Vast hordes of Canadians speak out on proposed copyright legislation; lend your voice!

Michael Geist sez,

As the public outrage SOPA effectively killed SOPA and tens of thousands of Europeans take to the streets to protest ACTA, Canadians need to do their part to counter the inclusion of SOPA-style reforms into their copyright bill and to demand changes to its restrictive digital lock rules. According to documents recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, Industry Canada received thousands of letters of concern about Bill C-61, the 2008 copyright reform bill, the overwhelming majority of which focused on digital lock concerns. Just one month after the bill was tabled, the government had tracked over 27,000 letters and emails.

A year later, the government held its national copyright consultation. It generated enormous public interest with over 8,000 submissions. Now officials have received over 50,000 emails of concern on Bill C-11 in the past couple of weeks alone, at times receiving upwards of 400 emails per minute. The public opinion on Bill C-11 is clear. The majority support reform on two key conditions. First, no SOPA-style amendments such as website blocking or expanded liability should be added to Bill C-11. Second, the digital lock rules should be balanced by linking circumvention to actual copyright infringement.

Canadians have been speaking out on copyright reform in general and digital locks in particular for years with widely held views that reflect Canadian sensibilities about balancing protections and consumer property rights. The numbers keep growing and will continue to do so. If you have yet to speak out, write, email or tweet at the ministers and your MP providing your views on Bill C-11, now is the time to do so. If you are following the anti-ACTA rallies this weekend or tracking the C-11 debate in the House of Commons and wondering what you can do, write, email or tweet once more, asking Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, Industry Minister Christian Paradis and your Member of Parliament: can you hear us now?

Can You Hear Us Now?


  1. A great step against the legislation would be to fire the officials who colluded with foreign governments and for-profit corporations and sold out their constituents’ interests in secrecy.

    Such representatives are not fit to represent. SOPA will be followed by another attempt in a few months, and then another, and then another. There’s too much money to be made (or so the megacorps believe), too much power over free speech to be had (or so tyrants believe). 

    We have lives to take care of and it’s not efficient to spend our valuable time in the streets pleading our governments’ to please not fuck us over.

    Let’s fire them and instead promote people who actually care and are accountable to their masters — us.

      1. Not “over one bill.”

        Over the practice of knowingly colluding against public interests. How many times do we have to catch someone in treason in order to at least remove them from the position that enables them to continue with it?

        1. Well factually they are colluding in the interest of a minority of Canadians, which is exactly what the people who voted them into power expect. You may not agree but unfortunately our electoral system has been gamed.

          The copyright stuff is just another small notch in the belt of Mr Harper next to a series of moves to align with the interests of foreign states, sell out our resources and line the pockets of his cronies.

          1. Doesn’t sound like a reason not to get rid of them as fast as possible with all the might of the majority, if anything, that sounds like a reason for urgency.

  2. Dear politicians,
    Please stop making us repeat ourselves, you heard us the last half-dozen times.
    Thanks, the people who pay your wages.

    1. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” — Upton Sinclair
      To rephrase:

      “It is difficult to get a politician to listen to taxpayers, when he’ll get a bigger payday by not listening to them!”

      1.  Is that the question? Is it a matter of money? Maybe we can get everyone opposed to it to kick in ten bucks to their MP and see if that makes a difference.

        Pretty sad when the masses get ignored because they don’t have as much money as the lobbyists. Maybe bringing it to their attention will shame them into doing the right thing ;)

    2. Perhapes they are hoping for more people like me.  I have to admit, I’m having trouble rallying myself to the fight this time.  It just seems like we’ve been doing this forever, and I’ve never really seen much that suggests they were listening the last 5 or 6 times I’ve written to them with my views on copyright.

