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Jim Prentice says no.

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Industry Canada has notified Search Engine that despite the overwhelming amount of concern expressed on this site by the Canadian public (see below), Minister Jim Prentice will not come on to our program to answer the people’s questions before his new copyright bill is introduced. His office has told us to expect a statement explaining why, which we’ll post here once we get it.

We urge Minister Prentice to reconsider- this legislation is clearly a source of significant public worry (we’ve gotten more comments on this than on every other story we’ve posted, combined). Our request is for clarity- rather than leaving Canadians hanging in a limbo of anxiety and speculation, we feel it’s important for Minister Prentice to introduce some transparency into the legislative process and speak now to the people’s concerns.

To the 241 (and counting) visitors who took the time to post a question to the Minister, our promise to you is that we will keep our discussion active and our door open to Minister Prentice until he decides to use it.


Comments

Thanks Jesse. This is a very important issue to me.

Oh come *on*.

thanks, please keep on this.

There needs to be more public discourse on this entire issue.
I think its a crime that our government chooses to ignore the evidence, avoid the complaints, and keep the public in the dark.

Certainly appreciate it Jesse.

I totally agree there certainly needs to be more public debate on this topic, particularly debates *not* funded by the corporations that are helping push this through. If this policy passes through without addressing the growing public scrutiny and criticism that has arisen, this only further highlights the major faults that exist within this bill.

Will the minister commit to answering the questions posed here and/or being interviewed when he does table the bill? If not Industry Canada's response seems a misleading evasion.

A lot of copyright experts are suggesting that the DMCA is coming to Canada. Digital Copyright Canada did post a response which basically told me that they are caving to US pressure even though a vast majority doesn't like the idea of a DMCA coming to Canada.

I can understand why he isn't interested in talking. If he answers any questions that reveal anything that further points to the idea that the DMCA is coming to Canada, he and his party would have a huge amount of negative publicity from the internet community who are concerned about copyright issues (which is a fast growing number)

When the opposition is rumbling about an election, the last thing the Conservative party wants is bad overall publicity and admitting that they ignored public interest in Canada would damage the parties reputation. I hope he fesses up because I'd like to know if my artistic interests are being ruined by draconian copyright laws being imported from the US.

Remember FORMER Cabinet member Bev Ota? She lost her job last time she tried to suck up to the American Entertainment Monopoly.

We can only hope that Jim Prentice is next!

C'mon Jim - talk to Canadians about this important issue!

What does it say when a politician is unwilling to speak to his constituents about a law he wants to pass in their names?

Unacceptable. Jim Prentice needs to come on the show.

I find it both disheartening and somewhat suspicious that he is refusing an interview - one from our national broadcaster, with an obviously high demand for such an interview from the voting public - yet isn't able to produce a reason why. Instead, we'll only know why we're being ignored once his office can decide on a reason to back up this hollow refusal.

Very disappointing, Mr. Prentice. This is not an issue that will just go away. We've been burned by your office before. Canadians have repeatedly demonstrated how much we value our copyright freedoms, as your predecessors discovered. Honesty and transparency are the best options here. Please use them.

Hope more pressure builds this should not be passed into law .

I am truly ashamed that our minister seems to be afraid of his portfolio.

I would really like to see this actually discussed, rather than once again attempting to push a DMCA like bill through Parliament as quietly as possible.

How many times will the same bills need to fail before it ends?

I've written letters to my MP, and CC'd Mr Prentice and Ms. Vernier. Now I'm wishing I'd waited one more day so I could add in a reference to this refusal.

Mr Prentice, you are best served by transparency and openness with your constituents, not with evasion. Do the right thing and answer questions about the new copyright legislation.

"The Minister gives us one *last* chance...".

I don't think he ever gave the public a chance, nor did he ever intend to.

This is not why we hired you Mr. Prentice. It is why we'll fire you though.

I am a US citizen. Canadians: I urge you, PLEASE, do not allow your leaders to think of themselves as unaccountable to the public for making decisions like this. That way leads to George W. Bush, and believe me, you DON'T want that!

