Monday, January 21, 2008

what's that now?

Here's Michael Geist on the CCC statement:

"The CCC is obviously unconcerned with user rights or the many creators who cite uncertainty of access as a primary worry."

And here's a quote from the statement:

"Increasingly legislators have turned to exceptions in the law as a way of providing guaranteed cost-free access to the public, even though the targeted problems, such as the need of teachers to use the Internet in the classroom, have more to do with budgets (too small) and clearance systems (too complicated) than with copyright law. It is important to remember that professional artists are users as well as creators. We, too, want reasonably priced access to the copyright-protected works of others but sometimes experience unduly high fees for access from other rights holders, often including government institutions and agencies."

Or maybe I just don't understand the word obviously. Perhaps he's talking about this part:

"The CCC recognizes and celebrates all of the many ways creators choose to relate their work to the current copyright system. We feel there is no need to alter the fundamental principles of the law to reflect these choices by introducing exceptions. Copyright stands as a definition of specific and limited rights for creators. Whatever rights individual creators choose to reserve are entirely an individual choice. In instances where copyright uses are licenced, the CCC recognizes the right of authors to choose whether or not to participate in that licensing regime."

"Often such reforms are proposed in the name of the public interest. It is the contention of the CCC that the making of art and contemporary Canadian culture is a vital part of Canadian life and an essential ingredient in the information economy. We assert that it is in the public interest that this capability be preserved and protected."

Anyway, the fun begins anew.


Chris Brand said...

Though I'm naturally hesitant to speak for Michael, the parts that lead me to a similar conclusion were this :

The tendency to privilege users can be seen in the growing attentiveness of public officials to their demands and to the concept of “users’ rights” which are being formulated in the name of society’s right to benefit from creative work [...]. This tendency is also evident in several recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada that have had the net effect of reversing interpretations of the law that have prevailed for years. These judgements have limited the capacity of creators to derive revenue from certain uses, and have bestowed benefits on users, who are now accorded equivalent recognition to authors and are now officially part of an on-going process of striking a “necessary balance” between them.

and this :

Reaffirm that the principal objective of the Copyright Act is the protection of the moral and economic rights of authors and performers;

From what I can see, the "Reaffirm" in the latter is an attempt to make a change appear like it isn't a change - copyright has always been about balancing the rights granted to creators with the rights of everyone else. In the US, it's even more explicit that granting monopoly rights to creators is a means to an end "To promote the progress of [...] useful arts".

Also, what about sculptors and songwriters, for example ? This statement says that their rights aren't as important as those of authors and performers. And you wonder why the label "selfish" sometimes gets used ? This must be that precious "respect for creators" that you're always demanding.

If this is your starting point for negotiation, I may have to join the "abolish copyright" crowd.

Russell McOrmond said...

I find the CCC platform pretty extreme, but if we "put them in the proper context" as John wants to put the more broad Fair Copyright for Canada group, we see the CCC as a group of people happy with a narrow set of methods of production, distribution and funding wanting to impose that on others.

Moral rights can't be waived because some of their members have had waivers imposed on them, so to counter that they want to impose on the rest of us that they can't be waived (causing great harm to peer production).

Some people are (already unlawfully) sharing material without paying royalties for those who want to collect royalties, so their solution is to promote mandatory royalty payment for all creativity (IE: the statements on private copying extended to all creativity).

They think enforcing their own rights is too onerous for them, so they want to pass the buck to ISPs and hardware manufacturers (IE: DRM). The theory seems to be that copyright holders are all small/helpless and ISPs are all big. The reality is that there are ISPs as small as a starving artist (See ,, etc), and Copyright holders as big as Rogers and Bell.

As I've been warning for years, the hardware manufacturers may wipe out the effectiveness of all copyright related rights from creators, but that doesn't seem to concern CCC at all.

The supreme court is being labeled as against creators rights? Wow -- that's beyond a stretch, but when a group only considers their own special interests and ignores anyone else.. well.

