Speech From the Throne: Digital Strategy, Copyright, Open Telecom, Lawful Access, & Cybersecurity

Today’s Speech from the Throne, which sets out the government’s agenda for coming Parliamentary session, includes a considerable number of digital issues.  These include:

  • a digital economy strategy: “a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the economy”
  • copyright reform: “to encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity contribute to Canada’s prosperity, our Government will also strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright.”
  • open telecom to foreign investment: “open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment in key sectors, including the satellite and telecommunications industries”
  • lawful access: “introduce legislation to give police investigative powers for the twenty-first century.”
  • cybersecurity: “working with provinces, territories and the private sector, our Government will implement a cyber-security strategy to protect our digital infrastructure.”


  1. ishmael daro says:

    Rather short on details…
    These announcements are all rather vague, Professor Geist. For example, “lawful access” could be a needed change to policing or a severe invasion of privacy for citizens. Copyright reform, too, sounds suspiciously like ACTA but it could well be reasonable reforms that help everyone.

    Only time will tell, but these Throne Speeches sure don’t illuminate much.

  2. Drew Wilson says:

    Canadian DMCA
    This is talk that is followed by the Canadian DMCA. It was known it was coming the last time the government said this in a throne speech and this time around, nothing has changed. My blood is boiling over this.

    lol @ captcha: “Government snort”

  3. You’re thieves
    >a digital economy strategy
    >copyright reform

    Were gonna take your consumer rights away because our friends with money tell us you’re all stealing money from poor starving artists. Which is strange because if I was a real starving artists who burns his own music I’d have to pay a levy on blank cd’s to compensate other artists as I might be taking away their share of the market.

    >open telecom to foreign investment

    Great we’ll get crippled cell phones.

    >lawful access: “introduce legislation to give police investigative powers for the twenty-first century.”

    So far seems the were losing more and more rights in the 21st century.

  4. When Iggy was asked about the Digital Strategy, “They’re just going to introduce the same copyright bill they did 2 years ago.”

    The language: “our Government will also strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright.”

    They don’t seem that committed to balanced copyright to me. Just my thoughts.

  5. strunk&white says:

    Well, Jason, it’s good to see you making up your mind before the facts are in. I hope you lobby hard. Just admit that you’re lobbying when you do it, please.

  6. I really hope they get taken down over this plan.

  7. Captain Hook says:

    Sure Jason may be jumping to conclusions, but they would certainly be reasonable conclusions given what we’ve seen from the government.

    I believe he would only be lobbying if he was being paid to influence the government. Or is anyone with an opinion considered a lobbyist these days?

  8. David Lam says:

    RE: open telecom to foreign investment
    “open telecom to foreign investment” – this is huge news. It means that the recent Wind Mobile cabinet approval over foreign ownership is not a one-off. Unfortunately, this should have been done before the spectrum auction a few years ago, so that new entrants can provide competition more directly.

    I wonder how what the other parties’ position on this is though – the Cons have a minority and any dramatic amendments to the Acts may not have the required support.

  9. strunk&white says:

    Sure the man fired his pistol into a crowd without aiming, but we don’t like that crowd. Nice.

    Good question about lobbying — reading this blog I often wonder why anyone with an opinion is labeled a lobbyist these days. It must because that is such an easy cheap shot to make.

  10. Yay I’m a lobbyist too! Now all I need is a few billion dollars and the will to use them to influence the legislation for my own financial interests and I could be the next MAFIAA!

  11. Whoever theorized “struck&white” is a biased, lobbyist troll is right on the money. Not to mention a possible racist, based on some of his more “colourful” comments.

  12. strunk&white says:

    ah, the reasonableness bubbles to the surface once more – it’s a wonder there isn’t more civilized debate on this site.

  13. Michael Geist says:

    Re: the lobbyist label.

    Can you identify a single instance on this blog where I’ve used the term lobbyist for someone (or organization) that is not legally registered as a lobbyist?


  14. strunk&white says:

    dude, you’re going to have to back up the “racist” claim. I don’t take that kind of attack lightly.

    Call me a biased lobbyist troll all you want — I expect no less from the rhetorical skillset here — but get personal like that, and you’re going to need to be proving it, or apologizing.

  15. @strunk&white
    I haven’t jumped into any conclusions, I’ll do that when I see the legislation. That comment was just speculating based on the language used in the speech. It represents those calling for things like the 3 strikes law, law suits on consumers etc.

    Clement was just on CTV’s powerplay explaining the Digital Strategy. Clement stated he has been very vocal with the US on a made in Canada approach to copyright, and recognized Canada slipping in the tech sector. Also recognized that in order to have a sucessful online marketplace, more people need to be connected to it. I hope they understand what’s before us, and I hope we do end up with a balanced approach to copyright. I don’t trust the current government for a number of reasons, they have a history of deception for personal political gain, and partisan bickering rather than running the country.

