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Canadian Gov't Gives Big Bucks to Copyright Lobby 173

5degreez writes "The Toronto Star is reporting that the Canadian government is providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to a copyright lobby group that claims that education groups are 'devoted to abolishing creators' rights on the Internet.' Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act by Prof Michael Geist reveal that government officials recognized that the funding established a bad precedent, yet they still plan to pay big bucks until 2008."
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Canadian Gov't Gives Big Bucks to Copyright Lobby

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  • Wait a minute... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@gmail . c om> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:27PM (#15609197) Homepage Journal
    they're using the taxpayers' money to provide the *AA money so they can lobby for parties following their lines?

    O.o This is sick, man! It's way more serious than the *AA. It's more like electoral fraud.
    • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

      by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:51PM (#15609320)

      Depends by what you mean by *AA.

      The money goes to the Creators' Rights Alliance. They include groups that represent poets, songwriters and composers. I do not believe that the CRIA (the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA) is part of this alliance.

      Here in the USA, there are groups that represent the media companies (the RIAA and the MPAA), and there are groups that represent artists (ASCAP and BMI). This distinction doesn't matter to many Slashdotters, but for background it's important to understand that the RIAA and ASCAP/BMI are often at odds with each other. Generally speaking, if you're a "little guy" composer or songwriter, ASCAP/BMI are your friends, and the RIAA is not.

      Many people reading this will fall into a couple of camps:

      If you are in the "hate the big record companies, respect the artists" camp (the "the artists are needy" group), then you might be okay with this.

      If you think that anybody fighting for their rights -- whether they're a big media conglomerate, or a poet making $50 a year -- is out of line, or if you believe that any organization made up of initials and which fights for copyright protection is evil (the "the artists are greedy" camp), then this news may upset you.

      I hope this answers your question.

      • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

        by stubear ( 130454 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:00PM (#15609357)
        bzzzzttt...wrong. ASCAP and BMI are colleciton agencies. These are the guys who around to venues and make sure artists are bgine rightfully compensated for the use of their music. If a bar, restaurant, or other establishment has a stereo system larger than a boombox then they have likely been visited by ASCAP and.or BMI. The RIAA also collects royalties but this is on msuic sales. Artists can be compensated by both organizations.
        • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

          by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:09PM (#15609390)

          "bzzzzttt...wrong. ASCAP and BMI are colleciton agencies. These are the guys who around to venues and make sure artists are bgine rightfully compensated for the use of their music. If a bar, restaurant, or other establishment has a stereo system larger than a boombox then they have likely been visited by ASCAP and.or BMI."

          Correct. ASCAP and BMI collect on behalf of the artists. This is why I wrote that ASCAP and BMI represent artists (as separate and distinct from the RIAA, which represents record companies). When ASCAP or BMI comes a callin', the money goes to the artists, not the record companies.

          "The RIAA also collects royalties but this is on msuic sales. Artists can be compensated by both organizations."

          The RIAA is a trade group that represents record companies, but it is the record companies that are responsible for calculating and distributing royalties based on CD sales. I know that many people like to use "RIAA" and "big record companies" interchangeably, but it's important to understand that for as much as the RIAA talks about how they are helping the artist, it is the record companies that they represent. Money goes to the RIAA to cover lobbying efforts, lawsuits, and so on, but you won't see the RIAA issuing checks to musicians. That is not their job.

          This is why I wrote that the RIAA represents record companies, while BMI and ASCAP represent artists.

          Let me know if I'm being unclear, or if you still believe that I'm incorrect.

      • by koreth ( 409849 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:10PM (#15609397)
        Nice generalization, but sadly not really true. From TFA:
        The CRA has eight objectives, which notably include "to ensure that government policy and legislation recognize that copyright is fundamentally about the rights of creators"

        In other words, this is a group that specifically says it's out to reduce the rights of the public, since the original conception of copyright is that it's a way to balance the rights of creators and the public for the greater good. This has its roots in English common law: the Statute of Anne in 1709 established the idea of limited terms for copyrights, the idea being that previously copyrighted material should become public material after a time.

