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Writers’ Union of Canada: Flexible Fair Dealing Legalizes Theft

The Charlie Angus fair dealing motion has stirred up considerable anger from the Writers' Union of Canada.  The organization's copyright committee is urging its members to write to their Members of Parliament to protest motion, advising them to use speaking points that include equating flexible fair dealing with theft, claiming it will result in tens of millions in losses, and would constitute an attack on Canadian culture.  Speaking points provided to members include:

  • The expansion of fair dealing would legalize the theft of material under copyright because it would allow teachers and others in the educational sector to make multiple copies of our work without compensation.
  • If the fair dealing expansion is broadened it would eliminate more than $30 million of income from Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers.  Writers and artists in this country already suffer from low incomes and this would make it even more difficult for creators to earn a living.
  • Governments in the past have encouraged the development of collectives like Access Copyright that collect fees for the secondary use of material under copyright and distribute it to creators and publishers.  This was done to strengthen the culture in this country.  The expansion of fair dealing would make it very difficult for Access Copyright to survive, and it would be an attack on Canadian culture.

74 Comments

  1. If it’s legal, then it’s not theft. You’d think writers would be more precise with their words.

  2. Unions..
    *sigh*

    “it would allow teachers and others in the educational sector to make multiple copies of our work without compensation.”

    They already do this. Heh.

    “If the fair dealing expansion is broadened it would eliminate more than $30 million of income from Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers.”

    Did you mean, publishers, publishers and publishers?

    “Writers and artists in this country already suffer from low incomes and this would make it even more difficult for creators to earn a living.”

    Then get the publishers to give you more of the cut you deserve, instead of stealing the majority from you.

    “distribute it to creators and publishers. ”

    publishers and publishers again?

    “This was done to strengthen the culture in this country.”

    Culture lives and dies based on its worth. If a culture dies, it’s because people no longer adhere to it, which suggests it’s no longer very interesting…

  3. and it’s never theft… only copyright infringement…

  4. Darryl Moore says:

    @Jackson
    “If it’s legal, then it’s not theft. You’d think writers would be more precise with their words.”

    Oh, I don’t know. I’d call 100+ years of copyright protection a pretty blatant form of theft. I’d also call media levies that charge me to format shift my own media blatant theft as well. To be theft, does it need to be more than simply taking ones property without permission? Governments can be thieves too.


  5. “The expansion of fair dealing would make it very difficult for Access Copyright to survive, and it would be an attack on Canadian culture.”

    Attack on Canadian culture? The real Canadian culture benefit greatly from expanded fair dealing. I think they are confusing “culture” with “traditional” and out-dated business models.

  6. Lack of vision, The death of analoge distrobution
    They just don’t get the idea of fair use. If you paid for it, basically short of making copies and selling it to make a profit, it should be legal. It spreads the content and *MOST* people will pay for content if it is fairly priced, to support the content creators. They really should look at it as free marketing. They are not lost sales, they are people who probably wouldn’t have bought it in the first place but after sampling some of the content, then they may buy it to have the nice packaging and to support the creator. They should also realize that we (consumers) are not stupid, if you are going to make a product to sell in the store where you have to pay for packaging, shipping etc, then the cost for a digital online copy should be significantly cheaper as you don’t have those additional costs, not the same price as the same product in the store.

  7. Won’t the expanded levy more than compensate the expansion of fair dealing? Already the current levy seems to more than compensate rights-holders. So win for the consumer, they get to do more with their media; win for rights-holders who get renumerated; and win for the government which doesn’t have to spend millions in enforcement.

  8. Darryl Moore says:

    @James
    In short NO.

    Fair use (or expanded fair dealings) are rights that users and follow on creators deserve to have in the first place. If I’ve been beating you up your whole life then one day I stop, does that mean I’ve given you a new right (not to be beaten up) that you in turn should be grateful for?

    If we have fair use (as well we should) then we have no need for the levy. In such a case the levy would be compensating artists for something that have to right to be compensated for.

    Finally. If we give more levy money to the music industry, rather than less, then we will soon have the movie, software, and book industries lining up for their share too, not to mention all the foreign collectives who currently don’t get anything from these levies. This could have the effect of increasing the cost of the levy many many times. Think you can cope with a $70 levy on an iPod? How about when it becomes a $300 levy?

  9. I can’t believe the restraint of the WUC and Access Copyright. They have held back on linking this to such evils as child pornography, organized crime, fake medicines, and terrorism.

    They merely suggest that flexible fair dealing is “theft” and “an attack on Canadian culture”.

    Have they mellowed? Have they lost their touch?

  10. hmmm, and here I thought every expansion of copyright term was theft.

  11. strunk&white says:

    Cassandra,

    Perhaps they have mellowed, or maybe you’re just reading their actual words for the first time. On the other hand, copyright holders are still being called thieves and having their own established rights compared to violent assault over here.