  16. Our Govt Needs to be Canned says:

    ACTA shows that DMCA II is coming our way
    The position of the Canadian delegation is their bum in the air, waiting to be penetrated by the ignorant and greedy powers that be. We’re getting the DMCA again and Clement is going to like it.

  17. The only reason the term “lobbyist” is considered negative at all is because of it’s association with the RIAA, MPAA, etc, not because it is inherently a negative term.

  18. Clement on CBC now, stating with respect to copyright reform “Users need to know what the rules are..”

  19. Chris Brand says:

    “Users need to know what the rules are..”
    Sad. I’d say “User’s shouldn’t need to know what the rules are”. One inherent problem with copyright today is that a law that was intended to apply to businesses has morphed into something that requires everyone to hire a lawyer before using their home electronics.

  20. Users need to know what the rules are..
    Yup I paid for it and I can do whatever I want with it within the current law. I can buy a music cd and play it on anything that will play that cd. I can rip it and used it on MY other non cd devices. I can give it away (the cd), I can sell it (the cd) and catch it on fire (the cd). The cd, file data, etc.. is mine the copyright ownership is the companies.

    I don’t get whats wrong the current way, ohh wait they want me to buy a different copy for every different media device that I plan on using. I see they just want to take away my current consumer rights and restrict them so they can hold onto their outdated business model instead of evolving.

  21. strunk&white says:

    re: lobbyist label

    Well, I guess that depends on your definition of “identify” because I’m referring to the general practice on this blog (including the comments section) of loading the term “lobbyist” with implications of dishonesty, misrepresentation of facts and undue influence based on budget size.

    Such implications call into question the ability of any politician or public servant to honestly deal with industry spokespeople in good faith while still keeping the public interest at the center of their decisions and recommendations. I think such a rhetorical approach is ugly and beneath anyone in a position of public intellectual authority, especially one claiming unbiased “research.”

    Thanks for asking. It was great to get that off me chest, especially since I haven’t see anyone stepping in to rebuke Trieste for his completely uncalled for attack. I mean, if we are so concerned about accurate name-calling here, you’d think someone in authority would have something to say about that.

    So, just to satisfy the question, I think we only have to look back as far as last week or so, when you oh so subtly tried to imply that I was a lobbyist. If that wasn’t using the term as a rhetorical hammer then what was it?

  22. Chris Brand + Bronxi
    The question becomes, how they plan on enforcing these “rules” with respect to users. I don’t think imposing “rules” on users with respect to content will be enforceable at all without changes to our constitution. A deterrence maybe, but enforceable? It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with, and how the public reacts.

  23. A lobbyist says:

    A lobbyist is..
    A lobbyist is someone who seeks to circumvent democracy and pretend that their voice should be louder than those of the people whom a representative actually represents. Time and time again, a tiny minority opinion coming from people who have the clout to pay someone to go and do this, have their way while the rest of the good spirited members of the democracy don’t even get a response letter from their MP.

    Go to the Canadian lobbyist website and you’ll see what I mean, you’ll see who gets Clement’s ear and it isn’t anyone who is representing someone who has the right to vote.

    Waiting for my MP (LIBERAL MP) to write me back at least once,

    An ignored Canadian.

  24. strunk&white says:

    a lobbyist
    Well, there you go. How could anyone misinterpret how the work lobbyist gets used over here?

    And here I was thinking that lobbying is a perfectly legal mechanism by which groups in common interest can pool their resources to make contact with legislators in a perfectly legal effort to represent their viewpoint. A valuable tool of democracy, in fact.

    Subject to misuse? Yes, like most tools of democracy.

    Clearly, though, there is only one meaning of the word “lobbyist.”

    Except when he’s your lobbyist.

  25. strunk&white says:

    Chris Brand,

    Why shouldn’t we be expected to know and respect rules when we engage with culture as users? This is the specific-to-general tendency I find so baffling over here, and if there were less of that fallacy in constant use, you’d find fewer independent artists like myself offended by your views.

    Why should we abandon all sense of personal responsibility just because some of the rules are having trouble adapting to the rapidity of changing times? It’s rhetorical nonsense to say copyright is designed only for businesses. Individual users have been constrained by the exclusive rights of the holder for as long as there has been copyright, and certain exceptions, like fair dealing, provide necessary relief from those constraints where appropriate. Knowing all this, and understanding it has always been the responsibility of the individual.

