Globe’s McKenna Back With Column Confusing Copyright Laws and Licencing

The Globe’s Barry McKenna runs a column today on the state of Bill C-32, wrongly linking Canadian copyright laws with the availability of online services.  For example, he points to the absence of Pandora from the Canadian market, even though Pandora’s founders have stated that it is licencing costs, not copyright law that is to blame. Similarly, he raises Hulu, even though (as I wrote earlier this year) the slow migration of services like Hulu is a function of geographic licencing barriers, not copyright law. McKenna ran a similar column last year.


  1. Yeah, but look at who he talked to
    Graham Henderson is the only person it appears that he spoke to.

    And people wonder why journalists are getting such a a bad rap these days.

  2. Rather than make a snide comment on the journalistic integrity of this article I’ll correct a few of the points raised.

    1) “None of these businesses are in Canada because content owners are reluctant to license their intellectual property in an outdated and confusing legal environment.”

    False – One of the most popular streaming services, Pandora, was in Canada for a time but they had to pull out because the Canadian licensing costs and procedures were unworkable. If you mention this to Graham Anderson be prepared for a tight lipped smile.

    2) “Instead, the Canadian market is dominated by pirate BitTorrent file-sharing sites such as Isohunt that operate freely here.”

    False – There is this thing called the internet which was not designed for international boundaries. If a file sharing site is in Canada, Italy, Russia or even the USA it’s geographical location in no way will cause it to ‘dominate’ the local market. The real culprit is actually the lack of legal alternatives, talk about backward thinking!

    3) “Instead of trying to find compromise on contentious issues, the bill’s opponents appear to be just “ragging the puck” and biding their time for another election, Mr. Henderson complained.”

    Hypocritical – Mr. Henderson likes the bill the way it is because it blocks most of the fair use provisions with a ‘digital lock’ that he controls. What his quote should read is, “Instead of trying to find compromise on contentious issues, I wish the bill’s opponents would just shut up and go away so I can have this bill passed in time for the next election, Mr. Henderson complained.

  3. What a sickening asshole who will never deserve the title of “journalist”
    Unbelievable garbage from the Globe and Mail and written by someone who obviously holds no journalistic integrity whatsoever. Shame on the Globe and Mail and McKenna.

  4. @Jason
    Has Jason actually read the article? I suspect not. McKenna might be wrong, but he’s hardly being offensive and the “sickening asshole” comment is unjustified and is more of a comment on Jason than McKenna.

    As to whether McKenna is wrong, I don’t think so. Many copyright businesses do see problems protecting their content in Canada. They may be wrong, but McKenna was reporting what they told him. And this debate will not be advanced by failing to recognise that there are differing viewpoints. Thoser who don’t sgree with you are nor assholes.

  5. The comments people have added on the Globe site are way more remarkable than the article.

    Perhaps there was a rallying cry to add such comments.

  6. BCFC Member says:

    Yes, the Balanced Copyright for Canada site, the CRIA lobbying site, is urging everyone to post comments in support of the article as it’s top task today.

  7. Bob …
    There are factual errors in the article, whether someone else told him or not. As for the rudeness, I agree .. not necessary. let’s keep it civil.

  8. Arthur Goldsmith says:

    Universal Music Canada calls C32 opponents ‘Free-tards’.
    Did anyone read the comments to the article? I’m inclined to believe that these people either really love this bill (32) or they have a ‘special interest’ in making it seem like there’s broad support for this bill. Below is a list of commenters who’s comments are suspiciously rated at the top, and who’s commenting history is nothing but support for bill C32.

    My favourite comment though has to be by Ivar Hamilton who I believe is the VP of Artist Marketing at Universal Music Canada calling people who oppose this bill “free-tards”:

    Ivar Hamilton
    “The education and consulting process has been over done and the opposers/”free-tards” continue to attempt to take this down like snipers.”

    Comment history of the top rated commenters:

    Avem’s page – by far the most fervent

    Judy103’s page

    schan2010’s page

    Judy103’s page

    all4music’s page

  9. Oh, that is to funny …
    I have never seen post ratings in the double digits before, never mind 20 or 30. And all from the pro TPM/industry camp, guess it was a slow day at the office. Posts later in the day seem to reflect a more realistic ‘metric’ of opinion.

    Another Astroturf party, why do I never get invited?

  10. David Allsebrook says:

    A Distinction Without a Difference
    The ability of content providers to compel Internet broadcasters to take geographic licenses is because of the law of copyright. Without it there would be no need to take a license. A license is a right to do something one would not otherwise be entitled to do. McKenna was right on this point.