Moore’s Response: Stop Talking and Wait For My DMCA

As thousands of Canadians speak out on the prospect of another Canadian DMCA, the official and unofficial response from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore is to stop criticizing and wait for the bill.  His spokesperson told the CBC that "people ought not to judge the legislation that they have not read." Moore himself is using roughly the same line in direct messages to some Twitter commenters, saying they should wait to read the bill before passing judgement. 

While unsurprising, the response is straight out of the Jim Prentice playbook, who similarly urged people to wait for what became Bill C-61 before commenting.  Yet the effect of remaining silent is to give Moore a free ride as the bill is drafted over the coming weeks.  The reality is that there is nothing to stop Moore or the government from either confirming or denying the general direction of the bill on issues such as anti-circumvention rules or flexible fair dealing.  In fact, months before Bill C-60 was introduced, the then-Liberal government provided a full roadmap of its legislative intentions so that the bill itself was not a surprise.

Over the past 48 hours, additional sources have come forward to privately confirm the information found in my original post: that Moore has been pushing hard for C-61 as a starting point (particularly with respect to the digital lock provisions) and has flatly rejected a flexible fair dealing approach.  Taking Moore's advice – which amounts to STFU until you see the bill – may buy him some quiet as he tinkers at the edges of time shifting, format shifting, or distance learning provisions to try to sell his bill as pro-consumer, but the foundation of Moore's Canadian DMCA will remain unchanged.  Now is not the time to remain silent.  Send a paper letter (c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6) to your MP, Moore, Clement, and the party leaders today (then join the Facebook group and Facebook page).


  1. VancouverDave says:

    Sounds oddly familiar…
    The watchword of this government appears to be “Shut up and obey!”.

    As Twain observed, “Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently, and for the same reason”.

  2. strunk&white says:

    the silence is deafening
    I note as well that there is nothing stopping the government from either confirming or denying that their new copyright bill will contain provisions to stable artists like veal.

    Can you push for an answer on that one as well? Paper letters please.

  3. ..
    Lovely the secrecy surrounding this conservative government. I hope the people of Canada wake up and never lets this secret-keeping government have power again.

  4. Michael Leamy says:

    A crowd is silent only when they don’t know what to roar.
    Write paper letters to your MP. Speak plainly on the topic to your friends. Support like minded citizens who are working for change.

  5. That’s all very nice that they think we should see the bill, but my understanding is that this thing is on the brink of being signed into action. How could he expect people who are opposed to C-61 or similar such bills to do anything _but_ get upset when they hear that this is what the new bill is? If he wants people to stop criticizing what they don’t know he should show the draft of the bill! BEFORE it makes its way into legislation.

  6. Peter S. says:

    So reactionary once again Michael. There is no inherent right to get the details of a Bill before it is tabled. Yet you make the spurious connection that because they don’t want to give you advance info it autimatically means the Bill is exactly what you say it is.

    How about this. If the Bill is dropped and is nothing like you’ve said, will you publically acknowledge your own stupidity and pure guesswork?

    No? Didn’t think so.

  7. Everyone here should STFU. If the bill is anti-consumer, than this exposes the influance lobby groups have over the voice of the Canadian People. Shouldn’t this be exposed especially now to the broader public? Won’t this do substantial damage to the Conservative party. Why save them from this, when an anti-consumer bill wouldn’t get through committee anyway. The only ppl the Conservatives would hurt with an anti-consumer bill is themselves. Let it happen. Save your written letters until the bill comes out.

  8. @Mr. S
    If it gets dropped or revamped at the last minute it will be because of the commotion it is stirring over the last made in America copyright bill by the Cons.

  9. Peter S. says:

    @ Mr. T
    That is such a cop-out. So easy to claim victory on a “change” when the original was never proven in the first place.

    Got to do better than that!

  10. Mitchell C. says:

    @Mr. S
    And when the bill is tabled and it’s exactly as Michael has said, will you “publically” [sic] acknowledge your own stupidity and pure vindictiveness?

    Also, just because government are not required to share bills until they’re tabled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. In the same vein of openness that spurred the public consultation, why not reveal the bill as it is being drafted?

  11. Moores choices:
    a) Hey, look at what is in this great bill!
    b) Please don’t speculate on what may be in the bill. I won’t give you any information about it.

