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Why Is CRIA Reluctant To Provide Public Specifics About Copyright Reform?

Last week, the Canadian Recording Industry Association appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage with discussion that focused largely on copyright reform (media coverage of the appearance here).  While copyright was the key issue, what was striking was CRIA's reluctance to actually specify what reforms it supports.  That may sound unusual, but a review of recent public statements suggests that it is actually quite typical.  In recent years, CRIA has become very reluctant to provide specific views on reforms, seemingly relying instead on the sort of backdoor, lobbyist-inspired meetings that are the talk of Ottawa due to the Rahim Jaffer situation.

The transcript has not been posted yet, however, a review of the unofficial transcript shows that CRIA President Graham Henderson provided no legal specifics in his opening statement.  During questioning, he was repeatedly asked what his organization wants.  First Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez asked, eliciting the following response:

I believe that it starts with a very simple, straight forward baseline. We have to draw a little box around what's legal and what's illegal and send clear messages to the people of Canada about what's right and what's wrong….I would argue that to simply, as a very baseline, implement the intellectual properties treaties as contemplated by, for example, C-61, or before that Bill C-60 is the first step on that road.

Just about everyone agrees that WIPO implementation should happen and Henderson knows well that the C-61 and C-60 implementations are not the same thing.  Rodriguez then asks what comes after WIPO implementation.  Henderson shifts the response to one of the other panelists.

Bloc MP Carole Lavallée then asks for concrete solutions.  Henderson responds:

What are the concrete solutions? It's twofold. No one ever in our world said that by passing a law we were going to change consumer behaviour overnight and turn people away from taking things. For people who think of music in Canada who think “take”, who don't necessarily think “buy”, we don't believe there is going to be an overnight conversion. This could take a long time. We think it's a market that's worth fighting for, but we have to establish those baselines. As for some of the techniques that are available, as you know, the French are experimenting with a graduated response regime. That's being considered in a lot of other jurisdictions. Practically everything you read about those regimes in the media is incorrect. There are filled with safeguards. There is such a thing as notice and notice. These are technicalities. Then there is, of course, the question of levies.

The answer doesn't satisfy Lavallée, who asks which solutions Henderson prefers.  His response:

We have to be provided with a framework, and that is what the panellists were saying, a rules-based framework that will help us to build a legitimate digital marketplace.

Lavallée is not satisfied, indicating that Henderson has still not answered the question.  Henderson says that perhaps he did not understand the question, so Lavalle repeats it. His final attempt at an answer:

One solution–the best solution, and perhaps I'm not expressing myself well enough, is to implement a set of laws or rules which will provide an environment that will encourage creation and investment. That is what the intellectual property organization treaties were designed to do, and when you see them implemented then you very clearly see a migration from illegal back to legal, and one of the principal reasons that you see that is not only is there someone saying you can't do this, but all of a sudden there is an interest from investors in investing in that marketplace and developing legal alternatives which are attractive to the consumer. It is like a carrot and a stick. You have to have great carrots, lots of alternatives.

As the MPs recognized, none of this was a concrete answer despite multiple invitations to provide the committee with specific guidance (he did, however, claim that CRIA has never sued a fan but "not that we ever got a single iota of credit for that" – news to the 29 defendants in the Sony BMG v. Doe case).

This is hardly the first time CRIA has avoided taking a public stand on specific copyright reforms.  During last summer's copyright consultation, it was one of the only major copyright organizations that did not even bother with an individual submission.  Henderson participated in a roundtable in Gatineau, but again offered mere generalities:

I think that there are four principles that should guide you as you pull together your new Bill, and they are these. Without question, the rights of those who hold copyright must be fairly balanced with the needs of users to access those copyrighted works. Two, the Copyright Act must provide clear, predictable and fair rules to allow Canadians to derive benefits from their creations. Three, the Copyright Act should foster innovation in an effort to attract investment and high-paying jobs to Canada. And finally, we have to ensure that our framework for the Internet is in line with international standards.

So CRIA wants clear, predictable rules – but what rules?  Why does CRIA say virtually nothing specific about what it actually seeks?  Based on lobbying records, perhaps it is because it saves its real comments for what takes place behind closed doors. There are 19 records of meetings for CRIA representatives with a wide range of government officials including Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore from the period of August 2008 to February 2010 (or 19 entries over a 19 month period).  Even the content of those meetings may be kept secret.  A recent access to information request on a presentation by Barry Sookman on ISP exceptions in Bill C-61 to government officials in 2009 excluded virtually all substantive materials on the grounds that it "contains commercially valuable information."

In other words, little is said publicly, more is said privately, and even the private content is kept from public view.  As Moore quietly promotes a C-61 style approach, it is discouraging that the thousands of public comments on copyright reform may be ignored in favour of the backroom dealing that has generated so much discussion over the past few weeks in Ottawa.

