Big Brother Plan for the Internet

I continue to be shocked and appalled by the government’s interference in the free flow of Internet content. And as Michael’s Geist’s recent story in The Toronto Star reveals, the future of free content on the Internet accessed in Canada is uncertain.

“The Minister of Industry, together with Liza Frulla, his Canadian Heritage counterpart, are also reportedly about to finalize new rules that may reshape the availability of Internet content to educational institutions. Acting on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee that was chaired by Toronto MP Sarmite Bulte, the government may soon unveil a new “extended license” that would require schools to pay millions of dollars for content that is currently freely available on the Internet.”

The outlook is pessimistic. There may not be a better time than NOW to advocate for open and free Internet content.

3 thoughts on “Big Brother Plan for the Internet

  1. Alec, thanks for posting this. I am absolutely not an expert on the topic but the little I read in this newspaper report alarmed me enough to start digging.

    While I am not 100% positive, I believe the report is referring to the proposal contained here –,
    (this is the ‘Interim’ Report on Copyright Reform, but it seems to be the one being referenced. The full ‘interim’ report can be found here –, the product of the ‘Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (HERI).’

    Read it for yourself and decide if it’s alarming or not. I’m not sure (again, not being a lawyer or copyright specialist, just someone who works in education with learning content) – at first glance it simply seems to be stating that copyright laws should exist on the Internet as they do elsewhere, and that copyright collectives (like CanCopy) should be able to aggregate and collect fees for copyrightable material that has not been given over for unfettered use, much as seems the current case with print material. I am sure I am misunderstanding the implications, but at least here are some pointers to help people decide for themselves.

    (As an aside, while it’s admirable that this material is available on the public internet, I must say that they government does a pretty damn good job of making it inaccessible to all but those who persist. Unless you are well versed in the arcane organization of the websites I’d dare you to find this by simply browsing the sites.)

  2. Thanks so much for the information Scott. After reviewing it (much like yourself … not a legal expert), it seems that it’s an extension of CanCopy, or similar. What I am uncertain of, is how it’s accountable. How does the gov. legislate/tax/levy appropriately? How can this be possibly tallied?

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