Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Lawyers/Lobbyists Criticize Copyright Consultations

Here is a a good sign that indicates that Ministers Clement and Moore are doing the right thing with the copyright consultation process. This is found in an article by Robert Todd in in today's Law Times.

Mr. Todd quotes two of Canada's best known copyright lawyers, who are or have recently been actively registered lobbyists for major US entertainment industry interests, namely Glen Bloom and Barry Sookman, who have come out criticizing the consultations as unnecessary. They are urging the government to get on with:
  • WIPO ratification (HK suggested translation = DMCA),
  • ISP liability (HK suggested translation = notice and takedown),
  • "re-calibrate the balance of copyright, so that rights holders can develop economic models that create businesses out of cultural products" (HK suggested translation = maxed out DRM +TPM and anti-circumvention),
  • deal with "a significant amount of unauthorized file sharing, and we need to modernize our laws to help re-calibrate the balance of copyright" (HK suggested translation = three strikes and/or law suits against individuals).
There is the usual whining about the US "Special 301 Report."

In contrast, and with a breath of fresh air, Colleen Spring Zimmerman, who has not been a registered lobbyist, calls for a look at the Copyright Board. She:
  • "suggests the government’s top priorities should including tinkering with the Copyright Board of Canada, which plays a key role in setting tariffs, for example. She says the jurisdiction of the board should be reconsidered, while a broader “revamping” should also be investigated."
I agree with Ms. Zimmerman, and have written about this at some length. Things do seem to be taking even longer, and getting even more expensive for both owners and users at the Copyright Board. The trouble is that the collectives can pay for all of this with their members' money and the users invariably have many other things to worry about apart from Copyright Board hearings. This is an important issue that involves about half a billion dollars a year in economic activity.



  1. no offense HK, but who do you think would profit the most from those reforms? Copyright lawyers and their firms.

    I see things differently. Update copyright laws so they are effective, and relevant to what had taken place with respect to the "Creative Destruction" process the IP industries are in.

    Copyright law will either be relevant or it won't be. Enacting the points described in Mr. Todds article would only serve to distance those who are currently failing, while strengthening those that are newly born and succeeding.

    What the IP industry needs is to make money off of file/media sharing rather than attempting to stop it. Stopping it won't work. Monetize the networks. Once we do this, everyone else will jump on board and tell the US to shut up and do it too.

    Let's look at the situation objectively rather than politically to solve it.

  2. In your opinion, are most lawyers in the IP bar IP-maximalists, or does it just happen to be a few outspoken members?

  3. HK Translation = The Truth

  4. The problem with being objectively about the situation with them is these people are far more arrogant and narrow-minded to see the big picture of the copyright consultations. They're better off claiming they're "full of themselves" and not care about the general public. It's them vs. Canada, simply put.

  5. "It's them vs. Canada, simply put."

    Very well said, and the Conservatives kind of put themselves in a corner here with the Canadian public, which is what at the end of the day matters.

    If we don't have what the majority of Canadians are calling for here in copyright reform, expect our politicians to be slapped down pretty hard on this.

    I'm still very weary on Clements handling of anything. He destroyed our Health Care system in Ontario. To be honest I extremely disappointed when he became Minister of Industry at a time of economic turmoil. Everything he seems to touch seems to rot, I hope him and Moore get this right. I don't think they have much of a choice with respect to the voting Canadian Public. Industry will have to adapt.