63 Comments

  1. Heh
    What’s worse then a zealot? A hypocritical one of course

  2. strunk&white says:

    Wow, a mudslide. I expect the Rahim Jaffer references in the comments section, not in the main text of the blog. Will Geist be running for office as a member of Canada’s Pirate Party or as an independent?

  3. Will Strunk&White end his/her trolling soon? If you don’t like the content of the article prof Geist has written go somewhere else! This is on the internet is it not? Why do you continue to troll here if you have nothing relevant or informed to say?

    Prof Geist is merely summarizing the facts (or lack thereof) of the backroom deals associated with this type of lobbying. It’s disgusting that any parliamentarian would even listen to a word the CRIA has to say (or as it turns out, listen to them 19 times!). All Canadians had the opportunity to present their opinions during the copyright consultation. The CRIA chose not to submit anything .: the CRIA should be ignored or almost entirely overlooked. As prof Geist noted, the CRIA can’t even figure out what they want anyway (most likely because after one copyright bill finally passes they’ll continue to demand more).

  4. Holy crap strunk, you spend more time on here than I do and I am actually interested in what Prof Geist has to say!

  5. Funk & Flight says:

    Just ignore Strunk and White. His views fit well with Castle’s, Gannon’s or Sookman’s blogs. Birds of a feather….
    Come to think of it, maybe he’s one of them…

  6. I don’t care that he has different views, but his comments are always lame attacks.. If you are really trying to defend the rightious *IAA’s awesome new laws that are so great for Canada, do some research and try to show that some of the information provided in the articles is incorrect or show some information supporting the other side of the argument or something.. Don’t just say “Geist is bad” on every article.

  7. strunk&white says:

    I didn’t realize being interested in something and agreeing with it were the same thing. I mistook this for an open forum. My bad.

  8. strunk&white says:

    crade — where did I say “Geist is bad?”

    Are you happy with this language?

    “…seemingly relying instead on the sort of backdoor, lobbyist-inspired meetings that are the talk of Ottawa due to the Rahim Jaffer situation.”

    It’s ironic you complain about my methods as a defence for this kind of smarm. Honestly people, have an opinion of your own.

    Many threads back, after much jeering and being called a troll, I left a detailed answer on what I think about copyright terms. The response was silence. I can only assume the conversation ended when I said something that isn’t covered in your form letters.

  9. “Why does CRIA say virtually nothing specific about what it actually seeks?”

    There is a split within member labels and Canadian artists on how to approach this, I think that’s why you are seeing nothing specific. There has been and always will be a worry on how to approach this towards the public. They are worried about a public revolt on Canadian artists if they go to far. They want people to basically put the blame on Government and away from the market. There’s a huge concern about a public backlash on Canadian talent within the artistic community if we go through with the graduated response.

    Furthermore, if we take Sweden for example, when there was something like a 40% drop in internet traffic after IP reforms were introduced. Nothing yet on the actual numbers to see how much that drop effected the digital economy as a whole, and how much the business community lost as a result. I think that needs more in depth study, and I think Henerson is positioning himself away from the “bad guy” image, vastly in fear that the Canadian public will revolt on Canadian artists (and rightfully so).

  10. “Shills and trolls detected”
    Dear readers of Michael Geist’s blog,

    The Consumerist site has this article titled “30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews”.

    Hope that this will make detecting trolls and industry shills in comments easier.

  11. “Many threads back, after much jeering and being called a troll, I left a detailed answer on what I think about copyright terms. The response was silence. I can only assume the conversation ended when I said something that isn’t covered in your form letters. ”

    Good! Thats exactly what I’m talking about. If you are being convincing or make people think, your comments are not annoying spam anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Sandy Crawley says:

    Define Troll vs. Cretin
    Surprise, surprise! I think the Rahim Jaffer/backroom deal reference in Mr. Geist’s piece is sleazy. If it were on paper it would be called “Yellow Journalism”. Of course, the good Professor would never be seen in the vicinity of a back room…

    Hey let’s discuss the issues like good Canadians, not mount personal attacks,eh?

    Jason K.s explanation of the public presentation of CRIA makes eminent sense to me.

  13. @Sandy Crawley
    If they are worried about a public backlash on the graduated response, than why introduce that in the first place. It’s obviously something that the market is not prepared to accept. Surely the politicians are worried about that back lash as well. Why not focus on more proactive solutions? Why waste time and money lobbying for something that has probably no chance getting through, or will enrage consumers and the voting public. Why not spend the money and come up with solutions that the public would support (this seems a more logic and proactive approach to me)?

