Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oops, The Star Did It Again. Sorry, Michael Enright.

Even if Michael Enright uncharacteristically fell off his podium of intellectual rigor and journalistic neutrality today by calling The Star the "best newspaper in Canada", it sure isn't when it comes to copyright editorials.

For the second time since August, The Star has run a clearly misinformed and inaccurate editorial on copyright revision that strongly indicates the influence of lobbyist disinformation - quite possibly from another well known tenant (the name of which is similar to this blog) at One Yonge Street in Toronto, which is also home to The Star.

Here's what The Star says, for example, on one issue:
Under the “fair dealing” section, there is far too broad an exemption for the copying of works for educational purposes. The government was lobbied heavily by educators and provinces, who said they needed more flexibility in the use of copyright material. As a result, the bill would allow anybody to copy anything — textbooks, novels, instructional manuals and so on — as long as it is labelled “education.” The opposition parties are understandably seeking changes in the language of this section.

(emphasis added)

That is simply and blatantly completely wrong, to the point of being inflammatory, seriously misleading and irresponsible. Even if the proposed inclusion of the word "education" is passed by Parliament, any "dealing" would have to pass the six part fairness test laid down by the Supreme Court of Canada. And unless the recent arguably clearly incorrect decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Province of Alberta v. Access Copyright (in which I acted for an intervener and which is also apparently clearly inconsistent with another recent case from that Court) is overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, Canadian educational institutions at all levels and their students - not to mention Canadian taxpayers - will be profoundly disadvantaged, especially compared to their American counterparts - regardless of whether the word "education" survives the lobbyists' attacks in Parliament.

There is no point in writing a letter to the editor of The Star on this issue. They wouldn't publish my last one, which was quite measured.

There seems to be something is in the water at One Yonge Street in Toronto when it comes to Bill C-32, and it's not healthy for accuracy in journalism, much less credible editorial policy or good public policy.

Sorry Michael Enright. You picked the wrong day to make such a categorical statement.


1 comment:

  1. It strikes me as perfectly apposite that Enright, who never managed to graduate from high school, would think the Toronto Star is the best paper in the country.