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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  • identicon
    Paul Martin, 12 Jan 2006 @ 3:22am

    She is a LIBERAL, what do you expect?

    The Liberal Government in Canada is corrupt to the b one, so what do you expect?

    They care about one thing: power. They will say and do whatever it takes to stay in power.

    In a recent "attack ad" against the conservative leader Stephen Harper, they digitially altered his eye color, making them even "blue-er". This is supposed to be a subtle message to immigrants that the conservatives are lead some sort of Nazi.

    PATHETIC!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 6:43am

      Re: She is a LIBERAL, what do you expect?

      wow, truly stated like a right-wing fanatic who understands absolutely nothing. i'm actually astonished that left/right wing politics even came up in this article, followed by an anecdote that has absolutely *nothing* to do with the article. Maybe study what liberals and conservatives are before speaking so adamantly and ignorantly against either side.

      Only someone truly ignorant will believe one party or the other is actually corrupt in principle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dan, 12 Jan 2006 @ 7:55am

        Re: She is a LIBERAL, what do you expect?

        A little off topic, but I always ignore a post as soon as it uses "leberal" or "conservative" as an insult. Maybe I could build a firefox extension that would do it automatically.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fred Allison, 12 Jan 2006 @ 5:24am

    Hypocrisy

    I find your continued rants abouts the supposed rights of people who had nothing to do with creating or producing copyrighted material quite interesting. You sell content you produce. Why don't you give it away as you continue to demand that musicians do? Isn't information free? Where are our fair use rights to the material that you produce?

    In the end copyright is a very simple principle. People who create intellectual property have the right to control access to that material. Musicians, authors, and programmers all have the right to give the material they produce away, and no on is disputing that right. They also have the right to set a price on that property if they so choose. Not only do your columns seem to oppose that right, in this one you decry the failure of legislators to sign a pledge that is an attempt to silence the voices of people who have a different opinion by removing their access to legislators.

    Who is really pathetic here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 6:28am

      Re: Hypocrisy

      You sell content you produce.
      How much did you pay to read this article Fred?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 6:39am

      Re: Hypocrisy

      Ummm, way to be off subject, but fine. I don't remember people saying they were upset with copyrights limiting access to material. I'm *pretty* sure people are upset when *after* they buy something, the copyright owners still try to control *how* they use the material. Copyrights are fine, but when you start to limit how many copies of a CD i can make (which, I may add, there are perfectly legit and *legal* reasons to make copies of CDs, and not only just one or two copies, but an indefinite amount) or limit where i can listen to music i purchased, that's going too far. Some artists are upset with copyright protection, *not* copyrights. If you treat the consumer as a criminal, no one will purchase the product. The columns i've seen written do *not* oppose that. They oppose restricting the users rights to use what they purchased. So, please, before calling someone pathetic, improve your reading comprehension *just* a little bit so maybe the next time you read an article, you can figure out what it's actually about.

      so, in response to your last question, i'd have to say: you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 12 Jan 2006 @ 11:10am

      Re: Hypocrisy

      Hi Fred,

      I think you may have misunderstood my position -- and I'll apologize as perhaps I haven't explained it clearly. Let me try to clarify.

      I find your continued rants abouts the supposed rights of people who had nothing to do with creating or producing copyrighted material quite interesting.

      Thanks, though, I'm guessing you're being sarcastic.

      You sell content you produce. Why don't you give it away as you continue to demand that musicians do? Isn't information free? Where are our fair use rights to the material that you produce?

      A few different issues here, so let's take them one at a time.

      (1) I have never, ever demanded that anyone give away their content for free -- and I never will. Where have I ever said that? My point is much more straightforward. Much of that content is being spread about for free anyway. That's the marketplace they face, and so the best business decision is to figure out a way to embrace that content. If someone doesn't want to give away their content, that's fine, but it may not be a wise business move.

      (2) As for the content we produce for a fee, we don't lock it down in any way. We're not charging for the content and our customers are free to do with it what they will. We're charging for the creation of that content only. As it's extremely specific and extremely customized it tends to have very little value outside of those companies (except maybe to their competitors) so there's little reason for them to release it publicly, but they're free to do so. So, sure, they have fair use rights on that content to do what they will with it. We wouldn't deny that.