  12. strunk&white says:

    Michael Geist is always right. We trust Michael Geist. We must not question Michael Geist.

    Four legs good, two legs bad.

  13. James Moore is always right. We trust James Moore. We must not question James Moore.

  14. Anonymous Coward says:

    Geist is Stalin!
    Yes. This is exactly like Georage Orwell’s Animal Farm. A book that was critical of Joseph Stalin. Totally the exact same thing.

  15. @broken record
    Everyone who agrees with Geist on anything is a mindless sheep.
    You don’t want to be a sheep!

    Agreeing with Geist makes you a sheep….
    Agreeing with Geist makes you a sheep….

  16. Sorry, it stripped out my tags! supposed to say:
    [hypnotic voice]
    Agreeing with Geist makes you a sheep….
    Agreeing with Geist makes you a sheep….
    [/hypnotic voice]

  17. Devonavar says:

    Moore has a point…
    How are we supposed to add anything substantial to the debate with nothing concrete to respond to? Getting upset about vague rumours about legislation nobody has seen publicly just creates white noise that makes us easier to ignore when the bill is actually released.

    I know Geist has connections and is not usually wrong, but this feels like a tactical mistake to me. Moore is quite aware of how the general public feels, and screaming blue murder that his legislation *might* be like C-61 isn’t going to help things.

    What we can do is take down the government if and when we have proof that the massive consultation that took place is being ignored. What better reason to throw the government out than demonstrative proof that they are not listening to the people (i.e. doing their job). But, getting upset before the bill is tabled just makes us easier to write off as crazy activists who don’t listen to anything.

  18. strunk&white says:


    What are we supposed to question James Moore on today? Something he’s said, or something he might one day say, or something he will never say?

    I need direction. Someone ask Mr. Geist to write another posting.

  19. strunk&white says:


    That’s a pretty narrow interpretation of Animal Farm. You need to expand your reactionary mind.

  20. Subject of levies…

    Has anyone seen/heard anything on the topic of the current levies, which are being used to re-coup losses due to file-trading, being revoked?

  21. Anonymous Coward says:

    No, it isn’t a narrow interpretation of Animal Farm.

  22. Letter’s Sent
    Thank you for keeping us informed, Michael. I have mailed off letters to my MP, the prime minister, the ministers of culture and industry, and the leaders of the Liberal and NDP parties.

    Surely the government could say, if it were true, “We’ve heard you; the bill will be nothing like the DMCA”. It seems silly to say, “Wait for the finished copy and then we’ll entertain changes” when changes are so much easier to make at this point. It does not feel like we have a shared vision for the future of our culture.

  23. I completely agree with Devonavar’s comment. Well said and good job, also one of the reason why I will be saving my ink for when the bill has actually been released. There’s no use in bitching now. Moore and the Conservatives must know what a C-61 approach would do to public opinion of the current government. They are continuing to play a political game here and Geist seems to be falling for this. Save the opposition for when the bill has been released. It’ll be way more publicized than it is now, and we can group up then to oppose it if necessary.

    Don’t let the momentum steam out to the point where no one will care when the actual Canadian DMCA is released. Save that energy for a time when the spot light is on those little minions in Ottawa on this bill and nation wide.

  24. freshwatermermaid says:

    why I wrote before reading the bill
    The reason I made the choice to voice my concerns before the bill is tabled and before I have read the full document is to give voice ahead of time to what in particular concerns me. Here’s the basic idea of how MP’s need to deal with their constituents: The brief – my letter, outlining my concerns
    The result – MP’s understand constituent position and propose bills and/or changes to pending legislation based on public concern, as outlined in brief
    Critique – my reading of bill once it is released. any concerns outlined in a second letter.

    In this way, I have participated in my democracy beyond voting and my MP gets helpful information beforehand, rather than just running in uninformed about how the bill should read. I am helping my MP do an actual job and gently reminding her/him who the boss is.

  25. cndcitizen says:

    Tabling bills in the middle of June…it is…
    …a strategic move as school is getting out, people are going on vacation, MP’s are wrapping up, this is a calculated plan to push a bill through at the last minute so everyone can go on vacation so that they can rubber stamp it in the Senate. Look at what the idiots in the UK did during the washup before the election. They pushed through the very unpopular and highly criticized DEB legislation…too bad it backfired so back and the leading party lost the election losing quite a few seats and can’t even form a government. With Steven Hirtlers minority government now, any further drop in the polls will put him out of office. I just don’t think anyone wants to have to deal with getting rid of the legislation like they will have to try and do in the UK.