        This group wants to go from "the point of copyright is to benefit society" to "the point of copyright is to benefit creators." Kind of a fundamental difference that one can in good conscience oppose without wanting to screw over any artists.

        • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bombadillo ( 706765 )
          Damn Canada has gone right wing all of the sudden. First they elect a Canadian version of Bush and now this...
          • All but the most far-right politicians in Canada are slightly to the left of the Democrats, if anything. The spectrum here in Canada is very much shifted to the left, generally. Yes, I know this is a generalisation, but it *is* generally the case.
            • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:07AM (#15611114) Journal

              I don't believe that is true. I think the far-right politicians in Canada could teach Bush a thing or two about being right wing (which is why Canadians have been rather fearful of electing them)... only they can't fully excercise their beliefs in government as they know they will be out of work (as politicians) at the next general election if they did (which is why Prime Minister Harper is keeping a tight reign on his core MPs and not allowing them to talk unscripted to the media). Many are very devout Christians, and many are very right wing, and there are several I would bet are almost Libertarian in view. Canada may have single payer health insurance, but we are a lot more capatilistic and market driven than most in the U.S. think... not as much as the U.S. but very close, and certainly much more so than Europe.

              Remember the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) who had the largest majority ever elected to Canadian parliment under Prime Minister Mulroney (1980s). He turned hard to the right and did as he pleased. The upshot was that he pissed the population off so bad that they were reduced to 2 seats in parliment after the next election. The PCs could not even be recognized as a political party in parliment (they have to sit as independents until they elected something over 10 MPs). The new Conservative Party of Canada (which is way further to the right than the old PCs) seem to have learned from that. They know they have to moderate themselves, especially at this time since they only have a minority government. However, I would bet that if they had a majority, they would drift pretty hard right closer to their roots. And personally, I think that might be good thing as Canada has drifted way too far to the left in my opinion. If they did get out of control, like before, the citizens would elect them out of existance the following election. But by that time, things might be more balanced to the middle for a few years before they go hard left again (and hopefully we would have a triple-e senate by that time!).

              What I find interesting is that even if Canadians were so sick of the Liberal Party after their ~14 year corruption riddled reign they actually elected any sort of right wing party. And what's more interesting is the Conservatives are gaining ground in Quebec (since they are supporting a more autonomous roll for that province... one thing I don't like about them... I like a strong central government), which would mean that they have a very good shot at getting a majority government next time. Finally as right wing as they are, I personally don't think the Conservatives are puppets of Bush. They may agree with him on quite a number of issues, but I think they understand that they represent Canada and its interests, not the U.S.A.'s. But at the same time, they understand that we have to work closely with the U.S. as friends since that is where most of our income comes from. You don't bite the hand that feeds you, unless you first find someone else to feed you. They are right next door and anyone else are many thousands of miles away. You do the math. ;-)

              • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:3, Interesting)

                by gmack ( 197796 )

                Remember the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) who had the largest majority ever elected to Canadian parliment under Prime Minister Mulroney (1980s). He turned hard to the right and did as he pleased. The upshot was that he pissed the population off so bad that they were reduced to 2 seats in parliment after the next election.

                It wasn't the shift to the right that did him in. It was the unpopular tax (GST) that he put into place followed by his first moves at cutting programs and moving towards getting the

                • You might consider a new tax and massively increasing the deficit a "hard turn to the right", but it's an unusual one, as it takes one well past the normal right ("conservatism") into the weird and wonderful world of the neo-conservatives and the "Reform" party.

                  Alternatively it might be considered a strong turn to the left, as it goes right past the Liberals and NDP to the... weird and wonderful world of the neo-liberals and the Reform party.