  14. Market Niche
    What I am reading, from the transcripts in the article, is this CRIA rep recognizing that the market has changed and asking the government to hand over the right to make laws as they see fit (implying, also, the management of policing duties) so that they can maintain the income they’ve become accustomed to.
    Had I been on the panel, I would have pointed out, to Graham Henderson, that it appears the home market for their product had simply lost value, and that maintaining his associates’ cash flow was perhaps not important enough to give up consumers’ rights. The market has evolved, as an open market is supposed to, and the sub-niche of music in the market niche of digital home entertainment has been affected. If he and his associates wish to continue conducting business in the market, it would appear they will have to continue at reduced profit margins. That’s just how market niches change, sometimes. They can choose to stay and conduct themselves at reduced incomes, or they can choose to leave and make room for new players who have not acquired a taste for the level of income the CRIA gang has.
    Had I been on the panel, I might have asked Graham Henderson “How would you conduct your business if we deny you all these claims over consumers’ rights?” As a member on the panel, I think it would be important to ask myself, can the market segment perpetuate itself, without introducing any legislation? Additionally, is it possible the market would thrive, given greater openness and fewer large players controlling this niche?
    What we are talking about is total control of a product. In my opinion, if the CRIA wants to retain control of that product, they should withdraw from the home market. The home entertainment market has been profitable for a long time, but it is time for their business to return to a model of radio play and touring, for profit. Digitization and the internet have rendered one aspect of the CRIA’s business model obsolete; digitized music is nothing more than free advertising, now.
    I mean, really, I’m basically just paraphrasing/extending Terry Mcbride’s (CEO of Canada’s “Nettwerk Music”) thoughts on the new market, aren’t I?

  15. Label Rep – My Rant
    “Why not spend the money and come up with solutions that the public would support (this seems a more logic and proactive approach to me)?”

    I think Dan’s comment above pretty much sums it up. In the lobby world, it’s all about who has more political influence than who, but when it comes to a matter of public interest such as copyright is now in Canada it’s the majority who rule, and the majority is the public.

    It’s funny to see that the preconceptions of posters on Geists blog and “the public view” towards this debate is being misrepresented to creators, and is far from the truth as (Ms. Crawley is starting to find out). We all support reform, we all have the same goals in compensating our artistic talent, and we all want industry to move forward. There are just vastly different views on how to do this, which is a rarity in this debate.

    I think that the majority of the globe, the users don’t have much respect for their creative culture like we do in Canada. We also come from a wide range of professions, each would be effected in different ways. This debate is tied into not just the copyright lobby of a few labels, but also to those who have already adapted business models, who have a right to exist as they do. You can’t possibly think the market has stood still in the past decade without some businesses adapting to survive around what’s taken place. Our whole economy is tied into this now, and the sharing of media.

    If only people would stop shouting, discrediting each other, and act like Canadians in this debate rather than Americans, we actually might come up with something collectively as a society to work with. It’s much easier to separate each other than to bring everyone together.

    A word of advice, those that don’t understand Canadian Culture and are calling for things you know the Canadian public will not support, will soon not have a place at the table. Pick your side accordingly!

  16. Just to further one point. I found the discussion forums in the copyright consultation to be very enlightening, and seeing our true Canadian values displayed there by both Creators and Canadians. The thing this consulatation did was bring both sides together outside of lobby influance and form letters (with the exception of Access Copyright).

    Those that did use the form letters from Access Copyright and submitted them, edited the lines to enclude that they feel they have the right to get paid (as they should) but are not willing to sacrafise Canadians rights in the process. Something I found common with many responses from Creators themselves.

    Industry lobby is worried about this so they are on the attack daily on Geist and his followers. Creative talent than comes on here, reads and see’s they have been vastly mislead. Rather than bringing Canadian culture together with it’s people, industry in this debate has made a huge, but unsuccessful attempt at keeping these sides separated.

    Canadians will decide the fate of this collectively, and most likely between the creators themselves and the people. Lobby groups don’t seem to have too much weight in this debate with the public and creators themselves. They’ve already lost, the rest is “politics”. Time for creators to adapt, and move forward. Those that do now will have a head start.

  17. The lobby groups may not seem to have much pull here in Canada, but they practically run the U.S., and the external pressure we are getting is not something our government is going to be able to easily ignore. I suspect they will be looking at making sacrifices, implementing laws that they don’t believe are really in Canadians best interests in terms of copyright legislation, but are in our best interests politically.

  18. Heck I even had the American Federation of Musicians on this blog last year agreeing that monetization of P2P would eventually happen, and they also admitted that the majority views they represent are not Canadian. Their views with respect to their Lobbying were voted on apparently by their members, and the majority of those members are American. Canadian artists only represented 30% of their business.

