Copyright Lobby Demands Canada Implement SOPA, ACTA and More

Canadians have fought long and hard (since at least 2005) to keep major foreign corporations from imposing copyright policies that are contrary to the betterment of the country. Now, foreign influences are once again trying to alter Canadian copyright laws that are formed to their interests once again.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) sparked an unprecedented and historic protest in the United States. It united the Internet like never before as voices from across the political spectrum and from multiple industries united to stop the piece of legislation that would have destabilized the Internet and introduced a policy that would have not only introduced widespread censorship, but also would have potentially crushed all dissenting voices in America. After the major backlash that is the blackout protests, the American government ended up shelving the controversial legislation.

ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) arguably has a number of similarities. The secret agreement has sparked widespread outrage and fierce opposition – particularly in Europe. With an intense backlash that has reached a boiling point as seen in an international and global day of protest, Europe is now looking like it will strike the final blow to ACTA, killing the agreement once and for all. The latest sign of this would be the fact that four consecutive committees voted to kill the agreement.

With such widespread rejection and outrage, you’d think that major corporate lobbyists would change to a different tactic.

You’d be wrong.

A report is surfacing that points out that copyright lobbyists are pushing to package all these policy failures and more and dump it all into a single country in hopes someone will accept them anyway – Canada.

Michael Geist shared his own analysis on the subject, pointing to a CIPC report. In short, as Michael Geist comments, lobbyists are demanding that Canada do the following:

1. Introduce a Canadian SOPA
2. ACTA Implementation
3. New Search Powers Without Court Oversight
4. The Criminalization of Intellectual Property
5. Massive Increase in Public Spending Creating an IP Enforcement Subsidy

To put this all into perspective, Canadians were hardly happy with just allowing the anti-circumvention laws in the current copyright reform bill. Many Canadians voiced their opinion both during the massive consultations and during the entire copyright reform process, saying that anti-circumvention laws should not be put in place; yet here we are with a copyright reform bill that contains these provisions to the dismay of both Canadian content creators and content consumers.

These new demands would take Canada’s copyright laws and push it into one of the most extreme and oppressive regimes in the world. It is essentially a demand that the Canadian government should throw out all concerns of all Canadians and simply adopt what foreign interests are demanding – all at Canada’s expense.

To go even further, the demands also include a regime that invests money into a copyright police force during a time when, as a UN envoy has already pointed out, some Canadians aren’t even able to afford food in some regions. In fact, the food security issue is now sparking protests with calls to the government to make food more affordable. Now these lobbyists have the audacity to demand that the government divert scarce money to suit their own multi-national corporate interests over those who are trying to put food on the table? Seriously? I would rather see money going to feed these people rather than seeing it go to the RIAA myself.

At another angle, the Canadian government is making more cuts than a series of slasher movies. These demands are essentially asking the Canadian government pull a full 180 and spend like drunken sailors because of some misguided attempt to police the Internet and the borders. Ironically, one of the many things the government cut in recent times was none other than border security. Yes, people who are doing everything they can to help keep the country safe are being laid off and now these lobbyists are wanting the remaining resources to enforce the comparatively trivial Intellectual Property laws.

This hardly even scratches the surface of what is so sickeningly wrong with this report. In my view, the people who are lobbying for this need to take a long walk off a short gang plank. If these lobbyists want to impress me, they’d feed the Inuit and pay money out of their own pocket to put all the border guards who were laid off back on the job for a decade before they even think about discussing intellectual property rights.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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