Parkdale - High Park

Eye Weekly (Toronto): By the industry, for the industry

I was in Toronto for the last few days, which is why my part of this BLOG has been more quiet than normal. Fortunately Canadian creators and audiences have continued to hold Sam Bulte and the Liberals feet to the fire on their lack of balance or ethics on critical cultural, Internet and technology law policy. (See Canadian Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow's note about the Candidates Debate the day earlier)

This issue was also included in the online version of Eye Weekly for January 12, 2006 (Look for "By the industry, for the industry").

We can still see you

Since watching Sam Bulte's response to the Copyright Pledge, I've been trying to rationalize her odd little view of the world. Her defense of funding from the copyright industry and the obvious conflict of interest reduces to "it's fine for this to happen because you know it happened"... Substituting into her logic: as long as I tell a creator that I've made an illegitimate copy of their art, it's acceptable? Since this is essentially the logic behind Private Copying regime, I guess we don't need Bill C-60 (or it's successor), do we?

CBC radio, Ontario Today: Political Piracy

From the Ontario Today archives:

Some people think Bulte appears to be way too cozy with the entertainment industry. One of those who's concerned is Michael Geist a professor at University of Ottawa, specializing in Internet and electronic commerce law.

The interview with Mr Geist is online in RealAudio format, but the interview with Bulte seems to be missing at the moment.

Green Party Parkdale High-park campaign office provides response to questions.

Received from Kevin McCall, Campaign Manager for Robert Rishchynski, Parkdale-High Park Green Party of Canada

Hi Russell,

Sorry for taking so long to reply but, as you can probably imagine, we're extremely busy at this time.

My name is Kevin McCall and I am the campaign manager for Rob Rishchynski's campaign in Parkdale-High Park. I have forwarded your email to the Green Party media team in the hopes of a formal response. In the meantime, I've tried to provide you with some information as to where the Green Party and Rob stand on this issue.

The 2006 Green Party platform does not specifically address copyright laws, as this is not seen as a national issue by most. However, the platform includes the following (Page 20) on support for the arts:

Canadian politicians should not sell themselves to Multi-National Corporate Interests.

(Covered by: p2pnet, BoingBoing)


Fading Ways Records & several Toronto Indie Artists protest the shameless sell out of a Canadian politician and potential Minister of Canadian Heritage to multi-national corporations' lobbying interests in extremist copyright laws.

It has now become public knowledge that Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte, a long-time supporter of Canadian copyright "reform" and Bill C-60, has received significant campaign funding support from several industry players including several lobbying groups and trade associations such as Access Copyright, David Basskin's CMRRA and even, sadly, SOCAN. While legal, these political contributions amount to an ethical conflict of interest that should be eradicated from Canadian politics.

ITBusiness: Liberal fundraiser stirs up copyright controversy

This article by Neil Sutton in includes this misinformation from Bulte:

Bulte said that she resents the implication of undue influence, adding that “no one can buy me for $250 or $250,000. I have been an outspoken advocate of artists and creators well before I was ever elected, because nobody speaks out for them.”

I wrote the following letter to the editor:

Ms. Bulte exemplifies those qualities that make people not trust politicians -- misdirection and false information to try to hide from her own scandal. When Bulte says that there is a need for someone to speak out for the interests of artists and creators because "nobody speaks out for them.", she is misdirecting from the fact that she is a big part of the problem in Ottawa. She is a close friends with the intermediaries between creators and their audiences. These intermediaries are an entirely separate set of interests than artists and creators, and Bulte has shut out most actual creators from the debate. She quickly dismisses anyone that doesn't share her extreme views, ignoring the warnings of dire consequences to authors and creators of her policies.

Liberals lacking policy platform? On tech issues they are headed the wrong way...

This Hill Times article by Kate Malloy and F. Abbas Rana includes:

Liberal Leader Paul Martin should be taken out of his "bubble," he should be attending rallies to energize party members across the country and many Liberals are angry that the party still doesn't have a policy platform book out yet with six weeks into the campaign and only two weeks to go, say some Liberals.

My letter to the editor:

I live in Ottawa South, and the Liberal party is making it very hard for me if I wanted to vote for incumbent David McGuinty. While the Liberals don't have policy documents, the party has answered critical technology law questions that The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) asked.

The Liberals started by insulted us on their answer to the first question, entirely dismissing the concerns of many Canadians including computer and security experts.

More BLOGS/media attention to Bulte scandal

Some more references to the Bulte scandal. Version as of 14:00 on Sunday posted to p2pnet.

DRM in UK 'Munich' farce -- the incumbent intermediaries screwing creators again..

This p2pnet article, referncing a Boing Boing article by Canadian Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow includes:

"First the DVDs were held up by UK customs, thereby missing the first round voting deadline," he says. "But when they arrived, they would not play on any machine because they had been mastered for Region 1 (North America). As BAFTA members … cannot vote for films they have not seen and only a handful of preview screenings have been held, the film ought to be disqualified from consideration. I can't imagine Spielberg will be best pleased about this.

Canadian software author Don Kelly has asked Bulte "to provide a single concrete example where use of a TPM has positively increased the amount of raw cash in the pockets of a Canadian artist". Cory Doctorow features Bulte in another article titled "Hollywood's Canadian politician: history of a sellout".

With all us authors coming out against Bulte, how can she continue to falsely claim to represent us?

Cause or Effect: Bulte further exposed by balanced copyright activist Michael Geist.

This article by Michael Geist includes:

Late Friday Bulte sent out a response to at least some constituents who expressed concern about the fundraiser. I've received several copies (they are all the same right down to the identical typo). In it, Bulte defends her actions, arguing that she "will never waiver [sic]" in her support for the cultural community.
Whether this support is a function of cause (the support makes it more likely that Ms. Bulte will support these groups) or effect (the support comes because Ms. Bulte is supporting these groups) is immaterial. What matters is that the copyright policy process has been tainted by the perception of cash for copyright.

I wrote the following as a comment on Mr. Geist's BLOG.

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