Cash for Copywright: Update re Sam Bulte

As an update to my ealier post re Samulta Bulte and copyright, I offer the following from Primeminister.ca

"Bulte Responds, Geist Says 'Cause or Effect' It's Still Cash For Copyright

Last week I sent Ms. Bulte an email:

Ms. Bulte,

I kindly urge you to listen to the needs of the public at large, and stop listening exclusively to the needs of your lobbyist friends. Please challenge yourself to do better for voting Canadians by taking Michael Geist's Copyright Pledge;

"No Member of Parliament who has accepted financial contributions or other benefits from (i) a copyright lobby group, (ii) its corporate members, or (iii) senior executives as well as (iv) a copyright collective shall serve as Minister of Canadian Heritage or as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, nor sit on any legislative committee (parliamentary or standing committees conducting hearings or deliberations on copyright matters."

Furthermore, I truly believe the strongest and most positive message you can send to your constituents is to take responsible action immediately by canceling your January 19th fundraiser.

Thanks in advance for giving this your consideration.
James Cogan.

To Ms. Bulte's credit, I did receive a response in short order. I knew it was a pre-prepared letter because my name was in a different font from the rest of the letter. Here is a copy of Ms. Bulte's response.
Dear Mr. Cogan:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Copyright reform and my support of the Canadian cultural industries. I firmly believe that culture provides for a strong foundation in our lives and that Canadian culture is unique in its capacity to help define who we are as Canadians by sharing experiences with each other.

Copyright law is an essential instrument that protects the intellectual property and creativity of Canadians. Whether you are a new performer or someone with an international reputation, Canadian copyright law ensures that you will be compensated for your creative works. It also means that making unauthorized reproductions and computer hacking of copyrighted materials – like music, for example - is deemed illegal. Canada stands with other developed nations in its support and protection for intellectual creativity. Recent legislation tabled in the House of Commons by the Liberal government, Bill C-60, sought to bring Canada in line with other signatory countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaty on Copyright reform.

With regard to the fundraising event to be held on January 19, this event is being hosted, but not funded, by individuals who also happen to have professional lives separate from this event. The majority of people who will attend this event and purchase tickets will be from the riding of Parkdale-High Park and elsewhere throughout Toronto.

In 2004, the Liberal government brought in new election financing laws that restricted corporate donations to $1,000 per party. Since that time, funds that have come into my riding association have been made almost exclusively by individuals. In 2004, the last year of reported contributions, which are available at www.elections.ca and which include the election, I received a total of $88,738.75, only $9,200 of which – 10.3% - were made to me by cultural industries or corporations.

In short, as my contributions indicate, they are from individual Canadians for whom I work on a daily basis on their behalf in our Parliament.

In terms of my assistance for Canadian authors, composers, performers or producers, I will never waiver in my support for their hard work and dedication to our cultural fabric, and who help to enrich our lives and our society. Since 1993, the Liberal government has demonstrated its commitment to Canadian artists and will continue to do so in the future.

Yours truly,
Sam Bulte

Not surprisingly, Michael Geist is all over this and has received similar copies of this letter from others. In Geist's response he gets to the heart of the issue and articulates it better than I ever could;
I think the record speaks for itself. Whether this support is a function of cause (the support makes it more likely that Ms. Bulte will support these groups) or effect (the support comes because Ms. Bulte is supporting these groups) is immaterial. What matters is that the copyright policy process has been tainted by the perception of cash for copyright."

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