Canada has just had a general election. What’s new is that 34 of the elected MPs have signed a pledge not to undermine users’ rights in any new copyright law. Because no party has an overall majority in the Canadian parliament, these 34 may well be able to make a difference. Michael Geist lists them all (via Boing Boing).
I have long been of the opinion that in the fight for sensible intellectual property laws, the general public will be one of our main assets. Because Joe Public is bound, once he’s aware of the situation, to favour people and policies that want him to keep his rights, over the MAFIAA and their paid-for legislators who want to destroy users’ rights.
And of course, our enemies know perfectly well that the people are against them.
Consider Disney executive Peter Lee who told the Economist in 2005 “If consumers even know there’s a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we’ve already failed.”
Or consider Dean Garfield, director of MPAA’s anti-piracy department, an enemy of democracy who doesn’t think politicians should be allowed to run for office on an anti-MPAA platform: when asked about the Pirate Party’s attempts to battle organizations like the MPAA through democratic means, he responded: “There’s nothing about what the Pirate Bay does or what the Pirate Party does that is legitimate.”
Or consider the new WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry, who said in his acceptance speech (my emphases):
For the whole world, incentives to the creation of content for the educational system and the enrichment of our lives with literature, music, films and other creative works are fundamental questions. As in the case of the choking of the patent system, solutions will be found. Perhaps here, the market itself may find the solutions in systems of private law and in the private application of technological solutions. Perhaps those solutions would be appropriate. But it would be unfortunate if we were to move from a centuries-old system of publicly created and overseen rights to systems of private law simply by default, as opposed to conscious choice. The discussion is not an easy one. In each country, there are many more consumers than creators and performers, making the political management of the discussion uncomfortable. This feature of domestic politics, as well as the global nature of file-sharing on the Internet, suggests that it may be more appropriate to conduct the discussion at the international, rather than the national level.
In other words, WIPO and the content corporations know that the will of the people is against them, so they want to bypass democracy and impose their new restrictions on everyone’s freedom through international treaties.