    It’s funny though that I somehow can’t find the blog post on here a few years later, and after a hacking attempt on this blog last year. I find that very interesting.

  19. Should be:

    “It’s funny though that I somehow can’t find the blog post on here a few months later”

  20. @MG
    The comments I was describing above originated from one of these posts. It had to do with the Winnipeg Round Table.

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4291/125/

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4291/125/

    There’s something like 105 comments missing on that blog post. What happened?

  21. pat donovan says:

    grunt
    and thanks to no-script (or other evil gremlins) MY last three posts have all hit the big bit-bucket in the sky. Cloud 9 reign.

    property is being CHANGED here, people. DRM means you are now a renter; not an owner.

    presumptive guilt : arrests, convictions, fines, seizures, reversal of onus, evidence…

    all of these are being changed right before your eyes.

    if you let this get by you have no one but yourself to blame.

    packrat

  22. CRIA=creators?
    There seems to be a misconception that CRIA is wanting reform for the sake of its artists. While copyright reform in the music industry may be of some righteous value to those who create the music, it is hardly the case here. CRIA is the the recording industry. They are the copyright holders indeed but that doesn’t make them the creators. It seems like CRIA is hoping for a way to keep rolling in the dough legally. Artists aren’t suffering because of a lack of copyright reform! The recording industry is. They are losing their monopoly in the business because of technology and it’s liberating to those who create the work. CRIA should not be thought to represent Music creators….it’s just not the case.

  23. I am a creator
    I am a Canadian artist and creator. My views differ vastly from those who have lobbied on my behalf, and I’m looking forward to working with the Canadian people to ensure that our Canadian values hold true in the outcome of all of this.

  24. flowershop says:

    copywrite reform will kill us
    first they came for the mp3s… and i didn’t speak up because i wasn’t an mp3.

    info@briansflowershop.com

  25. @Sandy Crawley
    “I think the Rahim Jaffer/backroom deal reference in Mr. Geist’s piece is sleazy”

    I just wanted to rebutt this as well, especially after today. Throwing out the consultation results for a C-61 approach will be political suicide right now for the Conservatives. It’s not “yellow” journalism, it’s called following politics. There’s no way the Conservatives will come out fine with a C-61 approach, especially if the Canadian public feels their voices were NOT heard in the consultation. I think along with Chad there’s quite the consensus that was formed in the discussion forums of the consultation, that could basically be used to peer into the broader more public view on this issue.

    It would be huge political mistake to even suggest a C-61 approach, judging on the reaction to it a few years ago. This time there will be political consequences hands down if that were to happen. Moore and Clement will be left cleaning latrines. Might be good to throw the C-61 approach out in to the public, I think we need a new government anyway to make sure Canadians are heard on this subject.

    I can’t believe for one minute that Moore is thinking about a C-61 approach. He can’t be that stupid.

  26. Better by the minute
    CBC’s Wendy Mesley asks on tonight’s the national “Have lobbyists taken over Ottawa?”

    http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/

  27. strunk&white says:

    What was the answer?

  28. Rhetorical question
    Sandy Crawley: Surprise, surprise! You have given 2 definitions, but on a subject you know little to nothing about. Read the link provided first, then I challenge you to find and read about the stacked room of cartel members during a public copyright consultation. Your 2 definitions for my 2 examples, I suppose. By the way, no news media has indepth coverage of copyright like this because their agenda is of Henerson’s, corporate ownership.
    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4079/125/

    If Henerson doesn’t want a “bad guy” label, then he should offer solutions publicly, which the MPs gave him multiple opportunities to do. Instead, he prefers silence and conducts backroom deals. Stop being an apologist for Henerson!! Whatever his reasons to be silent is irrelevant; however, his silence means More backroom dealings. This is what Michael Geist is saying, if it wasn’t clear enough. The question is rhetorical, for we know what CRIA wants – ownership of music rights, media (CD/DVD), and the publics’ electronic hardware through DRMs along with our privacy.

  29. @strunk&white
    Get’s better again by the minute. The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright seems to be flexing it’s lobby muscle. Part of the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright was covered by this story on CBC, and is currently lobbying Industry Canada.

  30. Law Help
    Throwing out the consultation results for a C-61 approach will be political suicide right now for the Conservatives. It’s not “yellow” journalism, it’s called following politics. There’s no way the Conservatives will come out fine with a C-61 approach, especially if the Canadian public feels their voices were NOT heard in the consultation.

    Olivia
    …………………….
    Law Help

  31. strunk&white says:

    JK,

    Am I wrong, or did Geist not celebrate the lobbying effort of the BCBC when it suited his anti-C-61, sorry, I mean “Canadian DMCA” campaign. Here’s a quote:

    “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this new coalition and its support for fair copyright principles. With such an impressive list of backers, the Industry Minister must now surely recognize that his proposed bill is opposed by the very industries that he has promised to support. In the past, I’ve described a Canadian DMCA as anti-education and anti-consumer – it is now unquestionably anti-business as well.”

