The RCMP, better known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have
announced, today that they have arrested and laid charges on Geremi Adams, a
Montreal man accused of recording films in movie theatres. According the
federal police corps, the arrest made in September 2006, required 14 months of
evidence gathering with the Americans’ FBI. Adams will be prosecuted by the “old”
Canadian Copyrights Act instead of the new criminal law that was passed in the
spring at the behest of Hollywood lobbyists and Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This announcement may be an attempt to warm up the terrain
for the upcoming announcement of the new updated Canadian copyright act later
this week by federal Industry Minister
Jim Prentice. This new bill is expected to
model American copyrights’ laws and change the traditional way in which Canada
has treated copyrights in the past.
If copyrights violations are now to be treated as criminal
offences, Hollywood lawyers will no longer have to prove wrongdoing in courts,
as they do in civil cases. Instead, Canadian taxpayers will pick up the tab (through
the criminal justice system) every time a Hollywood studio feels like suing a
Is this a planned public relations’ ploy to make Canadians
swallow an autocratic copyrights law that will put all powers in the hand of
foreign corporations? If Adams was arrested over a year ago, in September of
2006, why was the announcement of his arrest made only now? Why put the
emphasis on the cooperation with Hollywood studios and the FBI? Why also mention
that Adams will be only sued under the “old” Canadian copyrights laws? Is this
an attempt to scare the public into compliance with upcoming laws that only
benefit Hollywood stakeholders?
The fact that a lot of noise is made around an activity that
is practised by but a few individuals in Montreal is interesting. The camcorder
recording law, introduced in the spring of 2007, was made to please Hollywood
interests and passed within the space of a few months, while more important
laws and issues continue to linger and affect a greater number of Canadians.
How fast will the new Canadian copyrights act pass
through parliament? Does the Harper “new government” have its priorities
straighten out? While Adams’ activity was a nuisance, a law made just for him and
his buddies is far more unnecessary than the odious and lacklustre way Prime
Minister Stephen Harper and his team have dealt with the control and banning of
hand guns that have killed too many innocent Canadians, lately.