  3. I thought in such an under-commented thread, I might get through to Cory directly.  As a rule, you oppose and rally against any form of copyright legislation – or in this case, treaty adoption/implementation.  I have to ask – what’s the end game?  I understand in the short term, you, and most people, want a freer internet.  But you don’t address trickier issues like Kim Dotcom as often on here.  I mean, are you going to come to his defense?  Should there be criminal copyright infringement at allt?  If not, how would that work?  I just posted what I thought were  thoughtful comments to various threads and  to youtube tonight.  In all likelihood, they will never be read, nor replied to, nor curated, nor preserved.  When the bombs fall, it will be as if I never thought those things ‘out loud.’  I also write, perform and record songs.  The latter is by far (by weeks) the most laborious.  I can live with a world where music becomes like my ephemeral comments; it won’t hurt my feelings.  But it will prevent me from recording and producing music the way that I do now.  I mean, I – or someone else – might record a live performance and post it on youtube.  But that’s very different from spending a month getting the EQ right on a track.  Even Wavves deliberate over production. Imagine complete, unregulated and fluid sharing.  Is it just a necessary sacrifice to progress that production, mastering, etc. will fall by the wayside?  Like calligraphy to the typewriter, or something like that?  Especially considering the modicum of prep a techno drum track requires production-wise, as compared to a mic-ed set of drums, do you think copyright, or copyleft, are genre biased?  

    1. As a rule, you oppose and rally against any form of copyright legislation

      Either you’ve failed to read Cory’s basic position on copyright or you’re just lying.

      1. Sorry, yes that was overbroad.  It was more a lead in to the end-game part of the question, but you’re right, completely unfair – it was late….

        1. In reality, it was all kind of a lead up to the ‘genre bias’ part, which I STILL think is an interesting question.  That is – does the effort or lack of effort that goes into making the particular type or genre of song or film one likes (for example compare Steve Albini’s work with Total Ghost) play into one’s politics regarding copyright.  And on the ‘copyright legislation’ part, there’s no reason to be hostile.  Even if I was unfair in saying he opposes all copyright legislation, I don’t think that it’s completely unfair to say that Cory has opposed the majority of copyright legislation, but only because the majority of copyright legislation I’ve seen would INCREASE the duration/enforcement of copyright.  I shouldn’t have to mince my words like that.  Cory is for the liberalization of copyright.  Am I not supposed to say that out loud?  Whether that liberalization is accomplished by repeal of the DMCA or by further legislation is kind of nitpicky, and beside the point, I think.

    2. There are two problems with all of the industry and government solutions to copyright legislation to date:  (1) NONE of them will work to prevent unauthorized copying.  (2) ALL of them will result in the “unintended” consequence of a clamp down on free speech and the exchange of ideas (which is, in my opinion, their real purpose and the reason why governments are pushing so hard for them).

      It’s interesting that you mention Kim Dotcom.  The authorities were able to arrest him (and others) and seize all his property using existing laws.  If half of what is reported in the indictment is true, he’ll be spending a long time in prison.  And, if it is indeed true, he’ll deserve it.  The current laws took care of it.  

      But the current laws aren’t fast enough for the entertainment industry.  What they are insisting on is the ability for themselves to be the judge, jury, and executioner.  On their say so alone, they want websites shut down.  On their say so alone, they want websites that link to “suspect” websites shut down.  There is SO much potential for abuse with their proposals that – to me – it would be better to have no copyright laws at all than to have what they are proposing.  The worst part is, as I said, their proposals wouldn’t do anything to prevent piracy.   

      If your goal is to prevent piracy, you should be looking for a solution that will accomplish that goal.  If the big media proposals won’t do it, what will?  I personally would suggest the opposite approach that they’re taking.  All of their proposals have been written and negotiated in secret after which they try to ram them down the throats of governments before anyone has a chance to notice.  Instead of that, why not try to develop a solution in the open with input from everybody?  Everybody has a chance to contribute from day one.  Everything is out in the open.  No secret meetings.  No payoffs.  No bribes.  If you are clear about the goals you are trying to achieve, a clear solution will present itself.  A pretty good start to exactly this – called the OPEN act – is underway at

