Monday, February 13, 2012

term limits - two sides

Capital News Online has produced an impressively balanced article about the idea of possible Canadian copyright term extensions. So much mainstream media coverage of copyright questions have bought into the populism of the anti-copyright user rights side of things, it's often hard to hear a reasoned voice from the professional creation side of things.

Leave it to the journalism students at Carleton university to school the rest of the media on how to present an issue with two distinct viewpoints. They interviewed both anti-copyright crusaders and me, presenting our arguments clearly and without any filters or bias. Nicely done Carleton U. You are fast becoming my favorite university in the National Capital Region.

One small glitch, that I hope will be quickly fixed. This quote that appears to be coming out of my mouth in the article:
"For all the works that have been already created there is no incentive," he says. "Locking them down for 20 more years only means that they would be less accessible."
... would certainly make more sense coming from Michael Geist, who clearly believes that copyright is some sort of impenetrable lock keeping us away from our culture. A later quote from me should clear up the issue:
“It’s a false argument to say that just because something is not available for me to use for free then it’s not available to me at all,” says Degen.
I go into greater detail on this whole topic in an earlier blog posting here.

A nice feature of the Capital news Online article is a series of short audio clips from both me and Geist - look under the Multimedia tab on the article page. I think all Canadians should listen carefully to the difference between the two approaches, and pay attention to the facts presented in the right hand sidebar on that page. With places like Australia, the UK, the EU at Life + 70, and the USA with the potential for extensions beyond that, clearly the new international standard Dr. Geist references is not Life + 50 as he would have us believe.

Most importantly, it's clear that copyright term extension discussions happen around the world, focus on the creators, and are not always couched in the dramatic "cultural lockdown" terminology anti-copyright activists favour.

(Parliament image courtesy The Devil's Artisan, from a collection of public domain wood engravings.)

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