Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Copyright Day!

What is a creator?
Uploaded by CISACTV. - Discover more animation and arts videos.

April 23rd is UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day. As we all know, Ljubljana Slovenia has been designated the World Book Capital for 2010; so if Iceland is quite finished (thank you very much) you might want to plan your summer vacation accordingly. Or just go buy a book (please see the right hand menu on this blog for some fantastic Ontario publishers who can provide you with purchase ideas).

As part of the worldwide celebration of all things Book, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has released three quite entertaining short videos on the subject of creativity, authorship, copyright and the great service to world culture played by creative collectives. The underlying message is one I try to concentrate on at all times when discussing copyright reform -- copyright is not just for a privileged few; it is for everyone, a universal human right, in fact. Don't believe me? Here's the relevant section of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

The short films were written and directed by Anne Jaffrennou, Joris Clerté and Joyce Colson and produced by French authors’ societies SACD, SACEM and SCAM. CISAC licensed the films and allows the use of them to help spread the word. The first of the three wonderful animations is embedded above, and here are the rest (there appears to be a Bud Light commercial in front of at least one of these, so be forewarned):

What is a creative Work?
Uploaded by CISACTV. - Discover more animation and arts videos.

What is an Authors society?
Uploaded by CISACTV. - Watch original web videos.

Happy Copyright Day everyone!

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Darryl Moore said...

Interesting. According to your video, a creator has to be a human.

Who would own the copyright to this book then? And what of the whole genre of Computational creativity?

You may well be able to write off these works now, but as AI gets better, it will become more difficult to do.

As for International Copyright Day. Meh, I think a better celebration of creativity is International Public Domain Day. That is the day that these works become freed for all to enjoy without restrictions.

John said...

Mr. Moore,

Thank you for your interest in World Book and Copyright Day. I welcome your input again when indeed Artifical Intelligence makes a significant impact on the world of books and creativity. Until then, I'm happy to focus on humans.

Of course, any celebration of copyright includes a celebration of the public domain, since it is the incentive of copyright that encourages so much of the professional creation that fills the public domain.

I think you may be making a unfortunate error in your understanding of works protected by copyright -- they are generally just as available to be enjoyed as those in the public domain. Copyright restrictions really only apply to their commercial use, including the potential for commercial sale. For the vast majority of creative works under copyright, there is nothing stopping anyone from respectfully enjoying the work, often for free.

Enjoy the day.

Darryl Moore said...

"Of course, any celebration of copyright includes a celebration of the public domain, since it is the incentive of copyright that encourages so much of the professional creation that fills the public domain."

That may have been the case at one time. Sadly it is no longer, as the proportion of creative works that actually ever make it to the public domain is ever shrinking. In fact no works of any kind will enter the public domain again in the United States until 2019. There is strong pressure on us to follow the US and European model as well, which will harm our public domain as well.

"Copyright restrictions really only apply to their commercial use"

Well, perhaps we are going to have to agree to disagree on that one, but I suggest you read the copyright act. In it you will find very few distinctions between commercial and non-commercial use. You may see that it is your understanding of copyright which is an "unfortunate error".

John said...

Mr. Moore,

As I mentioned before, the fact that a work is under a term of protection should not in any way stop you from enjoying that work. On the other hand, if you do feel unduly restricted by the United States' copyright term extension, I sincerely hope you find something to entertain yourself with until 2019.

May I suggest going for a walk?

Darryl Moore said...

John, it is clear from your comments that you do not understand nor appreciate the value of the public domain to users and artists alike.

That's a pity, but somehow I sense that nothing is likely to influence your hard set ways. Hopefully the legislators who will be amending our copyright laws this year will not be similarly narrow minded.

John said...

Mr. Moore,

Thank you again for your comments. I respectfully disagree with your assessment of my understanding.