Amid the attention being given to the CRIA/Pollara survey and the CATO report on the dangers of the DMCA, I nearly overlooked an important op-ed from Professor Tom Flanagan, a hugely influential political scientist widely described as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's political mentor. Professor Flanagan's article, co-authored with Gemma Collins, appeared in Saturday's Ottawa Citizen under the headline File Sharing is an Asset, Not a Problem. The full article is behind a paywall, but it argues that "P2P file-sharing is no more a threat to the movie and music industries than lending libraries are to the book-publishing business." The article saves the best for last:
"As Heritage Minister Bev Oda has noted, a balance between creators and consumers must be the goal of sound copyright legislation. But 'making available' ignores the consumer in favour of the producer, to solve problems that don't exist. There is no crisis of creativity or profitability in popular culture that requires such draconian interference with personal liberty. Canada signed the 1997 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, but we have not yet ratified them by enacting their provisions into our domestic law. There is still time to draw back from a step that would create a new class of lawbreakers and impose censorship on the Internet, without doing anything to foster genuine cultural vitality."
Update: The Flanagan article is now online.