When I approach Copyright I don't only concern myself with software authors using Free/Libre and Open Source Software licenses. When I make recommendations it is with a mind on how it will affect other creators as well. Just wish the CCC/DAMIC organizations and their members thought the same way.

I sometimes wonder if some creator groups really wish they were a big labour union in a one-industry town. I, on the other hand, fight for diversification so that no single entity can control the marketplace.

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, fair is unfair.

John said...

Actually Chris, I believe the word author is here being used as an umbrella term for creators in general -- people who author creative works, and in my interpretation that means anyone who authors creative work, including you and Russell. Since the songwriters were often sitting right beside me at the table when these words were being worked on, I'm sure they feel okay about it -- probably more okay than about how their good faith proposal for a new business model was summarily rejected by most of the "fair" minded. Not sure who represents the sculptors, but they and all other professional creators are more than welcome at the table.

But I do like how this statement is starting to draw out the extremism. I prefer to see your real position, rather than the "I'm just trying to understand what you mean" that you normally deliver.

Yes, this is my starting point, and I'm ready to start negotiating, with the government, about real legislation, and real, not thin edge of the wedge negative effects.

I'll have to respond to Russell another time as I've been up late practicing my creativity and I want to go to bed. But I'll say this quickly -- Russell, no-one wants to imprison you within your moral rights. Discard them at will. But would it not be a good idea to make it so that no one else can compel you to discard them if you did not want to? Let's ask the legislators to figure that one out so it works for everyone.

It's very easy to say creators don't want to enforce their own existing rights, but that completely ignores the existing power imbalance that is and continues to be an undeniable element of professional creativity. I swear, sometimes you sound like you're blaming the poor for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Misquote Orwell all you want -- that's your fair dealing right.

Russell McOrmond said...

Your two paragraphs at the end are entirely my point. You want things negotiated within the copyright act which have nothing to do with copyright.

The copyright act needs to become more generic and easier to understand, not more like a union negotiated contract that spells out every possible inter-personal relationship of creators. Those environment-specific power dynamics should be dealt with in other legislation such that they don't have the massive "unintended" (uncaring, depending on who you will talk to) consequences that placing them in the Copyright Act will cause.

You don't like that it costs copyright holders some resources to defend their own copyright, so you want to pass that on to someone else to fight your battles for you. The issue isn't that existing copyright doesn't offer you protection (as it does), but that you want someone else to pay all the bills. This is someone you have declared as more rich than you are, without asking people who are actually in the industry about how it works.

You thinking that all ISPs are rich is like me looking at Disney and declaring all Copyright holders as rich, pretending that you simply don't exist. And you want us to believe this is "fair"?

Yes, there are power imbalances, and people should not be forced to do things which they don't want to do. But you have defined people like yourself as being the lesser power in the struggle, and have declared granting you more leverage against everyone else as "fair".

While the two of us make much of our money as "literary authors" according to the copyright act, we don't make our money the same way.

I don't want the government, based on your request, to deny me the ability to effectively participate in peer production. This production model necessitates that everyone involved think of themselves as peers and we all need to know that nobody will ever individually exert a right of integrity against other peers based on individual contributions. Clearly the government is more powerful than I am, and if the government says Canadians can't waive my right of integrity, the ability of Canadians to participate will be revoked/reduced. The only negotiation power I have is during the legislative process, and I will be up against powerful opponent groups like the CCC.

"Discard them at will." that means having the right to waive them, while the CCC clearly stated they want the government to revoke that right.

I also don't want to try to compete in a marketplace where my competitors software is already "bought and paid for" by all my potential customers, meaning there is no money for me to be paid my one-time fee. This is the effect of extending the private copying levy to software and other literary works that would otherwise see growth in peer production and peer distribution (such as non-fiction educational material, as well as scientific and medical knowledge).

