My Twitter debate with Minister who introduced Canada's DMCA

After Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore decried opponents of his US-style copyright bill as "radical extremists" and vowed to "fight them on Twitter," I decided to take him up on his offer. So I followed his tweets for a while, responding to the things he was saying about his bill (some background on it here). Finally, he rose to the challenge, and we spent a merry hour having a vigorous airing of views on Twitter. It was a lot of fun (and, in my biased estimation, Moore comes out looking pretty poor).

David Eaves captured the whole thing with Bettween, which generates a JPEG of Twitter conversations:

Full Twitter conversation


  1. All I was able to glean is that Twitter is apparently a terrible place for a debate; I couldn’t follow what was being agreed with/disagreed with. It appeared akin to two drunks shouting at each other in a bar.

    1. You beat me too it RedMonkey. Although I generally agree with Cory’s position on the new copyright bill, none of this was expressed well here. This just further convinces me that that twitter is not a good medium for real discussion.

  2. I admire your effort, Cory, but you fail to understand that this all this public debate is just a formality. The fix is in. By hook, or by crook, LAWCAP will do what it wants, and we peasants will just have to submit or be declared terrorists. Don’t look to your “leaders” or recourse to “the law” because they are only there to give a color of legitimacy to what is ultimately a massive cash heist.

  3. “Dude”!,”Sweet”! Cory rocks!-it’s a bit like having a conversation with a bot, but that ‘bot’ has a corporate agenda’d govt support team, creepy but necessary challenge to the ‘man'(or puppet thereof. and other than my own negativity quite intellectual and verbose, should twitter be considered literature?(yes) as this twittertranscript totally lays it out (creepy conservative(canadian heritage party-a faction of our Conservatives©=whitesupremacists,blech!) cannot maintain their version of status quo much longer. tighter the anti-human grip the more fluid humanity escapes its grip.

  4. Agree with RedMonkey above…a debate requires both parties to address each point an opponent puts forth. It was apparent that James Moore either felt no obligation to do so, or that the format is too clumsy to allow it. For people of some fame or notoriety, Twitter would be treated as a very large press conference full of high school newspaper reporters. It’s nice to see Cory restate many of the opinions we share, but it’s obvious James Moore didn’t pay much attention.

    1. a debate requires both parties to address each point an opponent puts forth. It was apparent that James Moore either felt no obligation to do so, or that the format is too clumsy to allow it.

      heh, no better or worse then a forum/comment/newsgroup debate where one soon end up with multi-tier quotes with responses inserted.

      and most political debates i have seen will either result in a interruption at the point of interest of the opponent, or the last point will be attacked with the rest ignored.

  5. Wait.. You sait you made him look poor? How so… People know what they are getting into when they buy into a closed platform yet millions of these closed platform devices still get sold and they are happy with it. Like he said.. don’t like it? don’t buy it.

    1. If I have to buy exactly the same device as my spouse to be able to share stuff like books with each other, there is something amiss. You can talk “don’t like it, don’t buy it”, but when I have to mix and match with stuff other people buy I am fucked.

    2. Having the device sell well and having people happy with their purchase doesn’t change the fact the the DRM anticirumvention provisions give closed markets an innate, legally reinforced monopoly.

      This allows whatever company that is currently on the top to manipulate the rest of the market by adding provisions to their own user agreement, as well as attempting to close others out of their market. This allows them to take away the choices of the people who are not buying their products, as well as those that are.(See: Apple’s new developer policy, Apple’s attempts at preventing music labels from participating in Amazon’s “daily Mp3 event”)

      Note that these are the only cases I could think of off the top of my head. There are plenty more.

      Additionally, the DRM allows a closed store to artificially lock in users by making it so you can’t take your media with you if you leave. You want to leave the Apple Store? Fine. You just can’t take your legally purchased movies and books with you.

      Finally, there’s the issue of consumer rights that pays into this. As Cory said, you should be able to do what you wish with your own device without fearing legal sanctions. Put simply, I should be able to install whatever the hell I want on my device.

      I guess you could make an argument the altering Apple’s own OS is somewhat unethical. (even this is questionable) However, this doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m not allowed to wipe the drive and install what I want on the hardware.

      Regardless of what you think of licenses, (I hate them, but that’s a debate for another time) it’s still a solid fact that you OWN the physical hardware. If I want to wipe Apple’s crap OS off of my device and install a linux distribution, I should damn well be able to.

      While DRM isn’t too much of a problem in itself, it allows them to circumvent other parts of the law, such as the all-important fair-use clause by installing DRM on devices that it would be normally legal to copy from.

      The simply fact is this: NOTHING good has come from outlawing the circumvention of DRM. Regardless of whether or not there is a “choice”, (extremely questionable in it’s own right, given how DRM can be abuse to manipulate the market) a company should be able to survive without bullying it’s customers and competitors into doing what it wants though flimsy legal tactics.

  6. @igzabier You’re right, it is like a bot, “I love the market,” “that’s the market at work.”

