The Canadian copyfight debate continues

As a patriotic Canadian, (somewhat) dedicated blogger and technology writer, and devoted digital-music fan, I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the furore that has erupted in the Great White North over the behaviour of a certain Liberal politician in the runup to our federal election. My friend Rob Hyndman has a great post on his blog which sums up the whole mess in one easy-to-read and link-rich entry.

The bottom line — as chronicled by blogger, columnist and law professor Michael Geist — is that Sarmite Bulte, parliamentary secretary to the minister responsible for copyright laws in Canada, is attending a fundraiser January 19 that has been organized by all the major lobbying organizations that are trying to toughen up Canadian copyright legislation: namely, the record industry, the movie industry and the publishing industry.

The fact that this, well… smells bad seems to have escaped Ms. Bulte. She has refused to acknowledge that such behaviour at least gives the impression that she is being unduly influenced by the industry she is helping to regulate. She continues to claim that she has the best interests of musicians and music fans at heart, although comments from noted blogger and musician Matthew Good and an independent record-store owner indicate otherwise.

We’re not a cultural or political backwater up here — it just looks that way sometimes.


John has pointed out that the fundraiser isn’t until January 19th (I had originally said it had been held already), and noted that one of the reasons the fundraiser is being held so close to the election is that Ms. Bulte has used up her campaign financing contributions for 2005 (something I haven’t confirmed yet).

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