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October 1, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Cautionary Tales About Collective Rights Organizations

I've received a few emails about a document (PDF) describing the track records of Collective rights organizations (CROs), including from InfoJustice and one of the founders of Unglue.it (Another awesome alternative to CROs).

My own concerns about how CROs often push for exceptions to copyright in the form of compulsory licensing was included (See page 18, 19), with a reference to "Independent authors just wanting a little respect... from fellow creators and collective societies".

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August 14, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Statutory knowledge monopolies and supply management

Two forms of government manipulation of the marketplace have become the most controversial aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Canadians: supply management and statutory knowledge monopolies. Each are government interventions in the marketplace between producers and consumers, each have a stated public policy purpose, and each are controversial.

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July 4, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» To fees on devices the Harper Government says: yes, no,... err.. what was the question?

In a press release and news conference speech the "Harper Government" alleges to not want to increase costs or otherwise devalue the devices Canadians wish to purchase and own. Minister Paradis claimed that "Placing a new fee on devices with removable memory cards, such as BlackBerrys and smart phones, would increase costs for Canadian families and impact the adoption of the latest technologies."

I say claim not because I disagree that devaluing the devices we own is unwarranted and unfair to Canadians, but that the "Harper Government" did far worse within C-11 than they are alleging to "fix" now.

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April 12, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Crack the Coursepack

Crack the Coursepack is a public legal education project about Canadian copyright law, created in the context of Prof. Tina Piper’s Intellectual & Industrial Property class at the McGill Faculty of Law.

March 16, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Next steps for the art resale right?

The first amendment moved during clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-11 was an NDP amendment to introduce resale rights (See March 12 minutes for exact wording). This is a policy that the Liberal party has supported in the past. The chair ruled the amendment inadmissible as it was a new concept that is beyond the scope of Bill C-11.

Before proponents of the resale right take that as a failure, the process needs to be looked at more closely. This is also a good time to more publicly discuss the policy being proposed. Multiple bills on the same topic are not admissible within the same session of parliament. When the chair ruled the amendment inadmissible, he was effectively also ruling that tabling that policy as a private members bill would be admissible within this session.

Would an art resale right be good policy?

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March 10, 2012

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» fear v. education

Meera Nair posted a great article about misinformation on fair dealings.

"It is disappointing to read of the continued distortion of fair dealing through the call to action of The Writers’ Union of Canada and Access Copyright. But I am not surprised; it is much easier to provoke fear than to embark upon the longer journey of educating people."

November 29, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Should we use other terms for copyright: authors rights? WorkRight?

In the November 22'nd issue of StraightGoods, author John Degen discussed a possible renaming of the term "copyright" to "WorkRight" as a transition to thinking of a creative work as an act. He was echoing Abraham Drassinower, Associate Professor and Chair in Legal, Ethical and Cultural Implications of Technological Innovation in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, who suggested that, "Unauthorized publication is wrongful because it is compelled speech."

The concept of "unauthorized publication" relates to a work that was not yet published, and is very different than the concept of copyright infringement which nearly always relates to published works. While copyright infringement or exceptions to copyright are nothing like being compelled to speak, I find the idea of moving away from discussing creativity as a form of property to being tied to authorship to be a very useful one.

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August 29, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Re: Heading back to school? Hope you’ve memorized the Copyright Act

The following was written as a response to an opinion piece by John Degen, where a shortform was submitted and published as a letter to the editor.



The underlying premise of John Degen’s article is sound. The Canadian Copyright act is excessively complex. With the tools to create and distribute creativity now in the hands (and pockets) of most students, the problem is getting worse as activities which many reasonably consider lawful are actually considered infringements under our outdated Copyright law. It is so bad that lawyers who are (or claim to be) copyright experts often disagree about what the current law says, so it is entirely unreasonable for students and professors to understand it.

This complexity and lack of clarity will induce students to infringe Copyright.

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July 14, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» U Sask seeks alternatives for educational works: authors should too!

The following is my comment to an opinion piece in Straight Goods by John Degen.


There are many things in this opinion piece which are misleading or false. You need to understand what Access Copyright is in order to recognize them all.

Access Copyright is not a government agency or funding body, although it sometimes acts like one. It takes what appears like a “tax” on the money flowing through it to fund the Access Copyright Foundation, which is doing work far more appropriate for a government agency. If I were a member of Access Copyright having my money redirected this way, I would be quite offended.

Access Copyright is not a union representing a class of workers, even though people like Mr. Degen often try to confuse people into thinking it is.

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March 2, 2011

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Thoughts about C-32 committee meeting 15

Today was a music industry day, with the morning session being representatives of the recording industry ("makers of sound recording"), and the afternoon session being music composers and their publishers.

The story in the morning was very familiar: The sky is falling -- look at how bad it is (spin the wheel of alleged misfortune) -- and something must be done. Bill C-32 is "something", so clearly it will stop the sky from falling. It must be passed, and we should stop talking about it.

