Canada Rocked by Copyright Scandal, reads the Inquirer headline. Speaking as a Canadian, I’m not rocked. Slightly tickled with schadenfreude perhaps, but not rocked.
Here’s the story: Patricia Neri, the Director General of Copyright Policy at Canadian Heritage has been removed from her position for a conflict of interest — inappropriate involvement with Doug Frith, President of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (and one of Canada’s biggest copyright lobbyists). We knew from Sam Bulte’s campaign disaster from the 2006 elections (where yours truly is proud to have played a part) that the government was in bed with big content, but we had no idea it was literally.
While Neri’s personal life is no one’s business but her own, this does raise troubling questions about the quick passage of Bill C-59, the anti-camcording legislation, since Neri appeared as a witness before a Senate hearing on [an unusually speedily-passed bill on camcording in theatres] with [Doug Frith] in the room. The Privy Council Office places particular responsibility on public servants that appear before a Parliamentary committee since they do so on behalf of the Minister.