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    The Sam Bulte Podcast

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    Wednesday January 18, 2006
    As Sam Bulte gears up for her fundraiser tonight (and Online Rights Canada holds its event at the Drake Hotel at the same time), several people have written to ask whether Sam Bulte really tried to argue that CRIA et al are not hosting a fundraiser for her as was reported in the Toronto Star.  It turns out there is an MP3 version of that all-candidates event available for download.  The copyright discussion runs from roughly 21:00 - 31:00 and includes a question on copyright policy (which is targeted at Peggy Nash and just happens to come from the co-author of a letter to the editor in today's Toronto Star, the other author of the letter being a Bulte fundraiser co-host) as well as one on the fundraiser. 

    Bulte's comments on the fundraiser are remarkable because she makes three claims in about 30 seconds that are all subject to challenge. At around 26:00, the questioner raises the fundraiser and expresses concern about Bulte's ability to serve impartially. Bulte responds:

    "I am not taking money from special interest groups.  As you know, you can look at my returns. All of my election returns are noted, they are transparent. Ninety percent of my donations came from individuals.  Ten percent came from organizations or corporations. They are not hosting a fundraiser for me.  A fundraiser is being held.  Individuals are invited.  Everyone is invited.  It is self-funding.  And yes, there will be artists there.  It will be a celebation of my support for the arts community."

    Let me address each claim in turn.  First, Bulte says she is not taking money from special interest groups.  As I documented earlier this month, Bulte has accepted contributions from a long list of copyright associations and collectives, so her claim would only be truthful if she is no longer taking their money.  However, given that the leaders of the copyright lobby associations are hosting the fundraiser and providing the entertainment, that does not appear to be a supportable claim.

    Second, Bulte says that 90 percent of her donations came from individuals on her last return.  This is simply false.  Her 2004 riding association return posted on the Elections Canada site shows contributions of $67,737 (the fifth largest total among Ontario Liberals).  That amount breaks down as $38,789 from individuals (57 percent), 19,848 from corporations (29 percent), and $9,100 from trade unions (13 percent), which include several copyright collectives.

    Third, Bulte indeed stated that "they are not hosting a fundraiser for me."  Again, looking at her website and the registration form this does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny.

    Update: The Globe and Mail has posted a lengthy article on the fundraiser issue.  It notes (as I have) that the fundraiser is lawful yet raises the concerns that many are expressing about the perception that it creates.  Apparently Bulte believes that raising this issue is nearing the point of being defamatory, since she again calls me a zealot and says "I am not going to sue him before the election but dammit, watch me after the election."
    Comments (23)add comment

    Jason said:

    Awful MP
    I'm in her riding, and I'm definitely voting against her. She's a horrible MP, and I certainly hope she is not returned to the House.
    January 19, 2006

    Kim Pallister said:

    I agree, but think she\'s technically we
    First off I agree with you, but if you get pedantic and look at the wording of it, she may not be "technically" lying.

    "90% of my donations" doesn't state whether by dollar amount or actuall individual contributions. 10 people give 1 dollar each, 1corporation gives 90 dollars, then 10 percent of donations are from corporations, but 90% of donated dollars is from corporations.

    On the "hosting a fundraiser", the corporations may be the majority of attendees, but who's name is signed on the bill at the venue? That is who's technically hosting it.

    Still, at the end of the day, this is as weasely a way to sneak around the truth as Bill Clinton's "definition of 'is' " comment.
    January 19, 2006

    garth breaks said:

    keep up the great work
    I've been following this story closely, having just recently moved out of Bulte's (hopefully previous) riding. As a resident of Toronto and advocate of EFF, I want to commend you on your tenacity, the work you're doing is critical and you're doing it damn well.
    January 19, 2006

    Erik said:

    vanbos.net
    I cannot believe how sloppy bulte is. If she is taking funds be more discrete about it or better yet distance yourself from it completely.

    Bulte is a scumbag, in what's seeming like the finest liberal tradition.
    January 19, 2006

    Parkdale Dude said:

    Bulte is a drunk
    Everyone at LPOC knows Bulte can't hold her liquor either. She constantly drinks too much at Ottawa receptions. That might explain why she is so willing to roll over for the coporations who want to control the internet and the elite overpaid Annex dwelling musicians who want to help them make that happen.
    January 19, 2006

    PS said:

    Zealots
    Kim Pallister makes a valid point, which should be a warning sign to those who might wish to jump on the Bulte-bashing bandwagon a little too enthusiastically.

    I applaud Mr. Geist for being passionate about his cause and wishing to expose corruption, if it exists. However, it is worth pointing out that this "zeal" is also causing others to make statements which might get them into trouble.

    I love Boingboing.net, but Cory is making statements in his links to this site which border on slanderous. It makes me cringe when Cory talks about a "corrupt" MP etc. If the fundraising is legal, then you'd better be able to prove that this money actually makes a difference in her decision-making or you're setting yourself up for trouble.

    Keep up the good work: just watch what you say.

    Zealot = One who is zealous, especially excessively so. A fanatically committed person.