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December 28, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Comments from Australian and Canadian artists on the controversial art resale right

One of the Liberal party proposed amendments to C-32 is to "Introduce a new resale right on art, similar to European laws". I believe it is important for Canadians thinking about copyright policy to recognise that the idea is quite controversial within the art community that this policy alleges to support.

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December 6, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Putting fairness back into the fair dealings debate

One of the witnesses in front of the C-32 committee today will be Roanie Levy, General Counsel and Director, Policy and External Affairs, for Access Copyright. We have a pretty good idea what she will have to say today given she also has an opinion piece in this week's Hill Times.

It is a repeat of the false claim that adding the word "education" to the first step of the fair dealings evaluation will greatly harm the legitimate interests of creators.

November 5, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Hyperbole from traditional educational publishers: postcards/etc.

Today I received a copy of a misinformation package from Nelson Education Ltd. about Bill C-32. In the package there was a letter from Greg Nordal (President and CEO), a "call to action", a printed copy of an article headlined Copyright bill threat to our identity, and 4 postcards (One to Prime Minister, one each to Industry and Heritage Ministers, and one intended for the local MP) that pointed to Access Copyright's campaign site copyrightgetitright.ca.

CIPPIC lawyer David Fewer discussed much of the misinformation about C-32 educational fair dealings in this package in an Ottawa Citizen article headlined Copyright bill is no ripoff of textbooks. In short, C-32 doesn't say any of the things that traditional educational publishers are saying in their mail-outs.

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November 4, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» The general mood of the House of Commons debate on C-32 thus far.

From watching and reading the transcripts of day 1 and day 2 of the debate on C-32 I notice a certain mood. While it is often claimed that Canada's copyright law is outdated and in critical need of modernization (See the C-32 FAQ for the truth), the level of the debate in the house could be confused for being the mid 1990's towards the passing of the Bill C-32 that passed in 1997. Every once in a while a brand name product that didn't exist in 1997 is mentioned, but otherwise the debate hasn't advanced much with parliamentarians.

(Please also read Meera Nair's article which discussed education and fair dealings).

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November 3, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Is the private copying levy a tax?

One of the exchanges that is happening in the context of C-32 is one of the few things from the kitchen sink that was not thrown into the bill, and that is an extension of the existing private copying regime for recorded music that was created in 1997. The Conservatives brought this issue up yet again today in question period (Hansard), and it was brought up multiple times in the C-32 debate yesterday.

While it would be nice if this could be answered simply by saying that it is a royalty and not a tax, what some special interest groups and politicians are asking for sounds far more like an unaccountable version of a tax than a royalty.

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September 22, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Copyright: Get It Right, by not following Access Copyright proposals

Collective Society Access Copyright, a business model intermediary used by some creators, has launched a C-32 related campaign website where they are critical of the fair dealings reform in C-32. I believe that the fair dealings reforms are a mixed bag of things which are "about time", things which are excessively complex, and only some I disagree with. As a creators' rights activist I must disagree with the perspective offered by Access Copyright, which I believe is harmful to the interests of Canadian creators.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>

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September 13, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Geist: Significant new costs loom for students

An article in the Toronto Star by Michael Geist brings up the educational licensing debate again. I made my views on this debate known in an earlier article I titled The most objectionable aspect of the Copyright debate.

I've often felt that much of the infringement problem for copyright holders is self-inflicted due to business model issues ("not available for sale", regional restrictions, etc). I feel the same with the educational community which should take Michael Geist's suggestion and walk away from Access Copyright. It is the slow adoption in Canada of Open Access models which is at the heart of the educational licensing debate.

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August 19, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» The most objectionable aspect of the Copyright debate

For those who did not know, Access Copyright, which represents a limited subset set of Canadian creators and publishers, has proposed (and will likely be granted) a yearly per-student fee for the use of photocopiers by schools. This increase will set the rate to $45 for Universities, and $35 for other educational institution, multiplied by the full time equivalents (FTE). (For details, read this PDF)

I have some sympathy for the economic situation these organizations find themselves in.
...

While I have this sympathy, I don't see what this has to do with Copyright.

Read Full article on IT World Canada's blog...

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June 17, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Public Lending Rights and ebooks

I had a conversation last night with a friend who is on our towns library board. The board had their final meeting before the summer break, and the issue of copyright never came up. [sigh] Aside from this all being part of the government's plan to keep this legislation as low key as possible, this library board is woefully ignorant of copyright issues. To help rectify that I am doing a little bit of research into copyright from the libraries perspective which we can hopefully provide to the board in time for them to make their own statement.

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May 7, 2010

Digital Copyright Canada
digitalcopyright
Digital Copyright Canada
» Fairness in an expanded Private Copying regime for recorded music

No matter what I feel about the Private Copying regime for recorded music, it is clear that the music industry wants this. When I say music industry I mean composers and performers who have come out strongly in favor of the regime. It has become clear that the recording industry can no longer be said to represent musicians or the overall music industry.

I can live with this regime being expanded to devices as I consider it the lesser of two evils: a levy on devices, or non-owner locks on devices. In order for the regime to have any resemblance of fairness it should be obvious that we can't allow both.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog >>>

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