Entertainment industry stacks the speaker-list at Canadian copyright "town hall"

A reader writes, "The second of two Canadian copyright townhalls was held last night in Toronto and it was clear from the beginning that the recording industry stacked the deck. Four Warner Music executives spoke, two from Sony Music, one Universal Music, along with multiple music industry lawyers, spokespeople, and collectives. Given that there were a limited number of seats, packing the room meant that many alternative views were excluded from participating. Time to speak out now on copyright - two weeks left in the consultation and the industry is ready to overrun the process unless Canadians take the time to have their voice heard at sites like speakoutoncopyright.ca, digitalagenda.ca or ccer.ca."
With just over two weeks left in the consultation, there should be no doubt that the lobby groups will be engaging in a major effort to push for their DMCA-style reforms. The calls for three-strikes and you're out, notice and takedown, DMCA anti-circumvention legislation, and no flexible fair dealing will only get louder. Now is the time for Canadians - many of whom could not get a seat at the townhall since it was filled by industry reps just days after the consultation launch - to speak out. Don't wait - send in your comments today and encourage others to do the same.
The Toronto Music Industry Town Hall


  1. Just like Comcast and the FCC hearings – there should be enough hue & cry to force the Harper government to hold an additional townhall to make up for this nonsense. They won’t of course, citing the lack of time available.

    That a dying last century industry holds enough lobby power to skew government policy and hobble the country as the advancements and innovations of the 21st century march past us is iritating enough. But to see them attempt this kind of bullshit – and think they can get away with it – is stunning. It just shows how mired in the past they are.

    What a bunch of thick, greedy codgers.


  2. “it was clear from the beginning that the recording industry stacked the deck.”

    I just watched the first 45 minutes of the town hall (available as a wmv file on Geist’s website) and it was almost entirely artists that spoke.

    I should hope that Cory would have watched the recording or been there in person before simply relaying the review of one “reader.” I also hope that others watch the town hall before jumping to conclusions.

  3. #2 Anon, that’s a pretty weak attempt at debunking. While you say you took the time to go to Geist’s site to look at the video, you apparently didn’t see the numerous comments, many from first-hand accounts, that backed up the ‘stacked deck’ characterization.

    I should hope that you’re not on a drive-by here at BB; Perhaps then, you would understand that Cory has been riding this shaggy dog for a long time, and BB readers who have been paying attention are far away from ‘jumping to conclusions.’

  4. @ #2 Anon:
    So how much is the music industry paying you to trawl the blogosphere? I’m sure we could come up with a DMCA/Terrorism excuse to find out who you are. So, why not just disclose it yourself?

  5. I watched the video last night and felt it was pretty stacked by industry. I didn’t count the numbers but the major labels and their lawyers were a large contingent. The best comment I saw on Twitter about the town hall was @JesseBrown: “Interesting how young unafiliated speakers here speak specifics,solutions. Industry reps speak emotion,generalities.#copycon”. I agree with that a lot. The industry focuses solely on their declining profits as justification for the changes they want made to copyright law. Copyright law in Canada certainly does need some updating but a failing business model is not justification for what they are asking.

  6. @ Hooeezit.

    See…that is what gets my goat. It does look as though our friend anon is, in this instance, wrong. But why does them having an opposed view to yours, or the wider BB consensus, mean that s/he is a paid shill for the multinationals?

    Even if you don’t really think that they are, you’re effectively killing any debate here by making such an observation as you are polarising the debate to us against them; “if you ain’t for us, you’re agin us.”

  7. RedRichie, Anonymous is being dog-piled not for a differing opinion, but for stating incorrect ‘facts’. Factoids that could be dispelled by a minimum of time spent perusing the site referenced. Indeed, Anon has as much accused Cory et al of jumping to conclusions based on one reading. This is behaviour so shallow that one has difficulty imagining how one could arrive at it naively, and is certainly not deserving of any kind of plaudit.

    If Anon does not want to be perceived as a shill, then Anon should not argue like a shill.

