Tonight the government held its second copyright town hall. Only it wasn't really a copyright townhall in the sense of bringing the community together to talk copyright in an open and balanced manner. Instead, the music industry stacked the room to such a degree that little else was discussed. There was the odd intervention from ACTRA, the Writers Guild, the education community, and software developers (and a self-professed pirate who may have worn a fair copyright shirt but did not discuss anything that resembled fair copyright), but the repeated music industry representation was the dominant theme of the night (you can see for yourself here).
My own view is that it was so over-the-top that their message was lost in light of such an obvious orchestrated attempt to stack the deck. This was not a real townhall that brought together differing views, but rather an all-out effort by the industry to scoop up the available seats, guarantee themselves a dominant voice, and exclude many alternative voices in the process.
With just over two weeks left in the consultation, there should be no doubt that the lobby groups will be engaging in a major effort to push for their DMCA-style reforms. The calls for three-strikes and you're out, notice and takedown, DMCA anti-circumvention legislation, and no flexible fair dealing will only get louder. Now is the time for Canadians - many of whom could not get a seat at the townhall since it was filled by industry reps just days after the consultation launch - to speak out. Don't wait - send in your comments today and encourage others to do the same.
Michael Geist is a law professor and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa.