Response to comment about Question Time

In response to Maka Kotto's question in parliament, in which he asked about the WIPO treaties that he said we ratified in 1996, I sent him an email and got a response from his office.

BTW, if anyone can translate the response, please do so. I get the gist of it, but my French is pretty awful.

My email :

I read in Hansard that you asked the government about the Copyright Act, specifically when we would "be line with the two WIPO treaties Canada ratified in 1996?"

Unfortunately, you seem to have fallen victim to the propaganda being put out on this subject by the Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Canada has not ratified the two 1996 WIPO treaties. We signed the treaties in 1997, but have no obligation to ratify them. (I've seen signing and ratifying a treaty characterized as analogous to dating and marriage respectively).

Given that Technological Protection Measures are rapidly being abandoned by the music industry, and that Bruce Lehman, one of the main people responsible for drafting the USA's implementation of these treaties (the
DMCA) has said "our Clinton administration policies didn't work out very well" about them, we should be thankful that Canada is under no obligation to ratify them - let's not make the same mistake that the USA made. The treaties were drafted when the Internet was new. Nobody knew how best to utilise it. These treaties took the approach of "let's try to make it the same as broadcast TV and radio", but we now know that one of the great strengths of the Internet is that it provides a way for independent creators to reach a huge global audience without the need for middlemen.

The 1996 WIPO treaties are not creator-friendly, they are middlemen-friendly (despite what the middlemen's lobbyists say).

I hope that you'll make an effort to educate yourself on this matter before pushing the government further in this dangerous direction.

The response :

Prenez note que notre objectif n'est pas d'américaniser l'industrie, mais bien de découvrir où va ce gouvernement qui n'a pas peur de prendre des positions très en faveur des intérêts de notre voisin du Sud.

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Quick translation

Direct translation:

"Understand that our objective is not to Americanize the industry, but to find out where this government, that is not scared to take positions very much favouring our neighbours to the South, is going."

Proper translation:

"We're playing games by accusing the Conservatives of being in cahoots with the Americans."

A translation of the reply

I asked a French friend of mine to help me since I couldn't figure it out. He says it's something like this:

"Please understand our target isn't to change our industries to the American ways, but to understand what's going on with this government which doesn't mind favouring our neighbours to the south."

Got a link to a transcript of the question period?

Added link to Hansard

I updated the original post to include a link to the question in Hansard.

He also asked a question about movie piracy in the same session.