Archive for the ‘cdnpoli’ Category

Government Scolds BMG and Rightscorp Over Copyright Notices

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

Last week I wrote about music publisher BMG and copyright troll Rightscorp sending threatening copyright notices to Canadians suspected of peer to peer downloading, and demanding payment.  On Friday, the government responded and isn’t very happy about the situation.  Jake Enright, a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore stated in an interview with Reuters News Service on Friday:

These notices are misleading and companies cannot use them to demand money from Canadians

Enright also stated that the Ministry would be in contact with the ISPs and representatives of the entertainment lobby in the coming days to discuss the issue.  Internet law expert and U of O law professor Micheal Geist fired back in his most recent post on the subject stating:

While that is encouraging, the reality is that this is a mess of the government’s own making. In fact, according to documents obtained under Access to Information, the government previously dismissed calls for changes to the system from Internet providers. Moreover, Industry Canada officials conducted consultations that were designed to create reforms that might have stopped these practices. Moore decided to forge ahead with the notice-and-notice system without any additional regulations, however, a decision that lies at the heart of the current problem.

Geist also said that just stating that government disapproves of this practice is not enough, and the government should rectify the situation through legislation and a possible complaint into the Competition Bureau.

The NDP has chimed in as well on the issue of these false and misleading notices.  NDP Industry Critic Peggy Nash said:

The Conservatives are letting these companies send false legal information to Canadians in order to scare them into paying settlements for movies or music no one has even proved they’ve actually downloaded

With an election looming in the coming months, will the Government push through legislation to stop this practice?  What are the platforms all parties are committed to on this issue?  What I find very interesting about this situation politically, is that the Liberals so far have been largely silent on it.  I wonder why that would be?  Depending on how this all plays out, copyright may once again become an election issue in the near future.


Governments Cyber-bullying Front Man Gets Taken To Task Online

January 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Glen Canning, the governments’ sales person on the controversial cyber-bullying bill has received a lot of flak recently from internet users over the past few days, for tweeting out a compromising picture on social media of an MSVU professor.  Those that have followed the cyber-bullying legislation through committee know that Canning was a stark defender of the cyber-bullying bill; often coming out strongly against those who had privacy concerns on the bill.

Canning’s daughter killed herself when compromising pictures of her were circulated online, and was aggressively cyber-bullied as a result of those pictures.  The Conservative Government had a hard time getting victims’ rights groups to fully support the controversial bill which enshrined into law lawful access provisions allowing the police warrant-less access to an internet users information.  Eventually they put Canning (a grieving father) front and center on the bill which polarized the debate around the bill.  Canning became a supporter of lawful access, and quickly became a polarizing figure in the debate surrounding the cyber-bulling bill as a result of his support for police access to information without judicial oversight.

Canning was recently approached by a female student at MSVU as a result of one of her professors trying to engage in sexual activity with her.  The professor sent her a nude photo of himself, in which landed in the hands of Canning, and was also sent to media outlets.  Canning (who I believe was well intentioned) tweeted out the photo prior to media reports on the story to try and gain public attention to this students’ case.  This lead to a lengthy discussion on reddit, social media, and blogs regarding Cannings’ actions since the cyber-bulling bill that was recently passed has a provision dealing with unauthorized sharing of intimate images.  Canning quickly removed the tweet, and continued to defend his actions.

Section 162.1 of the new cyber-bulling bill states:

162.1 (1) Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty

It’s important to note that the cyber-bullying bill has yet to come into effect, so questions and debate around this case would be purely speculation, and whether the Canning image tweet qualifies as enforceable under the act, is also entirely open for debate.  One thing is clear cut though.  From the back lash that Canning is getting surrounding this issue, it’s clear that many Canadians have been closely following developments surrounding the new cyber-bullying bill, and the take home from all of this should be that Canadians are very concerned about their rights regarding this bill.

What I don’t agree with; the Government using a grieving parent to play politics and sell a bill that attacks Canadians rights. Canning has become a polarizing figure in this debate around cyber-bullying that I believe was intentional by design regarding the politics of the situation.  It’s quite easy for Government to distance themselves from Canning now that the bill has been passed, and I would strongly suspect that this will happen as a result of the online debate around Cannings’ tweets that will most certainly continue into the halls of parliament.

