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Michael Geist's Blog

CBA Responds to Smear Campaign: Not a Secret Committee, No Plagiarism

The Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's IP Committee, Torys lawyer Andrew Bernstein, has sent a public letter to the thousands of IP Committee members responding to the media reports of pressure to withdraw a CBA copyright submission. The CBA letter not only debunks claims of secrecy and plagiarism, but calls into question the motivation of the 34 lawyers who signed onto the letter.

The CBA letter confirms my previous post that there was no plagiarism given the use of materials from a predecessor committee. It also includes two important revelations (both new to me). First, Bernstein reveals that he personally provided the original letter writers - Casey Chisick and Claude Brunet - with an explanation for how the drafting of the submission occurred and why claims of plagiarism were false. Despite being briefed on the issue, Chisick and Brunet proceeded with the letter and 32 others signed it.

Second, the repeated claims that the working group membership was secret are unfounded. Bernstein notes "the names of the Working Group members are available to any Section member who undertakes not to disclose the names outside the CBA for lobbying purposes." In other words, thousands of CBA members have access to the membership list on the single condition that it not be used for lobbying purposes. That the 34 lawyers presumably decided not to accept those terms points to what may be a key motivation for many behind the letter. It is not about CBA process concerns nor about plagiarism. It is lobbying, designed to distract from the SOPA-style demands, iPod taxes, and reduced fair dealing reforms many of the lawyers and their clients are seeking to be included within Bill C-11. As I stated yesterday, the best response to this shameful attack is for Canadians to speak out with their views on copyright before it is too late. 
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Dear Parliament: Say No to the Internet Lockdown

Open Media has launched a campaign to encourage Canadians to speak out before Monday's Bill C-11 meeting. The group makes it easy to speak out against SOPA style reforms, harms to fair dealing, and unduly restrictive digital lock rules.  Postmedia's Sarah Schmidt covers the upcoming amendments here.
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Wealth Destroyers and End Game for the Copyright Modernization Act

Dwayne Winseck examines many of the copyright maximalist claims and doesn't pull any punches:

The biggest problem with all of this is not the underlying faulty economics and total absence of meaningful evidence, but rather the complete bankruptcy of the lawyers and lobbyists peddling the case. They appear to have no moral compass when it comes to these matters and would just as easily turn ISPs, search engines and social networking sites into online gatekeepers working in their behalf as they’d toss their grandmothers overboard if she hacked a digital lock.
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Music Lobby Smears CBA Paper

The Financial Post runs my blog post responding to the false claims of plagiarism and policy laundering at the Canadian Bar Association as an op-ed in today's paper.
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