Industry Canada involved in Wikipedia edit-war over Canadian DMCA

The Wikipedia entry that details the controversy about the introduction of a Canadian version of the disastrous US Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been repeatedly bowlderized by the office of Industry Minister Jim Prentice. The selective edits remove material that is critical of the Minister's approach to introducing the bill, which has been high-handed in the extreme, ignoring repeated cries for consultation from other ministers, Canadian technology and entertainment executives, citizens' rights groups, librarians, educators and other affected parties.
While Industry Minister Jim Prentice has sought to project an air of unflappability around the outcry over the Canadian DMCA, it would appear that behind the scenes his staff is working overtime to eliminate any negative comments on Wikipedia. Prentice's Wikipedia entry has been anonymously amended multiple times over the past week with regular attempts to remove any copyright criticism (as I post this there is no reference to copyright). The IP address of most of the anonymous edits trace back to Industry Canada. For example, on May 27th someone from Industry Canada twice deleted the following:

Prentice has been responsible for developing new Canadian Intellectual Property laws akin to the DMCA in the United States, partly due to pressure from US-based advocacy groups. While he had promised to "put consumers first", the draft legislation seems to cater strictly to industrial groups and Prentice has now suggested consumer interests may not be heard for years. Indeed, Prentice has refused to talk to a group of protesters who went to his office to express their concern.



  1. Many governments have been caught trying to do this, you’d think they would atleast learn to disguise their actions!

  2. On the one hand, yes, no person (or office) should edit their own entry. OTOH, however, the deleted text seems a little…well, non-neutral. I used to be a serious Wikipedia editor (, although I haven’t been active for a few years, and that would have definitely set off my alarm bells. If you’re beginning a sentence with “While” and then highlighting hypocrisy, you’re probably out to prove a point; same goes for the “indeed”, which is useful only to show up Prentice.

  3. I know Godwin’s Law, the Streisand Effect, and Rule 34, but what’s the internet law to the effect that no matter what you try and do, someone who disagrees and has more free time than you do will change it back?

    And no one has more free time than the downloaders.

    *revert revert*

  4. Gasp!! You mean Wikipedia isn’t impartial?!?!?

    Congressmen in the U.S. have staffers who constantly sanitize their entries, and for that matter try editing a corporate page (or trade/research group closely connected to industry) and see how long it takes for the changes to disappear. 3 hours is about average in my experience.

  5. “And no one has more free time than the downloaders.”?!

    Erm… who exactly does this demographic omit, of those who use the internet at all?

    I never downloaded an MP3 in my life until I was forced to pay a levy on blank media. After that – it’s bought and paid for. “Downloading” where it pertains to music at least, should remain legal in Canada. Otherwise – gimme my money back. FWIW – I still don’t download music. I have, however, facilitated a massive online library of MP3’s for other people to download, because I think we should get what we pay for.

  6. #3 How does the that free time and downloading relationship work, exactly?

    The computer does the work in downloading – one doesn’t need to hand-assemble the binary. You know that, right? ;-)

    Seriously, Canadians who are upset about this bill aren’t a bunch of slacking digital thieves screaming for their right to be jerks. It’s about fair use and not being treated like a criminal for wanting to use digital content. If that spells freeloading slacker to you, then you’ve been misled.

  7. His Wikipedia page is looking pretty good right now, with all the deleted material (and then some) back up in a section titled “Copyright controversy”. Citations and all! Wikipedia FTW!

  8. the government goons desperately trying to make this a fait accompli haven’t a clue as to the technical details and practical ramifications of such a stupid,bad law. Trust me, this Prentice knows back-room deals, not software. Promises were made in the USA, favors and money hang from this. This means they will only be susceptible to threats and embarrassment – not reason.

  9. Takuan’s right again…reason won’t work against something that is by design unreasonable…
    trying to put the genie back in the bottle, taking away rights after people have got used to them…

  10. Interesting just how good the public has become at this kind of snooping. The agencies still have not learned that they cannot control the conversation on the web. Why is that? Because when it comes to the MSM they are quite adept at control.

    In fact, often if you want a clear picture of what is going on in a country read the foreign press. Sure we are accustomed to thinking that this is true for the third world but not for the developed one. Nothing could be further from the truth. Governments in the developed world are masterful in their control of the press, because they can grant what the press wants most, access.

    The netizens don’t care about access, what they want is to tell their version of the truth. Governments have no leverage here. It is sheer stupidity on the part of governments to engage in this kind of behavior, but their desire for control appears to outweigh what they gotta know is futile.

  11. “Impartiality”. “Bias”.

    Kids, the truth – reality – is biased and partial. Reality is not a story of two viewpoints. Reality, moreover, is not a story.

    The presentation of a “non-biased”, i.e. “he said-he said” story of two versions of reality as “news” is the crippling fallacy of modern times, the fallacy that enables wars based on enormous, obvious lies to go on unchallenged.

    This man is either ramming through his DMCA or he is not. He or his partisans are removing news to that effect from Wikipedia, or not. To characterize his actions per the reality is biased – and truthful – reporting.

    Reporters should tell the truth, as they can determine it by evidence and investigation, not regurgitate, unchallenged, the words of liars.

  12. I’m with catbeller. There *is* a truth, only one, however badly it is abused on it’s way to us.

    I find it disconcerting that some persons are as immediately convinced of WKPDIAs uselessness as I am of it’s ability to finally change things. This tends to come from academics in my experience; they *should* be nervous, our huckster higher ed system makes a mediocre product and they have to defend their turf like everybody else.

    Organized edit campaigns are an interesting outgrowth. the thing to realize here is this: *when* these tactics are used on print media no one can ever tell(except us pernicious keepers of personal libraries). Wikipedia is making folks nervous because they can now see this odious process unfold. If I were an enemy of free knowledge I would flood the wikis with bad/usless/conflicting info to undermine confidence in them.
    It’s nice to know I can think like my masters.

    Knowing that all persons have the same right to make war, I am a partisan; Wikipedia and it’s like are the brightest light for freedom. Respect and protect. No one stays on top forever, and we can’t go burning history anymore.

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