    I was in New York a while back, and came across this scene in the subway in Midtown on a Saturday evening. A woman entered the subway platform, opened a suitcase, unfolded a tarp onto the station floor and spread out a display of clearly pirated DVDs. She then sat her young daughter on the suitcase and had her cutely display one of the DVDs in her hand while soliciting strangers to stop and buy. The girl couldn’t have been more than four years old, and the suitcase she sat on was two feet from the trains that sped in and out of the station. Every single one of the “users” who stopped to buy DVDs, and there were many (I have a photo) should have known and understood that many, many rules, not just copyright, were being broken in that exchange, yet the illicit market flourished.

    You can make a cute claim that not all filesharing is piracy, and I’ll agree with that while still calling it cute. But illegal filesharing of pirated copyrighted works is as wrong as that little girl being made to sell illegal DVDs on the subway platform. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone here, including Dr. Geist, try to make a workable distinction between legal and illegal filesharing and say flat out that the illegal stuff is wrong. Instead we get dress-up pirates, shill-sniffing, and the excusing of infringements in the name of a vague greater good.

    Customs rules are generally applied to businesses as well, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t protect individuals who claim they “didn’t know” a trunkful of cigarettes would be a problem. Rules are rules. Deal with them.

  26. Captain Hook says:

    “Subject to misuse? Yes, like most tools of democracy.”

    So, considering the bad rap lobbyists get, (Not just here) do you think that perhaps this ‘tool’ is being misused rather more that it should be? And perhaps it is this misuse that has produced the venom you are now witnessing towards lobbyists?

    I say, that sounds a lot like the state of copyright too.

    Naa, your right. These institutions are functioning perfectly well. There are simply too many whiners in the world. That’s all.

  27. Michael Geist says:

    I guess it’s my turn to wait for an actual example. I didn’t call you a lobbyist – I said that an Executive Director of creator organization that advocates on copyright would register as lobbyist. We’ve already established that that is not you. Citizens are entitled to voice their views without any need for registration.

    You’ve loaded implications into the word lobbyist and the reason for its inclusion in some of my posts. Where I reference a lobbyist, I do so because I think it is relevant to know that the person is registered as a lobbyist on copyright for an organization such as CRIA, CMPDA, or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. According to the law, the lobbyist is paid to advocate on behalf of his or her clients on copyright with public officials. Surely that is relevant context for their public posts and comments.

    As for the racist reference, I found it completely inappropriate. However, given the rush to link and reference some of the inaccurate smear jobs against me, you’ll have to forgive me for not rushing to your defence. I disagree with many comments on my own blog. I do not wish to moderate the comments, however, so my approach is to let my posts speak for themselves.


  28. Captain Hook says:

    “Why should we abandon all sense of personal responsibility just because some of the rules are having trouble adapting to the rapidity of changing times? It’s rhetorical nonsense to say copyright is designed only for businesses. Individual users have been constrained by the exclusive rights of the holder for as long as there has been copyright, and certain exceptions,”

    Total rubbish.

    I suspect Chris whs referring to private use of copyright protected data. Not selling counterfeit DVDs in the NY subway.

    Sure technically you can say users have been constrained by copyright for as long as it has existed, but no normal use by consumers has ever been considered a regulated use, until quite recently. NORMAL user behaviour has always been unregulated. As it should be.

    Copyright is a monstrous piece of legal code that even lawyers can’t agree on. And you expect users to follow it in their normal daily lives? Get real. That is sort of like expecting individuals to be members of and follow the rules of the CMA whenever they get a band aid from the first aid kit. These rules are note meant for them. Copyright was that way, and needs to be that way again.

  29. Ralph E. Marsh says:

    @ Strunk&white,

    Rules are rules only when you can’t buy new ones. Every copyright extension has been at the expense of the public, who granted the very concept of copyright…Let me give you an example from American copyright law, since you used New York as an example.

    If some of those DVD’s came from the Golden Era of Hollywood, they would have been Public Domain in America if the terms of copyright had been followed instead of changed for the members of the MPAA benefit far later in time.

    Example, Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of OZ, Bringing Up Baby, among many others, were created under the copyright rules of a maximum of 56 years. All of those titles gone Public Domain in 1996 or earlier – before DVD’s were ever created.

    But no, spend a lot of lobby money and override the contract with the people that was perfectly agreeable to all parties at the time of creation, because 50 years later a corporation realized they might lose a revenue stream. And do over and over again, and try to plug the PD hole everywhere else in the world so nobody can let the “treasures” leak out of the corporate wallet.

    The problem is now the public is starting to play the game back at those corporations and their lobbyists and sychophants. Not Fair! Quick, hide the lobbying in secret treaties so nobody will know until it’s too late.

    THIS is a well-run representative government?

  30. @strunk&white
    “But illegal filesharing of pirated copyrighted works is as wrong as that little girl being made to sell illegal DVDs on the subway platform.”

    There are 2 ways to look at file sharing that have emerged over the years:

    1) Illegal must be stopped at all costs
    2) Opportunity, investment, low cost and a potential to reach audiences larger than the those who watch the superbowl. The bigger the audience is the more the production is worth even in the old way of doing things.