    I imagine that the minister has a lackey twittering away on his behalf, anyway.

    Cheers to Cory’s efforts.

  7. Yeah – twitter not the place for debate, but then this wasn’t a debate.

    Rhetorically Moore did what career politicians have been trained to do – he stuck to talking points.

    In the case of the ‘market will decide – don’t like it don’t buy it’ argument it has been purposely chosen for its circular logic designed to allow the user to never even accept the premise of arguments made against it. It operates within a closed system deriving its rhetorical force from the fallacious appeal to authority of the market.

    Its bull, its a sub-high school level of intellectual discourse and debate but quite frankly decades of shoddy journalism has conditioned people to not question how authority distorts and repackages fact through spin and obfustication of language.
    The semantics matter.

    There’s a whole other side to this about how the media and entertainment industries emerged from the same kind of corporate industrial culture that had very long term business plans and models that generated not just riches but vast wealth over decades and even centuries, so it hardly becomes surprising that they have ended up fighting so hard for the level of control that those other industries had over their processes and products. Such an analysis is much more speculative even at a level of deep and involved research however.

  8. Agree with #4, I think you were debating a bot. The rhetoric was fascinating from J.M.; as though a computer ‘read’ your statements and processed them through a shitty filter of official Conservative Party dogma to produce some kind of politically correct response. I see the future now: The perfect drone is not a soldier but a politician that speaks with supremely controlled and blinding rhetoric!

  9. “Faith in market forces” … hasn’t that “just trust us” approach been debunked thoroughly, recently, and dramatically?

  10. Cory, seriously, judging from his tweets, that guy doesn’t seem capable passing the turing test.

  11. Cory, that was a valiant effort. A shame Mr. Moore declined to address the vast majority of your points.

    We need to re-think the structure of our governments. Where is my representation as an artist/technologist?

  12. Moore dodged most of the salient points Cory made. The effectiveness of this varies depending on the observer

  13. Bravo, you really made him look foolish in that conversation. I wish this could happen face to face so he wouldn’t have some lame excuse to leave the argument when he realizes that clearly he’s losing the argument so badly it’s making him look foolish.

  14. Thank you for sparking my interest for the case, Cory. Once again, lately, I notice, that I didn’t care much about the governments intervention in our economy up to now. Naturally, Im a young guy from Germany, boys in my age usually don’t tend to take much notice of such things. But, nonetheless, I am a potential customer who wants to be offered the best products in an open, competitive market. So my attention is rising. Keeping my eyes open on the subject over here.

  15. How dare he push this bill as support of the free market. I am daily astonished by what these cronies are trying to pull. The wholesale theft from the public is just sickening.

    Anyway, thanks for fighting the good fight. I agree that Twitter is a terrible medium for debate, but those were the rules, and I thought you did an admirable job of encapsulating arguments in a silly character-limited format.

  16. I think Cory won the debate, if not because he had the more informed and insightful points, then because Moore was obviously hoping he would simply go away and finally responded in an half-hearted attempt at getting out of the corner.

    However, I don’t think the average person, even on recognizing Cory’s enlightenment, would be swayed. S/he generally won’t discern twitter well enough, much less use “between.” And Moore’s language is more accessible and his references, easier to grasp, despite their emptiness.

    So, his evident stupidity and ignorance is mitigated by political acumen and back-room deals.

    But Cory’s intelligence requires thought on the reader’s part. Einstein once said something like(forgive me) that most people would rather do anything but think. And if it gets to the point where their lives depend on thinking, they would rather someone else do it for them.

  17. The real thing of it is that this law won’t apply to private individuals any more than any previous copyright law. Sure, in theory it will, but in practice the general public will ignore it and neither the government nor the copyright cartels will have any means to enforce it.

    What it really does is restrict businesses that might create new, innovative models around content, like the next Tivo. In short, James Moore is a flaming interventionist hypocrite. Why won’t he just let the market sort it out?

  18. What needs to be done here is a thorough investigation from all the financial ties of mister Moore, his stocks, his future opportunities and aspirations. You will unnerve that he’s only a cheap whore (excuses to all prostitutes) trying to secure his own and his peer group their financial health by selling the basic rights from the public to narrow interests.
    The problem is that he’s probably will get away with it because of the delay that takes place for the general public to understand these kind of schemes. people like him use dirty tricks and Overton windows and all sort of other political tools to get the ends of their needs.

    Be very careful of those that use words to wage wars.

  19. I forgot to say, since he terrorizes the free market with his interventionist policies, he is a TERRORIST!!!

  20. metafactory is probably correct; after all Stephen Harper wouldn’t let a cabinet minster use twitter without personally vetting every tweet.

  21. Cory for President!!!

    (Although your policy of permanently banning lifelong forum regulars with no recourse or explanation is a little harsh… Maybe that was an over-zealous moderator? was my account. Please fix.)

  22. Nice work Cory. That was a very interesting exchange.

    Don’t forget to keep us “radical extremists” informed about how we best go about opposing this poor legislation.

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