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Why Did Security Guards Stop CFS From Distributing Flyers at the Copyright Town Hall?

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Friday August 28, 2009

The Canadian Federation of Students has issued a press release disclosing a disturbing incident just prior to last night's townhall in Toronto.  CFS says that students attempted to distribute a flyer outlining the organization's position on fair copyright outside the townhall.  The students involved were approached by private security guards who threatened to remove them from the hotel if they continued to do so.  The CFS decided to distribute the flyers specifically because of the limited number of speaking slots and the fear that they would not be called upon to speak (they were not).  It is hard to understand how distributing relevant materials outside a public, government-run townhall is viewed as grounds for ejection.  As the chair of CFS-Ontario notes, "it is ironic that while students are concerned that new legislation may allow copyright owners to lock up information, the government is locking up its own consultations."

Update: NDP MP Olivia Chow reports that she faced the same threats when she tried to distribute documents outlining Charlie Angus' position on copyright.

Comments (19)add comment

Anobe said:

...
You know it's a real shame to read this story. I'm starting to think that this whole consultation process is becoming a lost cause for the general public, if the government is not taking this issue seriously. Another reason for this lost cause is simply all the CIRA and its cronies fault to stick their noses into these townhalls and put up a brick wall in front of us so we don't get to know and speak on our behalf. Simple partisan politics I would say...
August 28, 2009

Anobe said:

...
Sorry, I meant the "CRIA and its cronies fault".
August 28, 2009

Bob Morris said:

...
would you be equally offended if it was cria that had been barred from handing out flyers? i suspect not
August 28, 2009

Bytowner said:

Damn Good Question
Which firm(s) were involved and who did the hiring?

Considering that the CRIA has an undue advantage - or is perceived as having one - by being backed by the Big US Music Foursome, you're probably right in your suspicions.
August 28, 2009

Biased person said:

Everyone has a bias
Bob Morris
"...
would you be equally offended if it was cria that had been barred from handing out flyers? i suspect not"

I agree. It's probably true. The same could be said of a CRIA supporter. They would cry foul if CRIA was barred from handing out flyers but I suspect they are not shedding any tears over what has actually happened. It's a completely moot point. What really matters is who is in control of the security guards.
August 28, 2009

ClubBouncer said:

...
"it is ironic that while students are concerned that new legislation may allow copyright owners to lock up information, the government is locking up its own consultations."

ohh snap. Preventing the distribution of leaflets? Sounds familiar. I hope nobody broke the physical (b)lock and continued as is their right. Honestly, this isn't part of the average security guards job description. You have good reason to be suspicious.
August 28, 2009

Jason K said:

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Why didn't they stand on public property and hand them out to people walking out of the building?
August 28, 2009

Bytowner said:

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And what of that _Now_ article on who got let into the meeting to actually speak?
August 28, 2009

Jesse said:

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Though in the short term this consultation may be a lost cause...in that the government may just do their own thing anyways, I think in the long run it's better. Why? Because it re-affirms what the beliefs are among the majority of participating Canadians surrounding copyright. It will be harder for the government to cram garbage legislation when we can clearly see that most of us don't want it.
August 28, 2009

Geof said:

Don't take FC numbers for granted
It is wise to be skeptical about the consultation, but it is foolish to be cynical.

When the government went into this consultation, they knew very well that the results would be open. If we assume that they are consulting in bad faith, then there is no incentive for them to do otherwise. If we participate in good faith, we place ourselves in a stronger position. We give them the political support they would need to draft a fair bill, and we provide ourselves with the ammunition we will need to oppose a bad one.

However, do not take our numbers for granted. We operate in the open, and have an interest in our submissions being seen early and often. The copyright lobby, on the other hand, is likely to make their move at the end of the consultation period when there is no time to respond or rebut their claims. I assume they will also have a big push for submissions at that time. We saw their organization pay off at the Toronto town hall. We are many, but individually we are less motivated. They are few, but individually they are committed - or at least salaried. We can expect a significantly higher submission rate from them than from us. We need to keep fighting right up to the end to get as many people as possible to make submissions.
August 29, 2009

Adam said:

...
@ Bob "would you be equally offended if it was cria that had been barred from handing out flyers? i suspect not"

Yes I would. The CRIA has every right to peacefully hand out flyers, just as the CFS does. Government policy should be open to the full spectrum of debate, and I think it's offensive when any side is stopped by security guards or police officers from calmly and peacefully communicating their position.
August 29, 2009

akston @ statismwatch.ca/tag/media/ said:

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Well, you know, they should've gone to the 'Free Speech Zone'

statismwatch.ca/tag/internet/
August 29, 2009

akston said:

...
Sorry... browser forms function had an embolism there
August 29, 2009

click170 said:

Astonishing
I was amazed to hear about this kind of stacking. It brings to mind the case of Comcast unfairly packing the room for the FCC investigation with people from the street.
They should clearly be punished for obviously attempting to skew public opinion on a matter the government was trying to aggregate the publics opinions on. There should have been rules and laws to make this kind of thing prohibitively expensive to stack the townhall meetings, like multi-million dollar fines which increase with every infraction. As far as I'm concerned they should have their demands/suggestions for copyright reform thrown out on principal of what they've done; it's disgusting, underhanded and deceitful and was OBVIOUSLY intentional.
Not to mention the security guards, and the person who hired them should be terminated immediately.
August 30, 2009

click170 said:

@Bob Morris
"would you be equally offended if it was cria that had been barred from handing out flyers? i suspect not"

Well, considering it wouldn't be nearly as much of a controversy if they were the ones who were barred from participating, so no I couldn't give two shits.
They've got hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at this, and we the public have only a fraction of our time (in most cases) and only a small amount of money to spare; we don't have the resources to shout above all the corporate interests which in comparison to our passive duscissions, are standing on milk crates with loudspeakers whilst simultaneously dropping leaflets from planes overhead.

Its not fair. If they were the ones who were barred from entering and participating, would that make it fair? No.
Would that make it MORE fair than it is right now, HELL YES!
August 30, 2009

what does it matter said:

so much blah blah blah
blah blah words are not action blah blah
August 30, 2009

Sam J. said:

...
If the security guards threatened them, they should have called the Police. After that if they actually got ejected, there would be a record of who ejected them and why, and that record could be taken to the media. However, I doubt the security guards had a mandate to eject anyone and were just playing tough.
September 12, 2009

Frank said:

...
This coming from the same organization that used private security to remove democratically elected students from their AGM.

http://takebackyourschool.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/gregory-kay-assaulted-and-denied-entry-to-cfs-meeting/

Hypocrisy.
May 31, 2010

torontosecuritycompany said:

torontocompany112@gmail.com
Why didn't they stand on public property and hand them out to people walking out of the building?
February 26, 2014

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