While I’m not defending Cannings’ move in tweeting these photos’, it’s apparent that there are underlying political issues surrounding this bill, and the debate needs to be focused away from grieving parents, and on to a so called “responsible” government who’s used Canning in an attempt to deflect political attention away from the Conservative party on a controversial bill that the population is extremely concerned about.

I quite strongly disagree with Cannings’ views regarding internet privacy,  as a father myself I have a great amount of respect for this person.  If I had lost a child in the way Canning did, I couldn’t care less about privacy.  That would be fraternal instinct, and I would be acting in much the same way Canning has been throughout the debate.  The government knew this on the political side of things, which is why Canning became front and center on this bill.  The new cyber-bullying bill C-13 is a bill that’s been sold on emotion, not substance, and those that disagree with the bill should note we have an election in a few months’ time.  Rather than attacking a grieving parent, Canadians should be using their right to vote to signal their discontent.

Any politician that has used grieving parents in the way the government has done to sell C-13, in my opinion doesn’t have the moral authority to lead, nor should command our respect at the voting booth.

The Science Behind Autism and My Story

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

As many of you may or may not know, my son is autistic.  A warning that this post is personal.  I don’t often open up in my posts on personal matters but in the interests of understanding Autism and what parents often go through, I felt I needed to tell my story as well.

During my wife’s pregnancy, I got my wife involved in a midwife program to follow my wife’s pregnancy and sons development once he was born since this would be our first child.  The pregnancy was a healthy one, my wife however had a hard go of it during labor, and ended up with toxemia, and had to have an emergency c-section.  After my son was born, we had concerns at 10 months that he wasn’t sitting up by himself properly, and missing several of his development markers. Fortunately our midwife was also a registered nurse, and set up an appointment with Dr. Zwaigenbaum (who happens to be one of Canada’s leading researchers in Autism and was based out of Hamilton at the time).

Within a few months of the appointment being made, we got a call due to a cancellation and were able to meet with Dr. Zwaigenbaum who suggested my son go through a test for Fragile X syndrome, which is one of the leading causes of autism in males.  We had the test done, and my son was diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome by the time he was about 1 1/2.

What is Fragile X syndrome?  It’s a genetic mutation of the FRM1 gene in the X chromosome passed on from mother to son.  The FRM1 gene in a normal DNA sequence, copies between 25-30 times from the mother, in my sons case the gene was copied over 2500 times.   Girls with fragile X are impacted differently because girls have two X chromosomes so if one is impacted with Fragile X, the other X chromosome sort of compensates for it.  In the case of my wife, she has been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome as well, after a blood test after my son was diagnosed.  Boys on the other hand have only one X chromosome and the other is a Y chromosome, so boys are often impacted more severely with an X chromosome gene mutation.  My son who is 9 is non-verbal, and incontinent. While not as severe as my sons, my wife has been impacted as well through her day to day activities, and has struggled in life and through her academics.  I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold to assist my wife and son at home.

The mutation in the FRM1 gene that causes Fragile X syndrome inhibits a certain enzyme in the brain responsible for normal connotative and physical function.  Lab tests have been preformed on mice with Fragile X syndrome in which the missing enzyme was given in supplements, in turn reversing the effects of Fragile X syndrome with a remarkable 80% reversal rate.  Human trials started a few years ago, or are in the process of getting approval.  We are hopeful, that in the future enzyme therapy will be an option for my son.