      (3) As I said, I've never demanded anyone release content they don't want to release. The point on fair use is that content that has been released to the public has certain fair use right established by law -- and trying to take those rights away is an issue everyone should be concerned with.

      In the end copyright is a very simple principle. People who create intellectual property have the right to control access to that material. Musicians, authors, and programmers all have the right to give the material they produce away, and no on is disputing that right.

      Yup. No one is disputing it at all.

      They also have the right to set a price on that property if they so choose. Not only do your columns seem to oppose that right, in this one you decry the failure of legislators to sign a pledge that is an attempt to silence the voices of people who have a different opinion by removing their access to legislators.

      Again, you really misunderstand my point. They absolutely have the right to set whatever price they want. Where have I ever opposed that right? My point is that I'm trying to point out that the best price in many cases may be free. They can (and will) ignore that, but nowhere am I trying to stop them from making that mistake. If I have, please point it out.

      Secondly, nowhere do I advocate removing access to legislators. I'm really concerned as to how you might read the post and assume that. All the pledge says is that those legislators won't take money from those in the industry. That's quite different -- unless you believe that the ONLY way to get access is to contribute to a campaign. If that's the case, then your position is downright scary.

      No, all I'm saying is that the candidates should listen to all sides fairly -- and that means not accepting money from them.


      Who is really pathetic here?


      I'll leave that to the readers to decide.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Fred H Allison, 12 Jan 2006 @ 2:45pm

        Re: Hypocrisy

        Thank you for your reasoned response to an somewhat unreasonable comment. After re-reading your article and a bit of reflection I find that my irritation stems more from the content of the aricles that you linked than from what you actually wrote. Though there was sarcasm in my opening comment, I do check in on this site on a daily basis, so I must find it interesting.

        I'll try to make a better effort of replying to some of your comments in a more reasonable manner.

        Much of that content is being spread about for free anyway. That's the marketplace they face, and so the best business decision is to figure out a way to embrace that content.

        The fact that copyrighted material is being spread freely is not a justification for the practice. Comments like the one on BoingBoing that the copyright law has made 70 million Americans criminals really get under my skin. The copyright law doesn't make people criminals, their actions do. Copying music, movies, books, or software that you do not own without the permission of the copyright holder is illegal.

        It is true that copyright holders are having a great deal of difficulty finding the proper marketing model that adequately deals with todays environment. I'll also admit that many of the efforts that they have put forth have been ineffective and often ill considered. The issues that Sony has had in the past few weeks are a perfect example of this. I have to say, though, that the demonization that I see of the companies and individuals involved bothers me greatly. Being stupid doesn't mean you're evil. I have to believe that for the most part the people in the industries involved are doing their best to make their way through a continually changing technological environment.

        As I said, I've never demanded anyone release content they don't want to release.

        Too many people take advantage of the rights granted under the fair use doctrine to facilitate copyright violations. The copyright holders are trying to deal with this by placing limitations on the licenses that they grant to users. They should have the right to take reasonable steps to protect their material and we the public have the right to object to those limitations by not purchasing their product.

        unless you believe that the ONLY way to get access is to contribute to a campaign. If that's the case, then your position is downright scary.

        No I don't think that, and in fact think quite the opposite. Whatever my opinion of some legislators, in general I believe (or at least hope) that the majority of the folks that represent us are doing the best at another very tough job. I think it's wrong to assert the taking campaign contributions from anyone is prima facie evidence that they cannot do their jobs without being influenced by them. I'd feel a lot better about the copyright pledge if they wanted politicians to not accept contributions from anyone that has opinion on this issue, but who would be able to contribute then? If you don't think your representatives can reach unbiased decisions, then vote them out.

        For those that question my motives, I don't work for anyone in the music industry, and I don't get paid by anyone that does, though my work is peripherally (the company I work for sells tickets, and some of those tickets are for concerts) involved in one aspect of it. My concerns in this area stem from that fact that I am a music lover and over the years I have bought hundreds of albums, tapes, and cds. I feel that if this issue is not resolved soon, the musicians that create the works that I appreciate so much will no longer be motivated to do so. I have also been a programmer for almost 30 years. I decided long ago that I appreciate being paid for my work, and it would be hypocritical for me to take the work of musicians, authors, and actors as well as the people who pay to produce and distrubute that work, without compensation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 12 Jan 2006 @ 4:05pm

          Re: Hypocrisy

          Fred,

          Thanks for the response. You raise some good points, so let me try to clarify my own view a little more. I think you're still ascribing to me (and maybe others) a little more than what we're actually suggesting.

