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[d@DCC] Writers outraged by new CanWest free-lancers' contract.

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
To: General Copyright Discussions <discuss (at) digital-copyright.ca>
Cc: kome -_at_- shaw.wave.ca, webmaster -_at_- straightgoods.com
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2004 10:53:01 -0500 (EST)

Copy to DCC forum, Straightgoods, and the author of the article Penney 
Kome

  Writers outraged by new CanWest free-lancers' contract.
  http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewFeature3.cfm?REF=824

  I believe this article lacks any recognition from the author that what
writers have been asking for for years is exactly what they are now
getting hit with.  This is the largely ignored warning I have been giving
to incumbent creators rights groups since I joined the copyright reform
process.  These incumbent creators groups have been used to thinking of
their publishers as their allies, and their audiences as a threat, while
the creative groups I am part of have seen things exactly the opposite.

    But the public doesn't seem to see it that way. Lately, when writers 
    say the word, "copyright", it seems that the public hears the term, 
    "Intellectual Property" or even "Disney" or "Microsoft".

    Perhaps if writers used the European term, "Authors' Rights", it would
    be clear that writers believe they opposing the same corporate forces
    that the public abhors."

  I find this very frustrating to read as it contradicts the message that
I have been hearing very loudly from these creator groups. If what was
said in this article is to be accepted, then why have these same groups
been pushing for copyright reform, including legal protection for Digital
Rights Management (DRM), which puts more and more power in the hands of
these same "corporate forces"?

http://www.writersunion.ca/announce.htm#Briefs
   http://www.writersunion.ca/heritage.pdf

   HTML/PDF version on Strategis:
   http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/incrp-prda.nsf/en/rp00762e.html

  This is a joint submission from The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC), the
League of Canadian Poets (LCP) and the Playwrights Union of Canada (PUC).

In this submission they call upon the Government of Canada to:

  - ratify WIPO treaties, which will only benefit the Disneys and
    Microsofts of the world!

    Why creators should oppose DRM
    http://www.flora.ca/cnm20040908.shtml

  - oppose extensions/clarifications of fair dealings to deal with changes
in technology.  The phrase "freedom of the press only applies to those who
own a press" also applies to copyright.  Now that most citizens have
communications technology in their private home, copyright needs to be
amended to deal with the fact that it is overly-complicated and really
only makes sense to industrial intermediaries.

  - increase already excessive term from life+50 to life+70.  Our
discussion forum is current engaged in lively debates around senate bill
S-9.  I believe some of the opposition to the repeal of subsection 13(2)
of the act is related not to photographers rights, but to the already
excessive term of copyright in these works.

  The harm of this theft from the public domain is well known, and is the 
basis of a few interesting cases in the USA and elsewhere.

  The Public Domain Enhancement Act
  http://www.eldred.cc/
  
  - specific support of legal protection for Technological Protection
Measures (TPM), and Rights Management Information (RMI).  This is the
issue that brought me as a creator of software into copyright reform.  I
felt the need to try to protect creativity from the policy suggestions of
groups like the Writers Union, Disney and Microsoft who are largely
singing in the same choir on this and a number of related issues.

  - supports "claim and censor" regimes for ISPs, but still believe that
even if they comply with these draconian measures that ISPs should not be
shielded from liability.  The cost to society of ISPs being "judge, jury
and executioner" and removing works without judicial oversight is far
greater than the cost to society of the copyright infringement that is
claimed to be the alternative.

  There also needs to be accountability for those claiming infringement,
with damages and fraud charges for someone other than the copyright
holder claiming infringement.  I am tired of hearing of MediaSentry's
automated DMCA messages being sent to mirrors of Free/libre/legal Open
Source software, where these messages claim they are infringing the
copyright of proprietary software from BSA.

  - supports extended collective licenses, yet another tax against new
media creators and distributors to pay old-media creators/distributors.

  Extended licensing occurs when a monopoly or group of near-monopolies
exists for a type of creativity, and the government allows them to collect
royalty fees for all that type of creativity.  This is regardless of
whether that monopoly is compatible with their licenses or business
models.  This is similar to the idea of granting Microsoft or the Business
Software Alliance the ability to collect license fees for desktop Linux
users, in direct violation of the license agreements used for Linux.  

  Extended and compulsory licensing stifles new business models and new
forms of creativity, including models which solve many of the problems
that users of the old models are worried about.

  Make it legal: don't litigate, use creative licensing
  http://www.flora.ca/makelegal200403.shtml


  I met Susan Crean, previously of the Writers Union and now with the
Creators Rights Alliance, during the various copyright consultations.  We
have been engaged in an open letter series which may be of interest.  
http://www.flora.ca/creators/


To the participants of the DCC forum,

  This article in StraightGoods is deserving of many letters to the
editor.  Please word in a way to try to convince writers to get on-side
with our work and not in a way that would turn them even more against the
public (and creator) interest.  They have thus far been working on the
wrong side, and possibly with being hit with their own medicine they may
start to recognize this.

-- 
 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 
 Code is Law: how software code regulates the activities of citizens,
 and acts similar to law.  How do we ensure transparency/accountability?  
 http://www.flora.ca/russell/drafts/life-of-hacker.html#code=law
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