    So, lobbying is bad, except when it’s good?

    And some animals are more equal than others, right Napoleon?

  32. Re: Olivia
    In my view a C-61 approach is unlikely, but you never know with the conservatives. It’ll be really up to the Canadian people at this point. Judging from what’s happening in Ottawa right now, I can’t see how a C-61 approach would help the Conservatives in the polls at all. I think that will hurt their credibility as the leading party, and also hurt the credibility of this current government, and I’m 100% sure it will cost them needed votes. I think they would be very lucky to form the next government if they come forth with a C-61 approach. The country is starting to look upon the Conservatives as a bunch of corrupt bullies, especially after the last prorogation. The Jaffer case just doesn’t help that perception, and a C-61 approach I think would just put the nail on the coffin with respect to public opinion of this party at a time when we maybe looking at reforming our lobby laws due to the Jaffer case.

    That and with the lobbying of the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright seems to me a c-61 approach is highly unlikely.

  33. Michael Geist says:

    @strunk&white
    Read the post. The criticism is not about lobbying per se. It is about substituting backroom lobbying for public disclosure of the organization’s position. The BCBC has been very specific and very public about what it wants to see in a copyright bill. So have many groups on both sides of the issue. CRIA has not. They were given repeated opportunities during the hearing to state their specific position and they continually declined (to the mounting frustration of MPs). They had the chance to submit something to the copyright consultation and did not. In my view, not providing specifics – along with the big record of lobbyist meetings – does raise legitimate concerns.

    MG

  34. @strunk&white
    In my personal view, all lobbying should have stopped after the public consultation. The government has the public input it needs to determine a course of action. There shouldn’t be any “influences” on either side to determine the outcome of this bill. The public has spoken, end of discussion. There shouldn’t be any influences at all in play here.

    I haven’t looked up the stats, but I can guess that lobby’s representing artist groups like the CRIA have had several meetings with Moore and Clement since the consultation. If that’s the political game that’s going on here that the conservatives are allowing after a public consultation (which shouldn’t be the case), that both sides should have equal influence.

    I don’t agree with any lobbying that basically shuts out the public voice on a matter of public interest, especially after that voice was heard quite clearly in a Government sponsored public consultation. I think it lowers the reputation of politicians, and our Canadian democratic values. We’re not Americans.

  35. strunk&white says:

    Sorry Mr. Geist, you may have missed the thread — my comment was a direct response to Jason K’s a couple above, referencing the BCBC.

    I’ve read the post and get your distinction. I don’t disagree that CRIA could have been more specific in front of the Heritage Committee. On the other hand, I don’t jump to the conclusion that they are saying one thing in public and another in private, but it is your right to make that leap. You’re the researcher; you can draw your own preferred conclusions.

    I do have issue with what I read as a somewhat oily inference that Graham Henderson’s and Rahim Jaffer’s alleged activities are in some way similar. If there is anything concrete suggesting that Mr. Henderson is not acting in a legally or ethically correct manner, it should be plainly stated. Painting him with “accidental” sprinkles from the influence-peddling brush is low politics, in my opinion.

    BTW, where are you getting the information about Clement and Moore’s plans for a new bill? You seem very sure of the facts you’ve presented. How did you verify them? Do you have access to Industry and Heritage the rest of us are not aware of?

  36. Terminator Talk says:


    “I do have issue with what I read as a somewhat oily inference that Graham Henderson’s and Rahim Jaffer’s alleged activities are in some way similar. If there is anything concrete suggesting that Mr. Henderson is not acting in a legally or ethically correct manner, it should be plainly stated. Painting him with “accidental” sprinkles from the influence-peddling brush is low politics, in my opinion. ”

    Private lobbying, rather than using a designated, publicly accesible avenue to state your concerns may not be illegal but its certainly unethical.

    By proceeding this way CRIA is essentially stating that they’re too good for public process… or at the very least they don’t want their stake in this debate to be of public record.

    Comparisons to Rahim Jaffer may be mild exaggerations, but it doesn’t enter the territory of yellow journalism or hyperbole.

    They’re behaving unethically, Rahim Jaffer was behaving unethically, where’s the problem?

  37. strunk&white says:

    I’ll wait for Mr. Geist to answer.

  38. @strunk&white
    As a fellow trained journalist, good luck at trying to get reported industry sources from Geist. I think that maybe Geist needs to be a bit more careful on what he reports. There’s a lot of people in Industry and in the political ranks right now trying to discredit Geist because they feel he’s a road block to draconian law, when all Geist is doing is basically re-amplifying the public voice on this matter. Geist is the least of their worries right now, especially after the public consultation.