Yes, there is a power imbalance, and while you feel you are the weaker player, here I am having to go to parliament to fight against a politically powerful group you represent in order to allow my method of production, distribution and funding to survive.

The CCC has accomplished something else with the platform. They have demonstrated to people like myself that as bad as DRM is at attacking the rights of technology owners (which includes most creators) and software creators, things could be far worse. And we have to add that to the fact that the CCC is in favor of anti-circumvention legislation itself.

Thanks, however, for admitting in the document that the CCC doesn't represent software authors. I suspect this was from your personal influence on the document.

Chris Brand said...

John, I don't want to join the "abolish copyright" crowd. I think that a fair, balanced copyright regime would be better than no copyright at all.

Looking at this position paper, though, I honestly think that Canada would be better off scrapping copyright than adopting what you're asking for.

It kind of ties in to what I've said before - a Copyright Act that is too unbalanced in favour of rightsholders and makes everyday activities illegal has the effect of leading people to throw the baby out with the bathwater and just ignore the whole thing.

Ultimately, it seems to me that this paper can be summed up in very few words :
Pay us. Pay us more. Pay to ensure that we get paid. Pay for every use of your culture. It's all about the money. Very sad. I honestly expected better. I do appreciate you finally making clear what you mean by "respect for copyright", though :-)

John said...


I have no idea how you come to some of your conclusions about the CCC position, which I state again is a reasonable starting point for formal negotiation, and is clearly not intended as an attack on your preferred business models.

I do find it quite ridiculous that as technology and communications becomes ever more complicated, you want one of the acts governing these things to become more generic. I find that kind of naive.

And how does the question of a waiver of moral rights have nothing to do with copyright law? The different types of rights within copyright, and how they can be used and/or abused are at the very core of the concept. I have to say, this is the occasionally infuriating disregard for the concerns of other parties in this debate that polarizes us all.

You insist peer production doesn't work if moral rights are unwaivable, yet every other business model (let alone concerns such as freedom of expression and integrity of professional work) present in the copyright arena today is threatened when waivers are forced. So, to respect and help the newer business model, we trash the older ones? I used to think your expression "creators of the past" sounded dismissive. Now I see it is actually meant to dismiss.

How about we protect the moral rights of these creaky and ancient creators of the past, and find a workable provision within the act for peer production. Hey, you know, such a provision around inalienability and unwaiverability might even encourage more peer production, and move the market more and more in that direction. Wouldn't that be something?

The 600 artists represented by Appropriation Art want expansions to fair dealing so that they can expand their own narrow creative practice, yet they actively disregard the concerns of over 100,000 of their peers working in different ways. Yes, I really do feel like we're moving into a brave new world. The CCC statement makes a point of acknowledging them and leaving a door open for respectful negotiation of the border territories, while the AA comments on the CCC statement dismiss the traditional position outright. I am basking in the fairness.

Michael Geist writes that the CCC is obviously unconcerned with user rights, and none of you moderates in the fair camp even wave at the idea of correcting him. Am I the only one in this discussion who finds his opinions increasingly political? 38,000 people on Facebook means something huge, but 100,000 professional creators in the CCC can be dismissed with a notable exception of 600 appropriation artists, a couple hundred rock stars and some documentary film makers who have not actually made a comprehensive statement on copyright reform other than to express an access concern everyone in the CCC agrees with.. Where is the perspective of the academy?

John said...

And Russell, if I'm not mistaken, Michael Geist is also in favour of anti-circumvention, as long as it's tied to infringement.

That sort of middle ground sounds a lot like the CCC's position on ISP liability, which is that any notice and takedown type of set-up provide conditions for notices, and serious penalties for notice misuse to avoid any legal intimidation of fair-dealing uses by rights holders.

I believe small independent ISPs doing the great work you folks do, could provide a very valuable service to each other, and the culture, by forming collectives to help each other comply with the law and resist notice abusers with the help of the law. I would even support some form of public funding for such collectives. To me, that is a much more positive response to current concerns than "it's too hard for small ISPs to do, so let's excuse all ISPs from responsibility."

