Copyright Town Hall security threatened MP, students with ejection for handing out flyers

At last week's Canadian copyright town hall meeting in Toronto -- the one where the speaker-roster was overwhelming stacked with representatives from giant entertainment conglomerates -- security guards prevented the Canadian Federation of Students from distributing literature by the doors that advocated for more liberal copyright rules. They also stopped a Member of Parliament from one of the opposition parties from distributing flyers.
The Canadian Federation of Students has issued a press release disclosing a disturbing incident just prior to last night's townhall in Toronto. CFS says that students attempted to distribute a flyer outlining the organization's position on fair copyright outside the townhall. The students involved were approached by private security guards who threatened to remove them from the hotel if they continued to do so. The CFS decided to distribute the flyers specifically because of the limited number of speaking slots and the fear that they would not be called upon to speak (they were not). It is hard to understand how distributing relevant materials outside a public, government-run townhall is viewed as grounds for ejection. As the chair of CFS-Ontario notes, "it is ironic that while students are concerned that new legislation may allow copyright owners to lock up information, the government is locking up its own consultations."

Update: NDP MP Olivia Chow reports that she faced the same threats when she tried to distribute documents outlining Charlie Angus' position on copyright.

Why Did Security Guards Stop CFS From Distributing Flyers at the Copyright Town Hall?

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  1. Ha ha! You Canadians can’t even hand out fliers on the street!

    We in Murica get to parade around with assault rifles! Yee-haw!

  2. Hmmm…I also often find so-called “security” to actually be quite threatening….perhaps we should call them something else?

  3. Hmm, nationally well known long-time former Toronto city councilor and wife of the NDP party leader, MP Olivia Chow can’t get any R-E-S-P-E-C-T from a Conservative Party led ‘town hall meeting’?

    I’m shocked!

    Oh, and Appalled!

  4. Oh BoingBoing, you’re such a card.

    This sounds like just a standard hotel policy against passing out literature, not a government conspiracy.

    1. This sounds like just a standard hotel policy against passing out literature, not a government conspiracy.

      I don’t know about the laws in IL or up in Canadia, but anyone who’s been to a grocery store in California in the last ten years knows that businesses can’t prevent anyone from leafleting, asking for donations, getting petitions signed or otherwise soliciting (except for prostitution) as visitors enter and leave the business. The sidewalk is public property. It’s one of those annoying reminders that we are still mostly a free society.

  5. Mr. Canuck at #2 said:

    Hmmm…I also often find so-called “security” to actually be quite threatening….perhaps we should call them something else?

    Instead of ‘security forces’, ‘control forces’ seems a more objective description.

  6. at #5 posted by Dave

    you should learn a little bit more of politicians and huge corporations technics.

    “This sounds like just a standard hotel policy” is exactly why they use Hotels and private buildings so that they think to be allowed to restrict free speech.
    Why they don’t use Public spaces that probably wouldn’t cost them a $?!

  7. Yup, bitter, bitter harvest indeed.
    Not that I voted for the pig and not that I don’t wish that the thin branch his government is sitting on breaks.

    Now, would the Liberals be more even handed on the copyrights issue?

  8. This sounds like typical Tory tactics. They disrupt and hijack public consultations when in opposition and hire goons to prevent the same tactics when in power. Nothing new here. Just same old, same old…

  9. This sounds like just a standard hotel policy against passing out literature, not a government conspiracy.

    Hi folks. I was one of the students attempting to distribute flyers at this “public” consultation.

    First, it should be noted that event organizers were distributing many materials of their own.

    Second, when we were confronted by security, they were clear that it was the event’s organizers (i.e. representatives of the government) who had told them to prevent us from flyering.

  10. @Antinous: At risk of straying off topic, the CA Supreme Court decision you’re referencing, Pruneyard, has not been followed in hardly any other states; NJ, MA and CO have followed it, to some extent. Most other states retain the right of shopping center owners to regulate speech on their property.

  11. Can’t help wondering what it’d be like if the underdogs in a situation like this showed up with their own private security…

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