    The truth of the matter is, Henderson spoke quite clearly during the round table discussions on what his position is. The members of the CRIA were well represented in the consultations, along with their views on the graduated response, which Henderson publically admitted to recently in the current comittee hearings, as he perfers the “france” approach to things, ei Graduated Responce.

    Drawing up conclusions based on non existent written submissions is a bit over the top even for a journalist to do especially one who has been following this debate closely, but understandable because Geist is constantly bombarded with character attacks by this lobby, so to state that there is some bad blood between these 2 parties would be an understatement. The entertainment lobby is predictable, rather than debating market research and scientific data which doesn’t at all support their positions, they attack character. Geist should not be playing that game here, and stick to the scientific facts which industry can not debate. Let the public see it for what it is. Canadian’s are not stupid enough to fall for any industry tricks, when that very industry is threatening to cut off their internet connections, with no supportive research behind them.

    I too have a journalism background. What I see from following this debate is quite different. The overall picture of this seems to quite strongly suggesting monetization and legalization of the file sharing networks, however politically it will be dumbed down a bit, and not so much of a bold statement like that. Basically what I think will happen if we go through the process of this bill (regardless of what the conservative table), is we’ll end up with a levy system on Ipods, and nothing will change on how Canadians get their media. The only difference is we will be paying creators for it somehow. I’m actually quite surprised at the ACTRA response in the current committee in support of the levy, but this indicated to me a very deep and widening rift occurring in industry on how to treat file sharing in the last hour. I think the realization of what’s at stake and moving to far with harsh reforms will cause economic damage in several sectors.

    I think there needs and will be a real push by all parties to push industry forward in accepting change, and being more responsible in providing legal alternatives around a predictable market. If you provide the market with legal services that are monetized, there will be less people who flock to the P2P networks as studies suggest. On top of that the Canadian use of P2P is far lower than many other countries, it’s really a non issue here in Canada. It’s more of an issue in the US and UK, both in which have put forth IP reforms that have attacked the market and consumers, and both in which are seeing spikes in P2P use. There’s a real risk to creators that a harsh approach will again force the majority of the marketplace back underground in a revolt, and this time it will be virtually impossible to detect or deter as we are currently seeing in France months before any warning letters have been sent out.

    My thoughts anyway, MG..stay away from the attacks, focus on the facts and research. Don’t speculate, and question your the validity of your sources a bit more. Those attacking you are doing so, because they can’t attack the facts.

  39. @Jason K
    The problem isn’t really lobbying in general, it is simply using money to try to overpower democracy. The act of lobbying doesn’t mandate this. A lobby group’s power can hypothetically come from the number of people it directly represents. It is only when the group’s uses other means (money, personal ties, using multiple lobby groups representing the same people to multiply the influence, etc) to add to it’s influence in any way that the lobby group is fighting against democracy.

  40. @crade
    “The problem isn’t really lobbying in general, it is simply using money to try to overpower democracy.”

    Watch last nights “the National” it touched up on this.

    http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/

  41. strunk&white says:

    Still waiting…

  42. strunk&white says:

    Jason,

    I don’t want names. I just wanted some indication that the sources have been v erified, and why I should believe they are authoritative. “Unnamed source within such and such a department…”, etc.

    As a “fellow trained journalist” you surely want the same kind of sourcing diligence when you read claims of fact?

  43. Terminator Talk says:


    “I’ll wait for Mr. Geist to answer.”

    So you feel you’re entitled to an answer directly from MG and don’t want an answer from anybody else here. Yet you feel entitled to preach to us from the podium.

    Sounds like someone took a page from CRIA’s playbook.

    I’ve decided maybe you’re not a troll after all, although you act like one.

    Perhaps Pompous Ass with an overblown sense of entitlement is a more apt description.

  44. @strunk&white
    As journalists we are bound by law not to provide info on anonymous sources. If those sources wish to remain anonymous that’s their right to do so. If those sources want to be identified, that’s their choice and they will do so.

    The sources according to what Geist has written are “industry” based, not political. Because those sources are within industry itself, actually questions the credibility of the information provided to Geist.

    If you have a problem with that, than maybe you should “lobby” government to have the laws changed, and good luck with that. Those laws are there for a reason with respect to the press. It’s part of democracy.

  45. @strunk&white
    Save the rhetoric for when the bill is actually released. One thing you can’t get through your thick skull of yours, along with many creators, is this is NOT an ideological debate between right a wrong. This has to do with market changes, and compensating artists around the market that’s in play and around the known economic facts. There is a huge danger for those who turn this debate towards ideology, because any mis-understanding of the economic facts will lead to devastating economic consequences across the board. You better hope they get this right, and I think the realization of that is starting to bare it’s ugly teeth now.

