Garneau Responds: Clarifying the Liberal Copyright Recommendation

Late this afternoon, Marc Garneau, the Liberal Industry critic, contacted me to respond to my post today on the Liberal dissenting recommendation to introduce copyright legislation and ratify the WIPO Internet treaties in the Industry Committee report on the Canadian economy.  The following notes on the call are posted with his permission.  Garneau advised that the committee offered all parties the opportunity to raise recommendations but only those with unanimous support were put forward as committee recommendations.  Those that did not receive unanimous support could be raised by individual parties as the Liberals did with copyright.

Garneau admitted that the language used may have caused some concern, but that the recommendation was really designed as marker to indicate interest in addressing the copyright issue.  He said that copyright was among the most lobbied issues he faces, with weekly meetings from a variety on stakeholders over the past eight months.  Garneau cautioned against reading the recommendation as the official position of the Liberal party on copyright, noting that it would likely use Bill C-60, which adopted a more flexible approach on anti-circumvention legislation than C-61, as the starting point for analysis.  He added that the Liberal party recognizes the importance of digital issues, as evidenced by their support for C-27 (anti-spam legislation), net neutrality, and copyright reform.


  1. Good to hear
    More than just the clarification on their copyright stance, but also that the Liberals are aware enough of internet discussion on the topic to reach out and provide that clarification.

  2. Heavy lobby interests
    The phrase “copyright was among the most lobbied issues he faces” expresses the problem. Our representatives hear the stories of the copyright industries, and are swayed by their narrative. Of course, as time goes by, these industries are realizing that the narrative is sound less and less plausible. These are last-ditch efforts. If they cannot achieve their DMCA-like laws in the next 5 years, it is unlikely that they will ever get them.

  3. So let me get this right…there is now clarification that there is no clarification on the Liberals official position on copyright, yet we are not to look into the Committee statement that much? Wouldn’t it be logical to let Canadians know what the official position is. The liberals have sat on the sidelines on their position on copyright reform for over 2 years now, I think the everyone should read deeply into that Committee Statement very much so until an official policy on copyright has been announced.

    How can an Industry Critic do his job without a position on industry policy? All parties need to give us Canadians a break and stop acting like dumb cattle or treating the Canadian voters like dumb cattle. The last election was about fuzzy sweaters, accents, and personalities in the middle of a Stock Market Crash for crying out loud. Enough, people want to see leadership and debate policy. At least our MP’s have one thing in common, the fountain of proprietorial youth. They’re all stuck developmentally around the age of 9. Happy Canada Day, at least Sir John had his moments of clarity in a drunken spur, unlike these twits we have in Ottawa right now.

  4. The problem with anti-circumvention laws….
    … is that it empowers the legal system to play favorites, and only go after people that they want to make an example of rather than applying equally to anybody who breaks the law, because, let’s be honest here… laws prohibiting circumvention are not going to be enforceable in the case of private copying, since if a copy is genuinely for nobody’s use but the copier, then there is no feasible way for law enforcement to discover the act short of putting spy-cams in everybody’s homes… (oh, and don’t think I just gave them an idea because I have little doubt that the powers that be have already considered the notion). So either they are going to turn a blind eye to that sort of activity, which again, makes the law terribly unobjective, or else they really just aren’t going to worry about that sort of copying… But then if they aren’t going to be worried about the sort of private copying that isn’t likely to ever be noticed, then… and here’s the punch line… WHY IN THE FRIGGEN HECK ARE THEY WANTING TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL?

  5. It’s a Liberal plan working quite well actually…
    1) Introduce C-60 just before the Liberal government falls.

    2) Do some internal politiking to help the Conservatives crank out C-61.

    3) Revel in the backlash and reoffer up C-60.

    The liberals are patient geniuses.

    I wonder how many will fall for it?

  6. Really, did he say anything?
    Quote: Garneau cautioned against reading the recommendation as the official position of the Liberal party on copyright, noting that it would likely use Bill C-60, which adopted a more flexible approach on anti-circumvention legislation than C-61, as the starting point for analysis.

    The problem, as I see it, is that he really said nothing… “likely”, “starting point”… One could easily end up with a Liberal version of C-61.

    Realistically, they should be starting with an intended list of goals, including the rights of the consumer as well as the copyright holder, and developing the legislation from that point. The rights of one group should not trample the rights of the other; these are, in some ways, competing rights. The goals should be included into the legislation to assist guiding the courts in the interpretation of the law.

  7. Maupassant says:

    If you believe that, Michael, I’ve got some lovely beach-front property in Arizona that you might be interested in. Overlooks the sea. No, really.

  8. Copyright lobbying is from Liberal party members
    The Liberal Party has opened up a variety of ways to listen to its membership and to Canadians recently, including OnProbation, Forum Liberalis, En Famille, etc, and copyright changes to protect user rights are always a top issue on both the public and private forums. The fact that the Liberal Industry, Science and Technology would call Michael Geist within hours of a blog post says a lot about how much attention they are paying to this issue.

  9. If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.
    The liberals have lots of people to keep happy.

    If they tell everyone what they want to hear, most people will stop listening, and assume that their interests are being looked after.

    Yay! Vague statements!
    Yay! No accountability!
    Yay! Politics!

  10. “among the most lobbied issues he faces”
    I also would love if this was expanded upon. How much of this lobbying is actually from Canadian interests and what percentage of Canadians do their lobby groups represent?

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with corporate and pressure group lobbying in general? Can’t we have some sort of system to allow citizens to raise issues to government without having an electorally disproportionate advantage (perhaps through their MP’s) ?