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[d@DCC] Interesting meeting this afternoon with the Creators' Rights Alliance

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_>
To: General Copyright Discussions <discuss (at)>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 18:06:31 -0400 (EDT)

  For those that do not know about CRA, their website is at:

  Please also see older messages in this forum about the CRA:

  At around 14:00 I was at a joint meeting between the Creators' Rights
Alliance and the Canada Council (I believe -- I didn't get an official
agenda), hosted at 350 Albert at the Canada Council offices.

  It is always great to be able to have discussions with other creator
communities. This was a small discussion part-way through their meeting.  

  First was a presentation from their indigenous caucus on TK (Traditional
Knowledge), and then I was there to talk as an independant software
creator about the "Free Software" community as a creators' rights

  Summary of what I spoke about, with there then being a Q&A period that 
showed considerable interest.

    - who we are, with me trying to represent independent software
      creators part of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software community.

      - 1960's historical split of software from hardware
        - prior to the 1960's sofware was always bundled as part of 
          hardware, with the bundle being "manufactured", distributed and
          sold on a per-unit price.
        - some software creators continued hardware-like treatment of 
          software as a "manufactured" good, while other creators felt
          per-unit payments such as royalties were just "one business 
          model among many" (and not often the best).

      - 1980's formalization of creators' rights movement with formation 
        of Free Software Foundation, with many related organizations 
        created since.

      - creators not politically powerful, so alliances need to be made.
        - alliances made with users  rather than non-creator copyright 
        - part of this alliance involved changing business models to not be 
          dependent on per-unit royalty payments, and to specifically 
          spell out rights in copyright license agreements for users and 
          creators of derivative works.

      - greatest threats identified were not end users not paying royalty 
        payments, but the ability of creators to create, distribute and 
        profit from works under their own terms.  These threats were 
        mainly from intermediaries (often non-creator copyright holders, 
        but not always copyright holders).

     - Most critical question should be: who controls ICT tools

       - Users?  Remembering that non-software creators are users of ICT 
         tools, so rights of users is critical to creators communicating 
         their works electronically.

       - Intermediaries?  This is not just traditional intermediaries such 
         as publishers, but also new (and likely more powerful)  
         intermediaries from the "software manufacturing" industry.

   - Issue that finally brought me into the copyright reform debate and 
     the protection of creators' rights was "Legal protection for
     Technological Protection Measures" (WIPO language).

     - LpfTPM is not a protection of copyright for digital works, but a 
       replacement of copyright for digitally communicated works.
       - what people can and can not do with a work is no longer 
         governed by acts of parliament and the courts, but by the 
         software within the TPM.  This software is under the control of 
         the intermediary, not the creator, and is not up for public
         scrutiny like an act of parliament would be.
       - This is not just an issue for software creators, but for creators 
         of any type of work that is communicated digitally.

     - LpfTPM harms the ability of TPM creators to create better TPM which
       requires the ability to 'break' TPM and publish exploits for 
       research purposes. The ability to 'break' TPM for lawful purposes
       and publicly published results is a requirement for TPM research, 
       and LpfTPM removes the ability of researchers to produce good TPM.

  In the questions we did bring up the Adobe e-Book and DeCSS cases, as
well as many other nuances.  The discussion went over their allocated time
for this part of their agenda, and it seemed obvious the discussions would
continue after this meeting.

  Overall there is an understanding within this group of the issues we are
bringing forward, although there was an exception that simply didn't
believe what I had to say.  (If curious, ask me outside of this public
forum who this was. I will narrow it down to say that it was someone other
than Susan or myself who were also at the Heritage Ministers Forum on
Copyright <> )

  I suspect that over time the rest of the group will be able to better
understand the issues and will be able to formulate a better informed
position on LpfTPM.  They may even convince skeptical people who do 
not yet agree with us on the issue.

  Timing is important given the Sept 15 deadline for submissions to the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <> 
 Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
 electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than 
 politicians should be bought.  --

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