The reason he won't appear is that this bill is indefensible. It's a draconian attempt to enshrine a broken business model into law. Unending copyright extensions destroy creativity in business as it becomes unnecessary to create as long as you can harvest funds from old properties.

And once again, Canada's New Government demonstrates its tireless committment to openness and accountability. Sadly though, I don't even have enough in our government to trust the NDP to do the right thing here...And forget about the Bloc...They're led by a two-faced ex-Maoist skunk who preaches Quebec sovereignty and social democracy while advocating Canada's adoption of the U.S. dollar...So I think we know how they're going to vote. Same with the Liberals: Any opposition to Washington's agenda within that party is smoke, mirrors, and parlour tricks...Under Chretien's watch, we had NAFTA ratified and saw the opening of two U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency satellite offices...

It's funny how the Tory slogan was "stand up for Canada"...Seems more like bend over for Washington to me.

Where is accountability from our politicians? There is a growing movement of opposition for this bill and the government needs to face the music!

his address

Jim Prentice Constituency Office
Suite 105
1318 Centre St NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 2R7
403 216-7777
Fax 403 230-4368
Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca

I would have been surprised if the Minister offered to talk before the bill is tabled. It is quite normal for there to be silence between when the bureaucrats are finished making changes and when it is tabled in parliament. I can confirm the bureaucrats have handed the bill to the Ministers, having spoken with Heritage officials last week.

Once the bill is tabled, I expect Ministers to be giving a lot of speeches about the bill, possibly even in front of a podium with the caption "Putting Consumers Last" or "Putting technology owners last".

Then again, there has been no indication that the Current or Past government understands the implications to technology owners of the WIPO "Internet" treaties they wish to ratify.


I have created a new sample letter people can send to their MP if they wish: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/letters

Please send letters, and please sign our two petitions!

An interview would be a perfect opportunity for him to demonstrate his understanding of the issues involved in making this kind of law. I suspect he knows that.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

I feel as though many of us are getting what we deserve for being so closed to sensible and necessary electoral reforms. See what happens when you give these crooks a phony majority?

An important talk buy Larry Lessig at TED recently:

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/187

A Stanford professor and founder of the school’s Center for Internet and Society, this fiery believer foresaw the response a threatened content industry would have to digital technology -- and he came to the aid of the citizenry.

"Lessig has built a reputation as the king of Internet law and as the most important next-wave thinker on intellectual property."
--New York Magazine

If people are looking for a template letter to send to MPs etc. here is what I came up w/:
http://hughmcguire.net/2007/12/04/copyright-bill-letter-to-prentice/

It is too bad (if no unexpected) that Prentice will not do the interview. I have heard a lot of "the sky is falling" comments bout the new legislation, and I wanted to see exactly what the minister had to say. I will add that I am disappointed that the other parties are not making this more of an issue.

I would like to know how often the minister expects me to pay for my music?

I went through part of my music collection and found more than one case where I have bought vinyl, cassette and CD of the same album. Now I have seen the same recording (in one case) where it is now being issued in a "new" format. Should I pay yet again?

It is bad enough that there is now a fee attached to devices such as iPods which is somehow intended to protect the recording industry's revenue stream even though the music on my iPod is from CD's or other sources for which I have already paid.

Protect the artists, not the corporations that feed off them.

i think CBC has its own vested interest in this story and are trying to focus public attention on it. If you take any subject and examine the many responses, it would look like a dominant story. I think CBC is in its own way, trying to manipulate the public themselves are this bill involves copyright and CBC is worried it will affect them so they are using the public for their own gain. Shame on you!

Above, Andrea Smith writes: "i think CBC has its own vested interest in this story and are trying to focus public attention on it."

Andrea, that doesn't make any sense.

Your argument might hold water if CBC wasn't covering 1,000 other stories right now that have nothing to do with copyright.

Are you going to sit there and say that every other story covered on cbc.ca is a thinly veiled attempt to manipulate the public into fighting for CBC's interests? Why does this one story seem (to you) to represent CBC's "vested interests?"

Obviously you've never visited cbc.ca/news/yourview, or you'd know that CBC quite often puts stories up to get many views from the public.

