European Union Censorship

(Provocative, but you get the point)

September 12, 2018 — the European Union passed this law, the “Copyright Directive”, in a 438-226 vote.

Other media on the subject can be found: here, here, here, and here.

The “Copyright Directive” was originally stopped in July of this year, primarily over concerns over Articles 11 and 13. And to a degree, the concerns were over the same thing. Responding to, or critiquing another’s work is very common, and makes way for advancement of discussion of ideas. As long as there is some educational, critical or reporting use (and not blatant copyright), then using portions of a person or institution’s work is fine. In fact, this very website, Chimeratsk.com, cites Canadian “Fair Dealing“, and American “Fair Use” provisions.

Article 11, a.k.a. the “link tax”, concerned ways for original content creators to get paid via taxes or royalties. In practice though, how would one know who the original content creator was? Perhaps the royalties would be going to someone who is at least in part responding to another person’s work.

Article 13 had to do with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube being blocked from sharing protected content. Apparently there is to be a huge database on protected material, which by itself sounds creepy. To be fair though, the law says that encyclopedia-type platforms like Wikipedia will be exempt. However, as many images, text and music can sound similar, how would the original creator be identified?

Further, copyrighted material does not last forever. For example, the book “1984”, written by George Orwell (a.k.a. Eric Arthur Blair was written in 1949, so after 1999, a Canuck should be free to use it freely. Under Canadian Copyright Law, 50 years after death, copyright protection would disappear. Yes, ironic to use the Orwewll book here. However, would this EU driven database(s) know when copyright on each image, unique, phrase, text, etc… lapse?

On a semi-related note: there is an academic database — turnitin.com which college and university students would upload digitial copies of essays and other papers. This is an anti-plagiarism site which was to ensure that students were handing in original work. The site would compare and contrast the student paper against millions of others and look for regions of overlap. Sounds great, except for problems those arose in this.

At its core, the Copyright Directive seems to nullify what may be considered Fair Dealing/Fair Use exemptions (by listing the original content creator as the copyright owner of any and all of its content, and responses. CLICK HERE, for an article on the proposed revisions of Article 11 and 13.

Some accidental incidents of censorship occurred here, here, and here.

While the E.U. has passed this Copyright Directive, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic:

First, even if nothing is done, this seems absurd on its face to implement. (See the earlier criticism on logistical issues). Yes, content is still getting blocked, even the most innocuous stuff. While this is done under the guise of “protecting” creators, the complications that will arise will cause more and more headaches. Oddly, creators will “lose” money if research and ad revenue plummet.

Second, the law will undoubtedly face legal challenges and be tied up in the courts for years.

Third, each memberstate will implement their own version of this law, and that will likely not happen for a year or 2. Harder to enforce when the rules aren’t uniform. And on a related note: what about the UK, who is leaving the E.U.? What about any other member who may leave? What happens if governments change and their successors don’t agree with what they see? And won’t any inconsistencies in member laws make it easier to challenge the law?

Fourth, what if any E.U. members decide to just ignore the directive altogether? The EU has shown itself to be rather toothless in enforcing its own rules and orders.

Fifth, how will this be enforced when using material from, or creating new content in countries that do not have these laws, or subscribe to this version of them?

Online creators decry this EU directive, and they do have reason to be worried. However, there are many options available to fight it, and many hurdles it will face.

Review of the Book ”An Advocacy Primer”

(3rd edition of the book by Lee Stuesser)

This book was released in 2005 by Lee Stuesser, a law professor at the University of Manitoba. It is basically a reference book for how to litigate different types of cases.

The book itself was written for law students in how to work for clients. However, the information provided is very straightforward, and many self-represented persons could get a leg up simply by reading through and following along. Self representation, as discussed here, is possible by many people, on the more simplistic cases.

”An Advocacy Primer” details: (a) how to go about the many steps in litigation; (b) gives many tips on how to prepare documents; (c) organize arguments; and (d) common pitfalls to avoid.