One of the main pet peeve’s I have is what I like to refer to as the “Jenny Mccarthy Syndrome” where vaccines are to blame for Autism, and children should be put at risk of death from preventable diseases. The paper that suggested vaccines were causing Autism, was withdrawn and debunked by many scientists and health organizations, and the doctor who wrote that paper Mccarthy and others consistently quote, is no longer practicing medicine.  The vaccine myth is further discussed in the below embedded video. There’s also NO cure for Autism.  I recently came across a TED talk that I found very informative regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and where we are in the understanding scientifically of ASD:

As a parent, it hasn’t been an easy ride to say the least.  There is a very steep learning curb when you first get the diagnosis of any disorder let alone Fragile X and Autism which have several subcategories of behavioral diagnoses. The system we have set in place requires parents to fight at every step from funding to getting specialists involved both at the home and school board level.  On top of having to fight, the system set up is extremely complex and confusing often requiring a case manager to help navigate, which is yet another fight to get a case manager involved (this is why I’m such a feisty advocate).

On top of all these fights parents have to go through to get specialists involved at the home and in school, once they are involved, yet another steep learning curb, since the parents are responsible for becoming the specialist and learning therapeutic techniques of the specialist to administer them at home.  Than there’s the application of those techniques which requires a lot of patients and time, and are not always successful. Myself being the only one in the family to be able learn and apply therapy, it does at times become overwhelming.  This is when respite is a huge help, which is yet another fight to get funding let alone find a respite worker that’s a good match.

Another thing most parents have to deal with when you have a child with challenges are friends and family.  We’ve had to go through a situation where family and friends don’t know how to offer their support.  Good friends and close family often start to become distant.  This was something as a parent I didn’t understand at first.  As a parent, you essentially become the expert on your child’s diagnosis, and are often around people in a support network who understand those challenges, and behaviors.

To the outside often these challenges can present themselves differently to people who don’t fully understand.  Family often becomes hesitant to offer a helping hand to help care or provide a night out at grandma’s or grandpa’s due to the fact they don’t know how to deal with those challenges or behaviors, or are physically incapable of dealing with them.  It’s not to say that our family hasn’t been supportive, they have been very supportive, just in a different way than had we had a child without ASD. I’ve had to come to terms with that, and understand it now. Friends often vacate and become distant often for the same reasons.  Going through this realization can be and is a very lonely time, very difficult time, and also very common I found out from other parents with challenged kids.

We’ve kept a very close yet very limited circle of friends, in which understand our situation. They have been there in times of difficulty and have gone above and beyond for us also in times of crisis. We’re extremely blessed to have that support available and be in company of good honest and caring people and can’t thank them enough.

Out of all the difficult, frustrating, lonely and overwhelming times comes something that makes it all worth it.  Hugs, laughter, unconditional love and small successes that turn into leaps and bounds.  My son has become my strength, changed me as an individual, and has become my best friend.  He knows when I’m overwhelmed, and will often break out a smile or joke around to make me laugh, especially at the simple things in life, which puts everything into perspective.  He’s grown leaps and bounds over the past few years, because of all the fights I’ve had to deal with and won in the system to make things right for him. This is a story I hear very often with other parents affected by ASD, and a lesson to others to never give up the fight, because your kids are worth fighting for, and you are their voice.

Parents should not be dealing with stresses from a busted and unaccountable system of administrating support, along with the stresses they are dealing with in the care for their kids, especially with ASD on the rise.  Too often than not, those in the system administering services make it very difficult intentionally for people who already have it difficult at home.  The emotional and physical toll felt by the amount of advocacy required by parents to get the support they need in the public health system is overwhelming.  We need a comprehensive analytical look at the support system in place now, with a commitment from both the Federal and Provincial governments from across the country to come up with workable streamlined and accountable solutions across Canada for ASD support inside the classroom, and at home.

There will be more posts like this that will be coming in the near future, as I offer some insight into some policy, and political failures in the system that need to be corrected and are causing undue stress on families affected with ASD, in hopes that it reaches advocates, politicians and sparks discussion on how we can look at meaningful change across the board. I’m one of many voices, and my voice needs to be added to the conversation considering the injustices I’ve witnessed in the system and have had to advocate against.

York University Indoctrinates Rick Mercer In Law After Misleading Public on Copyright Law

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

The night after Rick Mercer’s copyright rant aired in which he mislead the public in copyright law, York University felt fit to present Mercer with an Honorary Doctorate in Law.

