Creators and "free lunchers" on same side

Today Christopher Moore (no relation) over at the Creators Copyright Coalition discussed the words of a guest speaker at the Access Copyright annual meeting recently, Montreal lawyer Claude Brunet of Ogilvy Renault who represents many of the nation's largest publishers.

While referring to most of the Fair Copyright Facebook members as "free lunchers" he loads significant criticism onto these publishers as well as Access Copyright itself.

This suggests that perhaps he and the CCC have more in common with us "free lunchers" then with those large corporations. Many creators already acknowledge this, from Cory Doctorow to Steven Page to Richard Stallman and many more.

While there is a healthy population of Copyright abolitionists in the group, there are also many who agree with Chris and see the current copyright reform as nothing more that a corporate power grab which they want to stop. Even copyright minimalists such as myself may share more core values with Chris than he realizes.

Examining Chris's views and my own which I will present as a typical copyright minimalist perspective, there is significant common ground.

We both want a copyright regime which encourages access to creative works, whereas the corporations want copyright which maximizes corporate profit and control. To that end Chris and I both seem to agree the TPM are undesirable.

We both want to see fair remuneration for creators. While our ideas of what is fair certainly differs, from when to use collective organizations to the ideal term of copyright to what uses should require financial compensation, there is nothing here which is philosophically incompatible. It is a question of degree, to which earnest negotiation on both sides may be able to find suitable common ground.

This contrasts however with the corporations who maintain their key desire from my first point. They want to see maximum profit for themselves. Unfortunately traditional publishers are finding it hard to compete in the new Internet world. As such, fair remuneration to creators and maximum (even sustainable) profits to corporations may well be an irreconcilable difference.

One place where Chris and I definitely do not agree is on moral rights. I see no place for moral rights other than the right of the author to have his name associated with a work or not. Chris on the other hand is a strong believer in moral rights. This contrast was brought out recently in our disagreement over the film Titanic. Chris however readily admits in his current post that he has no allies in publishers on this issue either,

I suggest to Chris that if he talks to the creators at CMCC and many of the members of Facebook and Michael Geist and even myself, he might discover allies who do share most of his core philosophy. People who's goals differ by degrees, but are not philosophically opposed.

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Bringing creators together

Bringing these groups together to talk things out is of course part of the purpose of CopyCamp, which will be happening again in Toronto on April 29 and 30, 2008.

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