A brief outline of the book:

Chapter 1: Developing a Trial Plan
Chapter 2: Draft of the Pleadings
Chapter 3: Civil Case — Disclosure
Chapter 4: Criminal Case — Discovery
Chapter 5: Making Submissions
Chapter 6: A Trial Notebook
Chapter 7: Running a Civil Trial
Chapter 8: Running a Criminal Trial
Chapter 9: Opening Arguments
Chapter 10: Closing Arguments
Chapter 11: Your Case — Direct Examination
Chapter 12: Using Exhibits
Chapter 13: Principles of Cross Examination
Chapter 14: Impeachment
Chapter 15: Objections at trial
Chapter 16: Special Witnesses
Chapter 17: Appellate Advocacy
Chapter 18: Ethics of Advocacy

Stuesser’s work can be used in one of two ways. First, it can be read straight through as a non-fiction book. Second, it can be used in pieces, as needed for a representative in a legal matter. This 475 page book also gives many templates of legal forms, and exact wordings to include.

The second option is obviously far more practical. The first is possible, although it would be a very tedious read to do in one sitting.

Overall, the book is great source of information, both for self-reps and other legal enthusiasts.

E.U. Punishes Memberstates for Daring to Exercise Soverignty

Hungarian Parliament Building

(September 12, 2018), The European Union has triggered Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Many reasons were given, but it is widely believed that the main one has to do with immigration. Hungary has blatantly refused to accept forced migration quotas, and has run on a “Hungary for Hungarians” platform. While Victor Orban’s policy is extremely popular, and helped his re-election in April, the E.U. is angered at the open defiance.

Nationalism is alive and well in Europe. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are 4 central European nations known as the “Visegrad 4”. They are against open borders. Sebastian Kurz in Austria and Matteo Salvini in Italy recently won on populist platforms. Hungary is hardly alone.

While the E.U. professes outrage, Orban is actually running on the agenda he specifically set out to do. He sealed Hungary’s borders and stopped 99% of the illegal immigration. He has also stopped all funding for illegal migrants, and banned NGOs from aiding and abetting. While claiming these to be “human rights abuses”, it seems there is little the E.U. can do about it.

To give some perspective, there are many more legal hurdles to clear before anything actually happens. Poland, for example, had Article 7 triggered against it in December 2017, almost a year ago, see here, and also see here. Yet nothing has actually happened.

But ultimately, Hungary could lose its voting rights within the E.U. (as could Poland). Should this happen, they would be subjected to laws which they have no say in enacting or repealing.

Critics have loudly advised Hungary and Poland should just leave the European Union altogether. In 2016, the UK invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in order to begin to leave the EU. Nigel Farage of the UK, and Marine Le Pen of France openly mock the E.U. as violating the will of sovereign European nations.

More insight to the European Union and their laws will be given on a future article.

    Author’s Views

: From my perspective as a Canadian tourist, an integrated Europe and common currency does make travel, movement, and purchasing easier. However, it is disappointing to see how much sovereignty is eroded in the name of “unity”. A nation should be able to control its own borders, currency, language, culture, economy and way of life. While this union may have at one time been useful, it is undermining the autonomy and independence of the host countries.

Measured Discussion on Multiculturalism is Apparently Off-Limits

Andrew Scheer (left) and Maxime Bernier (Right)

August 13, 2018 — Maxime Bernier, a Member of Federal Parliament in Canada (and a senior member of the Conservative Party), caused a stir when he sent off 6 tweets.  He questioned to what limits the push for diversity and multiculturalism should  go in Canada.

To disclose bias right away: political correctness gets us nowhere.  Truth and open discussion are valued over censorship anytime.  And Bernier was tweeting what many people believe, specifically that there has to be some limit to the push for ”endless diversity”.

