Ignatieff: Canadian Copyright Laws Won’t be Dictated By the U.S.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is on a campus tour this week and sources report that he is being asked about Canadian copyright policy at every stop.  He responds that Canadian copyright policy must not be dictated by Washington.  He says that Canada needs its own policies and is encouraging students to help work on the issue.  While much more detail is needed – where does the party stand on ACTA, CETA, fair dealing, anti-circumvention rules, C-60/C-61, etc. – this is a promising start.


  1. Yes, well it’s not that hard to be more promising than the Conservatives
    I’m not a fan of any of our current parties or leaders, but with Harper proroguing Parliament and Clement’s passive-aggressive approach to policy, it isn’t hard for the Liberals to look like the good guys right now. What remains to be seen, as you point out, is if the Liberals will back up their rhetoric with actual, detailed plans.

  2. Agreed
    At the very least, I’d like them to backup their talk and start being more vocal in the house about these sort of issues. You can only let the NDP lead and agree with them so long before people realize that maybe, they’re the ones who should be in charge.

  3. Ignatieff also declared that “intellectual property” was Canada’s future, and how important he considered IP laws to protect his income on the 17 books he’s written.

    It occurs to me that the only way I’d ever buy any of his books, in which I currently have no interest, might be if I stumbled across a free copy on the internet, started reading, and found it fascinating. Then I’d buy it.

    Yup. Our future depends on ideas. So we’d better take measures to ensure their scarcity.

  4. I can’t even figure out who looks like the lesser of evils, let alone the good guys. The liberals just seem incompetant, the NDP unfocused and impotent and the conservatives… well, evil I guess is the best word. I have disagreed and even been angry at decisions before, but I have never been so disapointed in our entire government before.. It’s pathetic.

  5. A step in the right direction for the Liberals
    How about allowing people to vote online ? This make it easier for younger Canadians to vote as they currently don’t vote in large numbers. If younger people voted in numbers the Conservatives would suffer.

    As long as young people continue to not vote it will be the older generation making decisions with respect to copyright and net neutrality.

  6. We need to define exactally what we (as Canadians) want as Copy rights.
    I have followed Michael Geist articles for a year plus and I appreciate the thoughts, comments and links that have made me more aware of the issue(s). I have also brought the subjects up with others (teachers, writers, and media developers) during various social events – mainly looking for their thoughts. I have also read some of the suggested solutions to deal with the Internet and p2p issues (mostly coming from foreign companies with no suggestions from Canadian politicians).

    Personally, I would like to see a maximum of fifty years of copyright protection (Media only), period. Immaterial if owned by an individual or Corporation. Though not a part of this blog, Copyright protection for drugs, medical techniques and other inventions should only have a life span of twenty to twenty-five years).

    Any cost for monitoring the Internet (although performed by the ISP) must be paid for by the Industry (media) with the cost pro rated by value of material released in any one year. For those who receive less than $25,000.00 in any one year from royalties (gross) in Canada, they would pay nothing. Penalties should be a reduction in Internet speed for continuous offenders. Those that are taking advantage by sponsoring sites – advertisers (and the sites themselves) that allow linkage to material should face removal from the Internet and financial penalties.

    I believe that people will probably start using user net services to by pass p2p anyway and the problems will continue.

  7. linked economy,WIPO,future’s paradigm,Net Neutrality
    It seems to me that the global nature of the NET challenges IP concerns to be macro-managed. … The process of doing this may result in the need to agree on the vision of the ideals governing net commerce of TRIP issues. … I am trying to expand my impression that corporations defined by old business models are fighting for dominance within the WEB through their lobbyists. … I am hoping that this frontier may be able to cultivate co-operation, mutual respect, fairness, and an idea of benefitting all. … It is all too easy to politicize without defining the underlying assumptions. … Is there a chance that the linked economy could displace Dominance? … thanx!

