Liberal vice-chair of Industry Committee lobbies for CRIA/CAAST position in Copyright revision

The Hill Times this week has two Copyright related articles. One is from Gordon Duggan who is co-founder of the Appropriation Art Coalition who talks about the appearance that the Minister of Canadian Heritage is not listening to all sides of the debate (p29). The Liberal vice-chair of the Standing Committee of Industry, Science and Technology, Dan McTeague (Pickering - Scarborough East), signs an article that reads as if it was authored by CRIA or CAAST (p31).

I have to wonder if he was intended to deflect fund-raising related critiques of the Conservative Minister of Heritage by saying that the Liberal vice-chair on Industry will demonstrate as much of a one-sided view for free?

Mr. McTeague's article contains the same controversial statistics we are constantly needing to refute from the BSA/CAAST. The BSA counts the number of computers shipped, over-estimates the demand for people running their member software, subtracts the number of boxes they actually shipped, and declares the difference as "software theft". In reality that difference also includes everyone who is legally using Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) which does not have a per-unit cost (marginal cost) and thus are not counted the same way as BSA member software. What the BSA is really fighting against isn't "software theft", but their major FLOSS competitors which represent the fastest growing part of the software industry.

Mr. McTeagues confuses controversial copyright issues with the largely separate issue of counterfeiting. Nobody has a problem with the government enacting laws to deal with commercial counterfeiting where someone is making money by illegally pretending someone elses work is their own. What we are critical of is enacting legislation based on things such as the 1996 WIPO treaties which are aimed not at reducing harmful commercial copyright infringement, but at reducing competition for the incumbent industry association members. If Canada is to become more competitive we need to support innovation and competition, not tie ourselves to an ever increasing trade deficit with the United States by outlawing Canadian competition to incumbent US companies.