Friday, June 20, 2008

yet more reason

Dare I say, a blossoming of reason on this final day of spring?

Smart arts guy Vit Wagner talks to some book publishers about Bill C-61, and no-one mentions truncheons or jackboots.

Say, that's two reasonable articles about C-61 in the Star. Doesn't Michael Geist write for the Star? Man, he's being posterized by his own team! (NBA reference).


Infringer said...

You have to dig pretty hard in order to find these little nuggets don't you John.

Of course this piece only deals with the vary narrow view of the book publishing industry. As such you need to get a great many more and varied perspectives before you could even begin to make any sort of judgment on balance.

Contrast that with the many newspapers, columnists are others that Giest lists. Also the Songwriters Association, and CMCC which are both creators rights organization that disagree with this bill and I think you will find that you are sadly outnumbered.

There is also the Canadian Library Association, the CAUT and many other.

Not to mention the numourous bloggers and the 70,000 plus facebook users (75% increase in a week).

Keep trying to sell it John, but no one is buying.

John McFetridge said...


It's the only way to send the message.


There'd be no civil rights without it.


70,000 is a start, keep it up. But if you actually boycott, you'll get what you want.

I mean even join you (though I buy/use so little of the stuff now I won't make much difference).

Anonymous said...

"On a scale of one to 10, 10 being a great bill and one being a failure, it's probably a six or seven," said Jacqueline Hushion from the Canadian Publishers'Council. "We don't expect to get to10. But I will guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will work very hard to get some amendments that are absolutely crucial to protecting publishers' interests and their writers' interests."

Reminds me of what Jeremy DeBeer was saying.

"Still, the idea of limiting statutory damages like this is a good one. With a little more clarity in scope, it could make most people happy."

Another note:

Toronto independent publisher House of Anansi Press recently allowed one of its new titles, Pasha Malla's short story collection The Withdrawal Method, to be downloaded for free for a limited time. The move was intended more as a promotional tool than a model for distribution.
"We believed that if we did it as a free download we'd see an incremental rise in the purchase of the actual book," said Anansi president Sarah MacLachlan. "And that's exactly what happened.

The question you really have to ask yourself is, `Do people really want to read a 320-page book on a screen?' There is not yet an interface that is pleasant enough to do that with. I might be naive, but I actually believe that once there is a device that can deal with a digital file like a book then we will come up with a solution to that problem.

"I don't believe that we will be left in the dust."

So what this last bit in the article is getting at... is that not hounding consumers for copyright infringement is the correct way to go for authors? My word, what a revelation. It's almost as if I was arguing for something like this from the beginning with all my other comments.

John said...

Actually, Infringer, those reasonable responses were as easy to find as opening a newspaper. Of course those writing the responses had to do something a bit more complicated than joining a Facebook group.

What is it you think I'm trying to sell that, say, the Songwriters are not trying to sell? You seem unaware that the Songwriters are members of the CCC and happily signed onto the CCC position paper. In other words, they sit around a table with their fellow creators and discuss complicated issues in good faith rather than just playing to the pit.

I note they begin their perfectly reasonable critique of Bill C-61 with pretty much the same thing I've been saying, which is that they are:

pleased that the Canadian government has taken the step of tabling bill C-61 for first reading. It’s a complex piece and we look forward to studying it thoroughly and responding in greater detail in the near future.

Furthermore, I agree with their complex critique of the music file-sharing implications of the bill, and I suspect they, like me, would like to see the bill's problems addressed through discussion, debate and amendment, not posturing and cheap politics.

I believe the "reasonable" voices will always be the majority, whether they are speaking as loudly as the mob or not.

Russell McOrmond said...

So, we are defining reasonable as "Agrees with John Degen". As long as we all have the per-BLOG dictionary at hand.

Here is what I got from the article.

Paraphrasing: "We don't think there is a big problem, and there is little evidence people are massively infringing our books. The current relationship with between the publishing industry and readers is good, and we are experimenting with ideas to make it even better. Maybe there wasn't as much of a problem in the music industry as reported.

That said, we support a radical bill which will rewrite those relationships, including a direct frontal attack on the manufacturers and owners of communications technology, and the software authors who write software for this technology."

Missing from the article is: "we have been warned for decades by technologists that abuses of technology can ruin our current good relationships, but we have decided that jumping into the unknown is better than retaining our currently good relationships".

I really don't see how that is reasonable.

The bulk of the article contradicts the conclusion of supporting C-61.

Want to try again?

John McFetridge said...

"That said, we support a radical bill which will rewrite those relationships, including a direct frontal attack on the manufacturers and owners of communications technology, and the software authors who write software for this technology."

So, why do you think that is? Why were some lobbyists so much better than others?

Is it simply a matter of them having more money?

I'm not really sure who the "manufacturers and owners of communications technology," are but how have they been so easily stomped on? Don't they have any money at all? Can't they lobby more effectively?

I'm not even being facetious. I actually do feel caught in between and I'm wondering how one side seems to lose so consistently.

John said...

No, Russell, I'm using the standard definition of reasonable, which is to say, pertaining to the use of reason; agreeable to reason or sound judgment; logical; not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive.

In other words, I appreciate the thoughtful, complex responses, and not the shouting of police state!

Check out the current wall stream on Fair Copyright for the definition of unreasonable.

Anonymous said...


Your attempts to portray yourself as the voice of reason above the mob fray rings a bit hollow when you keep throwing mud. The reference to police state and the copyright bill actually comes from Liberal MP Scott Brison.

John said...

Rich. Scott Brison picks up on the propaganda for his own political purposes, and that does what? Makes it okay?

I've heard the same logic from Russell before. We wouldn't be acting so unreasonably if we didn't think you were insulting us by insisting on your rights.

So, for the record, I don't care who repeats the ridiculous police state fear mongering, or the simple-minded anti-Americanism, or the inaccurate concerns of iPod owners (that historically downtrodden population), they should all step back a bit, examine their embarrassing behaviour and come back when they're ready to talk like adults.

I mean, really dude, you're advancing the position that my opinions here mean nothing when compared to some overwhelming, righteous popular uprising. If that's true, why are you here?

Infringer said...

"I've heard the same logic from Russell before. We wouldn't be acting so unreasonably if we didn't think you were insulting us by insisting on your rights."

John you seem to attribute this thinking to Russell, Honestly, isn't it more appropriately attributed to the RIAA,MPAA, US Government, CRIA and others?

John said...


The sky is blue today.

Infringer said...

"The sky is blue today."

You say this a lot don't you John. Is that because you keep seeing it other colours and you think if repeat this line enough you'll start to see things as they really are?

Boy you really like playing in the mud don't you John.

John said...

Well, I don't really understand what you're saying in that last comment, but I think it's a cry for help. So let me explain.

I say "the sky is blue" as a way of pointing out that in my opinion you are more of a kneejerk contrarian than a debater.

In other words, you would argue that the sky is not blue on a cloudless day just for the sake of disagreeing.

Okay, now you can lecture me about the fact that the actual colour of the sky is determined by how our eyes perceive it. And somehow that will make all bad copyright disappear.