      1. I feel like transparency and the potential for abuse (with a 512(h) subpoena or takedown, for example) are crucial issues.  But they’re still secondary issues.  I don’t think it’s unfair or counterproductive to talk about copyright in more categorical terms.  Sure, you can call copyright law draconian, and that’s more subtle than saying “I want everything for free,” but that draconian sentiment doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  It’s informed by three things, I think: 1) your estimation of the value of works protected by copyright, 2)  the value you assign to encouraging art, and 3) commodity economics .  All fogey Kesha-bashing aside, I think the value of art, in the abstract, has remained constant, whether that art is Melancholia or Don’t Tell My Wife I A**F***ed the Babysitter.  And no one should stoop to argue that copy-leftists care less about art.  Right/Left are in agreement on both points.  As ridiculous and melodramatic as it sounds, I think every rally, theory, law, whatever in this context can be traced to one of two coexisting, but irreconcilable impulses: we want free stuff, but we also want that stuff to be awesome.  The copyfight is over the middle ground.  Unfortunately, technology has turned digital media into a commodity that resists supply/demand thinking.  When technology allows me to download everything from a single mp3 to $1k mastering software for free, and with relative impunity, the supply is infinite, and the price theoretically drops to zero.  Sure, the goodness of your heart wrapped in rainbows paid for Thom Yorke’s Fiat, but only because he’s Thom Yorke, and because you/I wanted to prove a point. People are fond of invoking the Gutenberg printing press at this point.  So am I.  It’s not like the U.S. founding fathers were prescient about some future technology they anticipated.  The printing press had been around for hundreds of years.  The copyright clause of the U.S. constitution, at least, reflected an understanding that distribution technologies (including and especially the big bad printing press) had reached a point where the “I want free stuff” impulse was always going to prevail absent government intervention.  I suspect ACTA was negotiated in secret for patronizing, but not altogether malevolent reasons.  The copyright clause itself is nothing if not patronizing.  Most people don’t understand that the only counterbalance to ever-progressing distribution technologies is legislation.  Moreover, if you ‘polled’ every American – most would vote against expanding copyright because they’re already on the wrong side of the law.  It sucks when some podunk town decides to set up a speed trap.  And if you polled most Americans, I imagine they would say we should increase speed limits, because every car on the highway speeds a little now and then.  I personally drive exactly 7 miles over the speed limit, because someone told me that’s the  threshold at which most courts will throw the ticket out.  I drive 72 in a 65, and wouldn’t you know it? 77 in a 70.  I think P2P – itself a risk tolerance sport – functions the same way.  The more I get riled up on this, the more I  resent  Antinous’ snarky ‘response’ above.  Hyperbole doesn’t make me a troll.  Reading two sentences and flaming someone you disagree with makes you a troll….

        1. In both a theoretical and practical sense, I always have argued for more workable copyright laws.  The DMCA has huge holes in it that allowed for and even guaranteed that MegaUpload and Youtube would come about.  They both were a haven for illegal copying (Youtube still is).  Google, in my opinion, has built it’s entire fortune from theft by proxy.  That is, they provided a means by which others could steal and that they could profit from it.  Read the MegaUpload indictment to find out why the MegaUpload folks were stopped.

          In some ways Google is much, much worse than MegaUpload.  Take their Google Books project for example. Google’s original proposal was nothing more than outright theft from artists and publishers.  Again, in my opinion.  That they didn’t get away with it is irrelevant.  That they wanted to get away with it IS relevant.

          Having the effort at copyright reform be open doesn’t mean that it will degrade to the lowest common denominator of, “I want more free stuff so screw all copyright laws”.  The nutcases who insist that digital representations of work (songs, books, movies, whatever) aren’t owned by their creator are seen for the parasites they are.  Their arguments are without merit.  The way to deal with them is by openly trouncing their arguments into the ground.

          I have no love for either Google’s theft or MegaUpload’s theft (or their many clones).  Both likely affect me negatively financially (I’d be rich without them bastards!!!!!  Or so I like to think.)  But my freedom to write whatever the hell I want to write is of more value to me than the possibility that I might receive an extra 30 pieces of copper should I agree with the major industry and support their efforts.

