Aye, Prepare To Be Boarded. By Lawyers


It’s now semi-official: We Canadians, and particularly we British Columbians, are the world’s biggest pirates

Not like those Somalis with their swift boats and rockets who like to terrorize the world’s shipping lanes. Apparently we’re worse because we usually law-abiding Canucks are terrorizing the world’s largest movie, music and software makers. This is supposed to be true because the “authoritative” Conference Board of Canada says so.

The board claimed in a report this week that Canada is the “file-sharing” capital of the world and is a major threat to intellectual property protection on the Internet. Presumably this report was issued because of Gary Fung, a 25-year-old from Richmond whose Vancouver-based site IsoHunt, allows Internet users to search the file sharing service BitTorrent. After a thunderous broadside from Canadian music industry lawyers, Fung asked a BC court to rule that he’s not breaking copyright laws because he’s simply a search engine providing links. Just like Google, he says.

Fung’s point was obviously lost on the Conference Board, which apparently was so incensed that it cribbed much of its report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a lobby group of mostly US movie, music, and software makers. I’m confused. Aren’t the IIPA and the Conference Board sharing information in an attempt to prove that some technologically adept post-teen in BC is turning Canada into the Internet version of the Pirates of The Caribbean? Or is it not piracy because the IIPA may have helped fund the Conference Board report? That, I guess would make it …umm…kind of legitimate.

Seems pretty twisted to me. But then I’m not real good on this piracy thing. Closest I’ve ever been to it was reading about those Somalis who threaten to blow up ships if they don’t get some multi-million dollar payoff. And pirate movies in which they loot all the booty after taking a ship. Let’s see, threatening all kinds of harm if you’re not compensated? Sounds like old-fashioned bullying. Ar! That kind of piracy I understand.