                  Whichever you way you consider this, though, it was immensely

              • And what's more interesting is the Conservatives are gaining ground in Quebec (since they are supporting a more autonomous roll for that province... one thing I don't like about them... I like a strong central government)

                While, I too, think that a stronger central governement would be more efficient, it would never work. I live in Montreal, and I would say that you have to live here (or anywhere in Quebec) to really understand what the whole independance mouvement is all about. The core PQ and BQ voter

                • While, I too, think that a stronger central governement would be more efficient, it would never work. I live in Montreal, and I would say that you have to live here (or anywhere in Quebec) to really understand what the whole independance mouvement is all about. The core PQ and BQ voter will probably never trust the federal gouvernement because they feel it's "foreign" ...

                  Heh, and what's funny is that the exact same sentiment is felt out here in western Canada. Perhaps Canada is more united than we think!
          • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:2, Informative)

            by Headcase88 ( 828620 )

            First they elect a Canadian version of Bush and now this...

            Forgive me if I'm wrong, but to me the wording here implies that the two things aren't connected. That's like me saying (a few years ago) "First those yankees voted for the Amercian version of Bush (Bush), and now they're going to war with Iraq!"

            And for the record a lot of people voted for Harper because the Liberals were a horrible choice and God forbid they vote for a third party. After all, they have no chance of winning [wikipedia.org]!

            So yeah, I agree wi

            • ...God forbid they vote for a third party. After all, they have no chance of winning!

              If Canada has a Plurality voting system similar to what we have down south, it isn't simply a self-fullfilling prophecy, it is an effect first observed by French sociologist Maurice Duverger. It works so reliably that political scientists have "promoted" it to being a "law". See my sig for more info.
            • Don't look at me, I voted for the New Democrats. If we had a proportional representation system like most of Europe, 20% of the house would be NDP. As long as we have a riding system (kinda like the US's, for those of you reading this), we are pretty much a 2 party country as well.

              I think Harper et al. are doing a terrible job, but polls seem to suggest people aren't too concerned. He actually RAISED taxes for the lowest tax bracket during his "big tax cuts", and no one noticed. What a dick.
              • Having been in Ontario for one NDP term and BC for two. I'm rather glad they don't have much of a say at all. NDP policies of feed the unions and Tax the rich tend to drive the economy down rather than up. NDP platform last election was pretty much a joke as well.

                Your also playing with words when you say "lowest tax bracket" as if it means the poor will get taxed more. In Canada if your below a certain income level you don't pay income tax. The poorest are now getting a break on their sales tax while

                • Um, you have to make less than $10,000 per year to not pay income tax. If you're really making that little money, I doubt you have enough disposable income that the GST cut will help you at all.

                  In fact, for those in the lowest tax bracket, they have to spend over half of their gross income on taxable consumables (ie. not rent or food) before the GST cut woud result in lower taxes for them. People with that little income cannot afford to spend so foolishly (though no doubt some do it anyhow).

                  Heck, I'm not
          • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:4, Informative)

            by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmack.innerfire@net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @07:19AM (#15611693) Homepage Journal
            Damn Canada has gone right wing all of the sudden. First they elect a Canadian version of Bush and now this...

            The Conservatives weren't in power last fall when this was signed, the Liberals were. The change in power was in January. Also keep in mind that the Liberal party had been trying for awhile to implement a Canadian version of the DMCA

        • The myth that copyright was created for the public's benefit is very persistent. See QuestionCopyright.org [questioncopyright.org] for a detailed explanation of the origin of this myth and its effects today.
        • since the original conception of copyright is that it's a way to balance the rights of creators and the public for the greater good. This has its roots in English common law: the Statute of Anne in 1709 established the idea of limited terms for copyrights, the idea being that previously copyrighted material should become public material after a time.

          Canda's legal system is not as directly derived from english common law as is the US's. One factor in Canadian copyright law that has almost no representation
        • by Thangodin ( 177516 )
          I think the tip-off about these people is the part that says education was a "well heeled, publicly funded lobby . . . devoted to abolishing creators' rights on the Internet." He's talking about students and public libraries here; not exactly my idea of well heeled.

          When I hear spin like this, I smell bullshit.
          • I think "educational sector" means teachers, not students. heh.

            It also includes Museums... as recently several Museum groups have submitted positions supporting balanced copyright and supporting the public interest and opposing DRM/TPM legislation.

