Hyperbole from traditional educational publishers: postcards/etc.

Today I received a copy of a misinformation package from Nelson Education Ltd. about Bill C-32. In the package there was a letter from Greg Nordal (President and CEO), a "call to action", a printed copy of an article headlined Copyright bill threat to our identity, and 4 postcards (One to Prime Minister, one each to Industry and Heritage Ministers, and one intended for the local MP) that pointed to Access Copyright's campaign site copyrightgetitright.ca.

CIPPIC lawyer David Fewer discussed much of the misinformation about C-32 educational fair dealings in this package in an Ottawa Citizen article headlined Copyright bill is no ripoff of textbooks. In short, C-32 doesn't say any of the things that traditional educational publishers are saying in their mail-outs.

It is important to put these mail-outs in context. They are part of a massive campaign by two different types of education intermediaries who wish to take over creativity in that sector.

On one side is the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) and the administration of various institutions who are constantly calling for institutional exceptions to copyright that apply to provincially chartered education institutions. They are hypocritical in that they aren't calling for royalty-free outputs from these institutions, only royalty-free inputs. I consider this very dishonest, and as I have suggested in the Bill C-32 FAQ, I consider education institutional exceptions to copyright to be a government program, paid for on the backs of copyright holders, masquerading as copyright.

On the other extreme is Access Copyright, the originator of this misinformation package and related website, who want to impose themselves as a mandatory intermediary in any educational creativity. They want the full spectrum of business models that Copyright traditionally offers to go away, and be replaced by compulsory licenses where educational institutions pay fees to Access Copyright which they then distribute a portion of to creators based on Access Copyright criteria. Access Copyright appears to want to become like a government that taxes one group of people and offering program-like services to another, but to do so in an entirely unaccountable and non-transparent way.

CMEC, Access Copyright and their various allies differ only in the amount of money charged, not in the threat that their proposals represents to Copyright or the independent creators that depend on it. While C-32 doesn't include what CMEC/etc was asking for, we need to equally push back against what Access Copyright and allies are asking for in order to protect Canadian creators and business model choices for the educational sector.

See also: previous article on C-32 fair dealings, Analyzing when copyright levies are a good idea, and when they are a very bad idea. for more...