meant "neither".

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    whoa

    this is huge. Laws are supposed to be for the good of people, but really, satisfying another country?

    Well, why don't we just execute all the infidels to make the taliban happy?

    Honestly, completely revamping laws to appease another nation is ridiculous on so many levels and basically morally bankrupt.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Sigh...

    "we don't care what you do, as long as the U.S. is satisfied."

    ...We stand on guard for theeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Seriously, though. Situations like this are why man invented the revolution. Dear lord, Canadians, you have a wonderful country up there. How about electing someone who will tell the industry in MY country to go outside and play hide and go fuck themselves?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:42am

      Re: Sigh...

      "Situations like this are why man invented the revolution. Dear lord, Canadians
      ...
      How about electing someone who will tell the industry in MY country"

      Hypocrite. So you want other countries to go through the effort of a revolution but you don't want to do it in your own country? Well, I guess I'm a hypocrite too then :)

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: Sigh...

        "Hypocrite. So you want other countries to go through the effort of a revolution but you don't want to do it in your own country? Well, I guess I'm a hypocrite too then :)"

        Well, I guess if you identify me as all Americans, then I'm a hypocrite, but of course I'm not. I vote, I write semi-regularly to my elected officials, I talk to people about this stuff, I point people towards TechDirt, etc. etc. etc.

        Revolutions don't have to be violent, and then don't have to be lightning quick.

        But to your point, yes, I wish my own country's citizens would get off their collective asses a little bit more too...

         

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    Rob (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    It would be a lot easier....

    If Canada just gave up on this whole "independent country" concept and became an assortment of new states.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 6:48am

    It's pretty much about 98.9% of what reasons politicians do anything.

    CA politicians make laws to keep the US happy, which in turn are being pushed by the US congress to keep politicians happy, in turn those corporations give piles of cash to the politicians.

    If Canada just gave up on this whole "independent country" concept and became an assortment of new states.

    If some people get their way, that's exactly what will happen.

     

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    Locofocos, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    My question is slightly more simple...

    When did the RIAA, MPAA and other assorted groups become the US Diplomatic Arm?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    "We would be much better off with a system where countries tested varying types of copyright law, so that we could actually see the impact and start to make actual decisions based on the data" - in the real world, there isnt much tolerance for playing with the rules every few months to see who is happy and who isnt. heck, you might have to run years under different systems to see which one works. wait, isnt that what they are doing? canada has run under a system that was overly permissive of piracy and such, and now they are going to move to a system that is much more tightly controlled. so in a few years, lets look back and see which one was working better.

     

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    WammerJammer (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:15am

    Make US happy?

    When did that start in Canada? What a bunch of Girly-Men to try to make the US happy. Learn a lesson from the US voter and watch the next election then run for the hills because I'm sure the Canadian voter is not any happier with their leaders!! Sounds like a great way to lose your next election!

     

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      identicon
      Biker gang for neighbours, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:31am

      Re: Make US happy?

      "When did that start in Canada? What a bunch of Girly-Men to try to make the US happy."

      Living next door to the US is like living next door to a biker gang.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    We would be much better off with a system where countries tested varying types of copyright law, so that we could actually see the impact and start to make actual decisions based on the data...


    Varying amounts of enforcement already exist and the results are already plain to see. Lack of IP rights in combination with the onset of piracy has two uniform outcomes: a flood of regional, shoe-string budget fare (Nigeria, India) or greatly reduced output (Malaysia, Honk Kong, Spain etc)

    Which countries produce the most books?

    Which countries spend the most on pharmaceutical R&D?

    Which countries produce the most NEW (not knock-off generics) pharmaceuticals?

    Which countries make the most popular and best selling films, the world over?

    Which countries support the largest body of professional artists?

    Which countries contain the highest paid creative class?

    Which countries export the most creative talent via foreign reprints, foreign theatrical, and worldwide musical tours?


    ANSWER: The countries that enforce IP.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      Are you serious, are are you just clueless?

      The answer to ALL of your questions is the countries with the highest GDPs and highest consumer capital.

      IP enforcement doesn't mean much when your country can't afford anything.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:18am

        Re: Re:

        you dont think that perhaps, just maybe, there is some connection between high gdp and ip laws?