            So it's those eeeeevil librarians and teachers and museums in the educational sector conspiring to abolish copyright on the internet. Damn those Radical Militant Librarians! [ala.org] (Be sure to catch the third paragraph, where the origin of the term is explained.)

            -
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:13PM (#15609413)
        This distinction doesn't matter to many Slashdotters, but for background it's important to understand that the RIAA and ASCAP/BMI are often at odds with each other. Generally speaking, if you're a "little guy" composer or songwriter, ASCAP/BMI are your friends, and the RIAA is not.

        The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

        If I am a composer whose works are performed or recorded by others, ASCAP protects my interests. If I am anybody else, then ASCAP protects the interests of composers from me. ASCAP is just as likely to be attacking me as they are to be attacking the RIAA. For example, let us say that I run a restaurant. In that case, ASCAP are the people who prevent me from allowing my employees to sing the "Happy Birthday" song, or virtually any other song for that matter. [unhappybirthday.com] If I am a small-time composer or musician whose works are not performed by others, ASCAP are the people whom I live in fear of in case I have the temerity to perform a song I did not write under the very wide umbrella of what constitutes a "public performance".

        I am not familiar enough with Canadian CRIA to comment on them specifically.

        If you think that anybody fighting for their rights -- whether they're a big media conglomerate, or a poet making $50 a year

        Wait, stop right there. "Intellectual property" owners have no rights. They have privileges. Copyrights are granted by the government, which means they are not rights. Real rights cannot be granted by anyone, because something which can be granted can be taken away. Since copyrights are priviliges and not rights, the populace have the authority to direct the government they theoretically control to limit or remove the priviliges that those copyright holders enjoy.
        • "If I am a composer whose works are performed or recorded by others, ASCAP protects my interests. If I am anybody else, then ASCAP protects the interests of composers from me."

          Yup. ASCAP and BMI are pretty narrow in their scope... they represent composers and lyricists. Not restaurant owners, and not performers. The trouble is, when you're chartered to represent group A, you're liable to piss off groups B and C if their interests collide with those of group A.

          "For example, let us say that I run a

          • I've been of the understanding that the ASCAP/BMI licensing is handled by the venue -- that is, if you have a gig in a bar, restaurant or theatre, it's they who pay up, and you can sing all all the songs you want, even "Happy Birthday." Can you give me some examples of a public performance where the performer is liable for the ASCAP/BMI licensing, and not the property owner?

            License fees are paid by the party who infringed, theoretically. The performer would always be the party infringing the performance ri

          • So how does preventing restaurant employees singing "happy birthday" help anyone?

            Without the ASCIP, the copyright holder would have received no income when it was sung. But now, no-one ever sings it, so the copyright holder still receives no income, but has to pay the ASCIP for the privilege.

        • In the 1980's, my mother taught an aerobics class for senior citizens. she would get 5-10 students in a class. she made her own tapes by copying the ones that she checked out at the library. after a few years of doing this, she finally got a cease & desist order from one of these songwriters groups. they ordered her to stop playing the songs in front in 10 senior citizens! what a bunch of douchebags. the songwriters groups, that is - not the senior citizens.
      • by sasdrtx ( 914842 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:24PM (#15609458)
        Maybe you should rethink your pigeonholing. The point of the article is the government paying lobbying organizations. I don't care what they're lobbying for, that is outrageous. It has nothing to do with one's position on copyright.
      • Many people reading this will fall into a couple of camps:

        If you are in the "hate the big record companies, respect the artists" camp (the "the artists are needy" group), then you might be okay with this.

        If you think that anybody fighting for their rights -- whether they're a big media conglomerate, or a poet making $50 a year -- is out of line, or if you believe that any organization made up of initials and which fights for copyright protection is evil (the "the artists are greedy" camp), then this n

  • by Entropy ( 6967 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:45PM (#15609293)
    IMHO, the CRA should rename itself to truly reflect what it stands for. And we all know they will say they stand "against piracy". So they should name themselves the Creators Rights Alliance Againt Piracy.

