Last April, I posted about the disgusting characterization of Canada's copyright collective for writers and publishers as an organized crime syndicate. This offensive slur was launched by a law professor at the University of Toronto trying to make a name for himself as a crusader for the public interest.
Yesterday, this same "freedom fighter" upped the ante and now suggests Access Copyright is engaging in terrorism.
In a broad swipe at collective licensing in general and Access Copyright specifically, Ariel Katz first builds a scary-looking straw man by defining Access Copyright's beliefs for it:
"Copyright collectives such as Access Copyright abhor fair dealing, because fair dealing, by definition, is a use that does not require license or payment, and they resent the notion that when licenses are needed, they can often be granted on more competitive terms without their involvement."I wonder - has he asked members or affiliates of Access Copyright if they do indeed abhor fair dealing? Has he asked the Access Copyright Board if they abhor fair dealing? The staff?
Access Copyright is not a faceless corporate entity that somehow forms its own opinions without reference to humanity. Like all collectives, Access Copyright is made up of people - in this case, very hard-working people who believe writers and publishers should be compensated for the copying of their work that falls outside of fair dealing. In order to do the hard work of licensing such copying, Access Copyright depends on clear definitions for things like copying and fair dealing. It also depends on information.
I certainly don't abhor fair dealing, and I'm a creator affiliate of AC. I love fair dealing, and, as a professional writer, I use it all the time. What I do abhor are deliberate attempts to expand the territory of fair dealing in such a way as to eliminate collective licensing revenues for Canadian creators. To do all that while suggesting I and my fellow collective members intend "to terrorize universities who refuse to capitulate" is certainly abhorrent in the extreme.
How are we terrorizing universities, according to Mr. Katz? By asking for information about their copying practices - something we are more than entitled to do considering we know from past sampling it's our work being copied.
Asking questions equals terror? Information equals terror?
I would argue that muddying the definitions of both fair dealing and copying is job #1 for self-styled enemies of collective licensing. Such a deliberate confusion is certainly at the heart of recent freecult analyses of Canadian law.
Job #2 seems clear as well - run from clarity and information, screaming in fear.
As always, thanks to The Devil's Artisan for their collection of public domain woodcuts. I always seem to find something perfectly appropriate.