How the Canadian copyright lobby uses fakes, fronts, and circular references to subvert the debate on copyright

After closely watching the way that the Canadian copyright debate has proceeded (from a new copyright bill drafted in secret and off-limits to input by Canadian artists, librarians, ISPs and scholars; to a plagiarized "independent" report that used faked-up research and US lobby-group talking-points to "prove" Canada's copyright pariah statement), Michael Geist has created this handy chart showing how the copyright lobby in Canada uses a variety of fronts to subvert the legislative process.

The whole report is a must-read, untangling the web of circular references — one organization creates a push poll, a second one inflates its results, and a third points to the second as evidence of a consenus — and sleazy manipulation that is used to cook the books on copyright in Canada.

Although there are many groups involved in copyright lobbying, at the heart of the strategy are two organizations – the Canadian Recording Industry Association and the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association. CRIA's board is made up the four major music labels plus its director, while the CMPDA's board is comprised of representatives of the Hollywood movie studios. Those same studios and music labels provide support for the International Intellectual Property Association, which influences Canadian copyright policy by supporting U.S. government copyright lobby efforts.

In addition to their active individual lobbying (described here), CRIA and CMPDA have provided financial support for three associations newly active on copyright lobbying – the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's IP Council, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (there are other funders including pharmaceutical companies and law firms). Those groups have issued virtually identical reports and in turn supported seemingly independent sources such as the Conference Board of Canada and paid polling efforts through Environics.

The net effect has been a steady stream of reports that all say basically the same thing, cite to the same sources, make the same recommendations, and often rely on each other to substantiate the manufactured consensus on copyright reform.

Unravelling the Canadian Copyright Policy Laundering Strategy