Pop Culture
Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice Admits Corporations Give Advice on Copyrights Law
By Hervé St-Louis
December 8, 2007 - 17:49





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Minister of Industry - Jim Prentice
Holding an open house invitation for his constituents, in the Calgary riding of Calgary North, new federal Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice, was surprised to see many ordinary Canadians asking him to elaborate on the Conservative Government’s upcoming copyrights law for Canada. Several participants asked questions to the Minister, which he failed to answer properly.  Of note were the questions asked by The Comic Book Bin, in French (Canada’s other official language) to the Minister, who obviously did not understand a word that was said.

Instead, Minister Jim Prentice reiterated that Canada had been criticized by many for its lack of updated copyrights laws. When asked by the press who were those concerned citizens who had asked for Canada to update its copyrights law, the Minister mentioned that CEOs of companies had been putting a lot of pressure on him and the government. Minister Jim Prentice failed to mentioned the nationality of those CEOs and if they were directors of major Hollywood entertainment groups.

The Comic Book Bin has been observing the obvious political lobbying by industry players on this issue and for the first time the Minister of Industry admitted to third party interests in this upcoming bill. That CEOs' views are no more important than those of Canadians seems to be of no concern to Minister Prentice. That several Canadian groups, such as university librarians, universities, song writers and local creators are opposed to the way the bill will be drafted is also irrelevant to the Minister of Industry.

The Minister seems to forget that corporations do not vote. American CEOs also cannot vote in Canada. Traditionally, Canadian copyrights laws have been balanced and made much effort to be beneficial to both copyrights creators and the public. The future bill to be announced seems to benefit large copyrights owners which are to be distinguished from creators.  In Canadian law, copyrights are both moral and economic. Moral copyrights rest with the creators of the original work. Economic copyrights rests with whoever buys them from the original creators.

The oft made argument that musicians and artists will benefit from more stringent copyrights is dubious. Those claiming to have the most to lose from non coercive copyrights laws are the large corporations who refuse to participate in a competitive market.



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