Canada's anti-counterfeiting bill stalled by US demand for removal of humanitarian safeguards


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Typical over-reaction about something that has little to do with the problem at hand. Stealing a video game or a movie is not a human right. Nor is it humanitarian to let someone pirate a video game or a movie.

I don’t know why Geist (and Doctorow will bend themselves into such contortions to defend practices that hurt one of the last unionized businesses in the world, Hollywood. Piracy is a real problem. Yet the argument is that just because some law was misused means we should never use that law again.

In your race to defend the entertainment industry, I don’t suppose you read the article?


I’m going to very carefully deconstruct your post line for line.

The problem at hand is the US Ambassador to Canada pressuring the Canadian legislature to alter a bill that was moving quickly through the system with essentially universal support and no real cause for delay except for US opposition.

Canada is a sovereign state, with the right to create their legislation as they see fit. Unfortunately, the US is exerting political influence to reshape Canadian legislation to suit their own whims. Business as usual for the US these days, perhaps, but that doesn’t make this kind of “Gunboat Diplomacy” less immoral and reprehensible.

Now, the US could of course request their good neighbor and close ally to alter a piece of legislature willingly to better suit both their needs - but that would require basic good will, a willingness to take no for an answer, and a lack of under the table threats and screw-turning.

What does this have to do with theft of video games or movies? The article addresses abuses of anti-counterfeiting laws which involved a pharmacutical company denying the delivery of medication to HIV/AIDS patients who desperately needed the compounds - but it doesn’t have any mention of video games or movies.

But let’s assume this was merely an ommission - for all I know, in addition to “counterfeit” drugs to combat HIV/AIDS, the bill could very well be concerned with video game and movie discs as well.

Certain questions arise.

Who exactly buys -counterfeit- movies and videogames? If people for whatever reason aren’t going to buy the legitimate version, why would they pay -any- amount of money for a counterfeit version instead of just pirating it for free? Who in the world counterfeits such things anyway? Why would they be shipping such counterfeit items through -Canada-, of all places?

Logic suggests “counterfeit” video games and movies passing through Canada to be a complete non-issue, and consequently a massive strawman.

What contortions are we talking about? What practices, exactly, are being defended? Because the only person who seems to be “contorting” to defend something is you, rushing to defend Hollywood.

Again, what does Hollywood have to do with anything? We’re back to video games and movies, for some reason? Except Hollywood doesn’t make video games, so really just movies then? Or did you mean to defend the games industry as well, but forgot?

But let’s run with the Hollywood angle. What do unions have to do with anything? And how does this tie into “counterfeit” goods which do not originate in Canada and which are merely passing through to a completely different destination entirely?

Hollywood’s unions are concerned with ensuring fair pay and fair competition for workers in the industry. Basically, they protect all the little guys from the studios who would happily screw them over if given half a chance, and who just so happen to be very interests on whose behalf the US Ambassador is meddling in Canadian legal affairs.

Except piracy isn’t the topic here - “counterfeit” goods are. Even if you want to assume that physical bootlegging is a real problem, digital piracy is a completely different thing entirely.

Actually, the argument is that laws should not be so overly broad so as to allow for abuses - not that the law itself should not exist in a less permissive form.

And please remember, the Canadian legislature was about to pass this bill without complaint or opposition in its original form, until the US decided to apply pressure with the specific intent of changing the law to make it easier to abuse.

For a bit of perspective, Canada isn’t terribly fond of overly broad laws that allow for potential abuse. Back in the 70s, during the October Crisis, then-president Trudeau was widely criticized for enacting the War Powers Act.

The problem was he needed -some- of the powers that enacting the act would grant to handle the crisis, but he couldn’t enact it without granting -all- of the powers it covered. People were furious about it - because they didn’t like the idea of giving him all that power, despite his promise that he would only use a portion of it.

In the end Trudeau kept his word and didn’t employ the extra powers - but he also then worked to get the laws changed, to make it possible in the future for the government to enact some, but not all, of the powers as needed.

So yeah, when Canada’s legislature okays a bill, and then the US steps in to change it to make it more permissive, and grant more powers than are necessary, and make it easier to abuse? Not gonna go over well.


Are you sure counterfeit is the best word to use? It kind of buys in to the whole idea that IP is a “thing” that gets “stolen” when it is copied. “Counterfeit” implies a thing of value has been copied without permission and passed off as legitimate. That does happen - China is infamous for it - but the US government/industry doesn’t have the nerve to tackle that issue. Instead, they’re going after middle schoolers using Kazaa.

If I buy a fake copy of Windows XP off the street in Shanghai then Microsoft is out a few hundred bucks. Multiply by a lot and it’s a lot. But if I download a movie, Hollywood may or may not lose. Maybe I would have bought it - maybe not. Studies indicate that people who download entertainment also spend more, so the RIAA is really hurting their clients every damn day.

We have been trained to throw around words like “theft” and “piracy” very loosely, in ways that benefit corporations and never seem to benefit actual artists. The people who are eager to see some preteen sued into oblivion don’t ever seem to boycott Glee - which has ripped off more than one indie artist - nor Fox, which reaps the profits. It’s all about the fear our neighbor might get “something for nothing.”


Hollywood makes HIV drugs now & then defends expired patents on said drugs using frivolous complaints & abusing legislation & enforcement practices?

This is some new form of Hollywood that I haven’t heard of before. Where is it?

And this new Hollywood is also unique in that unlike the established, movie/TV Hollywood, it embraces unionization, workers rights & respect for trades?

The established Hollywood fights to erode such costly, needless drains on its all important economic model on a daily basis, but this new, medical science Hollywood you describe is willing to be described as something that shouldn’t be attacked in order to preserve such things?

Tell us, oh sage & prophet, where on the blue marble globe we all inhabit is this wonderful, fantastical, New Hollywood that you defend?

/s applied for your benefit, in case you are as dumb as your post.


Add “counterfeit” to the list of words that are completely meaningless, I guess.

Bets on Harper caving to the U.S.? Not that the Canadian version of the bill warms my heart either.

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Fuck off, America; please, just fuck off.


Exactly. Because the DMCA (here in the U.S.), and ACTA (around the world, thanks to the hard work of U.S. diplomats), give large corporations the ability to control what other people and corporations are allowed to distribute, based upon allegations which may or may not have any basis in reality, and which are frequently used illegally to quench competition, or are issued by the dozen to sites like Google and Yahoo, just in case one of the accused may or may not be infringing.

Yes. Those laws should never be used again. And I’ll take it one step further and say that those abusers should be fined within one hair of bankruptcy. If the shareholders don’t like that, they have every right to blame their overpaid executives.

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I think you missed the bit where I touched on the difference between “bootlegging” and “pirating”, and the bit where I talked about physical discs.

Only bootlegging could conceivably describe “counterfeit” goods.

That sentence applies in so many situations. Also useful is “Damn Americans, I hate those bastards.”


I thought “bootlegging” was a type of sharp turn popular with players of Steve Jackson’s Car Wars :wink:

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