Canadian Heritage Minister Calls Copyright Bill Critics "Radical Extremists"; NDP's Charlie Angus Fires Back

Canadian Heritage Minister Calls Copyright Bill Critics "Radical Extremists"; NDP's Charlie Angus Fires Back
One thing the past few years in parliament has proved is that Canadian politicians get real fired up about copyright laws. The latest heated exchange involves Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and NDP Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus.

After the minister called critics of the new copyright bill "radical extremists" that should "be confronted every step of the way until they are defeated" at a Tuesday (June 22) Toronto international business conference on piracy, Angus fired back in a press release Wednesday.

"Attacking teachers, students, artists and consumers who have legitimate questions about this legislation is ridiculous," said Angus, a veteran of the Toronto punk scene and longtime copyright law critic . "Instead of understanding and appreciating the nuances of balanced copyright, the minister is appearing hyper-defensive and bombastic. I think he needs a time out."

As we told you early this month, new copyright law will crack down on the tampering of digital locks, but ease up a bit on the sharing and transferring of digital files. When it was announced, Moore said the bill offered "a common-sense balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of the creative community."

But critics of the bill, such as University of Ottawa copyright expert Michael Geist, believe the digital lock provisions are too strong and may restrict consumers even further from transferring digital files from one medium to another. Geist even told CBC that some of Moore's comments seem directed towards him.

Said Moore in post-speech comments that have now surfaced online, "These people out there who pretend to be experts, who the media all cite, they don't believe in copyright reform whatsoever."

Meanwhile, Angus says Moore needs to focus on the task at hand, which is to work with all stakeholders in copyright law to make amendments to the new bill to improve upon it.

"A minister shouldn't resort to name calling or start a war with fair-copyright advocates just because he doesn't like the feedback he's getting on Twitter," said Angus. "If Moore spent more time listening to the educators, experts, academics and artists who have serious issues with this bill, maybe his public statements wouldn't be so out of line with everyday Canadians who simply want balanced legislation."