Copyright Lawyer Howard Knopf last night put out a no holds barred blog on Mercer’s rant, and the need for the Competition Bureau to further investigate the “consortium’s” efforts as it pertains to law.  I don’t know how a University can indoctrinate someone who looks to be seriously involved in an effort to mislead the public on the law of that land at this point.  That looks very bad on an institution of education and learning, who also relies on fair dealing laws on a regular basis.  The timing seems very suspicious to me, and I just hope that the University is not part of a wider effort that would call the institutions independence into question.

In my view, Mercer’s Doctorate should be put on hold or stripped by York U until he corrects his points in law publicly to the nation.  I’m pretty sure the legal community itself will be weighing in on that in due time.

Rick Mercer: Not Informed or Copyright Troll?

October 15, 2014 1 comment

The answer to the above question may play out in the next few days.  Last night Rick Mercer ranted (more felt like a lecture from my parents) on the issue of copyright.  As many of you may know, I used Rick Mercer as an example of why fair dealing is necessary in my blog post last week.  It appears the answer to the question I posed last week: “Is Canada’s Broadcast Media Consortium Using Attack Ad Scandal to Push Copyright Political Agenda?” is in fact YES!  Mercer has come out with a video strongly suggesting that we should scrap the fair dealing clauses all together:

From Howard Knopf, to Michael Geist, to Ariel Katz, to Dwayne Winseck and Openmedia (who just released their report calling for expanding fair use provisions), disagree with Rick Mercer’s take/position on fair dealing and have commented on the attack ad issue publicly. These are the experts!

A big online debate is about to happen regarding the nations copyright policies, instigated by what I believe to be the big media industry lobbyists from CBC, CTV, Global, Rogers, Bell (copyright extremists or terrorists take your pick, both fit but I like copyright troll the best since nothing has been about attack ads with this group from CBC, CTV, Bell, Rogers, it’s about getting paid) who are holding our newsrooms, journalists and Rick Mercer hostage at the moment, ahead of an election.  Big media hates fair dealing!  The next few days are going to be interesting.

This blog will be following and participating in those debates, so don’t forget to subscribe if you are interested in following this.

More to come…

Conservatives Propose to “Amend” Fair Dealing Not Replace It

October 14, 2014 4 comments

Over the weekend, I’ve had some time to look at the fine print of the “leaked” Conservative Cabinet document of the Conservatives plans to introduce new copyright laws to allow them to legally use news content for political advertising.  Some have strongly suggested that these new plans will allow more privileges to politicians than the public over fair use laws and free speech.  A closer examination of the documents reveal the Conservatives plan to amend (or add to) the copyright act, not replace the fair dealing clauses that apply to the public.  From the very last sentence in the Cabinet proposal on the fair dealing amendment proposal:

“If supported, the amendment would be incorporated into the budget implementation act and enter into force upon Royal Assent”

In the House of Commons last week, Heritage Minister Shelly Glover stated:

“We believe that (using news clips for advertising) has always been protected under the fair dealing provision of the law and if greater certainty is necessary, we will provide it.”

The reasoning for this amendment by the Conservatives to clarify the law, comes as the party is under threat from the big media companies that they would not comply with existing fair dealing legislation that applies to the public, and politicians.

The Conservatives could have done a better job communicating this to the public.  They could have stated the amendment was to the copyright act, not the budget implementation bill.  However Cabinet documents linked to above were leaked internal cabinet documents.  I don’t think they were expecting these to become public, and most likely part of a conversation around how to deal with a threat from the media companies on not complying with fair use, which is a much bigger threat to civil liberties and free speech in this country ahead of an election, than communication missteps from the Conservative Cabinet on this.

Internal CBC documents from the middle of March this year also suggest that the media consortium very well knew how fair dealing worked in this case:

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Yet the consortium went to air with the notion that the Conservatives were “stealing” (implicating an illegal act) news content, when they knew under law that wasn’t the case.  The public was purposely mislead on the law by the media, using public discourse around attack ads as cover.  That’s a much more serious issue that needs to be addressed ahead of an election where the electorate will be very cautious around what the law is in the next election due to the robocalls scandal.  If we don’t have media acting independent of bias when it comes to reporting on the law in the next election, it will not be a free or fair vote, which is one of the reasons why I’m complaining about the way this has been reported to the public.  I say this as someone who often criticizes policies on this blog as it relates to copyright and civil liberties, and with no political bias.

