Canadian govt appears to be altering submissions to Copyright Consultation

Michael Geist sez,
The Canadian copyright consultation has one of its biggest days today with a major town hall in Toronto, a roundtable hours before, and increased media coverage. The consultation has attracted growing attention in recent weeks as the chart on submissions below demonstrates. There are now over 3,000 submissions with the overwhelming majority of them speaking out against Bill C-61, anti-circumvention rules, and for stronger fair dealing.

However, it now appears that the government has effectively been altering some of the submissions. This issue has arisen because of the large number of Canadians that have chosen to use the CCER submission form service.

Every Canadian who takes the time to speak out - whether a single paragraph, a long essay, or a form letter - deserves to have their voice count as a submission. Obviously any modified letter should be posted in its original form and I would argue that the same is true for a submission based on a form letter.

Regardless of the approach taken, there are just over two weeks to join the thousands of Canadians who have spoken out. Canadians need to speak out on copyright today!

Government May Be Altering Copyright Submissions Without Consent (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. Ooh. Creating unauthorized derivative works and misrepresenting them as originals in a quest to strengthen copyright enforcement.

    Good going there, canada.

  2. That sounds suspiciously like the British Home Office’s practice on the original consultation on “Entitlement Cards and Identity Fraud” (which they eventually de-euphemised to identity cards).

    I was one of the guys involved with putting together a site to enable people to make submissions to the consultation. Once the consultation was complete, the Home Office decided to aggregate all 5000 submissions received through that portal (including the ones in favour of the government’s plans!) as being a single submission, allowing them to claim overwhelming support for the measures (when counting them separately would have made the results come out at about 75% against).

    A Home Office minister even compared the submissions to a Teletext survey!

    Shameful days, when governments manipulate their own consultations — and mislead Parliament in the process. And we thought we lived in democracies(!)

  3. well, the form letters are against the bill, but what’s lost is individual nuances that might help them make a bill someone who isn’t a media executive might like.

  4. Sigh. Yet again, Canada’s Interim Placeholder Government proves they’re not particularly qualified for the office.

    Or if you’re very pessimistic about the quality of politicians, eminently qualified for the office, but I prefer my political representatives to keep the lying and cheating and venial sins down to a dull roar.

  5. Here’s a most interesting comment (not altered) from Geist’s post, for those who don’t click through:

    gov1ns1d3r said:

    Look first to thine own self

    If the government of Canada wants to start allowing prosecutions of copyrighted work, they ought to tread very carefully. I can say with a very good degree of certainty that many government workers understand the arcane rules surrounding copyright about as clearly as most citizens–that is to say not much at all–and regularly collect, retain, and share copyrighted works on government internal networks without proper protections or attributions.

    Would Deputy Ministers be willing to permit CRIA to enforce DMCA-style penalties–with the attendant investigations on private networks that is required in order to locate and confirm infringements of copyrighted work–as the recording industries are proposing they ought to be able to do to private citizens? I think not.

  6. The article does not contain the link Michael Geist is referring to, to submit a letter to the appropriate government officials and agencies:

    Canadian readers should review the text and think about whether they want to make their own submission. Based on the substance of Professor’s Geist’s remarks, however, it would make sense to customize the text before sending it along.

  7. @4 Baldhead: “well, the form letters are against the bill, but what’s lost is individual nuances that might help them make a bill someone who isn’t a media executive might like.”

    That would require that they actually *desire* to pass a bill that anybody besides a media exec will like. Unfortunately, that presumes facts not in evidence.

  8. the article does contain a link to the letter service. it’s in the second sentence of the second paragraph.

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