Commentary on Captain Copyright

I have my own commentary on the Captain Copyright website. A collegue, MC, attempted to send his thoughts to the Captain but unfortunately the Captain does not seem to be ready to receive e-mail yet. I'm reprinting those comments (with permission) as inspiration to others who might want to send a balanced comment to the Captain.


I just stumbled on your website. It's quite interesting. As a software developer I think it is important that people understand the importance of copyright. However, while the information that is contained on the website is quite accurate, I am a bit worried that children will emerge thinking that there is only one way to deal with copyrighted information.

There are many examples of content creators that wish to extend additional rights to users. I think it is important for children to understand that there are many different ways to do things. As a content creator myself I have found that encouraging sharing often brings about benefits that you can't achieve through a total monopoly. There are software works known as "Open Source" or "Free Software" that encourages users to distribute and modify the works. Likewise other artworks are often distributed under licenses like "Creative Commons" that encourage users to participate in the creative process.

Would it be possible to include some information on these approaches so that children understand that there are ways to collaborate on creative works and still be covered under copyright? Websites such as http://www.gnu.org, http://creativecommons.org/, and http://www.opensource.org/ provide some information on these types of activities. Additionally, I would be more than happy to collaborate with you to provide additional information.

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The whole truth...

"while the information that is contained on the website is quite accurate"

There is a reason that courts say "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth". It is possible to be technically accurate in the exact words used, but due to omissions be suggesting something that isn't accurate.

Michael Geist has already identified misinformation about the Private Copying regime for music, and I suspect the more people look at these cartoons that their fictional nature will become more apparent.

I wonder if Access Copyright would be willing to create a cartoon that discusses their Indemnification program, which offers customers (such as educational institutions) an insurance against being sued by a copyright holder for works "licensed" by Access Copyright. Access Copyright does not seem to limit itself to licensing the works of its members who have authorized them to do so, but wish to offer blanket licensing including authorizing infringing activities against the works of non-members.


Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

Malice or Incompetence?

RE: "There is a reason that courts say "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth". It is possible to be technically accurate in the exact words used, but due to omissions be suggesting something that isn't accurate."

What part of copyright concepts has been omitted?

Let's assume that Access Copyright has no published political aspirations or that you don't know that Access Copyright created the site. In this case, does the same conclusion hold? Are you assigning a characterization that may be only due to incompetence or lack of knowledge?

Considering children, if a child made an error of omission by repeating some of the statements on the site, would you classify them as "suggesting"? Or, would you simply help fill in the gaps?

I think this form of education has some value, we should first try to help Access Copyright fill in the gaps in their program. Explaining indemnification would be one example, explaining Free Software another. There are no outright lies on the site, a few misleading statements, but no false information. I would completely agree with you if there were false statements.

Malice or Incompetence?

Michael Geist hilighted Activity 4 as one where there were inacuacies in what they were "teaching" students, because they completely ignored the existance of the Private Copying regime for recorded music.

Under the Private Copying regime it is not an infringement of copyright to download recorded music from any source (lawful or otherwise is not mentioned in the act) as long as your copy remains private (IE: you can't share it, loan it, etc).

If the authors didn't want people to be critical of their "lessons" they should have chosen areas where the law was much more clear and/or less controvercial. Access Copyright lawyers know very well that this area of law is misunderstood, and that they have incorporated the harmful misunderstanding in their lesson.


Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.