          The fact that copyrighted material is being spread freely is not a justification for the practice

          I am not justifying the practice. It's illegal. I've said repeatedly it's illegal, and I have no sympathy for anyone who does it. I, personally, do not download unauthorized files becaues I respect the law on that.

          HOWEVER, that doesn't change the fact that people are doing it -- and that it has a huge impact on the market. So, what I'm saying is that companies are better off just admitting that the law, in this case, is not the issue, and the market is clearly clamoring for something. When they recognize they can build real business opportunities by embracing it, everyone wins.

          I have to say, though, that the demonization that I see of the companies and individuals involved bothers me greatly.

          I don't think it's demonization. I think it's just frustration that these companies don't want to admit it when they make mistakes. The treatment that these people give these companies isn't nearly as bad as the treatment we're all getting in response.

          I have to believe that for the most part the people in the industries involved are doing their best to make their way through a continually changing technological environment.

          Yes, I think they're "doing their best" but they're being lazy about it. They want to keep the status quo and any suggestion of real change is thrown out immediately. They refuse to listen when people suggest reasonable arguments, and instead "demonize" them as being zealots or promoting theft.

          Too many people take advantage of the rights granted under the fair use doctrine to facilitate copyright violations.

          Fine, then focus on the problem: ABUSE of fair use. Not fair use itself.

          They should have the right to take reasonable steps to protect their material and we the public have the right to object to those limitations by not purchasing their product.

          Yup, you'll get no denial from me. I completely agree that they have the right to try to protect their material -- but it goes further than that. When people find out that those protections are troublesome and harmful we have every right to publicize them. The companies try to hide these protections as if they're nothing, but they have a very real effect that people should know about.

          No I don't think that, and in fact think quite the opposite. Whatever my opinion of some legislators, in general I believe (or at least hope) that the majority of the folks that represent us are doing the best at another very tough job.

          So why did you suggest that I was somehow trying to silence Bulte? I never suggested silencing her in any way, and I haven't seen anyoen else do it either.

          I think it's wrong to assert the taking campaign contributions from anyone is prima facie evidence that they cannot do their jobs without being influenced by them.

          It's not prima facie, but it does open up doors questioning things -- especially given Bulte's track record on the matter. The suggestion of dangerous dealings is something that should be made public.

          My concerns in this area stem from that fact that I am a music lover and over the years I have bought hundreds of albums, tapes, and cds. I feel that if this issue is not resolved soon, the musicians that create the works that I appreciate so much will no longer be motivated to do so.

          Have you seen the hundreds of stories from artists who have turned down copy protection and embraced file sharing and talked about how it grew their business and increased their motivation to keep going? There has been ZERO evidence that motivation is lost to create art due to file sharing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Xanthir, 13 Jan 2006 @ 11:05am

            Re: Hypocrisy

            Quote Mike: "There has been ZERO evidence that motivation is lost to create art due to file sharing."

            I don't know... I think I heard some rumblings of that from some no-name band... Metallica, or something. ^_^

            [/meaningless smartass remark]

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Derek Kerton (profile), 17 Jan 2006 @ 5:27pm

              Re: Hypocrisy

              Xanthir, am I to understand that Metallica has stopped creating art because of file sharing? Or is it just that they grumble a lot about it?

              BTW, this thread is an anomaly in that it did the usual degradation into name calling, BUT then ended up in a rational discussion. What would be really cool is if it degraded again, and then cambe back again.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Erik, 12 Jan 2006 @ 12:31pm

    Why does this woman.....

    ... remind me of Kyle's mom on Southpark?

    (Insert Kyle's Mom's a B#@% song here.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    juan, 6 Sep 2006 @ 4:03pm

    canadian politician are terrorist

    the worl is full of cooruption, every government,but the hipocresy of canadian government show to the world that is the great country buying politician and others to commit the crimes with secret tactics supportin and organize crime the social workers to kidnap children's and destroying entires familes and loving parents using external affairs to send false accusation to destroy people and others countrys tis is criminal liberals, conservartor, ndp etc are the same people with difernts names. jesus condemed lawyers judges policeman because they are corrupts beware of the day of the judgment

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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