John said...

And Chris -- "it's all about the money" is so flip and insulting a dismissal of this good-faith proposal that I can't pay much attention to the rest of your argument. If there is an argument in and around all that rhetorical backpedaling.

I know from a career's worth of experience with these people that not a single signatory to the CCC statement wants to abuse the rights of users, any creator with a different business model, or society as a whole, and every single one has willingly given their work away for free at one time or another. They feel a threat and think they see the "balance" tipping against them. They are asking for a corrective. For having that very human response, you imply they only care about money -- as though somehow money and professional, independent creativity are somehow morally disconnected from one another despite the rules and demands of our market economy.

Chris Brand said...

not a single signatory to the CCC statement wants to abuse the rights of users, any creator with a different business model, or society as a whole

And yet the platform says :
(In the context of ephemeral copies) It is thus essential that rights holders preserve their exclusive right to authorize or forbid, and extract remuneration from, all forms of reproduction.. They also want a new right to transfer the work or any substantial part thereof to another medium. Wanting to be paid multiple times for one thing isn't abusing the rights of users ?
The CCC recommends the expansion of the private copying regime to include all categories of work covered by the Copyright Act. means that they also want to be paid every time I buy a blank CD or DVD (and other things, because they also ask that it be extended - presumably to hard-drives, cellphones, etc), even if it's only used to backup my own creations.
an economic interest in successive re-sales of the work concerned is a direct attack on tangible property rights - even though you own a copy of a work outright, you'd still have to give somebody else a cut if you sell it.
The CCC asks that this provision be struck from the Act so that playwrights and other authors may regain their right to receive fair remuneration when their works are performed by students in educational institutions in the context of pedagogical activities. would take away from society at large.
And of course there's the whole "ISP liability" thing. Because every healthy society has people monitoring all communications ensuring that no "bad words" get uttered...
Moral rights should be [...] unwaivable, which as Russell points out is incompatible with peer production where I have to waive the right to maintain the integrity of my work for somebody else to build upon it. This isn't abusing the rights of creators with different business models ?

I'll take you at your word that they don't want to abuse everyone else's rights, but they've certainly managed to suggest a platform that would do so.

It's not exactly a platform that's going to win you any new friends.

John said...

Okay Chris, thank you for finally making it quite clear how you feel about all this. Can I now conclude that you do actually believe that traditional creators trying to protect their rights under copyright is little else than a campaign of abuse against users? Or will you be backpedaling again? That seems to be the meat of that last comment -- a refutation of my claim that the CCC is not interested in abusing users.

Hmmm, are we trying to win friends? Is that how it works in peer production? I thought we were trying to negotiate a complicated legislative reform.

Remember that everyone supposedly agrees we're trying to strike a balance with copyright. Yet it seems to me, you believe any suggestion for some more weight on the creator side of the teeter-totter is an attempt to knock the kid off the other side.

These points you've focused on... yes, they here and there suggest new costs, or new restrictions, but why automatically conclude they do so in an attempt to abuse users. Disagree about the relative levelness of the balance, but please take a little more care with how you portray motivation.

We live in a society where all sorts of rules we may not like or always be happy with are imposed upon us, usually with good reason, whether as individuals we can always see the reason or not. It pisses me off that if I use the Toronto transit system, collect a transfer when I first get on and then decide to walk part of the way to get some exercise, I still have to pay again instead of using my transfer. I don't like that rule, but I understand why it's in place, and as a willing member of my society I accept the relatively minor restriction on my freedom and the relatively minor burden on my wallet. For that matter, why should I have to pay a fee based on the costs for the entire TTC, when I only want to ride one route? That seems positively totalitarian.

I also happen to believe that all public transpo in Canada should be free to the user, and completely subsidized by the government. Call me a greedy bus-rider, but that's what I believe.

