An independent software author to Michael Geist: Thank you.

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. On his public website he has released a series of articles titled 32 Questions and Answers on C-32's Digital Lock Provisions. This is a great summary of some of the concerns, written not by a technical person like myself, but by a law professor who is independent of any special interest groups.

I am taking this opportunity to publicly thank Michael, and many of his colleagues at the University of Ottawa Technology Law program as well as those at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). These law professors have greatly expanded their educational roll to not only teach law students, but to try to help educate not only the Canadian public but other citizens around the world. As an independent software author I believe that Michael and his colleges have done more than any other single group of Canadians to protect the rights and interests of independent software authors, other creators and fans/users of our creativity.

I feel the need to say this as other groups and individuals alleging to represent the rights of fellow creators have been engage in a smear campaign against Mr. Geist.

You can see it blatantly in articles by James Gannon, a lawyer at the firm McCarthy Tétrault in Toronto who focuses on representing media industry organizations and technology manufacturers. While his "myths" articles contain a lot of misinformation of its own, such as the United States origins of the access/use technical measures provisions in Bill C-32 (access controls are not part of the WIPO treaties), it was most embarrassing by its suggestion that Mr. Guest is associated with or endorses so-called "video game hacking groups".

You can see other variations by Chris Castle at the Music Tech Policy blog. Participants in the smear campaign can be seen promoted by past PWAC president John Degen, as well as other colleagues associated with Access Copyright.

While one can normally just say, "consider the source", I find it frustrating that lawyers and representatives of groups alleging to represent creators would spend so much time on a smear campaign against an ally to creators. It really does cause one to "consider the source", and wonder whether these individuals and groups really have the best interests of their own members in mind.


Russell McOrmond is a self employed consultant, policy coordinator for CLUE: Canada's Association for Free/Libre and Open Source Software, co-coordinator for Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments (GOSLING), and host for Digital Copyright Canada.