Canadian copyright astroturf site gives marching orders to its users

Michael Geist sez,
The copyright lobby's astroturfing site has added a new mandatory requirement for all users that want to participate in the Take Action items. According to a site user, the site now requires users to send a form letter to their relevant Member of Parliament. There are two letter options - one letter for entertainment industry employees and one general letter.

Surprisingly for a site claiming to support creativity and copyright, the letters do not provide users with the opportunity to even use their own words - the form letter cannot be edited. This is particularly striking given the earlier criticism from some of the same groups on a competing form letter service that offered users complete control over the substance of their letter and merely served as a delivery channel.

Notably, the site has already been subject to gaming from non-Canadians as a random search of members turned up at least one U.S. based record company executive with Warner Music.

Copyright Lobby Astroturf Site Adds Mandatory, Uneditable Letter to MPs


  1. “support a balanced, modern and effective Copyright Act in Canada”

    by doing exactly as I’m told?
    by not deviating from the script?
    by not voicing my own opinion?
    etc., etc.,

  2. I think the irony here is that the efforts of these large institutions to control copyright in order to improve business will only serve to hurt their business interests.

    Most people now, I think, would argue that most of this high end content being offered is already to restrictive– a great example is television, why would I bother with a platform that is time-restricted, saturated with ads, and is decidedly lowbrow.

    Make bad content, and not even the most restrictive copyright in the world will make you money… and I am sure if you make great content and give it away for free- a clever person could be profitable.

    What is also annoying is that aside from being bad entertainers, bad business people, they also want to create a legacy of being horrible political scientists… here is some advice: fix your business, not copyright.

    1. I’m also Canadian, and honestly I don’t think Americans want this either. Our democratic systems have been highjacked by large corporate interest groups.

    2. PLEASE do what we Americans are telling you (work to stop this) as opposed to what large, multi-national, corporations are telling you to do.

  3. When is Canada going to join with DC and push together for better voting representation? Don’t they want at least a full representative in the House? After all if they are going to be subjects of the United Corporations of America they should at least get some representation.

  4. Although fundamentally different, I can’t help but feel this is like what happened in the UK recently with the Digital Economy Bill; nothing to do with democracy, nothing to do with politics, everything to do with music industry fatcats crying and getting their own way; whether it benefits ANYONE or not, under the premise that it will make them more money (which of course every intelligent human being will inform that that it won’t make them more money … maybe lose money, but definitely not make more).

    I also agree completely with what @ryanrafferty said; it’s the business model that needs to evolve, not copyright. I’ve been saying this for years. The reason people illegally download and consume content isn’t because they’re criminals, it’s because that’s how they wish to consume content; it’s the industries job to cater for that – Hulu, iPlayer, 4OD, lastfm, spotify, youtube … smart providers are doing this already with great success.

    This comment doesn’t fully address the specific topic at hand, but I think covers the overall attitude and arguments involved.

  5. Fortunately, even politicians are smart enough that they have learned to pay little attention to bulk form letters.

  6. I took some screenshots of the astroturfing page and posted them on my blog:

    I’m beginning to suspect that this is a CRIA-funded operation. On the facebook page, you’ll see Graham Henderson himself liking posts. They’ve also posted a number of articles from the CRIA/recording industry-related McCarthy Tétrault law firm.

  7. The comments on some of the links and in the discussion threads of the facebook group are getting pretty funny..

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