ACTRA angry over delayed copyright reform

A CBC article has an interesting idea from ACTRA

The union for Canada's English-language performers is fuming over the government's decision to delay copyright reform legislation, demanding Minister of Industry Jim Prentice to "do the right thing" and ignore the protests of a "vocal minority.

Given the opponents to WIPO Internet treaty ratification include many high profile ACTRA members, exactly which group is a "vocal minority" -- those groups fearful of modern technology (and thus support the WIPO Internet treaties), or those groups who see modern technology being in the hands of independent creators and other private citizens as an asset?

It is sad that an increasing number of creators have to work outside of their traditional "support" organizations in order to get their views heard on critical questions around Copyright. Creators should be watching their associations very closely to ensure that they aren't pushing policy that ends up greatly harming the interests of creators (such as supporting anti-circumvention legislation)!

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Bloody lunatics

I was at the Bose electronic store the other day and they were demonstrating their equipment (very nice stuff). Anyway one of the features of the equipment is that you can easily copy your entire CD collection into the system, and it will automatically catalogue it by genre, artist, etc. At the end of the demo I informed them that the government is about to table a bill that would make their system illegal.

So that what ACTRA wants? To ensure that nobody can listen to their artists? Do they even own an iPod? And it must make perfect sense to cripple one industry (electronics) to support another. Oh and by the way pretty much everyone in the country would become a criminal, and the education system would be pretty much screwed if this bill goes through. What bloody lunatics.

"Is that what ACTRA wants?"

You need to realize that ACTRA is made up of performers, not technologists. They see their revenues going down, see some copyright infringement, and latch on to some alleged "technical fix" that the snake-oil salespeople claim will solve all their problems. They then want legal protection for this snake-oil, without realizing that it is snake-oil.

We need to talk with any performers that we know that are members of ACTRA to try to make sure they understand what the issues are. The snake-oil of DRM can't accomplish what it claims to do, and has many unintended consequences that are far more harmful to the interests of performers than the copyright infringement that they are trying to stop.

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

ACTRA is useless

As an ACTRA member I can tell you firsthand that the union is pretty much useless... Why are they even getting into this argument when there's barely any money in this country to produce content worth protecting in the first place?!

I would quit the union over this if I thought it would make any difference...

More about me at

Change from within.

There are many associations created by and for artists that are fearful about the inevitable change that new technology brings. Copyright is by definition dynamic because it regulates activities which are carried out by technology, and thus even if the words in the act stay the same (which has not been the case!) the meaning changes over time.

The greatest change we have seen in the last decade and a half is that the technology that forms the means of production and distribution of content is now cheap enough that the average citizen can afford it. Canada is at a crossroads. We can enact copyright legislation that embraces this reality, or we can enact copyright legislation such as proposed in the WIPO Internet treaties that opposes this reality and tries to put the modern technology genie back into the bottle.

Fear of change is human nature, even if the change is for the better. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to try to talk with fellow creators to try to lower this fear.

I understand the problem you may have with the group. When I look at the proposals from the Canadian Creators' Coalition I see nothing of myself as a Canadian creator. But giving up on these groups won't help. Either we need to change these groups from within, or we need to get enough people to create replacement groups.

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