  46. “is this is NOT an ideological debate between right a wrong. ”

    edit: “is this is NOT an ideological debate between right and wrong.”

  47. Michael Geist says:

    @strunk&white
    Boy, pretty impatient. I’ve been on an airplane much of the day. With respect the lobbying and Jaffer reference, I make no claim or suggestion that CRIA is doing anything illegal. I simply state that lobbying is a big topic of conversation in Ottawa right now due to the Jaffer situation. I don’t see anything wrong with that statement.

    With respect to sources, this same question was raised in 2007 when I expressed public concern with the government’s direction under Prentice. I believe those concerns – and my postings on what was in store – were proven correct. In this instance, I would not be posting what I’ve posted unless I felt sure it was accurate. I think my track record is good. The motivation to be accurate is obvious – if I cry wolf incorrectly, I will lose credibility. But I’m not wrong here, as your sources can surely confirm.

    MG

  48. @Jason K
    “On top of that the Canadian use of P2P is far lower than many other countries, it’s really a non issue here in Canada. It’s more of an issue in the US and UK, both in which have put forth IP reforms that have attacked the market and consumers, and both in which are seeing spikes in P2P use.”

    I think that may have to do more with the monopolistic Canadians ISPs (Bell, Shaw, and Rogers) throttling P2P traffic, than it does with Canada just not using P2P (specifically torrents). Of course Canadians aren’t going to use BitTorrent if speeds are slowed to an unacceptable snail rate. I think if this throttling stopped, P2P usage would go back up. Which isn’t a bad thing. If it were practical, I would use torrents for all my legal downloads, since it is more efficient in the long run.

    It would be nice it any future copyright reform coincided with more consumer-sided ISP legislation.

  49. @Michael Geist
    “With respect to sources, this same question was raised in 2007 when I expressed public concern with the government’s direction under Prentice. I believe those concerns – and my postings on what was in store – were proven correct.”

    I’m not trying to discredit you by any means when I say this, but the political climate in Ottawa seems to be getting worse by the day. I have a hard time believing as someone who follows politics closely that Moore, and Clement would be that stupid. It would end their careers. The Conservatives are under fire right now with the Jaffer issue. They promised to basically fix the issue with lobbying back in 2006 (which is front and center in the news right now), if they go through with a C-61 approach and throw out the consultation results they will be crucified by the public, opposition and media.

    The Conservatives are the lowest they have even been in the polls. I think the last thing they will do is antagonize the public on this issue, especially during the Jaffer affair. I have a hard time believing that, and if it turns out to be true, than we are closer to an election than most people realize, which will kill the bill anyway.

  50. “if it turns out to be true, than we are closer to an election than most people realize”

    Certainly. And just at the time when they will have upset the under 40 generation enough to give them something to rally against.

    This will play perfectly into the Pirate Party platform. A large percentage of angry voters that has never taken politics seriously, and party platform that stands directly against the very thing that upsets them the most. The Conservatives would be doing the one thing, at the singular time, that they absolutely shouldn’t do. Political suicide is an understatement.

  51. This post seems really hypocritical. There’s absolutely nobody with more access to government officials than Michael Geist himself. At least CRIA discloses when they have meetings with people inside the government. How about we get the same level of disclosure from Michael Geist before going after others for having meetings “behind closed doors”??

    See:
    http://www.musictechpolicy.com/2010/04/geist-goes-after-canadian-labels-group.html

  52. strunk&white says:

    Mr. Geist,

    Thanks for your response. It was… careful, non-specific and without substance. I look forward to your campaign announcement. I’m guessing oldguy there would love it if you ran for the Pirate Party. The time is ripe.

    Jason K.,

    “As journalists we are bound by law not to provide info on anonymous sources.”

    Really? I think you might want to check your junior-reporter law guide on that one. The law does not require anonymity, but it can be used to protect it. There’s a difference. As I mentioned above, I don’t want the sources named. I just want the information verified. A “trained journalist” wouldn’t get past the sub-editor with the argument “I think my track record is good.” Scuttlebut, and completely unspecified sourcing are not journalism. They are gossip.

    Imagine if you turned in a paper to your prof without providing sources for the information it contained. “Trust me, Professor. I’m usually right about this stuff.” What kind of scholar would accept that?

    And finally, to poor TT. Did I hurt your feelings, Hook?

  53. Captain Hook says:

    @strunk&troll
    Playing the part of troll to the usual high standard I see. Sorry to disappoint. TT is not me. Getting a little paranoid perhaps.

  54. @Captain Hook
    Yep, with the arrival of “Music Fan” to complement stunk@wag here, the trolls are in full swing today.