And I also believe that a magazine that publishes blatant libel should be subject to the correction of the libel laws, and is therefore responsible for every word they publish. Does that mean I believe in some sort of scary police state in which every published word is monitored? I think I prefer Rusell's ISP-liablility-is too-hard argument to your ridiculous Orwellian scenario.

Russell McOrmond said...


You are going to have to get past thinking that people are dismissive of the problems you are seeing when they disagree (even very strongly, and justifiably emotionally) with your proposed solutions. These are two entirely different things.

It is the same harmful rhetorical device I hear from CRIA all the time. Whenever someone asks them about their specific proposals on copyright, they go on at length about the harm they are seeing in the marketplace. I endured it yet again in a recent Ottawa Citizen editorial board audio file. I feel like yelling "Please stop sidestepping the question" every time I hear that.

We are not talking about whether there is harm, but whether the proposed solution will have a helpful, harmful, or neutral effect on the problem.

Lets take the non-waivability of specific moral rights. The very legitimate problem you see are problems that need to be dealt with in other laws, such that it is clearly against the law to impose that a creator waive any or all of their moral rights as a condition of employment or contract work.

We see this in other legislation all the time, such as with PIPEDA which states that waiving the right to privacy cannot be a condition of the provision of a product or service.

The reason that this is not a Copyright Act related issue is because the problem is in contract and labour laws, not in copyright law. The copyright law needs to state that we have a series of moral rights, including the right of integrity, and that they are independently waivable (IE: waiving the right of integrity doesn't mean waiving the right of attribution).

There are many problems that creators have that are inappropriate to deal with in copyright law. Creators can also have their tangible art stolen, but does that mean that we need to replicate laws against theft inside the Copyright Act? It should be clear that the answer is no, and that it needs to be understood that the full set of laws which protect people in other professions also protect creators. There are special issues (such as imposing moral rights waivers) which are a problem.

I wish instead of this issue you were going after 13(3). Creativity is a human exercise, and I see no reason why the first holder of copyright should ever be anything other than a natural person. Employment/contract law can then be used to assign copyright to the employer automatically, but this would then be far more cleaner and take this oddball special casing out of the Copyright Act. Of course, the non-waivability or disallowing automatic waivers of moral rights for employees will be a problem here, and will likely become a sticking point to ever dealing with this issue. I consider that a very poor political tradeoff on the part of CCC members.

I am not dismissive of your issues. I am dismissive of (err: opposed to) your proposed solutions. There are solutions that would solve your problems without the massive unintended consequences that your specific solutions would bring.

Saying that none of your members intend harm isn't helpful in a discussion with people trying to alert you to the harmful consequences of your proposals. I am trying to give the CCC members the benefit of the doubt that they are unintended consequences, and that you aren't intending to harm all those who are trying to use alternative/competing methods of production, distribution and funding.

Russell McOrmond said...

"magazine that publishes blatant libel should be subject to the correction of the libel laws, and is therefore responsible for every word they publish"

If libel laws should be handled by making the publisher responsible and not the enablers (IE: Canada Post), then why is the same thinking not applied to copyright?

Similar references to child pornography laws were made in the document, where in these cases a court order is needed befor the ISP is liable for anything -- which is far more like current law than the proposal.

In effect, your proposal suggests that Copyright infringement should be treated as more serious than child pornography or defamation, and I strongly disagree on both fronts.

The ISP liability proposal puts the blame for infringement on "enablers", and creates a reverse onus where the publisher need to prove that their work is non-infringing rather than the alleged copyright holder needs to prove that their work was infringed.

Current law says that it is the copyright holder should be the plaintiff and the copyright infringer the defendant, and your proposal is to effectively flip this around entirely: that guilt is presumed and that the alleged copyright infringer is the plaintiff and the alleged copyright holder the defendant.