    Keep protesting and when the bill is tabled then more people will know about it and are educated about the harm it will do. Waiting until the last minute will not work.

  26. cndcitizen says:

    Oh and further
    In Geist we trust….a heck of a lot more then the weasels in power that just wanna be a Minny G.B.

  27. STFU, who me?
    Maybe I’m just special, but I think something is missing from the debate about when/where/how to complain about any bills.

    It would seem to me that AFTER the bill is introduced, there would not be enough time to do anything about it.

    Think now… As the bill is being drafted, a lot of complaints and anger are very well publicized giving the public time to be prepared to fight before it’s too late. Time to rally against the American’s in the Canadian Federal Gov’t. If nothing is publicized before hand, then the window to fight back is much smaller and the soon to be Americans living in Canada will be too busy watching Friends re-runs to do anything about it.

    Now, if you believe that the current party has your best interests at heart and would NEVER EVER EVER sell you out to big business, STFU and wait for the new law that will no doubt help all Canadians make fair use of what they have paid for by creating backups, LOL

    But, if you think that the current Gov’t is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the American Gov’t, you better start bitching now so enough people have enough time to make sure that we don’t just rename yet another American Bill.

    Personally, I think that giving a quick once over of the current “American’s-in-Ottawa” track record would lead more people than not into believing that maybe… just maybe… we’ll be sold out.

    And of course, this being Canada, and the most fair country in the world, we would never in a million years get stuck with no rights to backup and yet still paying a pirate tax on blank media. Could never happen here…

  28. CrystalG says:

    I wanted to see if there was going to be a petition again on this one?

  29. Dwight Williams says:

    Mail is sent…
    …to my MP with CC’s to the party bosses, as suggested.

    Seems like a sensible approach to not let the government side of the House blindside us with our silence.

  30. Lobbyists probably do know what’s in the bill
    The citizens of Canada may not know what’s going into the bill, but it seems that somebody does. “Barry Sookman, CRIA’s lawyer,” argues “that leaking information was inappropriate and that the post is trying to ‘put pressure on the government to change a decision that is already made'” (from Geist’s May 6 post). Keep in mind also the recent PR push in the media that attempted to provide political cover for ignoring the results of the consultation.

    We are told we shouldn’t criticize before the bill is introduced because we can’t know what’s in it. But once it is introduced it will be too late. At that point the work of drafting it has been done and the government has taken a public stance. Doing an about-face would then be politically embarrassing. Right now they have plausible deniability if they change course.

    While the actual citizens of this country are locked out of the process, the lobbyists are in constant contact with the government. How else does Sookman know that the decision has already been made? The idea that citizens should be silent while lobbyists are at work – and that we should meekly accept the results of that lobbying – is profoundly undemocratic.

    If we protest and Geist is wrong, then great. But if he is right and we do nothing, we will have missed the boat that our opponents are already on. Now is the time to demonstrate how much we care about even a hint of a repeat of C-61.

    At the roundtable, I commented to James Moore that I didn’t envy his job of reconciling the different interests. His response: a politician can’t be afraid to offend some people. The way he said it, and the way he earlier insinuated that I was Geist’s “man” in Vancouver, I worried he might mean us. Put the pressure on. That is how politics works. It is never embarrassing for citizens to insist on expressing their views or their interests. What should be embarrassing is suggesting we should not. When someone says we should, consider why they might want us to do that.

  31. Yay Canada!
    I wonder who’s applying pressure to whichever politicans neck. USA says jump, Canada goes “OK!”

    Avro Arrow, where for art thou?

  32. Gottfrid says:

    At least this won’t affect my torrent site at all. (BTW we’ve got the latest edition of _The Elements of Style_ for anyone who wants it)

    Keep on trying, guv. I’ll stop when you get it right. This isn’t it.

  33. cndcitizen says:

    Avro Arrow….I was thinking the same thing
    When external interest put influence on weak politicians (which is what Hartler and Moors are then we going to be looking at this 25 years down the road and say…what happened to our country…oh wait…we won’t be able to voice our opinion because it will be copylefted by someone….