          1. The DMCA was/is far from perfect.  But I worry that media lambasting undercut what it could have been.  At least two circuits (9th and 8th I think) have completely enervated the 512(h) subpoena power with respect to P2P (RIAA v. Verizon, RIAA v. Charter).  The rationale in both is shaky at best (it’s based on the idea Napster was post-DMCA, which completely ignores usenet p2p, and on a semantic reading that flies in the face of a clear congressional intent to curb piracy).  Whenever a court reaches a non-obvious result by means of a strained reading, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself why the ends justified the means.  In that case, I think it was because of the outcry from journalists (and to a lesser extent, the public) about the DMCA and the RIAA’s litigation tactics.  I’m no legislator –  I’m hard pressed to come up with a better proposal for a copyright ‘solution’ than even the DMCA, as I think most people are.  To my understanding, most ISPs (even outside the 8th and 9th circuit) won’t comply with 512(h) subpoenas any longer regarding P2P infringement, based on those decisions.  So in a sense, the DMCA, as a full-fledged, self-referential piece of legislation, never – or only briefly – existed.  I seriously doubt the 512(h) subpoena was the lynchpin to the whole shebang. But do you see my point?  I have to believe the DMCA was a thoughtful and earnest attempt to mediate the RIAA v. ISP v. infringer copyright conundrum, and not merely a Frankenstein of lobby purchases.  If that is the case, then I think it deserved at least a test run.  I’m almost positive that ACTA isn’t helping anyone, but it especially won’t help anyone if it passes, and the well is poisoned.  I imagine we’ll wind up with the same situation – a draconian law that the gov. is afraid to enforce. Unlike a private litigant – like the RIAA – the federal government has ALL eyes upon it.  That’s why those FBI warnings at the beginning of VHSes mean practically nothing.  I mean, technically, Jammie Thomas could have done time if the FBI got involved, but who really believed that was going to happen?  I seriously doubt ACTA could shut down something like Torrentfreak or even /b/ without significant backlash.  So in a sense, whether you win the day or not, you’ve already won.  I would be amazed if any theoretical blacklist reached anything beyond child porn sites or the most pernicious cyberlocker bbs.  In any event, the point is that if a new copyright bill came out in the near future that somehow miraculously solved the copyright kerfuffle to everyone’s satisfaction, I doubt it would actually be recognized as such.  If things like the Pirate Party are any indication, I think people have seen enough anti-copyright rhetoric to just run with it, and throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I’m sure that’s as much the fault of congresspeople as journalists.  I think people just need reminding (myself included – see my way overbroad statement earlier in the thread) – that copy-leftism (sorry to keep using that term) isn’t the same thing as copy-anarchy.  

            May I have my 30 cents now, MAFIAA? :)

        2. Hyperbole doesn’t make me a troll.

          That wasn’t hyperbole; it was a grossly incorrect statement.

          1. Fair enough.  Thank you for keeping me honest.  Still can’t help but feel picked on, but mostly, I’m elated someone in the world actually read that.  

    3.  I don’t think it’s true that by having music available on the internet, one cannot profit.

      While it is true that filesharing of music is common, this is not in and of itself a bad thing. It expands your brand, gets your name to be more well known. Maybe your album won’t make as much profit, because of piracy…on the other hand, maybe it will make more. Goodwill efforts with a pay-as-you-go profit scheme have had very positive results for artists with smaller followings, and again, have helped make relatively unknown artists more renowned.

      In addition, strict pay-for-product arrangements aren’t the only way to make money on the internet as an artist. An example I repeatedly push is MC Lars, who sees music as a service; he releases the albums (all thoroughly mixed for a professional finish) and whatever profit he makes from them, great, but he also sees it as advertising for the live concert experience, which cannot be pirated, as well as for his swag which he sells at concerts and on his website. Music isn’t necessarily a product anymore, and it’s not the be-all-end-all for the artist looking to make money.

      1. This is the model in mainstream acts. Most label artists/groups make far more, personally, from shows than they ever could from their cut of album sales.  Considering many smaller artists front for studio time or home studio equipment, the marginal return on their recordings is probably even smaller, actually.    That’s the point I was trying to make earlier.  A secondary effect of ad absurdum free distribution would be (additional) prioritization of performance over product.  There are people who listen to Brian Wilson, only on vinyl, and only with headphones.  There are also people who listen to Skrillex, only from an mp3, and only on youtube.  I would be curious to see if their copyright politics differed.

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