Thursday, October 14, 2010

new media, new rules

It's book launch season across this great land of ours, and today I want to call your attention to a book about -- what else? -- copyright. This is a timely new examination of the content and copyright landscape in which we find ourselves as both creators and consumers.

That's right, I'm talking about Copyright, Contracts, Creators: New Media, New Rules by Giuseppina D'Agostino. Ms. D'Agostino is an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) and a Founding Director of IP Osgoode.

A great deal of the free advice professional creators receive these days is about going it alone - cutting out the middlemen of creative output and, essentially, becoming freelancers. It's an attractive idea, and without question there are suddenly more (and easier to use) tools for going it alone. But one of the tools that hasn't quite kept pace, according to D'Agostino, is the law.

From the promo material for the book:

Giuseppina D’Agostino discusses how historically laws and courts were more sympathetic to creators, and how the Internet revolution has shifted the scales to favor owners. Consequently, creators often find themselves at opposing ends with copyright owners, and in a disproportionately weaker bargaining position that places tremendous strain on their livelihoods. She argues that this predicament puts society at risk of losing its most valued asset: professional creators. The author calls for a new framework to justify legislative provisions and resolve ambiguities while suggesting principles and mechanisms to address the inadequate treatment of freelance work.

D'Agostino's book is the result of years of research and consultation with the cultural sector and creative industries. I remember talking with her about the subject years ago when I was running the Professional Writers Association of Canada -- an organization dedicated to serving freelance writers in their careers.

Her dedicated study, concision in describing the unique challenges of freelance creative work in the digital age, and clear-eyed analysis of the real-world issues facing professional creators has not gone unnoticed. Two of the published book's back-cover blurbs provide an indication of how influential the work just might be:

"Copyright, Contracts, Creators provides a new and original analysis on the relationship between owners and creators and recommendations for legislative change to re-balance the relationship. It is a must read for the intellectual property legal community and anyone interested in the promotion of creative works."

– Marshall Rothstein, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

"Dr D’Agostino has produced an important, carefully documented and courageous study that deserves to be widely read and discussed and (dare one say?) even to have its message heeded."

– David Vayer, Emeritus Professor of Intellectual Property & IT Law, University of Oxford, UK

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Anonymous said...

Here's one for all authors to keep an eye on. Perhaps it is a pointer to the future?

Anonymous said...

If anyone is reading a blog entry this old, here is another example to follow:

Book Pirated and sales soar

The discussion that follows is interesting as well.