  8. Unfortunately
    He said little to nothing. A decision of Parliament to adopt ACTA, regardless of the treaty status, would be consistent with Canada making its own decisions and get us nowhere fast. So, is it a promising start? Sounds more like electioneering to me.

    Of course, this from the party that promised to kill the GST…

    @Simon B: Online voting may help a bit, but I am not sure it’ll get out the youth voters in large numbers. I suspect that adding a “none of the above” option to the ballot may draw more out to vote, of all ages.

  9. Liberals have a pretty bad track record thus far
    It was Liberal MP Scott Brison that provided a podium for the lobbyist Scotty Greenwood to make the questionable statements linking “buy American” to copyright issues.

    It was the liberals on the anti-spam legislation committee that were pushing to legalize the copyright’s lobby’s desire to surreptitiously monitor people’s computers.

    With this this in mind it seems that the conservatives are more likely to take a balanced approach to IP issues rather than the Liberals. Assuming those were the only two choices.

  10. Iggy, we remember Bill C-60!
    I don’t buy it, because once Liberals get to power, the lobbyists will feed the liberals instead of conservatives.

  11. O RLY?

    Politician’s (and our) masters.

  12. pat donovan says:

    made in canada..
    ‘a wholy owned sub of homeland security’ (thanks rick M)

    copyright and concumer protection, or terrorism..
    they’ll get ya coming, going or hiding under a rock.

    politics (money, power, fame) is looking like a coke-brawl these days..

  13. Voting online? — Combined with 3-strikes-and-you’re-out?

    I don’t think voting online could satisfy the peculiar requirements of a voting system. It would certainly end anonymous (or nearly anonymous) posting.

  14. Talk is cheap
    I don’t buy it. He’s just saying what young Canadians want to hear. Politicians are politicians, they are mostly scumbags.

    If you really want to fix the problem, start with the source, make lobbyists and lobbying illegal, because basically, it is bribery. Start there, and then maybe we’ll get something done “for the people” instead of for the corporations.

  15. He also said…
    Ignatieff also said “We’re a country that’s built its wealth on natural resources, and we’re all aware now that it’s intellectual property that matters now” (

    Not exactly reassuring.

  16. they will fall
    Copyright on text won’t exist in 20 years. Can’t we just stop all the biting and clawing, and just go there now.
    The words are already written and you’ve been paid.
    Now write something else, and get those parasites off your coattails.

  17. Abolishing copyright isn’t the answer, nether is trying to social engineer the population that downloading is wrong. Years ago the music industry tried to shut down Radio, because it offered free music. Now Radio is an active part on what makes or breaks an artist. The net is the same way radio used to be, not just for the music industry but for all industries.

    This copyright fight is between the law makers, the ISPs, and the entertainment corps. Consumers should have never been brought into this copyright war, nor do they belong here or have to suffer the consequences in following the marketplace online!

    The Liberals have been extremely illusive on this issue, with no official party platform. Maybe if they actually stood up for Canadians, they would form the next government. Unfortunately Iggy and the rest of the opposition which represent the MAJORITY of Canadians are refusing to step up to the plate, not just on this issue, but many others. Harper should have not been able to shut parliament down. The vast majority of Canadians are not being represented in Ottawa on several fronts!

  18. Captain Hook says:

    Consumers have to speak up.
    @Jason K saiz:

    This copyright fight is between the law makers, the ISPs, and the entertainment corps. Consumers should have never been brought into this copyright war, nor do they belong here or have to suffer the consequences in following the marketplace online!


    Yes, but the consumers were dragged into this war with the WIPO Treaties and the US DMCA. The consumers are losing as the US continues to succeed in getting other countries to implement DMCA style legislation in their own countries.

    Individually consumers have a very very small voice, and unless a lot of them start making a lot of noise consumer interests and rights will be totally emaciated as law makers rush to appease the media industries.

