So what exactly is behind door number three. Is it the big money; or is it a goat?
In his original posting waving the flag of compromise, the famed consumer advocate invites cultural industries to... um, compromise on TPM protection; and also to accept his assurances we are worrying unnecessarily about vague redefinitions of fair dealing. I've recently looked up the word compromise and it still does not mean capitulation, so I'm glad the C-32 Committee is getting advice from a broader field of comment.
Dr. Geist included a third compromise suggestion, and it is one that hits very close to home with me. In considering the calls to extend the private copying levy to include all the various new ways of copying and storing content, we are offered the strangest compromise yet. Geist writes:
"...a compromise may lie in identifying alternative mechanisms for providing financial supportive to Canadian creators...Rather than expanding the levy, the government could commit to continued full program funding for the next five years."
By full program funding, Geist means arts grants - public funding for the creation, production and performance of art.
Well, John, you work in public funding. You provide grants to artists. How could you be opposed to such a suggestion?
I'm not. A commitment to full program funding is a wonderful thing. I'm certainly committed to it in my very limited capacity to control such things; but someone please explain to me how two completely different things can magically be replaced by just one of those things?
I see you have an apple and an orange there. Here's what we'll do - I'll take the apple from you; but, to make it up to you, I'm going to let you keep the orange. Even better, I'm also going to assure you I won't take any of that orange from you for the next five minutes.
I've struggled a bit with how to express my total dismay at this little game of Let's Make a Deal™ that Canadian artists are suddenly being asked to play. So, thanks to Denis McGrath, for helping to clear and focus my thoughts. McGrath, a TV writer, blogger and Writers Guild of Canada member had this to say in a recent comment exchange with a persistent and uncompromising user rights advocate (emphasis mine):
"Geist — who has the bulliest of bully pulpits on this issue with his academic tenure, blog, and regular column, admitted to me awhile ago that he hadn’t considered the artist in the equation enough. He’s attempted to since remedy this through a few columns and alternate solutions that aren’t really workable from the WGC’s [Writer's Guild of Canada] point of view. We’ve said as much to him, and I’ve said that to him privately. I understand his objections to levies, and agree that they’re imperfect solutions. I just don’t think they’re as imperfect as doing nothing — which will be the current state of C32 — or his proposals, which are half baked at best and politically just as poisonous as levies at worst."
That's a damning admission from the man who purports at all times to be seeking fairness and balance in copyright. One whole side of the equation... yeah, I haven't given it a lot of thought.
In other words... behind door number three? A goat.