You may recall a few years ago when the movie industry went ballistic on Canada, because it didn't have a criminal
law against recording movies in theaters. With the way the industry and its supporters were talking about it, you would think that this meant people could record a movie and upload it with no legal problems, but that simply wasn't true. There were still civil laws against such recording, and the industry could enforce those. On top of that, there were still plenty of existing laws against distribution. Yet, there was a big campaign claiming that camcording in Canada was where 40 to 70%
of all the leaked movies came from. This number was made up out of thin air, and seemed obviously false when another campaign for similar laws in New York City then claimed that 50% of camcorded movies online came from NYC. Either way, the lies about the numbers were effective. The industry got its law
criminalizing recording a movie.
We've already discussed
the Wikileaks releases on US influence on Canadian copyright law, but TorrentFreak
points us to a particularly interesting cable on the subject of camcording in Canada
. It kicks off with the embassy admitting that the movie industry was now claiming that perhaps only 18% of camcorded movies came from Montreal, despite an earlier claim that it was 40%. Not surprisingly, the MPAA only made a big stink when it claimed the numbers were in that 40% to 70% range... and was pretty quiet about the revised number.
The cable goes on to note that Canadian law enforcement thought the whole thing was pretty silly, and didn't believe camcording was a big deal. Instead, they (quite reasonably!) felt that their efforts would be better focused on stopping things like counterfeit pharmaceuticals from circulating. Later in the report is the really scary part, where Canadian law enforcement (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) admitted that a particular individual was arrested twice as a "personal favor"
to the movie industry, despite his actions not actually breaking the law:
With regard to the arrest of the individual who
had been pursued by the CMPDA, RCMP officers stated that
they arrested the individual "as a personal favor" to a
[movie industry] official, and that they did not view theater
camcording as "a major issue."
The TorrentFreak article goes on to note the tragic details of the individual who was arrested -- again, despite not having broken any law, and apparently as a "personal favor" to someone in the movie industry:
The arrest triggered a chain of events which would lead to Adam, who had a history of depression, enduring a 14 month wait for any charges to be brought. He went on the run, was detained and eventually sentenced to jail. Adam began using drugs in jail to cope with his imprisonment and shortly after his release he tragically died of an overdose.
Nice "personal favor," huh?