Putting Canadian “Piracy” in Perspective

Over the past year, Canadians have faced a barrage of claims painting Canada as a "piracy haven."  This video – the second in my collaboration with Daniel Albahary – moves beyond the headlines to demonstrate how the claims do not tell the whole story.

Update: Source documents for the film posted here


  1. brilliant!
    I sat transfixed through the whole thing. Brilliant!

  2. I just wanted to say thanks. I know it can take a lot of time to create content like this (not to mention all the other work/research you do and post on your site), so I wanted to say thanks to you and Daniel Albahary for spending the time.

  3. That was a great video. Thanks for your efforts in telling the other side.

  4. Great work
    Very great work… just love it.. Thank you very much!

  5. It’s a great video, but it’s ultimately useless if limited to a statistically-insignificant audience.

    I remember watching a bunch of similarly-themed content prior to the run up of the Iraq invasion. Didn’t really change anything.

  6. No mention of US companies like the MPAA paying Canadian politicians to push for harder legislation?

  7. Great short film..

  8. trust me, tons of us in the US like myself are disgusted with our politicians.

    however, our politicians don’t even listen to us, so there’s not a lot we can do to change that :(

  9. misc. – Michael Geist has done an amazing job of exposing **AA copyright rhetoric nonsense, not just with this video, but with many insightful articles that many people have read. He’s just one man, and has done far more than random internet commenters who are happy to sit on their arse and make “useless” comments.

    Scazza – It seems every time someone writes an article, does a podcast, or makes a video, no matter how in depth and detailed, there’s always someone who pops up and says, “But you didn’t say (insert random subject here).” Did you feel there was not enough information in the video? Or was it not long enough? How long do you think a video would have to be to include every single detail to satisfy every single geek out there? The video made clear that it was Hollywood and the music industry pushing for the legislation. Sorry you didn’t get it.

  10. Viewers of the Video
    \”It\’s a great video, but it\’s ultimately useless if limited to a statistically-insignificant audience.\”

    I\’ve already passed this along to my MP actually – before it hit BoingBoing even. Don\’t tell me BoingBoing has a limited audience either. This video is getting around quite well actually. Wouldn\’t surprise me if it hits Digg and Slashdot as well, where eventually, it\’ll be exposed to millions and millions of eyeballs. This video has the potential to do that IMO.

  11. Good film, and I’m elated that someone finally found the balls and patience to make it, but I had a hard time following some of the numbers. Had to pause and think about the connection between artist pay growth and revenue growth for music sales (okay, it’s late as I’m writing this…).
    And it’s one thing to nitpick all the details, but regarding the “statistically-insignificant audience” bit, accessibility absolutely has to be the top priority – millions and millions of eyeballs are nice, but they have to be the _right_ eyeballs. It’s nice that it’s getting around on the INET – I came in from – but this’ll probably matter less than a cup of salt in the sea until a slightly edited version (down from almost 9 minutes, or greatly increased to fit inside of a special?) is shown on, say, The Daily Show (have they run a show on this topic yet?).
    My two cents paid, there needs to be some more quality muckmining like this all-round.

  12. Great film. Thank you very much. I’m telling more than just the obligatory two friends.

  13. Thank you for making the video. The repetitive music was distracting, perhaps replace it with something a little more interesting from the creative commons? A suggestion might be to offer a high resolution version that can be used for broadcast. Talking Heads would also make it more interesting, rather than relying on people who like powerpoint presentations.

  14. johnnyapollo
    Brilliantly written and very well done/produced. Kudos!!

  15. You should probably just release this as a slide deck instead of a video. “Video Powerpoint” is the worst thing to hit YouTube yet. Why should I have to sit through 8 minutes of video for less than 1 minute of information?

    The information is great, the presentation kinda stinks.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I must say I’m quite impressed. I put this to Digg earlier today and so far it’s doing well. I like the format because unlike several people here, I’m tired of the “talking heads” dictating information to me.

  17. It’s great to actually see the facts displayed this clearly and simply for most sheeple to understand: Unfortunately it probably won’t make any difference to popular opinion, as most tend to follow the leaders making the inaccurate assumptions in the first place.


  18. Marketing Coordinator
    Nice work Michael.

  19. Nice Work says:

    Very nice collection of facts.

  20. Bravo, You do good work. It makes me proud to be Canadian every time I see things like this.

    P.S. Didn’t the U.S. want us to get rid of our levies?

  21. Mr.
    I know you’re in Ottawa, but if you ever come down to the GTA.. I ask you visit a place called Pacific Mall. Do that, and tell me that Canada does not have a serious problem with counterfitting/IP crimes. Pirated DVDs are sold openly.. and the few raids that police have conducted in this place have not discouraged this practice (they’re often open again shortly after being raided..).

  22. hobbiest
    Great information, love this site. I hate the idea that our government doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to these foreign companies and licenses them to take profits out of our country under rules they made.

    I do see the sidewalk tables of video DVD’s here in Toronto, and I think the creative industry needs to be supported, we have laws on the books to deal with this issue. Ask any good artist if he performs for the love of the art over profit, and you’ll see a person who loves to share his creation’s with his fellow man.

    Somehow in all of this, I doubt Hollywood is starving.