    (in this context, I don't think it is a stretch to call many of the more vocal EFF supporters "zealots" - it isn't even necessarily a bad thing)

    Since this is likely the only time I'll post and it's a forum for people to express opinions: I support the cause of independent artists. I believe the internet is a fantastic tool for the little guy to be heard and seen. I believe in (limited term) copyright or at least creative commons. I also believe that, in hindsight, the Betamax decision was horribly flawed (please read the dissenting opinion) and find that those who wrap themselves in that decision to further their arguments simply weaken them. Just my two cents.
    January 19, 2006

    Mairin Brennan said:

    I agree with Jason
    Thanks Mr. Geist for bringing this MP to light. I also live in her riding and voted for her the first time, because she was a Liberal. However, as a resident of Parkdale-HighPark she has been a diappointing MP. I cannot think of one accomplishment she had made for this riding. I'm also bothered by the fact that she lives in Rosedale and not this riding. I will not miss her 'smiling' face behind Paul Martin during question period. She seem like a complete self-agrandizing waste of a MP. I'm voting NDP this election, just to get rid of her.
    January 19, 2006

    David said:

    ...
    I think what you're doing is absolutely wonderful. I certainly wish there were more folks like you bringing to light the kinds of things that can do real damage by people who "perhaps" do not fully understand what they are doing.
    January 19, 2006

    mhaman said:

    Zealots
    Mr. Geist and Ms. Bulte are obviously on two different sides of the argument. Ms. Bulte claims he is on the side of "pro-user zealots", so I assume she is on the Anti-user zealots side.

    The problem is that the Users of copyright law are the consumers. Copyright law should clearly and fairly define which rights each side has, and what protections are in place. Yes, copyright owners have rights. But, they also sell those copyright works to pay the bills, and the people they sell to have rights as well.

    France and South Korea are introducing new copyright legislation that more clearly define what fair use rights you get when you purchase copyright materials. Canada should at least consider those concepts and not simply write the copyright law as per those who did election campaigning.

    If its ok for her to be transparent about accepting funds from "friends" to be elected by Canadian citizens, it should also be acceptable for those citizens to examine her ethics during the campaign.

    This issue would have gone away on day 1 if she had simply said "Sorry, you are right and I will find alternative funding, since the people who elect me and the funders are substantially in conflict of opinion". She didn't do that, and its costing her and the liveral party votes.

    I am not voting liberal, simply because they seem to constantly have these sorts of completely "transparent" issues that benefit themselves and their friends, at the cost of the taxpayers and consumers.
    January 19, 2006

    davidb said:

    ...
    in looking at the "57% from individuals" number, lets also not lose sight of the fact that many of those "individuals" are also IP lawyers, CRIA members and others whose interests are perfectly aligned with the rights cartels (she claims to support "artist's rights". ha).

    at the $250/plate fundraiser you can bet that most seats will be bought by i) individuals (better tax breaks) who ii) support the rights cartels.

    its even worse than michael states above.
    January 19, 2006

    TO said:

    Radio Producer
    Great work Prof. Geist (and others)!!! I can't wait to watch her go down in flames, Monday night. Go Peggy!!
    January 19, 2006

    Cibby said:

    Tap dancing legend
    Good for you, Mr. Geist! Keep fighting the good fight. I'm terrified to see what will happen if Ms. Bulte gets appointed to an official cabinet position.
    January 19, 2006

    Omnipotent Speck said:

    Threat to sue
    Her latest quote in today's Globe & Mail is, "I am not going to sue him before the election but dammit, watch me after the election." Why am I not surprised to see her reverting to threats of litigation? I wonder if that bit of strategic advice came from her US handlers? It's definitely their weapon of choice when kicking and screaming doesn't work, and always provides a tidy revenue stream when other channels dry up.

    Clearly, a line has to be drawn to show that Canadians are not so intimidated by the legal system as our southern neighbors. Mr. Geist has done nothing but show us what is clearly outlined through access to information, and as a result exposed Ms. Bulte's morally questionable practices and relationships. I am proud of our own legal system, and am not willing to allow it (or our lawmaking process) to devolve into the for-profit circus it has eroded to elsewhere in the world. Stick to your guns, Mr. Geist, this is for all the marbles.
    January 19, 2006

    mhaman said:

    Threat to sue
    Ok, so there are all sorts of nasty, derogatory commercials being made by each of the political parties, but the people themselves can't ask questions?

    The more I hear from her, then less I want to hear from her. Why can't she just say that consumers should also be considered when the copyright law is changed?

    You can really see how biased she actually is, and it has nothing to do with Mr. Geists words. I simply don't like a single thing I have heard from her.