         

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          Modplan (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Unless you can provide real evidence for your assertions, then no.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL2FOrx41N0

          12:26

          http://techdirt.com/articles/20091118/ 1002136992.shtml

          Now continue on to accuse Mike of bootstrapping. Don't forget to call him The Masnick while you're at it.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Again, it is freedom that foster innovation and a good economy.

          "Previously, economic development had been hindered by years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement, the restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reforms have successfully put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full economic potential. It is now one of the largest economies in Africa, and the largest economy in the West Africa Region [2]."

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigeria

          [emphasis added]

          Nothing to do with IP laws. Part of the reason America was originally more prosperous and innovative than the rest of the world is partly because it was initially very critical of IP laws, as the founding fathers have demonstrated.

          and if you read the rest of it you'll see that Nigeria's economy is improving.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          As far as India is concerned

          "Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread non-violent resistance."

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India

          But now that they received their independence they're recovering from the lack of freedom that was imposed on them and are doing better. Again, recovery and improvement take time, doesn't happen over night. So don't go throwing examples of countries around without knowing their history.

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 8:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The Indian economy is the world's eleventh largest economy by nominal GDP and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity.[20] Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies in the world;"

            (Wikipedia)

            Again, nothing to do with IP. While the article goes on to say that India still has problems, recovery and prosperity take time, doesn't happen over night.

             

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Of course there is, once you get to the top, the easiest way to stay there is to knock down anyone else trying to get to the top..... Haven't you ever played king of the hill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_the_Hill_(game) Once you get to the top the only way to 'win' is to stay there by preventing any competition from reaching the top as well. What better way to stop the competition than with draconian laws that make the very things you did on your way to the top illegal for all others? It doesn't take much looking back to realize that the US "IP" industry was built using the very things that they are now pushing other countries to make illegal.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:34am

    and who was it that said it wasn't mostly the U.S. government (lead mostly by huge corporations) pushing for more restrictive IP laws and that many other governments and most citizens don't want them? Feel free to continue ignoring the evidence.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    "how modern copyright only works if it's all based on the US's system"

    These people also think that 95 year/lifetime of artist + 70 year terms are somehow beneficial to society and that position is also absurd and makes it obvious that the true motives of IP maximists are nefarious. Almost nothing that these people say has an credibility, they say what they say only to promote their own selfish agenda.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      Retroactive copyright extension is stealing from the public.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2010 @ 4:29am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly, and the public would NEVER approve of these laws if it weren't for the fact that they are intentionally kept ignorant. This is evidence that the laws in place are passed mostly by big corporations and that the government only pays attention to the corporate interests over the public interests, the public does not want these laws, it's just that our government ignores the public interest altogether.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2010 @ 5:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also note how it's mostly consumer groups, not big corporations, supported mostly by the public that make up groups like the pirate party in various countries (which has been taking off in Sweden, South America is showing interest, plenty of other places are) and they're even starting to gain a lot of support in the U.S. (according to their website), now establishing bases in both Arizona and New York (with many volunteers passing out fliers everywhere), both of which are now recognized by the national committee and are gaining tons of support. Also, groups like the EFF (San Francisco) and public knowledge tend to be consumer groups supported mostly by public donations. Again, the public doesn't want these IP laws, at least not how they are being abused today, many Americans don't even want them and are starting to show a lot more support towards groups that oppose them, it's just that the broken mainstream media intentionally keeps people ignorant about these very important issues thanks to laws that enable media monopolization outside the Internet.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    The problem really is the rotten politics in Washington.

    To lead, over there means, to "bully" everyone into compliance or else.

    This will get them in trouble as other countries learn to do the same and start applying it to the U.S..

    Right now if China says sit, you can bet Obama will be sitting.

    The funny thing is that most Americans believe in that BS, that people need to be bullied to do something, somewhere along the way the "lets talk", "lets work together" died, there is no dialogue any more only leverage.

     

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    crade (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    "and-the-latest?"
    We won't know until it actually comes out. They keep flip-flopping, trying to put in something that is completely about making US Diplomats happy, then when too many people protest too much, they backpedal, then the US gets mad and they start over again (maybe hoping no one is paying attention this time?). Right now they are starting to backpedal a bit I think but we won't know how much, or if it will change again until we actually see a bill passed.