    Most people in industry I have spoken with disagree with the act of file sharing because they are not paid for it. In music for example, money gathered from the copyright pool of legal sales goes towards funding the production of acts. Without this pool, there is basically no funding available for future productions. However, the money isn’t gone, it’s actually shifted to other areas of this industry, in large part due to file sharing. The smart business people would adapt to where the money is located which would be more than enough to offset the lost revenue from the sale of copy protected music. Technological advances over the years have also dramatically reduced the amount of money it would cost to produce an album. You can produce a professionally sounding album now on $5000. I’ve done it on less!

    Monetizing file sharing is something that’s gaining traction in the music business, but is actively being rejected by the large labels in large part due to control of the marketplace. This has nothing to do with money, and more on control of market share. If monetization were to go through, Warner music would be competing against me. That’s a prospect they don’t like, so “File sharing is evil” and “lets go to war with our consumers”. If it was about money, monetization of these networks would have started to happen a long time ago.

    Don’t fool yourself buddy, it’s not about right or wrong, it’s about who controls what, and that’s an area that has already been abused by these corps.

  31. @strunk&white…Continued
    The question than becomes and ideological one. Which is better for industry, Monopoly based, or more players. The age of the monopoly I think has already ended in large part due to the economic downturn. It’s not possible anymore to control the marketplace online without infringing on freedoms society enjoys. Society won’t let that happen, and back around we go. The best thing they can do is set up a deterrence, and deterrences have been proven not to work. The only option left is monetization.

  32. strunk&white says:


    I’m not asking you to moderate your comments. Let people say what they will — I don’t care. And I can handle the occasional unreasonable accusation. I can even handle the make-believe swashbucklers.

    But, I do think it is your responsibility to engage in the discussion that goes on down here, if only to make clear a distinction between your research and the often irrational claims it leads some to make in this section. You do engage in the comments, when it suits you, but I think your responsibility is larger than that. You sit in a high position, and you should know the whole Spiderman (TM) ethic that flows from that.

    You could start by letting oldguy, Captain Hook and the rest of your readers understand that you do in fact make a clear moral delineation between private sharing of legal material and illegal filesharing of pirated works. I’m pretty sure you’ve already declared a clear position on that point, which is why it’s so confusing to me that you’re not at all bothered by the misinterpretations in the comments. What good is it having a posse if they just start shooting at everything in sight?

    As to the whole lobbyist question — if you’re satisfied with your last answer on the point, we’ll leave it at that and both know a little more about your research. You don’t “moderate” your comments, and you don’t use the word “lobbyist” as a rhetorical stand-in for “dishonest actor.”

    Please, exercise your responsibility as an unbiased Canada Research Chair and explain to Hook about user behaviours that are necessarily constrained by copyright for the sake of protecting the rightsholder. You want a bunch of followers to help you update the rules and regs, then explain the rules and regs to them first. That seems like a pretty necessary first step.

  33. @strunk&white
    Here’s some non bias research for you:

    These findings were backed up by industry’s own numbers in Britain last year.

  34. Captain Hook says:

    take a walk whitey
    Oh whitey, take a long walk off a short plank would’ya. You can use mine. I keep it special for people just like you.

    What, you think people commenting on these pages don’t know where Geist stands on all these issues?? He’s pretty good at making his views known, even if there are a few around who can’t figure out when they are or are not being called a lobbyist. Should that mean that no one else is allowed to have a different view?

    It is totally amazing how you think any one who reads his blog must believe what he does, and if they express anything differently then they must be misunderstanding him. What’s your excuse?

  35. @strunk&white
    Everyone has their vested interests and personal views on this subject. This is a blog, not a common goal and what Geist writes about is Fair Copyright. A balance of the interests of all with law, and consumer rights.

    I don’t agree with Geist’s personal views on notice to notice, I think we should monetize the networks. I don’t think notice to notice will work, nor has been proven to work without a reasonable doubt. That doesn’t mean notice to notice is unfair to the market, or will not work in Canada. Unfair to me because I have a personal vested interest in media, and this might force me to adapt to a situation where my productions become untrackable and harder, more expensive to push out to my audience. I think consumers have already spoken on P2P. Geists personal views and biases are due to his work in the education sector, and law. If we must have these laws, than make sure they are balanced. Every one of Geist supporters are behind him on that one.

    Most independents (meaning studying this from a purely academic point of view) have similar views, if not strong views on monetizing the file sharing networks. You must be reading too much industry fluff.

  36. Do people with eidetic memories infringe on copyright….
    … whenever they happen to decide to replay a copyrighted work in their head?

    Of course not.