Recent ”diversity” moves include: (a) gender quotas for filling cabinet positions; (b) letting terrorists with dual citizenship keep their Canadian citizenship; (c) marching in gay pride parades while endorsing religions who want to slaughter gays; (d) calling it offensive to label honour killings as ”barbaric”; (e) Motion M-103, the anti-blasphemy legislation; (f) publicly saying that Canada has and should have no core identity; (g) altering the national anthem to make it ”gender neutral”; (h) making it mandatory for MPs to support abortion, but taking no position on sex-selective abortions, which target female babies; (i) comparing ISIS fighter to Italian, Polish and Chinese immigrants; (j) refusing to denounce religious and cultural practices which are incompatible with a free and equal society,  and so on…..

In all fairness to Bernier, he never called for anyone to be prohibited from entering the country, to be mistreated, or suggested that people are not equal.  He did question: (1) dividing Canadians into ever smaller groups and ”Balkanizing” the country; (2) accepting ideologies which are truly incompatible with Western societies; and (3) obsession with identity politics does nothing to unify a country.  All of these things seem very reasonable.

Left leaning Liberals and the NDP had a field day, calling Bernier a bigot and calling for his ouster from the parties.  That is no surprise.  Virtue signalling is how the left operates these days.

The more right leaning Canadian Nationalist Party enjoyed it as well, albeit for different reasons.  Members took it as proof that the Conservatives are too weak to stand up for a strong unified Canada. Here is an article from the Nationalist Party of Canada.

The real surprise (at least to me), was how reluctant fellow Conservatives were to support him.  They claim to be against political correctness and the silencing of open discussion, but showed true hypocracy here. The media condemned Bernier here, here, here, and here.

Outside Parliament and the mainstream media however, there has been large public support for Bernier and his having the courage to at least address a difficult topic.

It seems unlikely that Maxime will be kicked out of the party, if for no other reason than it will destroy any claim that Conservatives value free speech.  However, the damage seems to be already done.

And another observation: go to almost any ”multi-culture” city and you will find it segregated along cultural and ethnic lines.  This is not the government’s doing, but rather people doing it voluntarily.

Final Thoughts: Most don’t have a problem with people of other races, and (for to a degree) cultures living in Canada.  Where the line should be drawn is: (i) when the goal seems to actually be to break the country down; (ii) the cultures are truly incompatible; (iii) when asking valid questions becomes hate speech.

People are equal.  Ideas are not.  Ideas should be openly discussed, including ones that involve the direction the country is going.

Here is Maxime Bernier’s Twitter account, and specifically, here are the INFAMOUS 6, which caused the stir.

Update to the Story
Maxime Bernier left the Conservative Party on August 23. Bernier talked about many policy differences, while Scheer cited some personal differences. Bernier founded the (Communist sounding) People’s Party.

Supreme Court of Canada Affirms Protections for Self Represented People

April 23, 2017 — The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the protection for self represented persons and accused people

Based on the 2006 Statement of principles from the Canadian Judicial Council, the SCC has enshrined these principles into law. See here, here, here, and here.

STATEMENT:
Judges, the courts and other participants in the justice system have a responsibility to promote
access to the justice system for all persons on an equal basis, regardless of representation.

PRINCIPLES:
1. Judges and court administrators should do whatever is possible to provide a fair and impartial process and prevent an unfair disadvantage to self-represented persons.

  1. Self-represented persons should not be denied relief on the basis of a minor or easily rectified deficiency in their case.

  2. Where appropriate, a judge should consider engaging in such case management activities as are required to protect the rights and interests of self-represented persons. Such case management should begin as early in the court process as possible.

  3. When one or both parties are proceeding without representation, non-prejudicial and engaged case and courtroom management may be needed to protect the litigants’ equal right to be heard. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the case, the presiding judge may:

(a) explain the process;
(b) inquire whether both parties understand the process and the procedure;
(c) make referrals to agencies able to assist the litigant in the preparation of the case;
(d) provide information about the law and evidentiary requirements;
(e) modify the traditional order of taking evidence; and
(f) question witnesses.

This is great news, as Justices/Judges/Masters/JP are now obligated to go the extra mile in assuring fair process for those accused and self representing.

Self representing is an intimidating process, but levelling the field should go a long way to ensure better access to justice.  It should not be only for those who can spend lots of money on a lawyer, or who are able to spend huge amounts of time learning the law.

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