    Oh well, it really does make this voting thing easier.
    January 19, 2006

    Defamation lawyer said:

    ...
    I'm sure you'll have more than a few people come to your defense should be so stupid as to bring a lawsuit! Wha a ridiculous statement and in such obvious desperation. I wonder how much fun that party tonight can possibly be!!
    January 19, 2006

    Defamation lawyer said:

    ...
    I'm sure you'll have more than a few people come to your defense should be so stupid as to bring a lawsuit! What a ridiculous statement and in such obvious desperation. I wonder how much fun that party tonight can possibly be!!
    January 19, 2006

    G M said:

    Seems like some more Liberal Bashing
    Seems like its the new popular thing to do, if you can't attack the party on their performance then attack how they raise money.... Ever think about attacking where Steven Harper got his money for Leadership... funny how that has dropped out of the news because of people like you.... Jump on the bandwagon, maybe the Conservatives will give you a job, cause god knows thats who your helping, and I can only assume that someone of your intelligence know exactly what they are doing.... I hope she does sue you.. and win... b/c what you are doing is dispicable.... if its leagle, then let it be....
    January 20, 2006

    SJ said:

    To G M
    I think you need to take a serious look at what she is doing instead of pointing the finger here. You are being nothing but a tool in regards to how you are acting. Grow up and see what the people in our government are doing. It this is NOT a matter of Con vs. Lib. It is plain and simple a terrible terrible person running for a seat she should NEVER get. Simple as that.
    January 20, 2006

    mhaman said:

    To G M
    Hmmm, well you seem ot be able to follow blindly so why should you be able to judge?

    I dislike Bulte's very strong anti-consumer stance. She simply has no words that address consumer needs, and she belittles anyone who even asks about consumer rights.
    January 20, 2006

    Mr_Bill said:

    Marketing Manager for an Internet Securi
    Dear Mr. Geist:

    Do not be intimidated by Ms. Bulte -- she (hopefully) will be going down to defeat shortly, which, no doubt, will give her (and the recording industry, for whom she is simply an indirectly paid representative) plenty of time to sue you on the (sic.) grounds of "defamation".

    Should this occur, I trust and expect that you will undertake the following two activities, in quick succession:

    (1.) Inform Ms. Bulte, the CRIA et al., to the effect of, "I invite you, Madam, to sue me in a court of competent jurisdiction."

    (2.) Inform Ms. Bulte, the CRIA et al., of the lawsuit you will immediately file against her and them for "malicious, frivolous and vexatious prosecution", with expected damages not to be below one billion ($1,000,000,000) dollars CDN.

    Should either of these two events occur please establish a legal defence fund for yourself and I would be happy to contribute to it, as would, I have no doubt, thousands of other Canadians who resent Ms. Bulte's painfully obvious, repeated conflicts of interest and the disgraceful attempts of the U.S.-dominated recording industry to corrupt the Canadian political process to legally entrench their obsolete and profiteering business practices.

    Sincerely yours

    A senior marketing manager in a Canadian IT security company.
    January 20, 2006

    Farrell J. McGovern said:

    Just say no to DMCA-Canada!
    The problem with DMCA style legislation is that it doesn't really solve the problem, and that is the Big Content Media (BCM) is producing crap...and the audience is not lapping it up like the BCM wants us to. So rather than change the type and quality of content to conform to what the market wants, they are trying to change the market to conform to what the BCM want's to produce!

    Add to that, they are forgetting the demographics of the aging populace. You can buy The Beatle's White Album only so many times!

    Even if the industry was publishing a new "Beatles" level of quality act
    every few years, they would still be loosing audience as the Baby Boomers grow old, get sick and die. Over the next 50 years, they are going to loose a fair number of their audience.

    Big Content Media needs to get their heads out of their asses and give the audience what it wants...and it wants quality books, movies and music that is available in formats that work well with new media devices. Otherwise, the audience will continue to vote with their feet.

    ttyl
    Farrell
    January 20, 2006

    Carmen said:

    Librarian
    For years I have been watching publicly funded libraries take it in the chin because of Copyright legislation that asks that publicly funded universities pay for the research they create not once (via salaries and research grants); not twice (via paying for periodicals that increase in the order 10% a year after faculty have signed over copyright to them in order to be published); but three times (via the Copyright Collective that requires that we pay them money in order to allow people to make photocopies of articles in our collection.) We almost were forced to pay a fourth time when you indicated that the May 2004 draft of new copyright legislation would require us to pay for any links from our web page to another freely available web page. The latter truely floored me and I wondered what could possess the Standing Committee on Copyright to initiate such idiotic legislation. Well, your research on Ms. Bulte's activities means I no longer wonder. Instead I am incensed.

    Like Mr. Bill I would gladly contribute to your defense fund. It is time that bullies such as she be told the voter does not support her. She - and the people she represents in the publishing and recording industries - are supporting an increasingly out of date model related to the flow of information, and a previous poster was right - people will vote them out as well when they refuse to finance their systems and vote with their feet. We are already witnessing a shift towards open access in academia and I am confident that this will become a wider issue if people like Ms. Bulte write legislation that prevents citizens from making a copy of a DVD or CD they already paid an outragous price for. You can only push people so far.

    Thank you for all of the research you put into uncovering this issue. I am proud to see people of knowledge use this new technology to bring forward meaningful, accurate, important stories that the media failed to pay any attention to - even when all of the information was avaiable in public domain documents.

    Keep up the good work. You have my wholehearted support.

    Carmen
    January 20, 2006

    McMurphy said:

    ...
    Bulte reminds me of Nurse Ratchet from Cuckoos
    Nest. She's not capable of real debate, imposing
    her will is more important.
    January 20, 2006

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