Professional Writers Association of Canada / Writers Union

PWAC and Copyright in Canada

The reception last evening was also the launch of the Canadian Professional Writers Survey - a profile of the freelance writing sector in Canada. As well as being their 30'th anniversary, it was also the launch of a new logo to go with their new name (They were previously known as the Periodical Writers Association of Canada). Hon. Peter Milliken, the speaker of the house, was there to help in the launching of the new logo. There were many members of parliament from a variety of parties on hand.

Of particular interest to our community from the report is a set of four core principles that PWAC has developed. While the full report will likely be published online soon, the following excerpt (From pages 34 and 35) list these principles.

Great reception by professional writers.

I am just returning from a cocktail reception hosted by the Professional Writers Association of Canada, more than a few cocktails later. This is part of their National Conference & AGM for 2006. I was invited by John Degen, executive director, to share this 30'th anniversary with them.

I have a stack full of business cards. There were many politicians there, part of the lobbying PWAC was doing on the hill. I met up with Peggy Nash, the MP from Parkdale-High Park who beat out the controversial Sam "anti-user zealot" Bulte in the last election.

I left on an interesting note. What happens when you have a software author and a writer get into a debate about copyright a few cocktails later. She was pro-1996-WIPO treaties, primarily because she wished citizens of other countries to recognize copyright in the same way as Canada. (Note: Name excluded as I did not ask permission to write about our conversation).

Professional Writers Association of Canada hosts talk by Michael Geist

The following was received from John Degen, PWAC's Executive Director. I believe it is critical for authors part of the free/libre culture movement to participate with PWAC members as we together move forward with these ideas.

SPECIAL EVENT - Open To The Public

Following up on his 2006 Hart House lecture, which was recorded for national radio, television and podcast (and blogged about on PWAC's homepage), University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist (Canada Research Chair in Internet & e-Commerce Law) will be PWAC's featured speaker at Creator Copyright, or Creator Copyleft: A Brave New World.

Prof. Geist, columnist for the Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen, will present his ideas about where copyright has been, where it is going, and how creators can take a leading role in shaping a new copyright paradigm, and indeed a new copyright law, for ourselves.

Prof. Geist¹s ideas are challenging and controversial. Some may find them uncomfortable, some exhilarating. Either way, a moderated Q & A will follow. All views and ideas welcome.

Date: Saturday May 13th
Time: 9:30 am to11:45 am
Where: Ottawa Delta Hotel (room to be announced)
Cost: $20 (non PWAC-members)

Meeting with John Degen, ED for Professional Writers Association of Canada

On Friday afternoon I met with John Degen, Executive Director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada for a very eye-opening meeting. (See also: Anti-copyright: a rebel sell?, and The two branches of the creators' rights movement)

The past submissions to government from PWAC and my own would suggest very different ideas on copyright. We rely on different business models to fund our creativity, and have identified different threats to our creative rights, but have much more that we share than we disagree on.

He has offered to post a more detailed summary of our meeting.

The two branches of the creators' rights movement.

As an independent author of software and non-software literary works, it should be obvious that I come at issues of copyright from a creators' rights point of view. The problem is that there are two very different, and often opposed, interpretation of these rights from within the creator community.
I believe that one of the best articulations of creators rights comes from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, article 27 which has two parts:

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2)Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Creators need a balance between the right to create and the right to receive rewards from past creativity, with the only beneficiaries of an over-protection of the second part being non-creator copyright holders (media and content intermediary corporations).

Anti-copyright: a rebel sell?

This BLOG posting on This Magazine by John Degen opens a bit of debate between some of the "creators of the past" and the creators who are trying to build on that past.

I would welcome an open discussion with John Degen, if he is honestly interested. We can discuss some of the advantages of using business models that don't ever charge per-copy royalties at all. It will also be interesting to explain why someone who has licensed their work royalty-free under a Creative Commons license would then not want a royalty-collecting agency to be collecting royalties for these same works.

There is now a feature article on p2pnet that forms part of this conversation.

See also: Slyck

The Creative Commons + Creative Canadians: a conversation about new approaches to copyright

Mark Surman of the Commons Group wrote the following:

"The Creative Commons + Creative Canadians: a conversation about new approaches to copyright."

Lately, there has been much talk about new approaches to copyright and licensing, with the Creative Commons, open source and similar concepts offering alternatives to the old 'publisher calls the shots' approach. These new approaches raise many questions. What do these licenses mean for Canadian creators? Can they really help shift the balance for power from publishers to creators? How can they be used to promote the free social uses of our social while at the same time protecting the money we make from commercial uses?

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