    I think that then and only then will the right message get across ..
  • Public Interest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morosoph ( 693565 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:46PM (#15609297) Homepage Journal
    I have to say that it's a new line for Industry Lobbyists to be taking:

    "The public interest is getting too much representation! We need funding so that we can counter it!"

    You can be sure that other lobbies will soon be arguing the same thing. It's worked for the Creators' Rights Alliance, why not any other interest group?
  • Repeat after me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Audent ( 35893 ) <(moc.stiucsibevoli) (ta) (tnedua)> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:47PM (#15609301) Homepage
    copying copyright material is not theft. It is copying.

    Why should we be treating this as a criminal act when it's clearly a civil issue?

    Lobbying money, that's what.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It is theft! It's immoral, an offense against God, an action against the holy laws, a terrorist act, an act that leads to killing of baby seals and global warming, an act that goes against everything that humanity stands for, a foul act of one undeserving any pity, an act of communist anarchist hippie facists, an act that goes against every single idea around which the modern democratic governments were built, an act that offends every single fiber of a human being, a foul act deserving the harshes treatmen
    • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@gmail . c om> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:56PM (#15609345) Homepage Journal
      Why should we be treating this as a criminal act when it's clearly a civil issue?

      Because when laws change, copyright infringement will become a criminal act.

      And speaking about lobbying, let me tell you about elections in my country.

      Here in Mexico, money for political campaigns is provided by taxes. It is scandalous because too much money is given to the parties - but in a way it's still healthier than lobbying. Because with lobbying, it's corporate interests which determine who gets advertised (and therefore, elected).

      A much better idea (IMHO) for an electoral process is to spend equal amount of money in propaganda for all parties involved, to promote their platforms and ideas. Then do obligatory (for the parties) debates and let the public decide.
      • Actually, here is a better article [latimes.com] that describes some of the problems in Mexican politics with vote buying. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
      • Here's a better article [latimes.com] about the current use of the time honored practice of vote buying in Mexican political campaigns.

        (Note: I'm not saying Mexico is better or worse than the U.S. or Canada in terms of political corruption.)
        • (Note: I'm not saying Mexico is better or worse than the U.S. or Canada in terms of political corruption.)

          Of course it's not. There are different flaws in both electoral systems, and they need different solutions. While in the US you need to go back to the popular vote, in here we need a 2nd pass election, so independent candidates and other parties can enjoy a greater quantity of votes, and at the same time, people can unite and vote against the "bad guy" if there is one.
          • I don't think the problems are as simple to solve as that, but not doubt what you suggest would improve both systems.

            Please don't take this the wrong way, but I actually admire Mexican corruption (outside of the corruption due to drug trafficking). It seems so egalitarian compared to the corruption we see in the US (again, outside of drug trafficking). In the US, you have to already be extremely wealthy, powerful, or connected to participate in corruption, while in Mexico, corruption seems available to a mu
      • Here in Mexico, money for political campaigns is provided by taxes. It is scandalous because too much money is given to the parties - but in a way it's still healthier than lobbying.

        What you are describing is financing for election campaigning. The situation in Mexico is probably not much different from Canada, even if the details are different. The major exception when it comes to campaign finance is the USA.

        Because with lobbying, it's corporate interests which determine who gets advertised (and theref
    • by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:01PM (#15609363)
      You are of course correct. It should be noted, though, that at least in the States the penalties for such copying are FAR worse than those for stealing. Despite being Canadian, I don't know too much about Canadian law on the subject except for the fact that there was a judge last year that said downloading and uploading music both qualified under personal use.

      More important than definitions of the word "theft", however, is the point that the government is funding a lobby group? How do I convince them to fund me to spread my message that infringing copyright is a good thing?
      • The Canadian government's funding the lobby group probably pales in comparison to the interested parties' donations to the political candidates that were responsible for this in the first place.

