Online activism works: Canada delayed US-style copyright bill in fear of activist campaign

Michael Geist sez, "A new Wikileaks cable confirms that the Canadian Conservative government delayed introducing copyright legislation in early 2008 due to public opposition. The delay - which followed the decision in December 2007 to hold off introducing a bill after it was placed on the order paper (and the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group took off) - lasted until June 2008. The U.S. cable notes confirmation came directly from then-Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who told U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins that cabinet colleagues and Conservative MPs were worried about the electoral implications of copyright reform."
From December 2007 to mid-February, senior GOC officials and well-informed private sector contacts assured the Embassy that legislative calendar concerns were delaying the copyright bill's introduction into Parliament. Our contacts downplayed the small - but increasingly vocal - public opposition to copyright reform led by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. Michael Geist. On February 25, however, Industry Minister Prentice (please protect) admitted to the Ambassador that some Cabinet members and Conservative Members of Parliament - including MPs who won their ridings by slim margins - opposed tabling the copyright bill now because it might be used against them in the next federal election. Prentice said the copyright bill had become a "political" issue. He also indicated that elevating Canada to the Special 301 Priority Watch List would make the issue more difficult and would not be received well.
The bill died, and all its successors have died too.

Wikileaks Cable Confirms Public Pressure Forced Delay of Canadian Copyright Bill in 2008


  1. Lessig must be pretty happy today. If anyone had a right to be smug, he does.

    I wonder if I can send him a cookie or something.

  2. While I’m pleased, I think this story (and others like it) are a bad sign: it has become newsworthy that a government took the will of its citizens into account when making a decision.

  3. In response to gregbaker, no it is pretty clear that the government ignored everything said during the consultation. It is also clear from the leaked cables that the govt did the consultation to make people less angry over their ignoring of the results of the consultation.

    Essentially Tony Clement and James Moore teamed up to form “Team America”. A special unit meant to subvert the will of the people of Canada in order to push through draconian foreign legislation spewing forth from the pens of the American government. This might not sound that bad to Americans, but Canada is a separate country and our people should legislate themselves, not accept legislation and pressure for legislation from the USA.

    “TEAM AMERICA” — Tony Clement and James Moore, true patriots

  4. delayed does not mean changed!!! typical government shift… the law is made but will wait to kick in.. this gives an out to those who made the bill and those who later enforce it…

  5. Patience is what is needed here.
    Copyright will soon be found to be a burden on society and done away with. Then the true incentive for creativity will again surface as necessity regains recognition as the true mother of invention replacing the government sponsored monetary incentive monopoly called copyright. Incentive for creativity will once again become the basis of creating for all to benefit rather than on the greedy profit motive.

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