News

That’s What Friends Are For

In May 2004, the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee released what is now widely described as the "Bulte Report", a remarkably one-sided report on the future of Canadian copyright.  The report addressed WIPO, ISP, and education issues, siding in every instance with the views of rights holders such as the Canadian Recording Industry Association.  Soon after I wrote a column about the report, arguing that there was an unfortunate perception of bias given the fact that Ms. Bulte had accepted campaign contributions from various rights holder organizations.  I recommended that "parliamentarians involved in the copyright reform process should refuse all such contributions to ensure that the perception of absolute impartiality is preserved."  Ms. Bulte was unhappy with the article, complaining about "allegations that my work in Parliament has in any way been influenced by donations that I have received."

Fast forward to the current election campaign and it is clear that Ms. Bulte remains closely aligned with those same rights holder organizations.  Her website lists a number of campaign events, the most interesting of which is a $250.00 per person fundraiser on January 19th featuring Cowboy Junkies singer (and CRIA President Graham Henderson partner) Margo Timmins. 

The sponsors of this event, to be held four days before the election?

Within the boundaries of the Election Act, MPs are of course free to fundraise any way they like and individual Canadians are free to contribute to those same MPs.  However, with the public's cynicism about elected officials at an all-time high and Canadians increasingly frustrated by a copyright policy process that is seemingly solely about satisfying rights holder demands, is it possible to send a worse signal about the impartiality of the copyright reform process?  At $250.00 a person, I have my doubts that many of the artists that Ms. Bulte claims to represent will be present.  Instead, it will lobbyists and lobby groups, eagerly handing over their money with the expectation that the real value of the evening will come long after Margo Timmins has finished her set.

6 Comments

  1. david-darlene says:

    I shouldn’t say I told you so but…
    I think about 4-5 months ago (some time in the summer) I emailed Mr.Geist about the legality of online guitar tabs/lyrics. Now it looks like it is going to be an issue in 2006 but I never recieved a reply because of most likely high volume emails sent to Mr.Geist

    The music industry is to extend its copyright war by taking legal action against websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics.

    The US Music Publishers’ Association (MPA), which represents sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006.
    MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed.

    He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were “completely illegal”.

    Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can “throw in some jail time I think we’ll be a little more effective”.
    [By Ian Youngs ]

  2. Still the coward you always were!
    Typically of cowards and still the intellectual and physical coward you have been all your life you will only post comments that agree with you. I wonder who is paying your bills?

  3. david-darlene says:

    unsure?
    is that comment directed at me? no one pay’s my bills but my wife and I who both have honest work.

    I haven’t seen many stories that I wanted to comment on lately.

  4. Mark-Alan Whittle says:

    CEO, Street Advisor Ic.
    Of course she wasn’t influenced, she’s a Liberal. Only Conservatives or the Bloc are influenced by those that fund and represent them. It has become pretty clear the liberals light of the common man has been snuffed out by their self-dealing, corruption and greed. Vote Harper, save Canada.

  5. ceo of me
    as to the above comment we did vote harper and things got even worse. there has been so much corruption surrounding this bill and no one hears about it. and thanks to people like dr. geist, now they are ūüôā vote geist, save canada!

  6. i hate who ever wrote this says:

    this is stupid i need a site that can te
    Hi i am here to tell you i looked and i coudnt fing a page with just a thing a about friends and since this is the internet i shoul have so if you no a site that actually just has a page of stuff about friends send me the name