Ariel Katz Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, who also holds the Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce, produced an excellent blog this morning on how the media consortium might also be infringing on the competition act:

The Government’s proposal—a proposal that seems to be unnecessary and misguided at once—might have been prompted by an agreement between the major electronic media organizations not to broadcast political ads that contain audio or video content appearing to come from news services owned by CBC/Radio Canada, CTV/Bellmedia, Global/Shaw, or City/Rogers. If what those documents appear to reveal is true, then the document that those documents reveal might be an illegal one, contrary to section 45 of the Competition Act. Thus, a story that broke as a minor (albeit important) news item about copyright reform, may turn out to be a much bigger story about possible violation of the Competition Act by Canada’s major media outlets.

Katz also went on to state (emphasis added):

Attack ads may be distasteful, or even according to some views harmful to the political process, but they are not illegal. Likewise, using excerpts of content from their own programs may be annoying for some broadcasters, but as even some of the broadcasters’ legal advisers agree, the Copyright Act does not prohibit that. If the broadcasters aren’t happy with this state of the law it is open to them to convince Parliament to change the law (within the bounds permissible for such limitation on freedom of expression that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would permit). Or, better still, they can fight the speech that they don’t like with their own better speech; after all, unlike most Canadian, they have unfettered access to the media—they are the media. What they cannot and should not do is enter into agreements that allows them, by virtue of their control of the most important media outlets, bypass the political process, impose their own wishes, and make their own wishes effectively the law of the land.

My Canadian Broadcast Standards Council Complaint on Media Consortium

October 11, 2014 5 comments

I’m an independent blogger with post-secondary education in Broadcast News from one of CTV’s root schools.  I hold no political affiliation, nor do I belong to any lobby group, or work for/affiliated with any private or public interest group.

On October 8th, CTV broke a story regarding the use of news material in Conservatives attack ads on CTV National News.  On October the 9th, CTV and its affiliates throughout the day ran the follow up to the story, in which many experts disagreed with the original news story that Conservative Attack Ads are stealing content from news agencies. Michael Geist, Dwayne Winseck, Howard Knopf were all interviewed by CTV News Channel on October 9th. These people are a group of media/copyright law experts. During CTV National News, on October 9th, 2014 at approx. 10:08pm EST on CTV News Channel (syndicated throughout the nation at different times), CTV followed up on the story however did not run any opposing views to the narrative that using news content in political attack ads is stealing, to which under fair use provisions in law is not.  In fact the CTV National News Director opted for interviews that using news content for political ads under these circumstances is wrong, when the experts were on record all day in CTV’s newsrooms explaining that it wasn’t.  The news team at CTV National News had ample content canned with opposing views which the news director at CTV National News opted not to use.

Further documentation obtained through access to information reveals CTV executives (among others involved), concluded that under the fair use provisions of copyright law, using news content for the purposes of political advertising was not wrong under the law, yet CTV who broke the story choose a different narrative (See CTV National News Cast lead story on October 8th, 2014), all while knowing what the law stated around fair dealing, which was utterly misrepresented by CTV.

From what the experts have said, and from the documentation provided, CTV National News has intentionally mislead the public on a matter of policy and law due to what can only be described as self-interest from the CTV National news team.

This puts into question journalistic independence on public policy which the CBSC is responsible to investigate, among other agencies.   I would ask that in addition to CTV’s involvement, that the CBSC also follow up on the initial reporting from CBC, Global, Rogers affiliates on this story that aired between October 8th – 9th 2014.  Documentation provided through access to information of these stations executives and news anchors around fair use, paint a very different picture around what they knew of fair use, and what was reported.  Please follow up on this complaint, and provide a detailed investigation on this matter, and how the CBSC plans to rectify the matter within law.

Categories: cdnpoli, Copryight, CRTC, Politics Tags: , , , ,
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