  19. “Copyright on text won’t exist in 20 years”

    I fear this assessment may be right… not because I fear any sort of change, but because the printed word will become increasingly rare, as publishers will not have *ANY* recourse against people who copy their works. The only agents who will therefore continue to publish in such a climate are those that can obtain recompense in some way that is not dependant upon how many people actually pay for the work. This pretty much means that all books published in the future will likely have to be funded by the government, which spells the end of all notions of freedom of expression, as it’s a foregone conclusion that there will be wholesale censorship of any material that the current governing body does not want in print.

    That leaves the internet as a means of publication, which has a lower cost barrier of entry so people can reasonably self-publish, but even then, works would still be freely copiable… so a person who might have wanted to publish a book and make money off of it would have to rely entirely on the good will of other people who might get the work to donate money to him for their enjoyment of that work. That may not in and of itself be bad, except that without copyright, there’s nothing stopping somebody else who might have a larger distribution bandwidth from providing it to people either (possibly even asking for donations, just as the copyright holder was), and potentially cutting off the original creator of the work from a substantial portion of the revenue that he or she could have otherwise received.

    That’s the future of our world without copyright, and it’s a place we are probably going to be in a few decades, brought about by the lack of respect that people have continually been showing for copyrighted works since they first had the capability to easily copy such material without any real consequence… Rebellious defiance induces people to even further disrespect copyright when companies *do* try to impose consequences, so I’m quite sure that copyright will not exist at all before too long.

  20. Chapters
    Government control our works? You mean, as apposed to publishing houses and book stores? It’s better for the environment if we go digital books. It’s easier to publish when you’re digital. I think you’ll find that is why a built in levy within the internet prices would work well. Any piece of work registered with the levy would receive a piece of the levy proportional to the amount of times that book was downloaded. How about instead of paying 200 dollars for cable for a bunch of shows you wouldn’t watch, you pay 200 dollars that gets proportionaly distributed towards the shows you do watch.

  21. added
    Oink of conspiracy was said to bring in 18000$ a month in donations. I have no idea how much of that went to bandwith and servers, but that proves that people will pay for services and content they find worthwhile. Even if it’s free.

  22. Sample Bill???
    Why doesn’t he give us a sample of the bill he would introduce. That’d be a good place to start I think…back up his talk with some action.

  23. NerdOfAllTrades says:

    The problem with Canadian politics
    I hate Canadian politics…

    The Liberals always promise to do what I want them to… But they never follow through on their promises and they end up getting into all sorts of financial scandals.
    The Conservatives always keep their promises… But they never make promises I WANT them to keep.
    The NDP make promises I like and would probably keep them… But they never get elected.
    The best I can hope for is a Liberal minority with the NDP holding the balance of power. Anything else, I’m screwed.

  24. The only way Ignatieff is going to become PM is if we see a revival of the Liberal/NDP coalition. In fact if there’s an election this year I would bet on that being our next government. So you have to wonder just what kind of effect that would have on Liberal copyright policy.

  25. Remember the GST and the FTA?
    Considering how the Liberals basically lied to the Canadian people on what they would do with the FTA and the GST once in power, it is extremely difficult to take seriously Ignatieff’s vague statements. The Liberals (not unlike the Conservatives) will tell people what they want to hear in order to achieve power. Once in power, they will do as they please. Sadly, the only real alternative to the two is a party which is in big labour’s hip pocket. Sigh.

  26. There won’t be coalition
    Michaelle Jean is biased towards the Cons.

    And Iggy is Dion 2.0, as you can see here:,michael+ignatief&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

  27. The GG’s supposed bias is irrelevant. Constitutional convention requires that the government hold the confidence of the house. If the opposition parties come to her with a plan to form a coalition before the first session of parliament even begins, she’ll have little choice but to oblige.

  28. disgusted canadian
    I think Iggy is a lot of hot air and bs. What he doesn’t bother to mention is that policy will be generated in Washington and filtered to him through the queen of England’s twat.