     

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    identicon
    Shuryno, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    How bad laws get passed

    This is what's wrong with our system. No matter how ridiculous or self serving a law or idea of a law can be, it really only need to be accepted once.

    So , it could fail a 100 times, but eventually, they will be able to have the numbers to make it pass, even if only by 1 vote. You can just keep on hammering it down until you get a lucky breach. This should not be possible. There should be a limit on how many times you can try to pass a law.

     

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    william (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Damn, I wish my politicians won't just bend over and lick U.S. boots, but they are.

    The new C32 is no different then the last one, even if they argue otherwise.

    Currently I am following Tony Clement on Twitter and he's made some, uhhh, interesting answers/comments.

     

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    •  
      icon
      crade (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      I can't seem to get an answer to my simple question:
      what is the use in having user rights that the CR holders have veto power over?
      I looked in the FAQ on the website, but it wasn't there.. Whats up with that eh?

       

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    identicon
    NAMELESS ONE, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    ok to those that read the changes heres a synapses

    A) its gets revisted every 5 years - like were gonna put up with this shit anymore then we already do.

    B) if yu break a digital lock - it depends on whetahr it was commercial or non commercial and ironically you can for non commercial now gt mor eof a fine then a commercial infringement

    C) you also get fined per infringement
    D) they have the right to wave these fines and sue you for millins like they do in the usa and THEY WILL WHY?
    Cause if they don't waive the fines then YOU CAN ONLY get nailed for ONE INFRINGMENT
    ITS weird wording.

    E) there is some real strange wording that almost makes it seem like if they hoard copyrighted material the term can last as long as 99YEARS IF THEY DONT publish it for the first 49 years.

    F) they give you all kinds of rights to copy stuff you buy BUT take them away as soon as there is a digital lock.

    AND GEIST says this can be fixed ?
    84% said they didnt want a new law
    75% said they wanted a lower term
    85% said no DRM


    G)the way things are so vague its possible that any thing that is technological even your car door or house door could suddenly fall under the legislation. BAD real bad...

    H)VHS owners will be happy that its now definitely illegal or will be if you have a library of vhs tapes
    PVR owners will not be able to continue to keep stuff....or move it to another media to store and watch agan even if you paid for it.

    I) due to the section on TPMS i really think some open source people need to have a serious look cause what i read would me if i wanted to modify open source that had a technological protection measure like a file system or login system for my own use id need to get written permission form the original people and that measn more hassles.
    i know that the GPLv3 prohibits this but im not sure on GPLv2
    FREEBSD also not sure

    If it means that because the attributes on a file are a technological protection measure ( read write stuff and hidden etc ) then every time yo touch a file , YOU will need permission form the os maker and then the files creator if not you. OR you would in effect be breaking the law.

    In the short sightedness to try and prevent p2p downloading and such they have opened a great big ball of love for the people of canada.

    AND from what i saw on cbc video live site this bill won't make it. THE conservatives have devolved into a bunch a thugs again and are they think doign that cause it makes people want to vote for them( yelling POINT OF ORDER whle someone is trying to get out a ruling )

    mouthing off women at every chance they can , i wonder if these guys are heterosexual and ill say it if any conservative acted like that in my home they'd be leaving with a black eye and bloody nose, regardless of the jail time i'd have to do.

    MISTER GESIST and i began our parting of the ways when he came out in favor of TPM - which is hard ware based DRM as discussed 1.5 years ago and after the SONY ROOTKIT affair , which btw this law would then make legal.

     

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    identicon
    NAMELESS ONE, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    @mike geist

    ya its ok for you lawyer types with vast reserves of money to all want to keep the subject of format shifting on the front when in fact for millions its about term lengths and non commercial copying

    AND has the cria been paying artists for the copyright cash it gets from the cdr levy and were supposed to pay the levy still and get fined for having put stuff on it?

    SECTION 12 charter of rights and freedoms GOOGLE IT
    have look at 2 , and 7 as well

    OH and ask why they put the revisit every 5 years in the bill....and then look at the not withstanding clause time limit of 5 years

    SO harper is going to suspend YOUR CIVIL rights to pander to
    americans

    I AM GETTING WERY WERY ANGWY WISTER HARPER

     

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  •  
    identicon
    CN, Jun 5th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

    Bend over Canada!

    We have the best politicians money can buy!

     

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