All of this appears to be based on the "poor creator" and "rich ISP" and "rich publisher" conceptualization of the world, so putting the largest burden on these rich folks seems justified. Unfortunately this is not how things really are, and these 3 parties should be on a more level playing field which is what we have in current law. The onus is on the copyright holder to enforce their rights, and they have very high statutory damages at their disposal as a remedy for a finding of infringement.

Current law is far more protective of the overall interests and rights of creators than the CCC proposal. Again, the issue isn't whether creators should have their rights protected (everyone here thinks they should), but whether the CCC proposals help, harm or are neutral to the interests of creators. As I analyze them, I am lead to the conclusion that many of the CCC proposals (not all) would be harmful to the interests of your own members, leave alone people like myself using competing methods of production, distribution and funding.

John said...

Simply put, Russell, I trust your good intentions in this debate. I don't agree with many of your conclusions, but that's what negotiations are for.

That said, I do NOT trust the intentions of "everyone here." Neither, frankly, do a substantial number of professional Canadian creators. Your own confidence on that question is admirable -- but when I read Geist dismissing the CCC as uninterested in user rights or access concerns, and Chris saying it's all about the money as though artists should rise above such petty concerns for the good of society, I can't help wondering what the actual, final agenda is over there in fairsville.

I don't think it's at all unusual, legislatively speaking, for similar concerns to be dealt with is separate laws -- correct me if I'm wrong all you lurking lawyers. Over here in userabuserland, I've heard good, smart lawyers saying most of your concerns don't need to be addressed in this act, but more aptly apply to other laws governing monopolies. Now if you and I both went off to other laws to address our concerns, we'd never have a reason to speak again, and that would make me sad.

Your analogy comparing ISPs to the post office is a compelling one. Bring that to Ottawa, and I wish you the best of luck with it. I'm not entirely convinced it works the way you want it to, but there's something there.

Still, there seems to be a flaw in your defense of ISPs as "not all rich," combined with your insistence that this should not be about wealth or power imbalances.

John said...

of course, above I meant "in separate laws', not "is separate laws"

sometimes I type so fast my fingers separate from my hands.

Russell McOrmond said...


Chris Brand and I are both software authors. While I don't want to put words in his mouth, if asked I would guess Chris is reacting the way he is because he sees proposals that he sees as very harmful to his livelihood that do not in any way he (or I) can determine actually help the members of the members of CCC. In a costs-benefit analysis the proposals are high on costs and low on benefits.

As you already know, my primary involvement in this debate is to protect the interests of fellow independent software authors. I have a secondary, but still strong, interest in protecting fellow independent creators of any type of creativity. And last, I want to ensure that when we protect our rights we aren't effectively wiping someone elses rights out (Including pure 'audiences' who are not themselves creators).

Geist is a law professor who sees a number of groups missing in the debate (average Canadians, etc) and is trying to get them into the debate. While I don't always agree with everything he says, he has been in my mind far more helpful in my quest to protect the interests of independent creators than nearly any other individual. The fact you (John) and I disagree (sometimes quite strongly) even on what would benefit professional writers makes me even more glad people like Geist are in the debate.

I'm baffled by most of your statements, just as you seem to be baffled by mine.

How are the issues that I am concerned with (owner control over technology, peer production, etc) issues that are remotely related to monopolies? These are entirely about things being added to the Copyright act that shouldn't be, or rights removed from the copyright act that should be retained (I can't see how your moral rights proposal can pass the 3-step test).

I seriously doubt the lawyers you are working with even understand the issues I am most concerned with -- few in the legal profession do. (Note: I'm not convinced Geist does, as helpful as he has been).

On the other hand, if we take the moral rights waiver issue as an example, this is *ENTIRELY* an issue of monopolies and market control. While my issues can't be dealt with in Competition law, that specific and quite legitimate concern of yours can. Instead, you propose the baby be thrown out with the bathwater in an attack against an important creators' right.

But lets leave Copyright for a moment. I'd like to write a story.

