NDP Pledges To Make Copyright A By-Election Issue

The federal government is expected to call three by-elections within the next couple of weeks, with the voting set for early September.  One of the most hotly contested by-elections will the riding of Guelph, which currently held by the Liberals.  All three parties believe they have a shot at this riding – the riding was held by the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney and the NDP views the riding as a possible pickup as well.  With that in mind, it is noteworthy that the NDP candidate Tom King today put copyright reform fairness squarely on the table as an election issue.

King, a long-time artist and writer, has pledged to raise Bill C-61, noting that "this type of American approach to copyright law does not benefit Canadian consumers, or Canadian artists."  King is looking to Guelph area residents to put copyright and net neutrality on the election agenda.  There is a Guelph Fair Copyright for Canada chapter – if you're in the area, be sure to get involved to ensure that all candidates are forced to account for their party's position on copyright.

Update: Coverage from the CBC and Canwest on the prospect of copyright as an election issue in Guelph. 


  1. Optimistic Cynic says:


    And a university runs through it:

    [ link ]

  2. It won’t fly in Quebec
    Two of the three by-elections are in Quebec. From what I’ve heard, opinion on C-61 is generally favourable. Quebecers have a unique, but fragile, culture and see the need to protect it. I’ve yet to see a single editorial from a French-language publication against the bill. If the NDP really wants to make this an election issue, I guess that means they see little chance of making any inroads in Quebec.

  3. Protecting Quebec from Isolationists
    Quebec needs to discover that it’s also part of Canada, that it was invited to be so, and that they are eventually victim to the indirect fallout from nearsighted decisions they may make for the rest of us.

    When they favourably consider a legal change which will inhibit the free expression of valuable and wonderful Canadian culture, such as that which originates from the artists of Quebec, they forget that culture which is not seen has no value. In allowing corporations to mismanage their cultural legacy, they’re killing the very thing they appear to want to protect.

    Somehow the common policy of “If it’s good for Canada it’s bad for our part of Canada” becomes visibly risky.

  4. Bish says “they forget that culture which is not seen has no value.”

    What are you talking about? Top Quebec TV programs regularly have 3-4 million viewers. They have audience numbers that English Canadian television producers can only dream about. Quebecers are very loyal to their culture and stars. Any erosion in the audience that pays for that culture would be devastating.

    The situation in Quebec is vastly different. And the interests of Quebec voters are part of the political calculus behind bill C-41. If you want this bill to go down, you need to convince Quebecers why it is bad for them. So far, they remain unconvinced.

  5. Is the text of C-61 Lifted from the DMA?
    Has anyone thought to put the US DMA law and this proposed law side by side as to see if they use the same verbiage?

    Meaning was this written by outside Canada lobbyist? Does C-61 repeat any of the phrases or sentences in the US Act?

    I don’t know how to do it – but there’s software for catching cheating students – it would be great to run the program to see if whoever wrote this law lifted any of the content.

  6. LIQUID VISUAL says:

    Fair Copyright
    Stop the Sorcerer’s Prentice!

  7. Promateus says:

    Quebec\s coverage
    While it is true that there was very little coverage in Quebec, and virtually no coverage in french,
    i would not say that it is representative to say that \”they\” as a group are in favor of c-61. Editorials, i would think, are a very lousy place to look, and make inference from, for evaluating a group\’s stance on an issue. For having discussed c-61 with my friends and familly, i can say that people are as receptive here as they are in TROC to arguments to the effect that criminalizing wide range of regular activities, with random and exemplary enforcement being the counterpart, is a shit principle for a copyright reform. In fact, if you check quebec\’s many distinctive take on issue and regulatory arrangements on many other issues, one finds that there seems to be an even bigger distastes here for crimilazing and policing petty crimes and various small social disturbances. Take youth approach to crime, for instance. Also, quebec\’s prides itself from time to time  in editorials and all  for being one of the most respectfull province as far as protecting some individuals\’ or group of citizens\’ rights. Take the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for instance or it\’s stronger labor laws. Hell there\’s many arguments being made to the effect that Quebec would indeed be better off if it were to part with TROC BECAUSE it is perceived  and valued  that quebec is politically more \”progressive\” than TROC, and that it is difficult to say the least, to bring the whole country towards progressive guiding principles!

    So the idea that the protest against C-61 will not stick in quebec is not one i would endorsed. It just hasn\’t been instrumentalised and worded right yet. I am absolutely baffled that the Bloc do not see politicdal opportunism there, as their main opponent is not NDP but Conservatives (who managed to peirce so many of their stronghold such as Quebec City\’s region)which leaves this axis almost inarticuled in quebec politics. There are many advantages of \”occupying\” sqarely an axis of debate, and then to try to bring it to the front in good old agenda setting tactics. But bloc seems either slow to see this as an opportunity, unable to articulate them, or ignorant of the issues. Or political elites could have a strange take on the issue or they could be not ready to move on an election and then scared this might be minority-breaker or … I don\’t know. Maybe there\’s not a french speaking Michael Geist. I personnaly think the real culprit is radio-canada which is so far behind the cbc as far as techno-politics is involved. I use to boast about this service (radio-can)but now the\’re disappointing me as they are not able, it seems, to follow tech-savvy politics. For instances, Bruno Guglielminetti (might not be spelled right, sorry Bruno), radio-can\’s tech correspondant, speaks more often of new releases (and secondarily of the controversies associated with such)than actual techno-politics. Prove me wrong Bruno! One only has to querry \”net neutrality\” in the engine and then compare with radio-canada engine to realize how uninformed french journalism is about some very important issue. Paradoxicaly, the CRTC is an organism that everyone here knows, since it was an instrument in preserving french programs and broadcasts (i\’m guessing it is less known in other places but could be wrong). When i saw the bloc\’s response to \”worries\” about C-61 that was linked here, i had to mail Duceppe.

    Anyways, mea culpa to all my english friends, but it seems right now we are shitting the bed. I\’ve been working on a summary presentation of the different positions on copyright reform, based in part from my long time reading this blawg (and the many links provided within) and McGill\’s digital dystopia conference where, i think, the key positions (i count four) on reforms were well represented and articulated, to maybe have it posted on le devoir or La presse or places like that. Hopefully it will help in bringing the issue to the fore. Good work Michael.

  8. Jourdelune says:

    If the Bloc do nothing…
    … they will loose all the 20-40 years old segment at the next Election towards NPD.

    The main thing is, Quebec is social-democrat has his core. NPD is social democrat for Canada. Guess what… if NPD fight that C-61 bill and not the Bloc… the Bloc will get an exodus of his young (compare to the old baby boomer) fans.

    For the NPD to get more Quebecer, they simply need to reassure us that every program they want to put on Federal level, would not alter our provincial program (health care social system, education social systems). More they need to say that the money give to Canadians for their new programs, will be distribute has fair share to Quebecer to help them in their own deficit health care program (more the time goes, more the population become old, more Health Care cost).

    Actually, the only coverage we get has french Canadian, is a loosely comedy show where they shown a 14 years old teen saying that even if the law passed, that the governement can’t know what it do over the web. A full illusion of shit saying to 3 millions people that the law will not be enforceable so, it don’t matter if it passed.


  9. Bob
    elections suck