    Glad to know that the level of desperation on their side is rising. I wouldn’t be surprised if they soon start calling Geist a poopyhead as their main argument.

    “Yeah?!! Well Geist is a mean, corrupt man… who loves Satan! He also likes to draw inappropriate symbols in the ground, and is a secret lobbyist CSIS agent who is being paid for by the secret Pirate Association to undermine the world order! He’ll cause worldwide hunger and spread disease.”

    Maybe the Geist trolls should start a tabloid. It will be just as meaningful and accurate as their garbage posts right now.

  55. strunk&white says:

    Hook, I just assume 90% of what’s in the comments section is you. Trust me on this. I’ve been right about it before.

    So now requests for journalistic standards are troll behaviour as well.

    Four legs good, two legs bad.

  56. Anonymous Coward says:

    @strunk&white
    You should try to read more Orwell than just Animal Farm.

  57. @stunk&shite
    “Hook, I just assume 90% of what’s in the comments section is you. Trust me on this. I’ve been right about it before.”

    Speak for yourself stunk. I’m sure that 99% of comments of trolls like you are just the same person pretending to make their minority look like a majority. I’ve seen this countless times on the Internet.

    But by all means, please continue your troll-ish attacks on this board. All it does is make us stronger.

  58. strunk&white says:

    “All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.”

    I’ve read just about every word Orwell wrote. What’s your point, AC? Maybe you should read something other than Ayn Rand.

  59. @strunk&white
    “The law does not require anonymity, but it can be used to protect it. There’s a difference. As I mentioned above, I don’t want the sources named. I just want the information verified.”

    Your understanding of even the democracy you belong to, let alone any understanding to do with complex copyright law is actually makes me laugh. You’re good for entertainment on this blog. Your quite clearly the village idiot here.

  60. strunk&white says:

    Jason K.,

    Be as insulting as you like — you are simply wrong about the law and source confidentiality. I have sat in courtrooms where this kind of thing has been decided. I strongly defend the principle of allowing journalists to shield their sources BUT there is currently no guarantee under the law. I wish there was. I consider source confidentiality a cornerstone of the free press (free like speech, not beer).

    Here’s a web-resource for you:

    http://www.journalismethics.ca/feature_articles/law_and_confidential_sources.html

    and a quote:

    “Wherever a journalist opts to use a confidential source, they must first recognize that they are putting that person at risk in an environment that affords them no legal protections. Kim Bolan, an investigative reporter at the Vancouver Sun, said in an interview that journalists must seriously consider whether they can really guarantee anonymity to a source.”

    There have been many court cases, quite recently in which brave journalists and their publishers have stood up to prosecutorial pressure and protected sources, but they are done on a case by case basis. Hmmm, come to think of it, with the demise of professional journalism, who is going to protect whistleblowers?

    Your assertion seems to be that the law requires journalists to protect all information around sources. That is simply untrue. If I’m wrong, show the law. I’m interested, said the village idiot.

    And once again, slowly this time so you can understand… I.. don’t.. want.. Geist… to.. name.. his.. source. Rather, I want some assurance from him that his facts are verifiably correct — beyond “trust me, my scuttlebutt is solid.”

  61. Anonymous Coward says:

    Ayn Rand
    What? Really? I suggest reading something other than Animal Farm and you assume that I am an Ayn Rand reader? Okay. Good luck to you.

  62. @strunk&white
    Alright if you want to get into journalism “ethics” I’m all for that. My thesis was on specifically this issue.

    First and foremost what you say is true, but only in the extreme cases where information with respect to criminal charges or serious issues before the court demanded that a source be revealed. In a lot of issues that I am aware of, the cases that have been brought before the courts, and courts ordered the sources to be relieved, have been because those sources were material witnesses to a crime or a serious matter in which the courts were over looking. In those cases yes, there is a conflict of law, and within our statue you can be imprisoned for withholding material information that is before the courts.

    That however doesn’t apply here at all. There’s no serious crime that is being investigated by the courts that has been witnessed by Geists source. Unless you think that Minister Moore has committed a criminal offense in letting industry people know he’s thinking about a C-61 approach? In which case I would report the matter to the RCMP and the lobby commissioner for proper legal follow up ๐Ÿ˜‰

  63. strunk&white says:

    How’d that thesis go?

    So, what you’re saying is I’m right. I got that part. Where’s the part where you school me on journalistic ethics?

    Here’s another quote that might interest you:

    “Breach of trust is a law often encountered in situations where a public servant discloses secret information to a journalist. The law is outlined in section 122 of the Criminal Code, which says that any public official who commits fraud or breach of trust in connection with the duties of his office can be subject to a prison term of up to five years.”

    You were mentioning something about a conflict of law?