    The idea that copying for personal use should *EVER* be an infringement on copyright, even if the copyright holder does not endorse it, is absurd beyond belief. Although the situation I described with a person with an eidetic memory may be hypothetical, it makes it no less true that legislation which prohibits any private use copying of copyrighted content that doesn’t happen to be endorsed by the copyright holder is tantamount to thought crime.

  37. strunk&white says:

    We do not mindlessly follow the leader.

    We are independent thinkers.

    We are all supporters of Dr. Geist.

    We are all behind him.

    Those who disagree have bought industry fluff.

    Thanks for putting my mind at ease JK. Dr. Geist, over to you — do you agree with JK that your views and findings reflect a personal bias?

    And Hook — I think we’ve all known for awhile now that you have a short plank.

  38. @strunk&white
    You preach independence and no bias views. I’m just wondering if you have any independent research to back up your personal views? I’d actually be interested in reading those reports.

  39. @strunk&white
    I’m not talking about Geist either. I’m talking about this statement you made earlier:

    “”But illegal filesharing of pirated copyrighted works is as wrong as that little girl being made to sell illegal DVDs on the subway platform.”

    Lets see the empirical, independent, and no bias research that supports this view. I would be really interested in seeing that.

  40. @Michael Geist
    Your should not be defending your position to anyone, especially an admitted troll. The more they target you, the more issues these people will have in the long run with their position. They can not debate the evidence presented, and the views expressed by those in the Copyright Consultation. The only thing they can try and do is discredit character. These issues go far beyond this blog, and your work. The more they bash your position, the stronger you are and more attention to the empirical research gets when all is said and done.

    The last attempt by industry to smear you after the Toronto Town Hall was quite amusing. They don’t hold public opposition in this debate and industry’s reputation with the market and public is worth squat due to the actions some of these corps have taken. The more they open their mouths, the more stupid they appear to the public. Let them open their mouths, it works in your favor, trust me. You’ve got them in a nice tight corner 😉 All of us do. I’d be worried if they actually had any ounce of credibility with the public, and actually knew how to promote anything (a cause or even artistic talent for that matter) properly online. They don’t.

    This is a blog you are entitled to your own views. It shows that those who try and discredit your points of view don’t even know what the blogosphere is about. That’s a severe impediment for them going into the last legs of this debate. I hope Minster Moore is reading this.

  41. Anonymous Coward says:

    21st Century
    Copyright will be rendered obsolete in the near future. Good luck.

  42. God this whole shebang could do with some ‘honey and wax’.

  43. To be completely and utterly honest I don’t think copyright reform in any form will make it through this session of parliament. After the throne speech, Canadians seemed to be quite ramped up again on the prorogation issue with respect to public comments and talk shows. I think people were expecting a massive refocus of government, one that includes a number of issues the public is concerned about. The environment, health care, copyright. The credibility of this government has taken a huge hit by the prorogation issue. I don’t think this will change with the budget, we’ll see.

  44. Strunk and White
    Why are you here? What is your purpose? Most of us come here in order to read a bit of news and inform ourselves on current issues. In the comments, we discuss implication.

    You on the other hand, seem to be here for the sole purpose of descrediting, denouncing or even trying to prove these comments and articles wrong. Yet, thei’re alwasy backed up by researche and/or facts. If you really feel so strongly about your position, start your own blog and solidify your position by posting reasearch and facts that support it. Maybe then we may be able to appreciate your point of view.

    You’ve manage to take an article about the titles of the digital parts of the speach of the throne and turn it into a debate about wether or not Professor Geist factually represents us, and, wether or not we agree with him. In a sense, you’ve pitted the author against his readers? Why? To what purpose? Because somone called you a lobbyist for zealously fighting for your position to be recognized on a site that oubviously does not appreciate it.

    Having opposition to challenge your ideas can add value to a discussion, but simply thrashing around trying to pick a fight with anything that comes up is not constructive.

    Why don’t you try Barry Sookman’s site? He moderates his comments, he also shares a lot of your positions. Might be a more enjoyable experience for all of us.

  45. strunk&white says:


    Have you read the Conference Board of Canada report that got so much play on this site awhile back? I know it was commissioned by lobbyists and all, so that makes you dismiss it immediately, but others have praised its even-handedness. Two things about that report — it consulted Dr. Geist, and I can’t find anywhere in it where it makes me doubt my belief that illegal filesharing is wrong.

    Why am I here? Such an existential pondering. Why does strunk&white exist?

    I suppose strunk&white exists because as a working independent artist, and as a proud independent thinker, and a happy citizen of a democracy strunk&white’s alter-ego finds the excusing of illegal activity for any reason to be offensive.

    Lobbyists, while representing Satan to most here, are actually working legally within a democratic system that encourages everyone to make their views known to legislators. If they cross any lines and start to work illegally, I think they should be punished for those actions, and I believe those actions should continue to be considered wrong.

