Friday, January 13, 2006

Excess Rhetoric

The Honourable Sarmite Bulte, former Chair of the Canadian Heritage Committee of the House of Commons under whose auspices the controversial “Bulte Report” was issued in 2004, has dismissed her critics on the election funding and fund raising issue, including Michael Geist, as “pro-user zealots”.

I wonder if she would include, as “pro-user zealots” the persons who wrote the following pro-user passages:

“Research" must be given a large and liberal interpretation in order to ensure that users' rights are not unduly constrained, and is not limited to non-commercial or private contexts.


The proper balance among these and other public policy objectives lies not only in recognizing the creator's rights but in giving due weight to their limited nature. In crassly economic terms it would be as inefficient to overcompensate artists and authors for the right of reproduction as it would be self-defeating to undercompensate them. Once an authorized copy of a work is sold to a member of the public, it is generally for the purchaser, not the author, to determine what happens to it.

(Emphasis added)

If these quotes ring a bell, it is because the person who wrote the first was the Right Honourable Beverley McClachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, writing for a unanimous Court in the landmark decision CCH v. Law Society of Upper Canada in 2004. The second pro-user passage was written by the Honourable Mr. Justice Ian Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada in the 2003 decision of that Court in Th├ęberge v. Galerie d'Art du Petit Champlain Inc.

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