Cautionary Tales About Collective Rights Organizations

I've received a few emails about a document (PDF) describing the track records of Collective rights organizations (CROs), including from InfoJustice and one of the founders of Unglue.it (Another awesome alternative to CROs).

My own concerns about how CROs often push for exceptions to copyright in the form of compulsory licensing was included (See page 18, 19), with a reference to "Independent authors just wanting a little respect... from fellow creators and collective societies".

Fellow creators should always keep this in mind: the interests of intermediaries like publishers and collectives are sometimes aligned, but often different or even incompatible with our own interests.

I've noticed many of the strongest promoters of these intermediaries over the years will claim they represent the interests of authors. They will then constantly side with these intermediaries over authors whenever these interests are in conflict. For an example, see the discussion around publisher Hachette's attack on authors freedom of choice. The issue is not actually about DRM at all, but whether authors freedom of choice is respected as they publish in various countries with various publishers.

Note: DRM is not a form of "copy control" which is only a marketing term, but most often a proprietary content delivery platform. The proprietor of the platform becomes yet another intermediary whose interests can (and most often do) conflict with the rights and interests of authors.

It is sad that some things haven't changed in the last 6 years, with some intermediary activists continuing to oppose the rights and interests of authors.