    Weak politicians bow down to external influences and Hartler is one of them….OR he could be like another politician that was trying to look for after he gets booted out of office job like the one for Hydro Quebec…at least in my opinion…since nothing he was trying to do helped the people and guess what he backed down when he knew he failed to get a job interbiew.

  34. a model citizen says:

    Harper and obama are NWO puppets. this type of thing, like in UK, is for control and disorientation of the masses, next they will likely crash the euro and dollar, nuke us, blame Al Kyda, and draft the kids, if they’re not in jail for illegal file sharing

    Gerald Celente has recently been saying ‘digital money isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on’
    which made think that digital music is probably worthless

  35. pat donovan says:

    Politics as usual, then. Here’s a primer.

    ASSIMOV 3 laws (deliberate sp there) for a NWO
    (new world order)

    1: you’re for or against us. (crit=terrorist/traitor)
    2: it’s compulsory or forbidden. ((but some of us are more equal than others)
    3: You’re guilty, guilty guilty! (preemptive arrest, etc)

    Of course, this assumes big-brother’s fink-world turns into death-by-lynchmobs. A s’kills world, right?

    Gossip is NOT the credit society. Dis-credit yak (our mascot at large) is more usually bragging, plotting or throwing dirt-balls.

    Personally, I can’t wait till our leaders run in this muck. All the way to brazil, I’m betting.

    My first clue was when youtube went from pie-in-the-face into three minute hates.

    The last straw was outlawing fair-usage commentaries like hilter does the ACTRA treaty.

  36. Jack Robinson says:

    Comatose Canucks provide the K-Y for New Rome’s Sly Agenda
    Dumbass that I am, the scarily surreal scenario that the Harper Cabal’s current 7 Point lead amongst the poll-axed Vox Populae suggests despite what the tiny World Beyond Saskatoon seems to distrust and revile… convinces me that, as a self-centric, techno-crap addicted culture we’ve taken the lemming leap beyond Orwell, Huxley and McLuhan into the realm of Swift’s immodest sausage factory understanding of political food chain fundamentals.

    Bill C-61 is merely an appetizer. The main course, cooked Canada Goose… will be on the New Rome menu once they’ve hi-jacked their Mugwhump Majority.

  37. I just join your facebook group and send the letter to the government. This time I have doubt these letters will work, when they already ignore consultation from last year. Well I guess for now I can still keep my hope up

  38. And today’s game is:

    Try to identify the corporate public relations plants trolling on this blog…

  39. some kind of druid dude says:

    I’m surprised the recording industry still has any clout, maybe they’ve expanded their tried and true business practice of Payola to include The Conservative Party of Canada, what’s next? a tax on digital cameras to pay fuji, agfa, Kodak for lost earnings?

  40. Can’t take criticism?
    Just got a pair of DMs from James Moore myself.

  41. Looks like Moore and Clement will be heading up a specialized task force on copyright. From the looks of both of them in this video it looks to be pretty serious:

    Prepare yourselves 😉

  42. well if really according to James Moore, that we should wait, I think he should let us see the bill first whether than table it first. And that youtube video is call using excessive force against un-arm civilians. That didnt promote anything, only promote the “gun” is only the “real” solution from here on out. In my opinion this is an epic “fail” advertisement.

  43. Make your views known now!
    If Mr. Moore is right, then why do lobbyists not follow it? No, once the legislation is drafted and put into the system it requires much more action to alter its course. Make your views known now! Don’t give the drafters any breathing room.

  44. @Den
    Lighten up 🙂 The youtube video was supposed to put forth some humor to the subject.

  45. James K. Phillips says:

    I am already planning for what to do if it gets passed
    I don’t think I will send a letter right away. I will take the time to read up on an Alphabet Soup of DRM standards “Robustness Rules.” I will puzzle over the ACTA Draft that was released mid-april (The section saying it does not take precedence over national legislation is not agreed-upon text).

    Then, instead of summarizing all of that Information, I will write a letter to the Editor comparing the coming “War on Infringement” with the “War on Drugs/Terror.” I anticipate the effect of copyright (and possibly patent and Trademark) reform will make the wars on Drugs and Terror look trivial and Sane in comparison. The background reading is needed to avoid falling into the trap of exaggeration.

