Monday, April 10, 2006

Minister Oda - the Transcript

Simon Doyle at the Hill Times managed to catch Minister Oda right after the throne speech. To her credit, she was gracious enough to give him a brief interview. That is how the story got in the Hill Times today. Perhaps we old copyright curmudgeons (well, Michael isn’t so old) should not parse every word quite so quickly, when the Minister was undoubtedly trying to be helpful and constructive on a notoriously difficult file.

In order to bring more clarity and context to the discussion that Michael and I have started, I spoke to Mr. Doyle who has kindly, in light of the doubt surrounding his story, offered a transcript of what was said:

Simon Doyle: "Copyright is something that you'll probably be looking at sometime down the road and today they mentioned in the Throne Speech that major treaties will go through Parliament. The copyright treaties, is that something that you might vote on in Parliament?"

Bev Oda: "The three pieces of legislation that were in the Throne Speech were put in the Throne Speech because they will be bills of existing legislation that will be reviewed. Copyright legislation has to be amended to make our copyright laws and ratify the international treaties."

Simon Doyle: Does that mean you would vote on the treaties as well as the..."

Bev Oda: "No, you would have to introduce amendments to the existing copyright legislation. The copyright legislation that was introduced by the previous government, once it was tabled, it did die on the order paper, but once it was tabled created a lot of dissension. There were different views on many elements of that bill. Consequently we are working and we will be introducing a new copyright bill that will expedite meeting our international obligations but also making sure that we have a copyright regime and a copyright framework that's appropriate."

Now that sounds to me like a perfectly appropriate, constructive and forthright response to the tricky treaty question that is on everybody’s minds. It seems to indicate that the Minister clearly understands the situation and does have an open mind and that no outcomes have been predetermined as to when, how or. pehaps, even if Canada might assume additional international obligations. And it looks like I was wrong to connect the WIPO treaties to the reference to treaties in the Speech from the Throne.

Thanks Minister Oda and Mr. Doyle for the clarification. Enough parsing. On with the pursuit of policy making.


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