Let’s take a hypothetical situation – what if I were to sit down and write a well researched article on why installing emission control devices on diesel powered non-road vehicles was a good idea? And I didn’t tell you that up until my body decided to revolt, I had spent ten years working in the industry, and was in effect being paid to write it? You wouldn’t be happy with me once you learned the background, would you?
So what about James Gannon? James recently posted an article on Facebook, in which he argues for stronger digital locks. James does not mention that he works at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, a law firm that does work for The Canadian Recording Industry Association, which has a vested interest in digital locks.
How do I know this? Easy. James Gannon works with Barry Sookman, who is a registered lobbyist for the CRIA (covered earlier in this article). In fact James is quoted as having assisted Barry in writing a submission to the Canadian Copyright Consultation, which Barry did while he was a paid lobbyist for the CRIA.
This is called a ‘Lie of Omission‘, to quote Wikipedia:
Lying by omission
One lies by omission by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. An example is when the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly but does not tell that a fault was reported at the last service. Propaganda is an example of lying by omission.
The fact that James Gannon earns his living working for a law firm, which represents the CRIA is an important fact. one that could change the reader’s view of his argument.
As Marcellus says in Hamlet, Something is rotten in the State of Denmark. I think that Canada needs to adopt a similar regulation to the one that the American FTC adopted, requiring those who are being paid for their writing, to disclose the connection. Don’t you?
Friday August 27, 2010