        You buy some candidates, then you use those candidates to get state funding for buying more candidates. When they're to that point, you might as well make the copyright industry a branch of the government in it's own right.
    • When people were already stealing cable (the accepted term) back in the 70s and 80s, I doubt you were even old enough to discuss it. And the Russians "stole the secrets to the atomic bomb" from the US a long time before that.

      Stop trying to redefine the English language to fit your narrow definitions. Both the language and the law recognize more than just depriving someone of property as theft.
      • actually, the courts were very clear on this issue. i beleive it was the Judge herself that, multiple times told the **AA Lawyer(s) to correct themselves, that copyright infringement was not theft. in this case it is the **AA that has tried to redefine the legal terms to their benifit. you might be able to get away with in when you're dealing with a vague vernacular, but not in a court, with a judge that knows the law.
        • I see. This one happens to agree with you, and so she's aces.

          But if she were ruling that DRM were legal, I would expect she would be villified as knowing nothing.

          Plenty of people got in trouble with the law for stealing cable. It becomes a non-civil matter when it is criminalized. Which that was. And recording the screen in a movie theater.

          Speak of precise language?

          Here's a 2001 ruling from a US court where the court quotes Congress several times in calling stealing cable theft and the court also turns a ph
          • well, yes. untill she is over ruled by a higher body, i think that this sets the presedent for any legal definition of copyright infringement vs. stealing. just because another judge, in another case, ruled that another crime could be considered theft, doesn't make it apply to this one, especially when the judge on this case said, specifically, it is not.

            "But if she were ruling that DRM were legal, I would expect she would be villified as knowing nothing" i'm sure you'd love to believe that i feel that
            • Again, the language included "stealing cable" long before the RIAA got involved.

              And legal precedent doesn't extend to choice of wording. It's about the interpretation of the law only.

              Since Congress (the ultimate maker of the laws) has passed laws covering "theft of service" and "identity theft", then it would appear that the law sees that there there are other definitions of theft than just what you would specify it to be.

              You're trying to twist language and then blaming it on someone else. I'm sure you have
  • i thought canada (Score:3, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@g m a il.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:52PM (#15609325) Homepage Journal
    <sarcasm>
    was a bastion of all that is fair and just in the world?

    or maybe what people traditionally associate with american versus european versus chinese versus (anywhere) behavior is actually a component of all human behavior?

    nah, that ruins all of my simplistic nationalism-based stereotypical ways i think about my world, where everyone is conveniently lumped into "good guys" versus "bad guys"

    heaven forbid i have to think critically about the world i live in and keep an open mind about all its peoples regardless of the issue at hand

    that what we consider "bad" (usa) might sometimes do good and what we consider "good" (canada) might sometimes do bad

    inconceivable!

    what is this world coming too if i can't prejudice based on nationality?

    </sarcasm>
    • what is this world coming too if i can't prejudice based on nationality?
      Don't worry, I expected this to happen eventualy. Therefor I worked out a system to prejudice based on the size of people's noses. I agree, skin color is much less invasive to detect, but that's so old school.
    • was a bastion of all that is fair and just in the world?

      It was until January of this year, when Stephen Harper managed to weasel his way into the PM's office. Fortunately, it's just a minority government, so we should be able to get rid of him before he can do too much damage.
  • All you Slashbots... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rewt66 ( 738525 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:58PM (#15609349)
    who said, "The USA stinks! I'm going to move to Canada", well, now's the time to rethink your position.

    This is one of the craziest, most twisted, least democratic things I have ever heard of an allegedly democratic government doing.

    (Yeah, I know, the NSA. That's crazy. But at least I understand it. I understand why they want to do it, and why they want to keep it secret, and even if the effects are bad, and the precedent is horrible, at least the intent is not at the moment evil. But using government money to lobby the government? I just can't begin to get my brain around that one.)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So one incident of the canadian government giving money to a copyright lobby, is somehow greater and more negative than the between $75 billion [cato.org] and $125 billion [cnn.com], depending on who's counting, that the U.S. Federal government alone hands out per year in corporate welfare.

      Good to hear it.
    • This is one of the craziest, most twisted, least democratic things I have ever heard of an allegedly democratic government doing.