  23. Paul Arbour says:

    Federal NDP Candidate Carleton-Mississip
    Thanks, yet again for producing something to bring attention to such an important subject. Because this isn\’t the big healthcare, or education debate it gets lost in the fray.
    Keep up the good work, and know that there are many of us trying to raise the profile of this issue.

  24. not convinced..
    I’m Canadian and really not convinced by this poor presentation. bar charts are notoriously innacurate and able to ‘prove’ any point you want to depending on what they plot. All the ‘what they don’t tell you’ are very poor, not as strong as the inflammatory claims the americans make.

    Also, I really hate that this clip has no voice over. it is really a pain to watch, and therefore largely ineffective.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Great presentation idea – big bang for your buck and your valuable time.
    Thank you for arming us with something to send to our MPs.

  26. Doug Bush says:

    I’m convinced that this is an accurate statement of fact.

    I don’t think Canada is the source of the world’s copyright problems, and I’ve been following this for some time.

    I was aware that our laws on camcording were weak, and I’m glad to see a law which criminalizes that, has been passed.

  27. Thank you, good job! Keep on!

    I love this one!

  28. come down to the GTA..
    OK, so a few guys at a few kiosks sell a dozen titles a week.
    That’s clearly already against the law. If, by your logic, you think we require tougher laws…
    How about 10yr prison term for parking ticket…

  29. Pressure?
    It’s too bad Vancouver and all of the other Canadian cities that host so many U.S. film productions couldn’t do something to press back on all of the production companies represents by the MPAA.

  30. Thank you
    Job well done! Thanks for your dedication and work on this issue. More Canadians need to see this and recognize the level of influence these lobbyists are having on our government.

  31. acid productions
    Nice work Michael, hope it raises some more awareness out there about the snowjob being given to us by our politicans at the beckon of their industry payrollers and backers. I applaud you for all your great work against the crypto-fascists, keep it up! :D

  32. Dupes to every MP!
    Can DVD’s be made of this? and sent to each and every MP in OTTAWA, and to every bureaucrat in the Heritage Dept and Industry Canada and the Copyright Board… Moreover this should be sent to every school board with the provision that they can copy it for educational use in school classrooms. This is a wonderful learning exercise about the power of propaganda and media persuasion, the purchase of political action; about corporate might and greed and about adversaries to free speech, etc etc.

  33. thankyou for a very informative and excellently put together film.

  34. iain aspenlieder says:

    great film – a lot of great information, well researched and fair presentation. next time you should ‘sample’ someone else’s music for the soundtrack though:)

  35. none
    And remember folks the NDP party with a certian other website mounted a campaign a while back to defeat a MPAA supporter of the liberal gov’t.

    We don’t want american style gov’t here.

  36. confessued user of piratewear
    The film was very engaging until the end… you are implying that just because no arrests were made in Canada, that it didn’t happen here. I can tell you (since my son works at a cinema in Montreal) that for a long time they just gave up trying to stop people from filming… the police did nothing anyway. The theatre staff just pretended they didnt see. It was much less hassle.

  37. Heather Morrison says:

    The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economic
    Awesome video. Hollywood may indeed be in trouble, with this kind of talent on YouTube!

  38. nisha
    Hi Great blog , My squidoo lens is also on same subject. I hope u dont mind if i share its details here :) Are DVD Decrypter Programs Hurting the Movie Industry?

    You should really stop and consider this question carefully. First

    there is a clear indication that DVD decrypter programs are used in a bad

    manner such as making illegal copies of movies for sale. But are you

    aware that there are actually legal situations that allow you to create

    copies of the movies you own on DVD? With most movies costing close to

    $20 each it is quite easy to see why people look for anything they can

    to help reduce replacement costs.

  39. This films so full of crap
    I’m in BC Canada, and I can tell you this film is completely full of it. You guys must be pretty young or overly patriotic, because you’re damned right us Canadians play a HUGE role in piracy. I do it like, daily, hahahaha.

    It’s not like the cable company will ever give out our personal information here =D It’s against their policy! Hahaha. POWER TO CANADA WOO!!! Afk torrenting more movies.

    Check this site out!

  40. Something which goes un-mentioned is the influence on available cash for music. When the price of gas, something essential and hard to cut back on, goes from 80 to 115 cents in a short time while my salary remains the same, I’m going to buying fewer luxuries of all kinds, music being on of those. That’s something the music industry seems to ignore, quite conveniently.

  41. Technical Support
    great little video, it seems that Canada has become the bashing ground for some senators. Let’s face it, Hollywood has lost it’s appeal, Net offers a broader variety of entertainment, it is also wrong for our gov’t ( CRTC ) to control access to content.
    I hear China is running on Bootleg software and uncle sam does not too worried about it.

  42. Piracy
    Michael Geist u rock. P2P lives! Don’t worry about
    thos american idiots!, all the do is cry foul play.

  43. This Law is so lame. everyone is going to become a hobo because of so many of the songs they have on there MP3 Players, they will lose millions of dollars per family.

  44. wow this is so retarded… the goverment is only doing this because they ether dont know how to work an ipod… or they need money because if you got like 100 songs from lime wire you now o them $50,000… so it ether means are goverment is retarded or corrupted or there just poor…