US lobbyist: Canadians would get US government infrastructure contracts if it adopted US copyright laws

A prominent US lobbyist told Canadian Parliament that the US government would let Canadian companies bid on lucrative infrastructure contracts if Canada changes its copyright laws to meet the demands of big Hollywood studios and record labels.
In extreme cases, Canadian-made pipes were ripped out of the ground this year in California simply because of so-called Buy American polices that are now common among governments at the state and municipal level. Some say the incidents are likely under-reported as Canadian firms fear further headaches in the United States if they complain too loudly.

But Canada could solve the impasse immediately by addressing concerns that Canada is a haven for illegal piracy of copyrighted music, movies and other digital media, a Parliament Hill audience was told yesterday.

"You could solve Buy America tomorrow," said Scotty Greenwood, who is the executive-director of the Washington-based Canadian American Business Council. Ms. Greenwood was speaking not on behalf of the council, but as one of several trade experts invited to speak at a day-long panel on Parliament Hill organized by Liberal MP Scott Brison.

Could copyright reform win Buy American battle? (via Michael Geist)


  1. This is just proof that Scotty Greenwood is a bald faced liar. Buy America is much more widely based than just the recording industries. The RIAA does not have the money to placate all those other industries that are pushing Buy America.

  2. Canada is a haven for piracy? Yeah right. There’s an American haven for piracy right here on my 80 TB hard drive.

  3. I hope the Parliament isn’t buying this hog slop. It’s obvious that protectionism is driven by multiple industries, not just the big entertainment mega-corps. Therefore placating the latter will do little to solve the former. Plus, if the protectionist statutes in question are local, kissing up to federal interests is goign to do little to solve the problem.

    On a side note, it’s flat-out ridiculous that Canada is on some kind of blacklist simply for not kowtowing to the US entertainment industry’s idea of what copyright law should be. It’s absurd that a few corporations should be allowed to determine the course of a nation’s foreign policy- organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA are criminal enterprises that should be attacked under RICO and dismantled.

  4. I don’t see it. There’s a reason why Canada hasn’t implemented the WIPO Internet treaties even though it’s been at the top of the U.S. trade agenda for a decade: issue linkage is hard. Canada already has guaranteed access to the U.S. market (more or less) thanks to the NAFTA, which makes successful linkage even harder. Ironically, the U.S. doesn’t have that much to offer Canada, even if it could speak with one voice and deliver Buy American.

  5. Sounds to me like Scotty is in the pay of the RIAA/MPAA. Trying to get Canada to alter it’s copyright laws using such a lame and easily disprovable carrot is ridiculous.

  6. What a load of crap. Why would unions and others who’ve been pushing “buy American” policies alter their positions just because the Canadians let Hollywood write their copyright laws? Big Content is just one lobby.

  7. It’s official, we can now substitute the moniker “sanctioned-blackmailer“ for “prominent lobbyist”. I truly wonder if this was a misstep by Ms. Greenwood, or an intentional leak from the CABC to see what the reaction would be. Regardless, I hope that Ms. Greenwood was either compensated for her collusion or enjoys her next career at McDonalds.

  8. Canada is an independent country. We have our own currency, our own laws, our own culture, even our own stamps. We may not be as big and powerful as our neighbor to the south, but we can still make our own decisions. (Which hopefully our government HAS learned from dreadful mistakes like the AVRO Arrow)

    Before telling Canadians what WE should do, maybe the American Government might consider informing their own constituents (not to mention their woefully uninformed elected representatives) what is actually going on in ACTA negotiations.

    I have no problem with “Buy American” or “Buy Canadian” initiatives. Before buying from distant shores it makes economic (AND environmental) sense to first shop at home.

    ACTA is a copyright initiative that the American media giants are pushing on ALL global governments… including their own. (In the USA ACTA will not even need congressional ratification.)


    Governments are susceptible to this pressure because it sounds like money during these recessive times.