      Never mind unlimited copyright, which is essentially what the US has, is a violation of the US Constitution, right? We're just ignoring that now?

    • i'll grant you it's twisted, but seriously... i think deportng a Candian citizen to Syria to be tortured far outweighs this in terms of un-democratic...

      as for people who said they'd leave and people who said people who didn't like it should leave.. i think they kind of forgot that this country was founded on fighting for your rights... silly people...
    • This is one of the craziest, most twisted, least democratic things I have ever heard of an allegedly democratic government doing.

      You're kidding, right? You actually think this is worse than, say, illicit, illegal domestic spying? Or lying to the American public in order to justify war?

      Jebus, forget about that, how about the run of the mill stuff that goes on in the US:

      * Institutionalized Bribary (aka "lobbying").
      * The whole concept of riders to bills.
      * Gerrymandering.

      The list goes on. And yet you think a
  • Canada vs. Itself (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twicesliced ( 909083 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:00PM (#15609354)
    So, lemme get this straight... I'm paying taxes that fund copyright holders' (specifically, SOCAN) efforts to make more money while I'm still paying a blank media tax [cb-cda.gc.ca] that already puts money directly into those same copyright holders' (SOCAN) pockets? Sweet deal ;)
    • Jest so you know, the creator does not necessarily = the copyright holder.

      Creator's rights (at least in the European tradition) are something entirely separate from Copy rights. The U.S. has creator's rights, but they are limited in comparison to what exists in Europe.

      You and many others are demonizing the CRA without truly understanding what they're about. If you look on their website, you can find their 8 objectives [cra-adc.ca]

      4. To ensure that the creation and/or implementation of any new rights do not prejudice th

  • Creators' Rights ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Groovus ( 537954 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:04PM (#15609371)
    Seems to me the only "right" that matters in these conversations is the "creators'" entitlement to being paid in perpetuity for any and all copies of the same work over and over, in any format it may appear.

    That shouldn't be a right, and it didn't used to be for nearly the entirety of human artistic existence. I'm all for abolishing it if it has become one too. The trick these lobbiests/cartels have pulled is establishing this "right" as a fact and basing all consequent discussions on this fact. Sorry guys I'm not on board - the very principles you're trying to have everyone take for granted are wrong and repugnant.

    Even if "creators" never receive a cent, dinar sheckle or chicken liver for selling a copy of their work there will still be plenty of art - good art, great art - just as there has always been. And in this day of advanced distribution technology we'll all have easy access to it as well. And just possibly, eliminating the artificial "entitlement" money attached to copies will return the economics of art to a sane level, bringing the "artists" and the would be bloodsuckers who infest them back into line with the rest of society in terms of monetary value in relation to actual utility value.

    Take back the terms of the discussion human beings - once you do that these cartels have no ground to stand on. Everything else is window dressing.
    • "Even if "creators" never receive a cent, dinar sheckle or chicken liver for selling a copy of their work there will still be plenty of art - good art, great art - just as there has always been."

      This is a tough one to prove. Although they lived in a time before copyright as we know it existed, Shakespeare, Mozart, Michaelangelo and the other great masters were in it for the money. They were paid, and often paid quite well. They were often the superstars of their era.

      "And just possibly, eliminating

      • See, you're doing the same thing as the cartels equating getting paid to create art with getting paid to create/distribute COPIES of art. The confusion of these two concepts, deliberate or otherwise, is at the root of these types of dicussions and the actions people take as result.

        So people were able to get "paid, and often paid quite well..." before there was copyright, and before there was any digital distribution of copies. Far from being evidence of how the point that great art will be created regardl
        • So people were able to get "paid, and often paid quite well..." before there was copyright, and before there was any digital distribution of copies. Far from being evidence of how the point that great art will be created regardless of whether people are paid for production/distribution of copies is tough to prove, it actually proves it.

