Thursday, April 15, 2004

GOVERNMENT CRACKING DOWN ON BLOGSCANADA

Jim Elve, the man behind the essential Canadian blog directory, BlogsCanada, and the organizer of the BlogsCanada E-Group has been contacted by lawyers from the Department of Justice on behalf of the Treasury Board. The government of Canada claims that the BlogsCanada site violates government copyright in several instances and has ordered Jim to 'cease and desist' immediately.

Jim has a post up at his personal site, Officially Unofficial, outlining the government's claims and responding to them in detail. He has also prepared a press release on the issue that I believe will be sent out shortly.

The action by the government seems pretty heavy handed and unnecessary to me. I'm sure I don't have to preach to readers of this blog that the Internet, and blogs in particular, are sites for free expression and debate. Jim notes that his site, which he admits mimicks but is clearly NOT the government of Canada, has been operating for quite some time but it was not until the E-group blog started up and Adscam broke that the government decided to take notice. Is there a connection? It is admittedly circumstantial, but it would be not a little worrisome if the government were now using the Copyright Act as an excuse to silence a forum that has gained increased readership and that has been especially critical of the government in the last few months.

Surely this is just a little misunderstanding over template design and not an attempt by the government to regulate expression on the Internet.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:37 PM