Is CRIA Beginning a Campaign Against Michael Geist?

14 Jun ’05

Michael has posted an essay responding to what appears to be an emergent campaign against him by CRIA. It’s an excellent overview of the current situation and very worthwhile reading.

But I’m not surprised to see CRIA take this approach, for a few reasons:

1. Attacking the messenger is PR 101. Not very imaginative, but an appeal to the basest instincts of a readership will inevitably win some people over.

2. The anti-Michael rhetoric I’ve personally seen coming from CRIA reps over the past year has been heated and surprisingly personal. My impression is that some of the senior people at CRIA have begun to personally engage in this issue, and judgement is starting to suffer.

3. Michael’s voice has been a lonely one on the copyfight side of the public debate about more restrictive copyright laws – though others have joined in more recently – I think that CRIA senses that if it can discredit Michael as a fringe thinker, or as holding a grudge, it can snuff out the growing copyfight movement before it gains much momentum. This is a serious miscalculation, to my mind.

Overall, my impression of this approach is that it demonstrates a certain desperation – the belief that there is now a need to employ tactics that cooler minds would otherwise avoid. But if US experience teaches us anything, it’s that the industry is not that interested in polishing its public image, and largely indifferent to making nice. This is a scorched-earth campaign in the US, and we may be seeing the early stages of it now in Canada.

For more on this blog about CRIA, see here.

Via Boing Boing.

Update: Professor Lessig chimes in – note also the comments on the post.

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