In the early 1990's I was involved with a group called Auto-Free Ottawa. While the name was provocative, the intention was to reduce the dependency on the automobile for a variety of reasons. Mine were based on community (how we interact with each other) and environmental.

I ended up bumping into many of what I started to call "tailpipe environmentalists" that were entirely concerned with what came out of the tailpipe. The solution in their mind was electric cars.

I analyze this and see a few things:

a) over 50% of the pollution an automobile causes is in manufacturing/etc.

b) The electricity has to come from somewhere, so much of this just moved the environmental damage to a different location.

c) With the tailpipe issue "solved" (masked), the guilt factor of the car would be reduced and we would see more cars on the roads, more roads, etc.

d) My community issues related to social problems caused by urban sprawl, paving the planet, road rage, and other such things which only increase with more cars.

In effect, I believe that moving to electric vehicles, while it would temporarily mask certain symptoms, would over time make the problem far worse.

So -- am I no longer an environmentalist or community activist? I am not disagreeing that a problem existed that separated the members of the group, but whether the proposed "solution" would be beneficial, harmful or neutral towards the cause.

(BTW: I'm a fan of full cost accounting and leveraging the free market to work on these problems. Carbon tax and cap-and-trade are just a few tools among many needed).

Chris Brand said...

My earlier post seems to have been removed. I did want to add this to it :

It seems to me that historically, both creators and users have ended up coming off badly in the various copyright debates, relative to the intermediaries. I was hoping that we'd be able to join together to find proposals that would improve things for both creators and users and then sit on the same side of the table, hopefully then having enough influence that the intermediaries don't, once again, come out the winners.

That's why I find myself getting emotional - because I see the outcome of this being that both users and creators end up losing, once again, to the intermediaries.

John said...

Chris, fair enough, and thanks for clarifying.

What you might need to accept is that traditional artist relationships with intermediaries can be very complicated and do not ALWAYS involve interference or abuse of rights.

I try not to have a kneejerk reaction (and I'm not saying you do) to either users or intermediaries.

I would actually like to find solutions that are fair for all parties, not just two out of three.

Impossible? I don't know.

John said...


My point about the lawyers was actually to say that like it or not, copyright is the law we are currently discussing, and with which we will soon have to engage legislatively. While there may be remedies elsewhere for both of us (lurking lawyers? -- a little help please?), for now we must both declare our territory within copyright, and that's what the CCC statement has done.

With all respect to your community and environmental motivations, I think your story is very illustrative of a key difference in approach that we are struggling with.

The CCC, broadly put, is attempting to retain and protect established practices and rights within a changing world, while opening the door for new practices and new rights. We are all heading in the same direction. It just seems to me that traditional creators (here's the buggy-whip rhetoric again) are being told, sorry dudes, your ways belong in the past. You'll have to discard them, and the rights attached to them if the rest of us are to successfully move into (an essentially unknown) future.

Your "tailpipe problem" anecdote suggests to me that you are very comfortable challenging society to adopt radical change that involves the discarding of established practices. I am less comfortable with such challenges (I am environmentally concerned AND need a car to drive my kids to school every morning (single dad, out of school bus region, unreliable public transpo -- nevermind the huge segment of our society economically dependent on the auto-industry). Again, I support all your enviro-motivations behind this, but I don't mind incremental change, as long as it is paced to outrun planetary destruction.

I don't see planetary destruction as the outcome of the CCC position, and I see lots of room within it for incremental change that will accept new ways and new models. You don't -- fair enough, that's what the negotiation table is for.

Russell McOrmond said...

I happen to believe that finding something that works for everyone is possible, but not when we refuse to sit down and try to understand the perspective of the other person.

I am not dismissive of your interests. Yes, I am dismissive of those who want to disallow change as change brings both good and bad things to those involved, and innovation and creativity are themselves forms of change. I do not for a moment believe that unlocking media (in the broadest of senses, from the technical tools we own and the communications networks we use, to the businesses we might choose to partner with and/or hire) is harmful to the interests of creators, but strongly believe that locking media and removing options is very harmful.