Why don't you focus on the real enemy, instead of just being silly?

John Brennand, I think I'd argue that you should have to pay for new formats.

Let's assume we have the right to format-shift recordings we've purchased. You can record your vinyl on tape, and again on CD by yourself. After all, if you're not willing to pay to have it done, who else is going to do it?

Problem is, your home-made CD is going to sound like an old record that's been kicking around for 20 years. And when you transfer your CDs to the next, higher fidelity format, the transfers you produce won't also become higher fidelity.

To get a really good sounding CD from an old recording, someone had to do an awful lot of work. It's *not* the same recording as the one you bought all those years ago, even if it comes from the same masters. If you want the right to format shift, I agree with you, but if you think you should entitled to every variant of recordings you purchase, I disagree.

I agree this is TOTALLY unacceptable, as this minister, was elected by the people of canada, and thus should be willing to explain himself to us.
When he was elected he was NOT given carte blanche to draft whatever bill HE liked. I almost think this requires a referundum.

Geekwad,
format-shifting is precisely what's up for debate. While vendors understandably want more-enforceable rights in the non-commercial realm, I expect these vendors to actually compete and offer enough value in new products that people are motivated into making that next purchase. Vendors have rights, but they do not deserve fiefdoms. Anti-circumvention laws encourage the same abuses that anti-monopoly laws exist to prevent.

I want to rant about the phrase "intellectual property" for a second. Vendors like it. One problem with it is that it implies content is as easy to think about as physical property, and that a "digital lock" on content is as reasonable as a physical one. It is not. A digital lock implicitly uses my property against me. It implies collaboration between devices and content in a way that is no longer legally under my control. Basically, I am not willing to convert my ownership of hardware into a lease.

The people I encounter seem to feel the same, even if they don't go on rants about it. I think the Canadian government should butt out and let the market operate. Private property laws are substantially more important than corporate or private intellectual property laws, and I'm appalled that they are even up for debate. I'm OK with artists, authors, and even large consolidated vendors making a living, just don't make a grab for the property laws I'm standing on.

Does it really matter what the government does or says on the issue? They won't stop the file downloading. The cat is out of the bag so to speak. There are darknets and torrent networks and warez groups and IRC groups and usenet groups devoted to sharing content. They can't stop it now. Packet filtering, traffic shaping, content controls, DRM, is all going to fail. For every one engineer making DRM or content control there are 100 hackers/crackers/reverse engineers/free source advocates working to break their software packages/distributions. I research content control and part of my job is security circumvention, and it will always be easier to break controls then to put them in place. And the more controls that there are the more frustrated consumers become and the more likely they are to want to circumvent the technology that is "controlling" them. Humans hate to be controlled, and the more controls that are placed on us the more aggravated we become and more rebellious we get. It is the net revolution it is the content revolution and it is the copyright revolution. It cannot and will not be stopped. The RIAA/MPAA/CRIA/BSA/etc. can spend all the money they want to suing soccer moms and college kids but soon they will realize it is not just them that are the problem. The biggest pirates of content and worst copyright violators are the biggest of companies and largest of governments. Just look at all the patent infringement lawsuits that are going on in the US and around the world.... The companies that are creating those lawsuits are also the subject of other lawsuits, and the content providers like universal and sony and disney and AOL time warner are just as bad and likely the biggest hypocrites. It is all just a scam. And we need to stand up to them and say enough is enough. They can't stop it, might as well learn to live with it. There is always a way around their content control technology.

Minister Prentice is having an open house tomorrow (December 8th) at his constituency office here in Calgary.

All Calgarians who're opposed to this bill need to show up and let the minister know in person what our feelings are.

The open house runs from 1PM-3PM tomorrow, Saturday, December 8 at 1318 Centre Street NE, Suite 105, Calgary, AB.

More information here: http://jimprentice.ca/ and http://www.boingboing.net/2007/12/07/canadians-tomorrow-i.html

Not in Calgary? NO PROBLEM! Plan on calling the Minister tomorrow or on dropping him an email, expressing your regrets that you can't attend the open house, but letting him know how you feel. Here are the numbers:

Between 1-3pm

Ottawa office - (613) 992-4275
Calgary office - (403) 216-7777
Minister office - (613) 995-9001

His email address is: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca. Once you send an email, print it out and mail it (no stamp needed!) to:

Jim Prentice
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Answer to the public, Jim!

