Thursday, April 17, 2014

back down the rabbit hole we go

“Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked.
'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don't know,' Alice answered.
'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.” 

Trying to keep track of Canadian education's claims about copyright is a lot like trying to follow an agitated white rabbit with a pocket watch. Follow too closely and you're likely to end up in a wonderland where up is down and you'll almost certainly be asked to believe...

" many as six impossible things before breakfast." 

Anyone who wonders why the issue of educational copying is so sunk in confusion in Canada, need look no further than this blog posting from free-culture megaphone, Michael Geist. In it, Geist coyly suggests that Canadian creators really have nothing to complain about these days since we seemed well aware of "the effect of the fair dealing legislative change in Bill C-32/C-11" well before the new law was passed. If we all knew what was intended with the legislative change, shouldn't we all accept the change? Look, we predicted what the new law would do, so if we were worried about it we should have stopped it. Right?

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."

Did we all know what was intended? Did the legislators even know what was intended? Hard to tell, because words seem to have lost all meaning in this strange new world of maddeningly smiling tenured professors.

Back before the legislative change, in testimony before a Senate Sub-Committee, Geist assured Canadians "the government rightly rejected misleading claims that the changes will permit unlimited, uncompensated copying" (emphasis mine). Yet, today's blog posting from Geist seems to suggest those earlier claims were not misleading, but were "unequivocal positions, which the government rejected."

An outcome described by Canadian creators, and rejected as misleading by both Geist and the government is now what was intended all along?

“I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” 

Way back in 2010, Geist interviewed himself about potential changes to the law and whether or not creator fears were warranted. In that instructive document we see this:

Q. Won't the fair dealing reforms allow education to make unlimited copies without compensation?

A. No

Q. Won't extending fair dealing to education dramatically reshape the ability for education institutions to copy works without compensation?

A. No.

Q. Isn't the fair dealing reforms (sic) really about saving money for education?

A. No.

Q. Aren't educational institutions reducing payments to Access Copyright because of the C-32 fair dealing reforms?

A. No.

“In another moment down went Alice after it, 
never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”

Curiouser and curiouser, I say.

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1 comment:

Sandy Crawley said...

When will the federal powers-that-be (The Queen of Hearts) notice that their resident guru (the squealing baby)has turned into a pig?

Geist's hypocrisy knows no bounds!