Sarmite Bulte : Is Canadian CopyRight for Sale?

The Canadian Federal MP for my riding of Parkdale/High Park, , is holding a fundraiser hosted by various lobbyists: Doug Frith (President of Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association – CMPDA), Graham Henderson (President of Canadian Recording Industry Association CRIA ), Jackie Hushion (Executive Director of the Canadian Publishers Council), Danielle LaBossiere (Executive Director of the Entertainment Software Alliance ESA) & Stephen Stohn (DeGrassi producer, who spoke to the Copyright Board of Canada) on Jan 19th, four days before a general Federal Election.

Why is the Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage, the former chair of the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee, the chair of the Ontario Liberal caucus, and the key player in the Bulte Report (also know as the Interim Report on CopyRight Reform, which lead to the now in limbo bill C-60, with the support of the The Canadian recording industry) having a fundraiser with any copyright stakeholders four days before a national election.

The Hollywood Reporter has reported:

U.S. studios and music labels were drawn into the Canadian federal election fray Tuesday after coming under fire for a planned Jan. 19 fundraiser for a key Liberal member of Parliament. The controversy follows Sarmite Bulte, a federal M.P. and parliamentary secretary for Canadian Heritage who has backed U.S.-style copyright laws, issuing an invitation for a CAN$250-a-plate fundraiser hosted by the Canadian Recording Industry Assn. and the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Assn. The event was scheduled to take place four days before Canadians vote for a new federal government on Jan. 23. The CMPD, the CRIA and other copyright holders have long pushed Canada to tighten lax laws against copyright piracy. A copyright reform bill that Bulte helped write recently died when the ruling Liberal Party dissolved Parliament and called a national election for Jan. 23. The CMPD, the CRIA and other copyright holders have long pushed Canada to tighten lax laws against copyright piracy. A copyright reform bill that Bulte helped write recently died when the ruling Liberal Party dissolved Parliament and called a national election for Jan. 23

Isn’t this a conflict of interest? Doesn’t it look like that “Friends in Industry” are rewarding her for Bill C-60?

, University of Ottawa law professor and columnist on law and technology in the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, and Canada.com, has been breaking the ongoing story. see : The Sad Reality of Copyright Policy in Canada, Business As Usual, Campaign Contributions, Tipping Point, and That’s What Friends Are For

He also has made a few suggestions that would help: 1) The party leaders should take a Copyright Pledge (Cleaning Up Copyright) , than no one that has accepted financial contributions from the Copyright Industries should server in the the Ministry that sets copyright policy, and 2) ( in The Benefits of Copyright Reform) to add exceptions to current laws to recognize “everyday forms of private copying that do not harm copyright owners.” as per Australia.

Over on Boing Boing the story is getting a lot of notice as well: Hollywood’s Canadian Member of Parliament , Canadian MP imports US’s worst copyright AND dirty campaign financing , Bulte (Canadian MP) gets big entertainment bucks, promises new copyrights.

Update : Joey deVilla, aka Accordion Guy, and new resident in the area has An Appeal to My Fellow Voters in the High Park/Parkdale Riding, and Lawrence Lessig asks Is there a Canadian Abramoff of copyright? ( US lobbyist Jack Abramoff has just pleaded guilty in federal court ), and Daren Barefoot blogs : Sam Bulte is in the Pockets of the Canadian Recording Industry

In the meantime, those of us who live in the Parkdale/High Park riding can attend the “All Candidates debates” planned for January :

  • Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30pm – Bloor West Village Residents’ Association, Runnymede United Church
    432 Runnymede Road, just north of Ardagh (south of Annette)
  • Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 pm – Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton Collegiate High School, Bloor and Dundas.
  • Monday, January 16 at 7:30pm – Parkdale Residents’ Association; Roncesvalles – Macdonell Residents’ Association; and Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation Parkdale Collegiate Institute 209 Jameson Avenue, between Queen and King
  • Tuesday, January 17 at 9:00pm GOLDHAWK LIVE Parkdale-High Park candidates participate in a live phone-in TV debate. (Watch it on Rogers Channel 10)
  • also : Rogers Television (Channel 10) Parkdale-High Park Broadcast Dates:
    1. Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 10:30am
    2. Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 1:30am
    3. Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 6:00pm
    4. Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 5:00am

The NDP’s Peggy Nash ran a close campaign in 2004 in this riding.

This all looks like more of the same as covered in the Sony RootKit story in When Entertainment Companies Become Gangsters, actions by the Canadian Recording Industry Association in Crimilisation and stigmatizing of P2P continues, as well as other stuff on del.icio.us under

Update: Brent Lamb has added his 2 cents : Three to Turf

Update Jan 6th

: Looks like the story is starting to get picked up by the Mainstream media, as mentioned by Michael Geist in Tone Deaf, there is a CTV Candain Press story Historian calls Liberal MP’s fundraiser a worry, and the Toronto Star has a piece : Fundraiser a rare glimpse into party power politics which has a couple of interesting quotes..

“How else am I supposed to raise money?” Bulte said yesterday. “There’s nothing to hide here. These people support me. They support me because of my position on copyright.

“I’m not being influenced by them. They’re supporting me,” she said. “These people have become my friends and I don’t apologize for that.

“Do I believe in strong copyright laws? Absolutely. I make no bones about it. And, do I believe that stealing and downloading music off the Internet is illegal and should be illegal? Absolutely, and I don’t apologize for that.”

O.K… as Rob Hyndman comments in Sarmite Bulte’s “Friends”:“With friends like these, who needs democracy?”, and linked to Angry in the Great White North entry : Sarmite Bulte, copyright laws, and her staged debate and a report of what went on at the all-candidates meeting (Jan 4th) at the Swansea Town Hall and the sneaky tactics used.

and the terminal velocity of sausage has a few things to say as a performing artist (“singer, songwriter, recording artist, actor, writer, doodler and waiter.”) .

another update : from Michael Geist, the CBC is now out with a story (“Liberal MP takes flak for fundraiser by copyright lobbyists”), and , Bulte’s NDP challenger, has issued a press release stating that “Ms. Bulte needs to understand that her job as a parliamentarian is to work first and foremost in the public interest. Politicians are held to a higher standard than others and the perception of bias is simply not acceptable.

7 Replies to “Sarmite Bulte : Is Canadian CopyRight for Sale?”

  1. Pingback: The New Journalism » Blog Archive » Liberals Still Getting Hurt Online

  2. Great summary and list of links. I’m trying to BLOG this issue as part of the Digital Copyright Canada election coverage, with Bulte’s riding obviously being one of our ridings of interest.

    http://www.digital-copyright.ca/election2006/

    Canada Votes 2006: Ridings of Interest
    http://www.digital-copyright.ca/election2006/ridings

    Hopefully BLOGGERS will do more than just write about this issue, and will do what they can to connect to their candidates (and to those in one of the ridings of interest) to ensure that “we the people” have policy that benefits us, rather than special economic interest groups who seem to have bought certain politicians.

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