I acknowledge all of the problems that are identified in the platform, but disagree that the specific proposed solutions are helpful towards solving those problems. I think far more legal and business analysis is needed, as the current proposals seem based on emotions. I do not believe these specific proposals are incremental change, but decremental change to the interests of creators.

This should differentiate me from those who do exist in this debate who simply don't care about our issues and interests. I care, and will fight against those who I believe are harming the interests of creators -- including if that has to include fellow creators.

As to being dismissive, we only have to look at the CCC homepage. We have an ACTRA member who recognizes that the ISP liability proposal would be harmful to his interests, and his views are summarily dismissed pointing at some useless poll of people who were asked an unclear question.

My hope is that those members of associations who recognize the harm of the proposals will get far more politically involved than they have in the past. With different people acting as "representatives" at the bargaining table, I suspect something far more reasonable for the interests of creators can be found.

BTW: You are right -- the reduction of creators' rights in the CCC proposals will only harm the livelihoods of creators and reduce the variety of creativity possible. It will not cause planetary destruction, but that doesn't distract me from recognizing its importance. I believe that human creativity will the the answer to the environmental crisis, and barriers that we put to human creativity have links to most other problems.

John said...


Maybe it's the lack of body language issue online arguers tend to run into, but I'm starting to think we have a completely different definition of dismissal.

I went to the CCC site, where the editor has posted the ACTRA member's entire letter and described it as thoughtful. He then thanks to the writer, and himself describes the Globe poll as "totally unscientific."

Compare that with how Mathew Ingram treats the IFPI paper, and the CCC and the Songwriters in yesterday's Globe. I blogged in response to Ingram today. If you want to make a charge of dismissiveness, aim it at how I treat Ingram.

BTW, that kind of letter (on the CCC site) is exactly the kind of thoughtful response to the CCC proposals I'm hoping for. Talk about an invitation to talk things over.

Russell McOrmond said...


The platform is a platform, not a discussion paper. It claims to represent the views of the members of the member organizations of CCC, something that the letter indicates that it does not. Were members polled on their views?

You present this not as a tool to bring creators to the table to discuss what they want, but as a tool to bring to government to state what creators want and then have "others" negotiate from there. Are you suggesting that this ACTRA member is expected to go to the government negotiation table on his own and lobby against ACTRA in that setting?

I know that I'm defined as an outsider that will be lobbied against, not consulted.

So you know it is there, I've discussed some aspects of the CCC/etc proposal in my latest BLOG article: Copyright lobby to IT sector: It’s all your fault! In some cases it is.

Note: I'm not going to comment on the IFPI paper. I've documented many times what I think about these "studies" and the fact that they essentially talk about current revenues and then ignore all market conditions except those they are currently lobbying about. These studies never adequately differentiate between legitimate competing business models and copyright infringement, and should be taken with a massive grain of salt. I'm hoping you have seen my analysis of the BSA/CAAST "studies".

John said...

yikes, you have got to be kidding. The member orgs of the CCC are the duly constituted and governed professional associations of dues-paying members, all of whom have every opportunity to influence internal discussion at any time through the many and various mechanisms within each set of by-laws.

As such they have way, way more authority to speak on this issue than does a Facebook group claiming 40,000 like-minded "concerned Canadians" who all do not want "the Canadian DMCA" whatever the heck that is. Yet notice the disparity of media-bestwoed authority, and even Geist-bestowed. Geist endlessly rattles off three groups.

Of course not everyone will agree on everything -- where does that happen? -- and please keep in mind that he criticizes one section only... and that the criticism is welcomed.

I don't think this lack of authority line is going to work.

John said...

BTW, I'm away from my computer for the next week. Will check in when I can. Actual creative writing to be done.