    I think everyone here can agree on that. Yet everyone here does not seem comfortable making the same strong statement about illegal filesharers. That to me is a basic hypocrisy, and one that needs to be challenged.

    You demand people respect laws when it suits your purposes, but not when it doesn’t. I’m not going to apologize for finding that offensive.

    I also enjoy watching the drones gather around to protect the queen. I’ve always been fascinated by hive behaviours.

  46. @strunk&white
    Everybody is entitled to their personal views, I respect that. The Conference Board of Canada report you are referring to a while back also did not take into account research from several independent sources including the quoted research from a UNTCAD rep, even our own governments independent research on this, nor did the “updated” version of this current report you speak of. I agree with you on that. But had the independent research been looked at for these reports we would be looking at the monetization and legalization of file sharing not a ban on it.

    The Conference Board of Canada is not an independent source in this debate. They obviously represent views expressed in the business community, and their credibility was shot when they pulled up industry research which was studied and pulled apart by independent researchers years prior to the report even being published. Research creative destruction and study the industry numbers a bit more. Creative Destruction is across the board. From the actual independent researchers in this debate on music:

    “To hold file sharing uniquely responsible for the decline in record sales i.e., largely unauthorized downloading, is basically erroneous and far too simplistic. Moreover, such an assertion indicates a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the current process of creative destruction and transformation to the digital paradigm in the “recorded” music industry.”

    Show me research that counters this claim.

  47. Anonymous Coward says:

    The public domain is the rule and copyright is the exception. Extending copyright to last for centuries is wrong. Comparing illegal filesharing to lobbying is dumb.

  48. @strunk&white
    The only problem I have with your statement of “illegal filesharing is wrong” is that what is to be illegal is what is under discussion. Laws are supposed to reflect the morals of society not dictate them. Today it is legal to listen to my records in the car, tomorrow it may be illegal, but whether it is right or wrong won’t have changed.

    I consider it wrong to break copyright law in many instances. This is nothing to be concerned about. These laws are under absolutely no threat of being abolished or weakened to the point of being unfair to the copyright owners (of which I am one). Nothing like that is being seriously considered. It is simply a non-issue.

    I can’t agree with a blanket statement that “it is wrong because it is illegal” (this is a dangerous way of thinking. Just look at history.), nor can I agree that the copyright law is currently a proper representation of our society’s values and doesn’t need any work.

    On the other hand, I definitely consider it wrong (and far outweighing any wrongs from copyright infringement) to purchase extra political influence beyond what you are provided through the democratic process, whether it is done legally or not. Your statement that this behaviour is fine because they haven’t broken any laws (or at least haven’t been caught doing so) seems incredibly strange to me. Any extra money I might gain personally from increasing the scope of copyright would certainly be offset by the continual degradation of the meaning of my vote at election time. Rewarding purchasing influence on our legistlation (even if it is legal) has got to be the absolute worst thing we can do for ourselves.

  49. strunk&white says:

    where to start?
    Theories of creative destruction are fine to discuss, but what I’m talking about is not theory; it’s practice. Knowingly engaging in illegal, infringing behaviour for no higher purpose than convenience or payment avoidance is currently widely practiced. Do I need to show you independent research on that or can we take it as a given?

    What this means for the creative destruction of certain business models may interest me, but it’s not the topic of my comments. I say the current practice as described abov is morally wrong – not ONLY because it’s illegal, but because the justification for it fail to pass the smell test. Take a good whiff of Hook and you’ll see what I mean. When I step in dung, I call it dung; I don’t pretend it’s rose petals.

    As to Crade’s worries re: lobbying, I really think you are conflating lobbying with sale and/or pedalling of influence. These are too different things, one a completely legal and effective tool of democracy, and the other decidedly illegal. Willful conflation of these two things is rhetorically disgraceful, in my opinion.

    Sorry if there are typos. Commenting via iPhone in transit.

  50. Hey strunk,

    No confusion / conflation. I have no problem with lobbying in general if money is not used in any form (legal or illegal) to gain influence.

  51. @strunk&white
    “What this means for the creative destruction of certain business models may interest me, but it’s not the topic of my comments.”

    That’s where the debate is right now in the independent sector, and a reason for avoidance is because it’s largely a supported by industry data. I think one could say with great confidence that it’s not a theory. From the sounds of it you’re objecting to something you know nothing about. If you were following this debate closely in independent circles you would have a better more in depth response that this to this process. Describe to me exactly where in the Creative Destruction process within the media industry you disagree with and please provide numbers and research?

  52. Captain Hook says:

    “Knowingly engaging in illegal, infringing behaviour for no higher purpose than convenience or payment avoidance is currently widely practiced. Do I need to show you independent research on that or can we take it as a given?”

