In the summer of 2008, I was a member of the CBA’s Copyright Policy committee and participated in an effort to develop a submission for Bill C-61, the first Conservative copyright bill. The bill died a few months after introduction but the work, which included contributions from lawyers from across the country (including some representing copyright collectives) was largely completed. In April 2010, two months before Bill C-32 was introduced, the committee was disbanded as there was an inability to reach agreement on how to address the soon-to-be introduced bill. That was the last I heard of the committee until February 2011, when it released its submission, which does not take a specific position on issues but adopts a balanced approach by pointing to the differing views within the bar. The CBA apparently moved forward with a smaller working group without disclosing the membership in order to limit outside interference. I had no involvement in this committee: I was not a member, do not know the list of members, and had no involvement in the drafting of its submission.
The submission points to the wide range of perspectives within the copyright bar, including digital lock reforms. It includes content that I likely submitted as a member of the committee in 2008. The committee appears to have used some of the earlier materials in crafting its Bill C-32 submission. That strikes me as a perfectly reasonable approach since committees will often use prior committee work and such work never includes attribution to a particular individual. Once work is developed by a committee, it is treated as the work of the committee, not a single individual.
None of this was a big secret to the IP lawyers who signed the letter, particularly since some were on the CBA committee at the time that it was disbanded. Rather, it is a shameful attempt to smear the CBA, to discredit a balanced submission, and to take a swipe at me in the process. I think this says far more about those who put their name to the letter than it does about me or the CBA (signatories include McCarthy lawyers Barry Sookman, Dan Glover, Neil Finckelstein, and Steve Mason; Osler lawyer Lee Webster; Blakes lawyer Sheldon Burshtein, Gowlings lawyer Susan Abramovitch, Cassels Brock lawyers Chisick, Timothy Pinos and Stephen Selznick, Heenan lawyer Bob Tarantino, Goodmans lawyers Tara Parker and David Zitzerman; Fasken lawyer David Wotherspoon, Norton Rose lawyers Brunet and Madeleine Lamothe-Samson as well as lawyers from CRIA, CMPA, CMPDA, Access Copyright, and the ESAC). The attempt to generate media attention is clearly designed to distract from the SOPA-style demands many of their clients are promoting. The best way to counter this smear campaign is to speak out one more time on C-11 by writing to your MP, the Ministers or members of the C-11 committee by saying no to the outrageous demands such as website blocking or warrantless disclosure of subscriber information and yes to modest reforms to the digital lock rules.