  8. The really unfortunate thing about the whole debate and the town hall is not just that alternative views were not heard or dismissed, it’s that there are other issues that are simply and completely ignored.

    I did not win the session’s lottery in order to be able to speak and therefore was not able to express the views of the Canadian geospatial data and map community. I’m sure others were in the same boat. One of the biggest issues affecting us is Crown Copyright, which leads to all sorts of access and money issues. Crown copyright has to disappear or be modified for data to flow the way it should. That is, data should be free! If interested, I have written a longer piece about the matter at http://maplib.blogspot.com/

    Marcel Fortin
    Geographic Information Systems and Map Librarian
    University of Toronto

  9. I’d love to help. I don’t want a Canadian DMCA, or a “three strikes” rule. I don’t know what exactly I should say to my MP.

    I don’t think a form letter is enough.

  10. Hi Nelson.C

    That’s fair enough…in fact, I believe that I did make reference to Anon’s wrongery. Surely it is enough to argue from that point of view? They are wrong. Their argument is unworthy of any further consideration and can pretty easily refuted. I am certainly not suggesting that he deserves any plaudits.

    However, what I do suggest is that by introducing the idea that this is somebody in the pay of the RIAA or MPAA (or whoever) the authority of ones own position becomes weakened. It doesn’t logically follow that, because somebody has views that may intersect with those of the multinational corporations (hey, they may be misguided or have a skewed sense of judgement), that they are in their pay any more than if I happen to agree with Cory’s position on DRM means that he’s bunging me a fiver every week to say so (I’m *happy* to say so – DRM is a stupid effing idea.)

    I’m sure it’s something I’ve said before (*checks* “yes”), but the argument about this is messed up because neither side really wants to engage.

    The multinationals hide behind lawyers and lobbyists whilst, in the places I choose to frequent online anyway (and that may say something about me and the self-selecting bunch I choose to associate with), it does seem to be rather difficult for anybody to put forward an opposing viewpoint without being shouted down and being accused (with little censure from anyone else) of being a brainless vessel in the pay of the evil moguls in hollywood.

    I just always feel that this a shame, as there are a lot of important issues around individual rights and freedom of expression that often get lost in this because perhaps not everybody is quite so high-minded on the subject as is Mr Doctorow…

  11. Red Richie: why else would anon take the view that he does? What’s his motivation?
    And I don’t see anything like an “argument” or “position” in his comment: it’s just slagging….anybody paying attention to this matter.
    that blank-media levy is an excellent solution…or are they gonna give that up, if we “crack down”?

  12. Ugly Canuck:

    Well, exactly. But didn’t I say that surely it is enough to say that the person is wrong? But accusing someone of shilling, if you don’t know for sure, you’re starting to enter the same territory as them?

    Here’s how I see it.

    Mr Anon is wrong: that can be proven by the material made available. That this can be proved is compelling enough for me at any rate.

    Mr Anon is a shill…well…we don’t actually know that, do we? So why say it? That is also, I’d argue, slagging (unless they are a shill, of course – ahaha.) Motivation is, frankly, irrelevent as, let’s face it: we all have a self-interest somewhere?

    And this is what upsets me about this. It descends into a slanging match and the areas where I can’t really make up my mind are never properly, for me anyway, critiqued. It annoys me, because I want to take a position because I’ve weighed up the arguments and have confidence in them, not because it’s the “right-on” position. Possibly the Internet is the wrong place to go for it, but where else can I go?

    There are too many issues that get lost as the important issues about how our freedoms are treated and shared culture get lost in shoutiness about whether kids get free, second rate hack adaptions of comic books from the ‘net or not. And that applies to both sides of it.

    I’m with the chap who posted about the Crown Copyright a couple of posts earlier.

    In fairness, BoingBoing is probably the wrong place to get irritated by this, as I’d suspect (although, that is unprovable!) that there is a higher proportion of people who are clued in to the wider implications of draconian copyright enforcement than one might find elsewhere.

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