What Did The Three Amigos Tender To The Canadian Copyright Consultation?

For those who missed the start of this, the Three Amigos in the title are Barry Sookman, James Gannon, and Richard Owens.

Any evaluation of the Canadian discussion about Copyright Law has to take into account the 8300 submissions that the government received during the Copyright Consultation. Some people, like Richard Owens are unhappy that Canadians choose to be heard (for details read Richard’s article ‘Noises Heard: Canada’s Recent Online Copyright Consultation Process‘ – note that this is a PDF) in which he attacks anyone who:

1) Isn’t a lawyer

2) Doesn’t work for an entertainment conglomerate

At least that’s how I read his diatribe.

According to Barry Sookman (his own words taken from his blog), Richard is the past chair of the board of directors of the University of Toronto Innovations Foundation, a member of the board and former Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation and Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and an adjunct professor of copyright and technology law at the University of Toronto (see Barry’s article ‘The Owens analysis of the Canadian copyright consultations: what are the implications?

Since this was such an important consultation according to Richard Owens, that plebeians shouldn’t be allowed to take part in it, I decided to read his submission, and see his documented opinion on the issue. I was totally horrified to find out that he DIDN”T FILE A SUBMISSION! (Check here for a search done on the keyword OWENS – the only Owens found is a Gregory Owens who is one of the signers of the submission filed by the Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights)

So we have someone who was so uninterested that he didn’t file a submission, complaining that others filed submissions. He should be ashamed of himself. You can’t have any effect on politics unless you are politically active.

Since I was already looking, I thought I’d check out James Gannon and Barry Sookman as well. James, who works with Barry didn’t file a submission (keyword search on Gannon). You do get a hit, but it’s Barry Sookman’s submission, apparently James did some research for Barry.

So out of the Three Amigos, the only one who filed a submission was Barry. Barry calls his an essay, and at 13,324 words, I’d agree. I’m still reading it, however it appears to have Barry’s usual level of accuracy, I’ve spotted a couple of errors in the first few paragraphs. I’ll be dissecting it in detail later – I’ll say one thing for Barry – he is verbose.

However at least he attempted to address the issue, unlike the other two, and deserves kudos for that.

So, does a lawyer who couldn’t be bothered to file his own submission have a right to criticize the non-lawyers who did? I don’t think so. Over to you Richard, if you think you can explain your way out of this.


Wayne Borean

Saturday April 24, 2010


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