p2pnet news Freedom:- | Politics:- I’m still on my supposed holiday and yesterday I was over at Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) in Ottawa, Ontario, to say Hi to Pippa Lawson and Dave Fewer. I’ve spoken with them both plenty of times online and by phone, but had never met them.
Among other things, they told me today, there’d be news on the so-called Canadian DMCA.
The entertainment cartels have been lobbying Stephen Harper’s weak-kneed, Hollywood-compliant Conservatives to turn Canada in a mini-USA where the movie and music industries call the shots, where consumers are treated as criminals and thieves, and where almost literally anything goes.
Industry minister Jim Prentice has already been thwarted in caving in to US demands, but he isn’t giving up.
But Fewer also told me about Gordon Duggan’s (Appropriation Art) amazing, clickable, online comic called 51st State with scores of links and references to groups and people involved in copyright issues, and how the rest of us can also get into the fight in ways which’ll actually make a difference.
“This left me absolutely speechless,” says Ottawa law professor Michael Geist who, with famed a copyright lawyer Howard Knopf and others, such as Fewer, Digital Copyright Canada‘s Russell McOrmond and NDP digital culture spokesman Charlie Angus, appears in the publication.
“The Harper government is set to introduce their newly ‘Made-in-the-USA’ Copyright Bill before the House stands for the summer,” says Appropriation Art.
“While the majority of hard-working Canadians concerned with copyright are not privy to either the contents or the scheduling of this Bill (User groups , Librarians, Federation of Students, Academics, Appropriation Art etc) it appears that the same cannot be said for Industry.
“Over the past weeks (and indeed months) a well choreographed series of scheduled ‘events’ has taken place by pro-American influenced organizations, Lobbyists, American Government officials and even President Bush himself.”
It goes on >>>
This occurred on April 28 at a conference entitled Intellectual Property Reform: Innovation And The Economy at the Public Policy Forum (PPF). James Rajotte, Conservative MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry stated that the Harper Conservatives planned to introduce a Copyright Bill before summer. Rajotte assured the audience that the government was working toward a balanced approach in the forthcoming bill.
This week. A new coalition of Pharmaceutical, Tobacco and Entertainment companies and lobby groups step forward. This coalition, which also includes Microsoft ( no surprise) and ebay (big surprise), was organized by the Chamber of Commerce. The group is calling for more restrictive copyright, more privatization of IP and fewer rights for users. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer is longtime Conservative insider Perrin Beatty. The announcement of this new coalition days before legislation is to be introduced signals that at least some groups are being briefed on both content and scheduling of the new bill.
May 16, 2008. The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus puts Canada on a Priority Watch List along with Russia and China.
The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus is a bipartisan and bicameral group committed to protecting American intellectual property and reducing the scourge of piracy abroad.
Data available on OpenSecrets.Org. Career total contributions to Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus Member Campaigns from the TV, Film and Music industry are in excess of $19 million. The four Co-Chairs alone have received $1,260,676. Congressional Co-Chairs Senators Joe Biden ($381,266.00), Gordon Smith ($255,439.00), Congressmen Bob Goodlatte ($209,886.00) and Adam Schiff ($414,085.00). Clearly when a group of politicians so dependent on a single industry unveils a “Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus 2007 Watch List.” the notion of an ` unbiased and independent report` becomes meaningless.
May 15, 2008. The Watch List is pre-released on the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) website the day BEFORE it appears on the Caucus website. This leaves little doubt as to the relationship this caucus has with the Entertainment industry. According to the RIAA website:
Joining China and Russia in “the ignominious three” is Canada which, notwithstanding numerous public announcements, has failed to join the rest of its partners in the developed world in modernizing its copyright laws to address the challenges – and to seize the opportunities – of the digital age.
May 07, 2008. Canadian Parliamentary IP Caucus meets with Americans but where are the Canadians? The IP Caucus, co-chaired by Liberal MP Dan McTeague and Conservative Gord Brown accepts presentations from four representatives. These presentations are from the U.S. Embassy as well as speakers from the Entertainment Software Association. The IP Caucus have yet to invite representatives from the Canadian education or Canadian consumer communities. (the lone voice being Michael Geist, who gave a presentation on May 15).
Ambassador David Wilkins confirms that copyright was discussed at the North American Leaders Summit meeting in New Orleans on April 21, 22. He states “it`s not been a secret we`ve been advocating stronger copyright, that`s been an ongoing discussion.” By advocating, he clearly means pressure. By `stronger copyright` he means `American-style` copyright replete with the mandatory DMCA legislation.
In his Speech from the Throne Stephen Harper promised to defend Canada`s sovereignty. It is becoming all too clear that to the Harper Government `Canadian sovereignty` simply means a piece of (valuable) real estate; real estate worth defending to the tune of billions. Canadian Cultural Sovereignty clearly has no value to this government. When our neighbours to the south attack with rhetoric and exaggeration the Harper government falls silent.
Meanwhile, “Minister of Industry Jim Prentice and the Minister of Canadian Heritage JosÃ©e Verner will unveil the bill to amend the Copyright Act on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. ET with brief statements, followed by a question-and-answer session with the media,” saysd the CBC.
“Critics fear the bill will mirror the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which similarly brought in restrictive measures and opened the door for copyright owners to enact huge lawsuits against violators.”
What the CBC doesn’t say, however, is the so-called copyright violators in fact innocent, and very ordinary, American families, including very young children.
If Prentice and his cronies have their way, Canada’s at the moment largely ineffectual CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association of America) could become a second RIAA, which is quite literally terrorising thousands of people, including students, across the length and breadth of America as it tries to use the country’s legal systems to force them into becoming compliant users of corporate, and only corporate, product.
“The chorus of opposition was joined last week by a coalition of consumers groups – including Option consommateurs, Consumers Council of Canada, Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) and Online Rights Canada (OnlineRights.ca) – who wrote a letter to the two ministers,” says the CBC, going on >>>
The consumer groups expressed dismay that they had not been consulted on the pending legislation.
Prentice responded to questioning in the House of Commons last week by saying he would not introduce the bill until he and Verner were satisfied that it struck the right balance between consumers and copyright holders.
Geist has repeatedly attacked the government on his blog for its lack of consultation with the Canadian public on the issue. However, Prentice has met with U.S. trade representatives and entertainment industry lobbyists to discuss the legislation.
“Prentice should be honest about the core anti-circumvention rules that are likely to mirror the DMCA and run counter to the concerns of business, education and consumer groups,” Geist wrote on his blog. “Those rules are quite clearly ‘Born in the USA.’”
A spokesman for Prentice told the CBC yesterday that no date has been set for the bill’s introduction, says the story, adding:
“The bill was also expected to contain provisions that would have made it illegal to time shift television shows using a Personal Video Recorder, or copy files to CDs and MP3 players.”
Stay tuned, and please post links in the comments section as the story unfolds.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
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