Professional Writers Association of Canada / Writers Union

The Writers Union becoming a protest group?

While unfortunate, I was not surprised to hear that representatives of the Writers Union of Canada (TWUC) crashed a private meeting of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) on November 12'th. Like a "Yes Men" type of event these uninvited guests forced themselves in front of the assembled members to speak and pamphlet. They were rude enough that they had to be asked to leave the premises. TWUC protesters video taped their intrusion and sent out a press release.

I was worried this type of thing would happen when I heard that John Degen had become the executive director at TWUC. I first met Mr Degen in 2006, and my concern then was that a certain subset of authors he was part of were lobbying to remove choices from author. Suggesting that there is only one true business model to pay authors, and that authors should not be allowed to explore potentially more lucrative alternatives, appears to remain at the heart of the TWUC protest.

fear v. education

Meera Nair posted a great article about misinformation on fair dealings.

"It is disappointing to read of the continued distortion of fair dealing through the call to action of The Writers’ Union of Canada and Access Copyright. But I am not surprised; it is much easier to provoke fear than to embark upon the longer journey of educating people."

A real-world e-book conversation, TPM included

Author John Degen has posted some fictional conversations between a writer and a reader on his blog (June 9, June 10). I say it is fictional as it ignores how the relevant technology works, and thus not only the lack of clarity of the relationships between writers and readers but also the fact that there is a technology company as intermediary that separates there from being much of a relationship at all between writers and readers. It depicts some rare moment where all the parties involved have the same understanding of the relationship, likely because this is really just a case of John having a conversation with himself.

This conversation is a good example to use to better understand the technology involved, the relationships, and what is the correct law to govern these types of relationships. It is also a demonstration why the existing anti-circumvention provisions within Bill C-32 require major revision in order to not cause massive unintended consequences that will be harmful to the interests of both the writers and readers John was intending to be writing about.

Read full article on IT world Canada's blog...

Should Michael Ignatieff join Fair Copyright? I'd vote Yes.

When Michael Ignatieff re-joined the Writers Union of Canada during the Copyright consultation I thought: Great, another misinformed politician who thinks that what the Writers Union is asking for in the Copyright debate will actually help Canadian writers. I finally listened to the August 10'th episode of TVO's Search Engine where 11 minutes and 50 seconds in Jesse Brown offers his own commentary on why Mr. Ignatieff is more of a counter-example to what the union is saying.

Government imposition of specific business models on creators

My first draft of the op-ed for Georgia Straight was far too long, and included not only discussion of digital locks but also commentary about government imposing royalty-based business models. It also used Georgia Straight articles by Bill Henderson and Marian Hebb as illustrations. I'm including here that last part that needed to be cut out of the op-ed.

Coming Election Must Focus on Knowledge Economy Issues -- PWAC

(Republishing -- while I don't agree with PWAC on what constitutes forward movement on knowledge economy issues, or even the likely shape of the knowledge economy, I agree with the sentiment).

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2008

The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) encourages Canadian voters, media and politicians to ensure information economy issues are front and centre in any coming federal election, and into the next legislative session.

The needs of professional writers, and why their current proposals will backfire.

I am baffled in my latest submission to IT World Canada's BLOG by writers who are concerned that traditional media companies are abusing their stronger negotiating position to force bad deals on writers, but who then lobby the government to change the law to put far worse intermediaries in control of our media.

*Existing* Copyright protects writers' livelihoods, so why the call for radical change?

The following was submitted as a reply to Copyright protects writers' livelihoods, by John Degen.

John Degen is correct that any discussion of changes to Canadian copyright brings out the usual suspects. I am a software author who has spent much of my volunteer time since the 2001 copyright consultations talking with fellow independent creators about the direction of proposed legislative changes, and a very different direction that would be beneficial for creators.

copyright = oxygen? Depends on how you understand the analogy!

John Degen blogs about Copyright (and I respond below):

A friend of mine, copyfighter Russell McOrmond, is fond of the analogy that copyright law is like water -- too little of it and we die of thirst; too much of it and we drown. As analogies go, this one is very tidy, but I prefer to think of my copyright as oxygen. For the professional practice of a working writer, copyright is not a too much/too little proposition. It's an either/or. Provided with my oxygen, I get to keep breathing and keep writing. Deprived of it, well...

Articles and letters in Hill Times on Copyright.

The Hill Times had a letter to the editor and 2 articles on copyright in this week's hill times. Howard Knopf is the author of one and he has published it and a comment on the second article on his BLOG. There was a group of 12 incumbent copyright industry lobbiests who published their article on the CRIA website.

I wrote my own letter to the editor which may appear in next weeks issue which, among other things, refutes the IDC studies -- first the study that under-estimates the use of FLOSS, as well as the derivative study over-estimates the amount of software copyright infringement (The BSA commissioned study the Dire Dozen reference).

Syndicate content