We demand to know why you're trying to style us as americans (the us kind)

Just like Bush and the USA... Big moneys says jump and the goverment says "How HIgh" well randomly jumping in the dark... If only Jean Chrétien would come and lay down the smackdown on these R-tards. Where is a time machine so i can go back to the 90s(when morons weren't leading the USA and Canada) Where democracy ment freedom and rights for the people not first lobby to win the bid can buy whatever they want. I never imagined in canada we could end up selling our souls to american intrests... Heck wasen't that why canada was formed.

I have to agree with Matt S. when he states that no matter what sort of protection the music industry tries to come up with there will be ways around it. Unfortunately as long as a growing percentage of the population feels that theft of other people's property is ok the problem of "file sharing" (cute euphemism for stealing intellectual property)will continue to grow. As yet the details of the new legislation have not been released and speculation is probably pointless but one can only hope that it has some teeth to act as a deterrent since it is obvious that human nature being what it is people cannot resist something for nothing and lack even the moral courage to admit that theft is theft.

How hard is it for Jim Prentice to understand? He works for Canadian citizens first and American lobbyists shouldn't even be second, let alone even on the list. It's obvious he took time to listen to them and he's not interested in addressing us.

I'd like to point out that this isn't some kind of "iPod Law". This new legislation touches on pretty much every part of our society, since the creation of "The Information Age" in the 1980s. Indeed, these laws will not only make criminals of the average Canadian over night, for various infractions that will occur in their daily lives, it also place an undue burden upon our justice system.

The RCMP has already stated they will not chase after peer-to-peer file sharers, because the resources that would be spent on that need to be directed to matters of public safety. That was a bold and responsible thing to say and I was very proud of the RCMP for taking that stance. Also, I think it is a pretty clear reflection of Canadian values: public health and safety are priority number one.

Changing the copyright law in such a sweeping manner as what has been put forward will have the effect of putting the interest of companies ahead of that of the public and the judicial system; Canadians are more than willing to do their part and pay for what they need to - we are not criminals. Similarly, our judicial system is more than willing to accept the challenge of protecting the public interest, but when already faced with so much work, I fear that waiting for a fair trial will end up being something akin to waiting for service in the emergency ward of Belleville General Hospital (where one would be better served by the first aid attendent at the local McDonalds).

The disparity between the views of those who are charged with making the laws and those who actually spend their days upholding it is a clear indication that there is not a place in Canadian society for these new copyright measures.

I am very disappointed that you still refuse to answer your constituents questions about this proposed bill.

I personally thing that the Canadian government should not be giving up sovereignty and selling out consumer rights to shore up the RIAAs and MPAAs outdated business model.

If competition in the market is supposed to solve everything, then let them develop a new way of marketing their music and movies that does not require federal legislation to enforce. I think the iTunes music store is a good example that consumers will pay fair prices for access to music and other media online.

The movie industry fought tooth and nail against the VCR when it came out, predicting rampant piracy and lost revenues, and instead of ruining them, the VHS market through rentals and consumer purchases ended up making them more money.

If you are well informed on this subject (at least as well informed as one can be when the Minister refuses to ask questions), I encourage you to contact the Minister directly. Flood his offices with your calls.

Ottawa office - (613) 992-4275
Calgary office - (403) 216-7777
Minister's office - (613) 995-9001

His email address is: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca.

I do recommend snail-mail over e-mail. Snail-mail carries much more weight. For those of the current generation who have never learned how to send snail-mail, just follow these steps:

1) type out your email (with your name and address in it)
2) print your email
3) sign and date your email
4) stuff it in an envelope with this address:

Jim Prentice
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

No stamp needed when you're sending snail-mail to a Minister.

Oh, and please be polite and brief in your comments. You know the old saying about carrots and sticks.

If you are really passionate on the subject, don't just stew on the CBC website, a place the Minister is obviously avoiding! Make your own direct and personal contact with the Minister himself.

