Creators' Rights Alliance / Creators' Copyright Coalition

COPYCAMP OPENS September 28th

For Immediate Release

Toronto, September 19th, 2006… Copy Camp?, an “unconference” for artists about the Internet and the challenges to copyright is set to open next week.

Organized by the Creators' Rights Alliance and hosted by Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, Copy Camp will bring 150 artists, geeks, lawmakers, and copyright activists together to explore the issues surrounding the new models for making art and making a living using the ‘net.

The event opens on Thursday, September 28th at 6 pm with a welcome reception featuring brief presentations by artists and guests. Featured presenters will be: Paul Hoffert, Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and fellow of the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard, Moana Maniapoto, the celebrated New Zealand singer/songwriter, filmmaker/director Toby Mills, and Canadian dub poet Lillian Allen. Science Fiction writer and boingboing creator, Cory Doctorow will also there, virtually, in conversation with Alliance co-chair, writer Susan Crean.

The battles between organizations promoting methods of exploiting works of the mind.

This morning I am reading an article in Canadian New Media about the most recent battles at the Copyright Board of Canada. As has become typical, the debate is between different parts of the music industry as well as between different methods of distribution and remuneration for music. While from the outside they like to paint a picture of all being on the same team against "infringers", the reality seems to be that the music retailers, publishers, collectives for publishers, labels and mechanical collectives seem to reserve some of their harshest attacks for each other. Much of the discussion at the Collective Society dominated hearings at the Copyright Board seems to be of the "one true business model", where I can't see the interests of musicians and music fans being represented at all.

CopyCamp: Who are "they" in the various "us vs them" copyright debates?

One of the hardest things at CopyCamp for most creators will be to get past thinking that the "them" they are fighting against are large transnational corporations. In my personal experience most of the debates are not of the form "us vs them", but really "us vs. us", meaning it is disagreements (sometimes quite strong) between fellow authors/creators that are at the heart of most copyright issues.

I was reminded of this when reading the Session List on the WIKI, and the entry submitted by Andre Cornellier under the title of "How to turn all this talk into action".

Some potential sessions to attend at CopyCamp

At CopyCamp I am wanting to host 3 sessions on topics which I might be able to offer some insights on. The format is to only have a short presentation (maximum 10 minutes) so the bulk of the hour can be in discussions with the participants. Groups are expected to be from 5-25 people.

CopyCamp is up and Running

Toronto, September 7th, 2006… CopyCamp, an “unconference” for artists about the Internet and the challenges to copyright is set to open in just three weeks.

Organized by the Creators' Rights Alliance and hosted by Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, CopyCamp is bringing together 150 artists, geeks (technology experts), lawmakers, and copyright activists to explore the issues surrounding the new models for making art and making a living using the ‘net.

CopyCamp will feature a lively electronic “Salon” showcasing the innovative practices of artists who are successfully using the Internet to create new audiences. It will have demonstrations, talks, and exchanges of all sorts, and, being an unconference, the participants are driving the programming. Visit the CopyCamp website and see this work-in-progress. (www.copycamp.ca)

Answering the critical question for creators: "They'll be paid how?"

The following is my response to a posting on the PWAC BLOG.


At CopyCamp I hope to host a session with fellow creators to help creators help themself with the critical question of: "They'll be paid how?"

The trick behind all of the excitement with young authors is to separate all business expenses and pricing into two columns: fixed-costs and marginal costs.

No matter what the chosen business model, the marginal cost to the creator for their own creativity is always zero. There is always a fixed cost in terms of time and other resources, with that fixed cost sometimes being quite considerable.

How much does that CopyCamp cost?

While it is great to see that there is buzz about the CopyCamp unconference (See links from the Seen elsewhere aggregator) it is unfortunately thus far about the pricing structure.

The concept is simple: Those who can afford to pay are asked to pay more in order to allow those who can not afford to pay to attend at all. Unfortunately many people are glancing at the pricing structure, assuming that they would have to pay the full price of $700, and stop looking. Some people are being asked to pay $700, some early birds $495, some free, and some people will have additional expenses such as travel paid for.

More CopyCamp information

The CopyCamp website has been updated with answers to many questions, providing more information for those thinking of attending this event in Toronto from September 28 to the 30'th. This event will bring together people from the arts community, the Free/Libre and Open Source Software community, and others interested in creativity and copyright together in one conference. The full list of questions includes:


  • What is CopyCamp?
  • What is an unconference? What is a camp? Is this one?
  • Who is running CopyCamp?
  • Is it free? Is it expensive?

The different stakeholders in copyright revision.

I just read a Slyck article by Drew Wilson that was a follow-up on an earlier article by Michael Giest questioning Heritage Canada funding of the Creators' Rights Alliance to inform the government CRA's position on copyright. The article suggested that I was critical of John Degen, the executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). While the PWAC is a member of Access Copyright, Mr. Degen was unaware of Captain Copyright and other such initiatives before they were launched by Access Copyright.

This article made me realize that when it comes to the different stakeholders in copyright, many people are still having a problem differentiating them. It is for this reason I wish to offer a little bit of my own categorizations of the stakeholders in copyright revision.

Canadian Gov't Pays Copyright Lobby to Lobby

While the Harper government last week passed accountability legislation in the House of Commons, Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny - lobbying that is financed by the government itself. According to government documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, last fall the Ministry of Canadian Heritage entered into a multi-year agreement with the Creators' Rights Alliance, a national coalition of artists groups and copyright collectives with members both small (the League of Canadian Poets) and large (SOCAN and Access Copyright).

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