    Well sure, but so what? The payment avoidance tactic is being done to self-compensate for the immoral (if not illegal) theft of my money from my pocket by the copyright industries?

    A reverse example from your side would be media levies. Media companies felt they were being wronged by a segment of society for private copying, so they went out to seek a way of gaining compensation from another segment. Now individuals, businesses, software writers, and even other musicians must pay this tax to compensate for perceived wrongs even if they were not the guilty party.

    Frankly, I think the recording industry is out of line for thinking they need compensation in the first place. What they are being compensated for should be considered fair use. So it is this levy; as well as what I pay in tax to Access Copyright for school board fair use; as well as the extra profit from royalties for works which SHOULD be in the public domain; as well as the licensing required for parodies (eg. Weird Al) that end up being paid by the consumer; as well as the extra cost of software i buy which I cannot then legally return when it doesn’t work (unlike any other product); that justifies private copyright infringement. (Not whole sale piracy like you mention in the NY subway)

    This is where the whole issue of fairness comes in. If we had a copyright system that wasn’t so heavily weighted in favour of the media companies perhaps I (and others) would feel a little guilt about filesharing. There might then be a stigma attached to it, and fewer people would do it. As it is I know more and more people who try it every day, and not one of them expresses any remorse.

    Until we get real fair use and REDUCED copyright terms they shouldn’t feel bad about it either. What they are doing is no different than what the media companies are doing with their media levy. The only difference is in the legality (not morality) of it, and that is only because big media has the government in their pocket.

  53. strunk&white says:


    Try not to become a Hook, please. I’m not interested in debating creative destruction with you. I am well informed on how my sectors of the creative economy are dealing with this ongoing process. My sole concern on this blog for a couple of months now has been to not allow lazy moral arguments to go unchallenged.

    Do I need to be more clear than I have been? Excusing consumer piracy on the grounds of creative destruction of a business model is moral, ethical and rhetorical b@llsh#t. It also destroys the credibility of commenters who might otherwise have something interesting to say about new business models. This point is at the very heart of my disagreement with the crusading goals of this website. The common end aimed at may ultimately be good. I think it will be good, in fact. But that end does not justify the means by which some here are trying to achieve it.

    Would philosopher Mortimer Adler be an independent enough source for you on that point?

    “You cannot use bad means for a good end any more than you can build a good house out of bad materials.”

    “It is only when we do not look too closely into the matter that we can be fooled by the statement that the end justifies the means. We fail to ask whether the end in view is really good, or we fail to examine carefully how the means will affect the end. This happens most frequently in the game of power politics or in war, where the only criterion is success and anything which contributes to success is thought to be justified. Success may be the standard by which we measure the expediency of the means, but expediency is one thing and moral justification is another.”

  54. @strunk&white
    Love the misdirection. Well, new business models is something I’m very familiar with too. I’ve been following the independent economic reports on innovation for the government. I think a lot of us here have as well. So what’s that something interesting you have to say about new business models? How does the cycle of creative destruction and copyright reform effect these models and in what ways?

  55. Ralph E. Marsh says:

    @ strunk&white

    Pardon me, but peddling influence the job of lobbying. Do you think lobbyists sit around throwing darts and whistling Arrogant Worms all day long?

    It is a spectrum, with certain practices defined as illegal, others in legal grey areas and still others considered fully legal (depending, of course, on the laws of the particular jurisdiction).

    For example, I go into a MP’s office and offer 5 million dollars to vote a certain way on a particular bill. That’s called bribery and both the briber and the bribee go to the pokey.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I and a bunch of rich friends (yeah, right!) spend our 5 million dollars for political ads support a particular candidate for MP, who happens to support exactly the kind of law changes we want. He gets elected and votes our way on the legislation we want passed. This is legal. But wasn’t that also “buying” influence? Hmm…

    In between the two extremes above is the realm of the lobbyist. A lobbyist is paid to influence MP’s, . Period. That’s the job. They can’t break the law, else they end up either in the pokey or kicked out of the lobbying business. But if they can’t influence MP’s, they failed. They are, by the straightforward meaning of the term, peddling influence. If they weren’t, This doesn’t mean the succeed all the time, but they can show a statistical change of position on votes over time. The larger the statistical change, the more they get paid.

    So instead of paying a 5 million dollar bribe, I give a lobbyist 5 million dollars and say “try to get this passed”, and walk away. If by any chance something goes wrong, I say, “I shocked, shocked, to find corruption going on…”

    And this doesn’t matter whether we’re talking copyright law or pay toilets. And everybody nowadays knows how this system works, and do not care about the legal distinction between illegal influence and legal influence, they consider corrupt practices. They (and I) consider any effort to legislate changes by a small group for their benefit at the expense of the general public to be corrupt.