I believe I heard the Minister quoted on CBC radio this morning as saying that this DMCA has been developed after receiving a lot of input from recording industry. I believe the Minister made no mention of any other groups that provided input. If that is the case, I have to ask the Minister why he believes he has received sufficient input. Surely, he must be aware that every group has its biases. Why has he chosen to base this law solely on the wants and desires of the recording industry?

I wish to respectfully remind the Minister that in the first ten years of the DMCA in the United States, 20,000 Americans were sued YET the two goals the DMCA was supposed to achieve were not met. In fact, not a single penny has been paid to artists as a result of the DMCA and file sharing has not decreased. (Source: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/12/06/canadas-dmca-wont-ge.html) It seems we have ample proof that DMCA does not work.

I also wish to remind the honourable Minister that the DMCA will have huge and far-reaching consequences to all Canadians in all walks of life in activities that go far beyond the copying music CDs.

Given these facts, my recommendation to the Minister is that he NOT enact the DMCA until he has received and properly evaluated a broad cross-section of public input and recommendations.

While I honestly believe that all creative talents and intellectuals should be protected from the immoral pilfering of their work and should be well and fairly compensated for their contributions to society, I think it is clear that having a Canadian DMCA is not the proper vehicle for achieving that goal.

I urge the Minister to fulfill his duty to Canadians and develop legislation that meets the needs of all Canadians, not the desires of the recording industry.

It is premature (and, dare I say, irresponsible) to enact the DMCA at this point in time.

I call on the Minister to reconsider.

Seeing as how our friend Stephen Harper keeps such a short leash on his ministers, it follows logically to have Harper on the show too, and while he's on you could ask him some questions on other difficult topics ;-)

While I agree that the "pirates" should be weeded out, we should not kneel to a recording industry that is having trouble crawling into the 21st century.

Following the American template is just plain wrong and an easy way out for Jim Prentice.

Maybe it's time to stop going to movies, cancel our cable and satellite services, and stop buying DVD's and CD's. If you really are serious about sending a message, send one they will hear. I have not had an actual TV for many years, and if this legislation passes, my Media Centre PC will basically be illegal. If that transpires, I will have no choice but to cancel my cable service. I stopped buying DVD's after Sony started putting root kits on them. I used to collect movies, so I still have thousands and have hundreds of CD's, so along with the radio I have plenty of media to keep me entertained.
Having cut way back on TV and movies, I have freed up some time to start reading again. Once Battlestar Galactica concludes, I will have little compelling reason to continue watching TV ;^). Most of the shows I enjoy are ending soon, or may not return after the strike, so I may cancel my cable then.

Now now now... What would had happened if we'd locked up monks to transcript and translate the Bible or the ten commandments because God, Jews or the evangelists had copyrights over them?

And would had we needed to hang Gutenberg for making it more easy to spread and print literature and pass on knowledge?

It is enough that we lose our morality, our identity, while loosing our religions and our traditions. But are we also about to lose the rest of ourselves by fear of the industry to use, educate, archive and transmit information?

When is there a stop to be offensive? What about me putting a copyright on that comment so it can't be reproduced? Is there a moment where we'll have to silence totally our souls too? Our questions? Our opinions over intellectual property? We need to comment and teach and learn in order to move on! How can we do that if we're even forbidden to include citations and extracts out of those forbidden media?

Is total censorship the best solution? I'm two inches from turning my back on commercial entertainment and information. To turn toward unofficial sources and amateurs which already are taking over the media as a sign of protest!

~Marquise*

I would like to tell you what I think about this. Where is the freedom and democracy in this country. This is supposed to be a
democratic country. I do not think so. If I were P>M>, this would stop.
Maureen Whitelaw

My sense is that Minister Prentice didn't come on the show because he's really incapable of "defending the indefensible".

With the delay in the bill till January, my sense is that there will probably be some very minor cosmetic changes made but the substance of the bill will remain unchanged.

To be truthful, I think that the NDP's Charlie Angus is probably about the only one of the 300+ MP's who has a clue on this issue.

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