The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Stealing! cried the Globe and Mail this week. The malicious theft of bread from the mouths of artists’ babies! A wanton disregard for property typical of a lawless generation raised immorally digital! The knives are out for Napster in the press and editors around the world are proclaiming their allegiance firmly on the side of the forces of peace, order and good government as Napster lies dazed and bleeding in an unnamed alley out back of the big music studios. Before we can take that editorial indignation seriously, however, there are some loose ends elsewhere in media-land that need cleaning up. For six years Toronto freelancer Heather Robertson and the Periodical Writers Association of Canada have waged a battle against the Globe and Mail over Thomson’s right to post material on the InfoGlobe site without additional payment or permission. The New York Times has also weighed in against Napster, again without considering the hypocrisy of its own legal fight against the National Writers Union’s Jonathan Tasini over the same issue. We have to deal with Napster, we have to deal with DeCSS and the reverse-engineering of DVD protection codes. And we have to deal with cut-and-paste jobs on the hard work of writers from print to web. Burying our heads in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the changing nature of copyright won’t help. Lawsuits which punish but don’t change legislation won’t help. Hypocritical pronouncements which support copyright infringement if necessary, but not necessarily infringement, won’t help. What will help is serious dialogue which recognizes the inevitability of change in intellectual property protection. If the Globe and Mail wants to help, it will use its considerable moral suasion to demand that the hot-air over making Canada a true knowledge economy, and the big sacks of cash being handed out in front of adoring camera lenses, are accompanied by the hard work of taking legislative leadership on rewarding innovation. It is time to change laws, and outraged editorials against Napster are a diversion from the true task ahead.