    Such a letter should be timed to coincide with the release of the proposed legislation (possibly with a “I haven’t had the chance to completely review the proposed legislation” line). The reason the effect of the “War on Infringement” will be far-reaching is that copyright affects every sector of the economy: from food production to the service industry; from dentistry to mining. Computers are everywhere and they run code protected by copyright, and in some cases DRM. A “Canadian DCMA” would encourage the proliferation of TPMs used by software publishers. DRM lowers software quality and increases support costs: DRM can only degrade, never improve software.

    When this legislation gets forced through, I have a tentative back-up plan/stunt. The proposed C-61 legislation had an interesting loop-hole formed by the inherent contradiction in what the legislation is trying to do. Essentially, DRM allows distributors to write their own copyright law. The loop-hole enshrines this is in law. Without the loop-hole, we have to be granted permission to circumvent DRM for “Fair dealing” purposes. However, DRM that can be circumvented for “Fair Dealing” purposes is no longer an “Effective Technical Measure,” thus no longer requiring protection under the 1996 WIPO Copyright treaty.

    PS: posting comments still requires JavaScript to be enabled 😛

  46. Dr. Giggles says:

    lol @ the utube vid.


  47. The idea of sending a paper letter to the Minister’s office is the best one here to do if you want to comment against the proposal. Since it would contain your name and address, it is obviously coming from a Canadian source. As opposed to Facebook, which is easily ignored as people who are not affected can join the group, and skew the numbers of people using it as a form of protest.

    Michael. There are at least two reasons to release the proposed text early. The first is to get public feedback. If done for this reason, the results can be fairly good.

    The second is to generate so much noise so early on that the short attention span of the public and the media has moved onto other things when the bill is introduced… in essence the protesters’ voices have faded from the public view and the government can get what they want without much by way of public scrutiny.

    On the other hand, not releasing the text early means that, while the publics attention can become focused on the bill at the time of introduction (assuming the media decides to cover the story), it also provides less time for the people who want to protest it to gather coherent arguments against it based on the actual text.

    The other possibility is that it is a ruse; what are the chances of an election occurring this fall? The introduction of such a bill would get the USTR off of our butts but the bill would go to ground with a dissolution of Parliament. In this situation, the government wins. A non-confidence motion resulting in a change of government through a LPC/NDP/BQ coalition would either have to substantially change the bill, withdraw the bill, or pass it as it exists. In the first two cases they PO the USTR and a number of the IP holders, in the latter the public. In the case of an election, the government has the opportunity to say to all, with a straight face, that they attempted to reform copyright but it was nixed by a coalition of the opposition. If it seriously looks like there will be an election they have the opportunity to be publicly open to changes to the bill, making the Canadian public happy, but then making out the opposition as the bad guys on this file because they are “against the IP holders” when Parliament is dissolved.

    All this to say that, where it comes to dealing with the current government, one cannot forget that the current PM is a strategist; he uses issues to either further his own goals or to make the opposition look like the bad guys. While most politicians do this, this PM can be quite Machiavellian in this respect, although he more obvious than the others. Be careful to not fall into a trap on the issue.

  48. Tories Need to STFU
    Minister Moore’s STFU attitude should not surprise any Canadian who have been listening to the tone and tenor of the federal Conservatives of late.

    The Tories continue to demonstrate an amazingly open disdain for public discourse, disclosure and debate yet the media and Canadians in general seem to be too busy to care. Until they lose a little more personal freedom at the expense of large multi-national corporations.

    Perhaps Mr. Moore and PM Harpo would like to test their new found bravado with the Canadian electorate with an election this summer or fall?

    Spineless weasels have broken every single promise they vomited to get into office and so no signs of keeping any recent ones. Cowards. Every single one of them.

  49. paper letters?
    what is the significance of writing paper letters? i don’t even know how to write a formal paper letter, is it really worth more than an uniquely-authored email?

  50. @cshen
    Not handwritten, just in paper form. Print your email letter and put it in an envelope. More likely to get read and counted.

  51. Greg A. Woods says:

    wtf Devonavar et al!?!?!?
    What the heck kind of lamb are you Devonavar? We are not, or at least should not be, drones who will obey silently and wait to be told when we should speak our minds and make our views known.

    Any _real_ democratic government will only draft legislation which has been driven by public needs and input. The government is formed to do our bidding, a government for the people, by the people, and of the people (to borrow an oft ignored quote from our neighbours to the south). They cannot do what we wish if we do not tell them first what we want.

    We must not be silent and let them draft legislation based only on the input from private lobby and foreign influence!