          Indeed. It's funny how so many people who otherwise champion the free market's power (i.e. Ayn Rand types) suddenly think government intervention is necessary for the market
        • Thanks for the clarification. I contend that the parasites will always be there. As long as information "wants to be free," there will be people who'll try to make money by helping its freedom. I'm not just talking about outfits like the record companies that fund the creation and marketing of music. By many accounts the owners of TPB are doing quite well selling ad space, and as the Australia court documents showed us, the owners of Kazaa made millions.

          Many people are of the opinion that abolishing c

    • Seems to me the only "right" that matters in these conversations is the "creators'" entitlement to being paid in perpetuity for any and all copies of the same work over and over, in any format it may appear.

      Actually, in copyright law, Creator's Rights* exist apart from economic rights.

      *aka Moral Rights

      A Creator's Moral Rights encompasses two things:
      1. The right to have your name associated with your work.
      2a. The right to prevent your work from being modified as to constitute a mutilation or distortion that

  • Since this is the best news in a long time to come out of the world fight for sane copyright law, it's time we stand up and sing a round of Oh, Canada in support of the Great White North, eh?
  • by ezratrumpet ( 937206 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:25PM (#15609467) Journal
    is that even though they recognize the danger of setting the precedent, the government refuses to do anything about it. Effective government must be able to correct its mistakes and inefficiencies, or it will cease being effective.
  • In Soviet Canada (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:27PM (#15609478)
    3.2.1.Joke

    In Soviet Canada the Government pays the lobbies to influence Law.

    Joking aside;

    Another thing happened just recently in my neck of the woods that I am really pissed about.
    I live in Windsor, Ontario (Across the river from Detroit, Michigan). This past week the 'Hell's Angels' motorcycle club/gang/mafia was in town. The police setup checkpoints on the roads (that they knew the bikers would be traveling along {ingress and egress fromthe club-house}) and took the drivers license + insurance documents of EVERYBODY that drove on these public roads.

    The reason: They HOPED to catch some of the bikers that had arrest warrents in other parts of the country!

    I was/am LIVID. I wrote the newspaper; called the local radio station, complained to the Local members of Parliment.
    We are 1 step away from East-Block communist oppression. I am surprised that they didn't just click thier Jack-Boots and say "Papers! Please!"

    **The Hells Angels are considered the largest (and now ONLY) organized crime syndicate in Canada.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @08:29PM (#15609768)

      **The Hells Angels are considered the largest (and now ONLY) organized crime syndicate in Canada.

      At first I thought you'd left out the Liberal Party, but then I noticed you said organized...

  • I may be unclear on exactly what this group is targeting in the educational sector, but there is something seriously messed up with the government funding it. If the group is targeting fair use, then that's just dumb. The Canadian government would be greatly damaging student's access to learning material. If it is about the culture of file sharing at universities, which I think it is, Canada would essentially be targeting itself. Most Universities are public in Canada, so there is no reason to fund a lobbyi
  • Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act by Prof Michael Geist reveal that government officials recognized that the funding established a bad precedent, yet they still plan to pay big bucks until 2008.

    So that's the year when authorities will start suing Canadians for real. They got me wondering there when they'd start. :-p
  • We'll know what to do [wikipedia.org]...

  • Shocked. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nneonneo ( 911150 )
    I'm in Canada, and I'm surprised that this isn't all over OUR media by now...maybe they're being kept quiet. I'll keep watching though.
  • What can we do? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:55PM (#15610126) Journal
    We can write our member of parliament, and if that doesn't work, I can go pay him a little visit and explain my position as his constituent very well.
  • by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @10:55PM (#15610360)
    As a Canadian, I've seen a lot of good stories show up on CBC's website [cbc.ca] that they got from good, investigative journalism (kudos to the CBC). Yes, I realize the CBC is the state media (well, crown corporation [wikipedia.org]), but I find they aren't bought by the government and they regularly air stories of interest to regular joe Canadians, and I'm also glad that the act lets them get to the important information without all the hiding and deceit I hear about in the US.

    Also, I find it a bit funny that the politics version of Slashdot shows an American flag at the top where it says Slashdot, as if there weren't politics anywhere else..

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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