Archive for June, 2006

Backing Bev

A couple of weeks I blogged about Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda's fundraising during the last federal election.  Days before the vote, as the Conservative momentum made her a likely Cabinet minister, Oda accepted contributions  from many in the copyright lobby including Universal Music (tied for her third largest external […]

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June 28, 2006 7 comments News

CLA on Captain Copyright

At its annual meeting in Ottawa earlier this month, the Canadian Library Association passed a resolution on Access Copyright's Captain Copyright.  The resolution is powerful rebuke from one of the groups that the Captain Copyright program presumably hoped to attract.  It criticizes the biased approach on copyright, the linking policy, […]

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June 27, 2006 1 comment News

The Toronto Wifi Plan

Tyler Hamilton has a terrific article on Toronto Hydro’s progress in creating a city-wide wifi system.

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June 27, 2006 Comments are Disabled News

Full CV

Dr. Geist’s Full CV Geistcvmay06-long.pdf

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June 27, 2006 Comments are Disabled General

Canadian Gov’t Pays Copyright Lobby to Lobby

While the Harper government last week passed accountability legislation in the House of Commons, my weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny – lobbying that is financed by the government itself.  According to government documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, last fall the Ministry of Canadian Heritage entered into a multi-year agreement with the Creators' Rights Alliance, a national coalition of artists groups and copyright collectives with members both small (the League of Canadian Poets) and large (SOCAN and Access Copyright).  The CRA has eight objectives, which notably include "to ensure that government policy and legislation recognize that copyright is fundamentally about the rights of creators" and "to ensure that international treaties and obligations to which Canada is signatory provide the strongest possible protection for the rights of creators."

The Canadian Heritage – CRA agreement, which could run until 2008 at a total cost of nearly $400,000, appears to be designed primarily to enable the CRA to lobby the government on copyright reform.  In return for $125,000 annually, the CRA provides the Ministry with its views on copyright in the form of comments, analysis or research papers (other deliverables include a policy conference, website communications, and a regular newsletter).

The contract raises several issues.

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June 26, 2006 5 comments Columns