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Perspectives on Canadian copyright policy

With the Canadian federal election a week away, there is a growing storm of debate over the state of copyright policy in Canada. This was triggered by the recent revelation that Liberal MP and candidate Sam Bulte has had her campaign bankrolled by an industry lobby backing American-style copyright policy (which is curious behavior from a party that attacks the pro-American leanings of its Conservative opponents). Us Canadians are wary of American-style legislation in general and even more wary of American-style pork-barrel politics. We expect our politicians to stand up for the interests of their constituents, not the interests of foreign media corporations.

Rather than elaborate my own position, I will instead refer to two bloggers who have written on the issue and whom I respect. A friend of mine, Vancouver’s own Matthew Good offers an insider’s look inside the media industry in Canada:

The most important realization that any Canadian can make about this country’s music industry is that it is almost entirely beholden to foreign parent companies. Now, many of you might be labouring under the false assumption that the primary concern of Canada’s foremost corporate music giants is the promotion and support of domestic artists, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Meanwhile, the University of Ottawa’s Michael Geist has been following copyright policy closely on his blog and has written extensively on the Bulte issue. His most recent piece looks at the history of the copyright lobby’s meddling in our legislative process and ends with a sensible recommendation:

It is time for a new approach that starts with a commitment from all MPs who accept funds from the copyright lobby not to serve in Ministerial positions or on legislative committees that involve copyright policy. The final week of the election campaign provides the ideal opportunity for Canada’ s leaders to begin to clean up Canadian copyright.

Of course, there is also the more direct solution of simply not electing politicians who take money from lobby groups. This is something we will get the opportunity to do next week.

  • January 16th, 2006 5:01 pm



Be careful with your strategic vote then. The conservatives Bev Oda is also on the take.

NDP, then!