Canadian Politician Suggests Content Users Are Just Zealots

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

We haven't been discussing the controversy in Canada over Parliament Member Sam Bulte's willingness to allow big content industry sponsor a huge fundraiser for her just days before the election. Considering Bulte's earlier stances on copyright (basically exactly what big content companies want) it didn't seem that surprising. However, perhaps that's just the result of American cynicism, since things like that seem pretty much par for the course around here. However, what's been impressive is Bulte's increasingly silly attempt to defend her position that, despite taking a ton of money from the industry, they have no influence with her. With that said, the absolute last thing she should do is highlight how much she doesn't care about individual users' (most of the voters) rights -- but that's exactly what she's doing.

First, in an interview on the radio she claimed that internet users had ample opportunity to share their views on copyright issues -- but law professor Michael Geist (who should be credited for making this a story in the first place) notes that when a group representing users asked to speak at hearings on copyright issues (hearings where representatives from many major content organizations were present) they were abruptly told they were not welcome. However, the latest news shows just how little she cares about the user side of the question. Boing Boing points to a video where Bulte is asked to sign a a Copyright Pledge that says those crafting copyright policy won't take money from interested stakeholders. Her response starts out by insisting she's just protecting the artists (a favorite excuse given by the industry, but often disputed by actual artists). However, then she lets her anger get the better of her, dismissing Michael Geist, the EFF and "pro-user zealots" who are trying to "intimidate" her and "silence" her voice. First of all, no one is trying to silence her at all -- they're just saying she should be fairer to other stakeholders. However, more importantly: pro-user zealots? The people who are actually supporting the content industry by being the consumers of it clearly deserve a seat at the table concerning policies that impact them -- and are being written off as zealots by a politician taking money from the industry side. It doesn't exactly raise the confidence level on her ability to legislate fairly on the issue.


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  1. identicon
    Mr_Bill, 12 Jan 2006 @ 11:02am

    Ms. Bulte is corrupt.

    By now it should be painfully evident -- all you have to do to determine this beyond a reasonable doubt, is to follow the discussion links on Michael Geist's Website -- that Ms. Bulte is, simply and accurately put, corrupt.
    What is the definition of "corrupt", in this context? Easy. A good way to think of it would be, "having one's judgement so coloured by financial contributions by the industry that one is supposedly in Parliament to regulate, that it becomes impossible on a practical level to deal with issues affecting that industry, dispassionately and objectively".
    This isn't by any means a new issue in politics (consider Dick Cheney's repeated, secret meetings with the U.S. oil industry and you'll see it at work down South), but it is amazing to me that considering their many PR problems with the Sponsorship scandal in Quebec, the Liberals seem happily willing to entertain the presence within their ranks (in a senior Cabinet position, moreover) of someone who is basically engaging in very similar types of inappropriate activities in the middle of an election campaign which they are currently losing.
    Regardless of the merits of each side of the digital copyright issue, it completely strains credulity to believe that Ms. Bulte can ever faithfully execute her duty to represent Canadian consumers -- which is her FIRST and FOREMOST duty.
    Note that she, like all Members of Parliament, has been elected in this context, NOT in the context of some supposed duty to protect the so-called "rights of the (American) recording industry". Ms. Bulte is like a defence lawyer who starts arguing the prosecution's case, because she finds it much more fun to hang around with the swinging Crown Prosecutor than with her boring old client.
    Maybe Ms. Bulte is really a secret agent for the Harper campaign? How else to explain her willingness to engage in political corruption, on the eve of an election that her leader is likely to lose on the corruption issue?
    Well, we all have a way to comment on this pathetic, grubby little situation. We can vote for any party EXCEPT the Liberal party. Maybe then the CRIA's lobbyists will crawl back underneath their rock, for awhile.

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