    The bright side is that modern communications is disrupting, more and more, this copy set of agreements…

  56. strunk&white says:

    Misdirection? While I was writing my point about the end not justifying the means (and backing it up with an independent authority), Hook was saying that the end justifies the means. Why is everyone over here so completely blind to the fallacies of your positions? It freakin’ Jose Saramango over here.

    And now, “we wouldn’t use the term “lobbyist” as a substitute for the word “criminal” if all lobbyists weren’t such criminals.” Snake, meet tail. Open mouth, insert.

    Enjoy your unbroken circle of illogic, my firends. It deserves you.

    Of course, Dr. Geist will be down any minute now to make sure you all understand where you’ve gone wrong in your comments. Or does he only give that level of service to me?

  57. strunk&white says:

    Saramago! Yeesh, a writer gets a better writer’s name wrong. Unforgivable.

  58. @strunk&white
    How predictable. Misdirect, redirect than kick and scream rather than coming up with a logical argument. It’s one thing coming from a poster, it’s another when we see the exact same thing on industries lobby efforts. It’s almost like they have a brain fart when you throw a factual argument in. Professionals especially in the music industry are acting like this. They turn into my 3 year old son when he wants something daddy says no to. We’ve seen this right on this blog before. That’s funny, quite amusing, and doesn’t gain any credibility at all. It actually continues holding us back from innovation and future income for industry and our economy.

    You’re wasting my time padawan. See ya.

  59. Captain Hook says:

    whitey the only reason Geist comes down here to talk to you is because you make basely accusations about him directly. No one else does that.

    Sure I say the end justifies the means and others say the opposite.

    Come on man, first you criticize everyone here for kowtowing to Geist, now you are complaining that we don’t all speak with one voice. Which way do you want it?

  60. strunk&white says:


    You know, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Who’s throwing the fit here? I’m just trying to make my point. If I don’t want to suddenly go down a different alley with you, I’m pretty sure that’s my right. But, okay, tah tah.  You and Hook can start an “ignoring strunk&white society.”

    Dr. Geist, I’m having lunch with Barry Sookman tomorrow. Any messages for him?    

  61. I heard on some truther sites that the elite globalists are trying to restrict freedoms on the internet in order to push through their green globalization. The internet has really thrown a wrench into their hush hush agendas… climategate (global warming doctored data), bankstergate, scannergate, 9/11 truth, h1n1 scam, infringement on human rights… and have tons of facts that the media often will not disclose to the public. I hope that the New World Order does not shut down freedom of speech on the net here in Canada.

  62. Jack Robinson says:

    When the Forum of Open Debate becomes a Circus Minimus of B.S. Biases…
    As a frequent reader and supporter of Mr. Geist’s forum and the essential, often obscured by mindfog issues relating to Democratic Open Media that he’s diligently illuminated… I’m astonished by much of the foregoing commentary’s snipe-shooting rancour and myopic irrelevence.

    Harper’s New Rome Agenda is not only in total lockstep with the Corporate Congloms’ ambitions to globally control all forms of media ownership, distribution and after-market usage… but is intended to subtly turn MacLuhan’s cautionary warnings into a Machiavellian fait complete franchise… and we could all become potential criminals for exercising the rights to archive, share and actually shape the very culture that defines us.

    Or more simply: Welcome, kiddies… to the Goldman Sachs ACTA only version of Corner Gas on pay channel frequencies One to Infinity…

  63. strunk&white says:

    ahhh, the truthers have arrived to join the conspiracy theorists.

    Gaze upon your bountiful harvest of support, Dr. Geist, and reap what ye have sown. These are the opinions that will accompany your message to the offices of MPs across the nation. Nice work.

  64. Lost sight of the real issue/motivation
    Our current intellectual property law has been twisted from the honest desire to promote innovation and creativity to the desire to limit the ability of others to create or innovate, and to dictate how users of products must behave while engaging in the private use of said products.

    I don’t know how many of you realize this, but to watch the Olympics online through CTV you MUST AGREE TO A MICROSOFT COPYRIGHT LICENSE, and this is just one example.

  65. @all dont feed the trolls.

  66. Ghette Lozt says:

    As expected, Harper continues to try to buy votes with our tax dollars and simultaneously cede control of the nation to corporate powers, both domestic and foreign. He is delivering well to his constituents who are, unfortunately, not the taxpayers.

    @stunk&white&goebbels: Lobbyists, political shills, agitators and propagandists are leeches on the frail body of democracy. Sadly, unlike their role in medical applications, these leeches deliver poison. You should be very proud.

  67. Bait tastes good
    You’ve been baited by strunk&white for the 10000th time? This person is here to win an argument and get on your nerves, pushing all your buttons. Just ignore him/her and be done with it. You can’t win an argument with a 4 year-old. The more you respond to strunk&white, the bigger his/her ego gets (pushing more of your buttons) ad infinitum…