While it won't come as a surprise that I disagree with much of what Sookman writes, that alone doesn't merit a follow-up posting.
There are some comments that deserve a response – Sookman suggests that I engage in scaremongering when I call attention to the dangers to privacy and free speech posed by anti-circumvention legislation (obviously several of Canada's privacy commissioners disagree), yet it seems to me that scaremongering is an apt description for Sookman's piece. A sample includes:
"unabated digital piracy in Canada will inevitably mean fewer jobs and slower economic growth here. Further, it threatens a loss of the cultural vitality that has become a source of great pride to Canadians through the strong presence of our writers, filmmakers and music artists on the world stage. If the fruit of a creators' hard work and ingenuity can be taken with the click of a mouse, then how long before that person gives up to get a 'paying job' to support himself or herself and his or her family?"
"By proposing a course that would distinguish Canada from the U.S., Prof. Geist effectively advocates Canada's continued isolation from almost the entire developed world and, in its place, alignment with 35,000 Swedish 'Pirate Party' voters."
It seems to me that is real scaremongering. There is no evidence that there is unabated digital piracy in Canada – indeed, Canadian Heritage just reported remarkable growth for Canadian music. Further, the notion that rejecting WIPO will place Canada in isolation from almost the entire developed world is simply untrue as the majority of our leading trading partners have yet to ratify the WIPO Internet Treaties.
It is the conclusion to the piece, however, that triggered this posting. The end simply says:
Barry Sookman is a partner with McCarthy Tétrault, where he is the co-chair of its technology law group. He is an expert on information technology. Mr. Sookman wrote this piece not as the representant of any particular organization.
This is noteworthy not for what it says, but for what it does not say. Sookman is also a registered lobbyist for CRIA and it is surprising that that position was not disclosed in a column on copyright that mimics many of the arguments made by CRIA and even cites with approval a CRIA-sponsored Pollara poll. In fact, many of these same arguments were made by Sookman earlier this year to a gathering of government officials at a CRIA-led event in Ottawa. This is all fair game as Sookman is obviously free to join his former law partner (CRIA President Graham Henderson) and associate (CRIA General Counsel Richard Pfohl) in supporting CRIA's copyright lobbying. In doing so, however, it is difficult to understand why he chose not to let the light shine in on that relationship in the Hill Times piece.