Canadian Entertainment Industry Begins New Media Campaign For Draconian Copyright Laws
from the and-here-we-go-again dept
It kicks off with an article in Canadian Business magazine (sent in by a bunch of you) which is so ridiculously one-sided as to be laughable. That article kicks off with a record label owner complaining that sales are down. You think? Maybe that's because you're selling obsolete plastic discs, rather than updating your business model. The label owner goes on to point out that others -- such as studio engineers are losing their jobs as well, and this is tragic. Sure, it's tragic, but when markets change, jobs change too. We used to be a nation of farmers, and now a tiny percentage of the population farms. The telephone company used to employ thousands of operators to connect your call, but technology did away with that particular function. Markets change, jobs change. It's no fun for those involved, but it's no reason to pass laws that you think will protect those jobs (even though they won't).
The article goes on to trot out the typical ridiculous stats and bogus claims from the industry, and the only attempt it has at anyone presenting the other side of the debate are some quotes from Michael Geist, who is introduced as "a media gadfly whose left-leaning views on the issue are openly disparaged by many in Canada's corporate sector." Uh, wow. Clearly, whoever wrote the article had no interest in hearing the other side of the story -- such as the evidence that the issue here is not copyright at all, but business model choices. The views on copyrights are not anti-business, as the article presents, but pro-consumer, which when done right is also pro-business. It's clearly a media hit job in anticipation of the next round of copyright debates.
Along those lines, a few folks have submitted a writeup by Canadian intellectual property lawyer Richard Owens, who claims that the public consultation on copyright in Canada last year was not fair because it was dominated by evil pirates and "shadowy organizations." Seriously. The article dismisses the public consultation because sites like TorrentFreak (which he mischaracterizes, ignoring that the site is a well-respected journalistic endeavor) encouraged people to make their views known, and that many of the submissions came via a submission system put together by the Canadian Coalition of Electronic Rights -- which he also mischaracterizes as "a clandestine group of mod-chip manufacturers."
However, as Michael Geist notes in his response to Owens, lots of special interest groups had form letter offerings available -- including the entertainment industry. But no one chose to use them. While form letters may not be the fairest system in general, the fact that there were form letter submission services for pretty much all points of view, it seems reasonable to assume that anyone on any side of this debate could have used one, and thus, the results are, perhaps, somewhat representative. Owens claims that many of the submissions were likely made by foreigners, but as CCER notes in its own response, it required a legitimate Canadian address, and it's unlikely that many faked such a thing. Even if a few did, it's unlikely that most of those submissions were from foreigners. Owens goes on to complain that many who submitted their views were "poorly informed," but reading through the details, it appears "poorly informed" just means "did not agree with Owens."
Amusingly, Owens also appears to cherry pick certain industry representatives to suggest that only they should have been able to comment on the issue:
We sampled twenty-five percent of the substantive individual Submissions, and of the professional authors, musicians, filmmakers, performers, photographers and designers, more than 90% were in favour of robust copyright protection as a means to secure their livelihood and protect their artistic integrity.Uh, yes. If you ask those who have a law protecting them from competition, of course many of them will say that law is great and they want it strengthened. But that's got nothing to do with the purpose of copyright law. Copyright law is supposed to be about promoting overall progress (and, yes, I know that's the US version, but the general concept is true in Canada as well), and that means for both the public and for the content creators. To claim that only the content creators' views should be considered when discussing copyright is incredibly disingenuous.
In the end, it's clear that Canadians are gearing up for yet another fight over copyright law, and the early media campaign is beginning. It starts with bogus stories with little basis in fact, combined with weak attacks on the public who oppose such draconian laws. Hopefully, Canadian politicians will see through such charades quickly.