    In reality, ACTA (and all the prequels poking up around the world) would alienate citizens from governments turned into collection agents for corporations. Worse, it will undoubtedly spawn a black economy more pervasive and widespread than ever seen before.

    Which would be even more damaging to the global economy.

    To paraphrase Bobby McFerrin: Don’t Do It… Be Happy.

  9. Oh please. Canada has never come out ahead in any trade dispute with the US, as far as I can recall. If the Canadian government falls for this, five years from now some Canuck company will politely ask, “What happened to that plan to let us bid on US jobs?” And the US response will be, “Yeah, we’re working on that. Honest.”

    1. No, the US will pass the buck to the states saying its up to local governments to decide who they take bids from. Of course magically, state municipalities will go with local companies before Canadian ones, screwing our neighbors to the north.

  10. Typical American line though: everything withh be wonderful as soon as you do exactly what we tell you to….

  11. They could also solve the problem tomorrow by labeling everything “North Montana.” Crappy knowledge of geography to the rescue!

  12. This is blatant racketeering. “We’ll make more contracts with you if you change this entirely-unrelated law to further our agenda.” Yeah, right.

    Canada has a “buy Canadian” mandate just like the USA has theirs. Buying local is a common mandate and it’s not motivated by foreign policies, it’s about strengthening ones own economy.

    Can somebody find a list of connections that Scotty Greenwood has? Sounds to me like he’s not interested in Canadian-American business relations so much as a few deep pockets.

    1. This is blatant racketeering.

      When it’s government sanctioned, they call it ‘diplomacy’.

  13. LOL. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were looking at the dumbest quotes ever.

    Greenwood must think either our politicians are pretty stupid. Our politicians are many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. If you want this to fly you will have to bribe them and bribe them good just like everyone else. Probably now you just insulted them and you will have to bribe them twice!

    I could also solve “Buy America” tomorrow. Its called turning off the Gas, Oil, Hydro, and lets see how long it takes them to capitulate. About 5 seconds is how long. Of course you would need some serious political will to do something like that as there would defiantly be repercussions. However for those commodities I think it would be trivial to find other markets.

    I know as a Canadian I am getting sick and tired of being bullied by the American economy, the softwood lumber issue was a good example of the BS.

  14. Oh please. Globally, the music industry gets about the same total sales revenue as the engineering & construction company I work for, both around $35b. That’s one corporation vs. every single music company on the planet. That’s not to mention the close-knit ties the contracting corporations have with pretty much every politician in DC.

  15. It’s good to know that recognition of bullshit is a multi-national talent. Canadians see this claim as bullshit, and so do Americans. But really, if a lobbyist WASN’T lying, would he really be doing his job?

    Also, Scott Bryson is still a scumbag.

  16. I shall hereby address the concerns that Canada is a safe haven for piracy:

    The RIAA companies are being sued in Canada for massive, recurrent and willful copyright infringement. Potentially, they could owe as much as $60 billion dollars.

    Seems like we’re upholding out end of the stick…

  17. I’m confused. If somebody from the US buys something in Canada or Mexico, he surely “Buys American”?

  18. I despise this “Buy [Insert nationality here]” nonsense.

    If I buy shitty American stuff that isn’t competitive globally and help prop up an industry that consistently fails, how am I helping them long-term? I’m not a big fan of our capitalist system, but it is a system, and things tend to work a certain way. Buy [Insert nationality here] only works when your economy is really in the can, something the US and Canada still know nothing about. It also only helps with the growth industries where your nation has virtually no market share or ability to compete effectively. This is what the Japanese did for cars, and to a lesser extent, India (Though I have yet to see a Tata here in the US- Which I realize sounds strangely dirty.)

    Ultimately, when the US and other G8 countries do this, it’s little more than ethno-nationalism harnessed to power private enterprise in an opportunistic fashion. Americans don’t need to buy American, the rest of the world already does. I don’t look for the “Made in” label unless I’m shopping for souvenirs in another country.

Comments are closed.