Copyright crazies gaining steam in Canada

The lobby for US-style copyrights in Canada has gone into overdrive, recruiting a powerful Member of Parliament and turning public forums on copyright into one-sided love-fests for restrictive copyright regimes that criminalize everyday Canadians.

Dan McTeague is the Liberal MP from Pickering-Scarborough East, and he's set to become the successor to Sam Bulte, the MP who lost her job for funding her campaign to get elected and appointed Heritage Minister by lining her pockets with massive donations from the very industries she would have ended up regulating. Reliable sources tell me that he's the guy who pushed for Canada signing onto the WIPO copyright treaty in the committee's anti-counterfeiting report last year, and that any time anyone in committee mentions fair dealing and user rights, he has a complete melt-down and shouts them down.

At a recent copyright panel in Toronto, McTeague essentially read out a list of record industry talking points about Canada's supposed status as a pirate nation, characterizing infringement as theft and refusing to acknowledge user rights; saying that Canada's international reputation had been tarnished by its soft copyright laws (the World Economic Forum says that Canada's copyright system is more advanced than Japan's and the US's). and, incredibly, proposed that we should pass a law making it illegal to use the Internet to "threaten" Members of Parliament with negative publicity if we don't like their political positions.

The supposedly non-partisan Public Policy Forum is holding a major, one-sided IP symposium on Monday. Invited are the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, former head of the Canadian Motion Picture Industry Association, and other big-stick-swingers for American-style copyright disasters. But when copyright lobbyists discovered that noted copyright scholar Howard Knopf would appear on just one of the panels, they went berserk and pushed successfully to have Knopf removed, ensuring that dissenting voices would be minimized on the day.