One sided journalism isn’t something I normally associate with Canada’s national newspaper. However, the Globe & Mail’s story on Warner Brothers’ decision to abandon advance screenings in Canadian theaters doesn’t even bother to get its facts straight.
Apart from the nature of the coverage, what I found astonishing was this quote from Brian Masse. He is an NDP Member of Parliament who sits on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
We have a serious problem with [camcording in theatres] not being in the Criminal Code; that’s a no-brainer to fix.
Just a moment… The NDP Industry Critic says this is a no-brainer?
With such a broad consensus among political parties, I must be oblivious to something so obvious that it trumps the spectrum of political motivations.
The NDP is known to be a party of anti-corporate idealists, and relies on the support of hyper-aware young people who know this piracy issue is being overblown by industry. They also like being seen as the party holding the ruling Conservatives to account. Why, then, don’t they make this an issue of political debate where they can take advantage of having the facts on their side?
Quite apart from the politics, does a specific prohibition on camcorders in movie theaters really belong in the Criminal Code of Canada? Is this a pressing and substantial concern that isn’t already dealt with by the s.42 of the Copyright Act? Can someone please make a cogent argument for this, so I know what I’m missing?
Even more frustrating is how the committee seems to have made up its mind, and are not even pretending they were informed by Geist’s presentation to them last week.
On the basis of his opening remarks, I wonder if it is a bad idea to enter the debate by stressing that more research needs to be done. Academics and scientists do this all of the time, and other academics and scientists know what this means. But politicians aren’t known for their nuance in matters of epistemology. Anything opening the door to uncertainty lets policy makers be led by political interests, bad evidence and rhetorical appeals to a sweeping sort of precautionary principle which mandates “any law is better than no law”.
We have enough data to make a policy decision about this. Why don’t we just frame it nicely, send it to our elected representatives, and give them a multiple-choice test afterwards so we know they are aware of the issues.
- Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU)
- INDU study on Counterfeiting and Piracy of Intellectual Property. (Should we be amused when it says, “There is no data currently available for this item”?)