    Welcome to the arena of reasoned debate.

    And Trevor, thanks for the flashback to 2004, when Lessig first published “Free Culture”… under a standard copyright agreement that includes these words:

    The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  12. Wha??
    Give it a break. Teachers etc ALREADY do this, in spite of it being a *legally* questionable practice. The fact is, it *should* be legal! Since they are ALREADY not being compensated for this activity, legalizing it will have no impact on income, or more importantly, culture.

  13. Sure a lot of extremist arguments here from both sides.

    Authors copyright has almost nothing to do with how they are compensated. It is the publisher they deal with. I’m not sure why so many authors are causing an uproar over an issue they have no control over. They already signed away their rights.

  14. strunk&white says:

    Strawman,

    And your knowledge of this is based on….?

    Individual authors belonging to the creator collective at Access Copyright receive cheques every year for licensed educational use of their work (a point Adrain seems unaware of). I think you’d find agreement at the Writers Union on the idea that auhtor’s are not compensated well enough through their contracts, but that is a completely separate issue.

    It’s really only how the collective licensing system is portrayed by some of the commenters here that makes it seem in any way extreme. Writers do not want to stop teachers or anyone from using their work (quite the opposite). They simply want to be paid fairly for their part in education and the cultural marketplace, like everyone else is.

  15. Darryl Moore says:

    @Adrian
    “Teachers etc ALREADY do this, in spite of it being a *legally* questionable practice.”

    Not true.

    In fact our schools pay a lot for the supposed privilege.

    http://www.accesscopyright.ca/Default.aspx?id=98

  16. strunk&white says:

    see what I mean?

  17. There’s a lot of guys in my office who put forward a piss-poor effort in their work or just basically aren’t that good at their jobs. Can I create a levy for them because they aren’t getting the same salary as those who spend the extra (personal) time training and investing in their career or just have the natural ability to excell in their profession? Maybe it’s time for artists that are having trouble making ends meet solely on the income based on their creations and are dependant on levy funding to look for a new line of work.

    No more need for Access Copyright? No more schemes like the Cultural Fund or Captain Copyright? This…this is bad, right? Especially coming from the Writer’s Guild who were complaining only a couple of years ago that 75% of AC’s distributions were going to publishers, including artist’s shares putting the onus on artists to collect from said publishers, and funds were not going to “many more Canadian creators, including visual artists and authors of scholarly works.”

  18. Honestly, it’s as if these writers don’t want anyone to read them!
    And I wouldn’t mind if Access Copyright went and died in a lonely corner somewhere….

  19. @strunk&white
    “The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.”

    Interesting. According to that agreement, the publisher, not the rights holder, gives permission… How does this support the author’s rights? It allows the publisher to decide rather than the rights holder. So, if the publisher provided permission, but the rights holder didn’t, would the consumer, and the publisher, be guilty of copyright infringement?

    However, the WUC seems to think that MP Angus’ limited fair dealing would cause Access Copyright to cease to exist: “The expansion of fair dealing would legalize the theft of material under copyright because it would allow teachers and others in the educational sector to make multiple copies of our work without compensation.” I am not so sure of this. Fair dealing, to my mind, is for PERSONAL use… in this case, the use of the person making the copy. Making a copy of a library text and distributing this shouldn’t (to me) be covered under fair dealing. Likewise, copying a book in a library and taking a photocopy, to me shouldn’t be covered under fair dealing (the idea being that the reason you are copying is so that you don’t have to pay for one… to me the CCH v LSUC case violated this idea). Institutional use of a work, to me, doesn’t qualify as private use. This extends to most research, both university and other funded. If the person doing the research is self-funding, it would be personal use and therefore qualify. However, if someone else is paying you to do the research, that area is far greyer, and in my mind, should probably be excluded from fair dealing rights. I acknowledge that there are many who would disagree with that statement, and also acknowledge that there is some validity to their points. Remember, the statement is based on the idea that fair dealing should be based on personal, not institutional, non-commercial use. Picture it this way. Institutions can already write off the costs for tax purposes. If you can do this, then it shouldn’t qualify for fair dealing.

    The main exemption that I would apply is that, if the work is out of print, then some copying would be allowed under particular circumstances.

  20. strunk&white says:

    Anon-K,

    I don’t know what Lessig’s contractual agreement with his publisher is, but in many instances, publishers act as a writer’s agent in royalty licensing scenarios — foreign rights purchases for instance.

    I was just talking with a publisher last night who told me about travelling to London (on her company’s own dime), meeting with a raft of foreign publishers and successfully selling foreign rights to a Canadian small press book. The publisher takes only a contractually agreed upon small portion of those sales (more going to the writer), and the writer benefits from each foreign sale through royalties. It’s a great example of how publisher/writer dealing can be professional, ethical and mutually beneficial, and how Canadian cultural product is actually valued by the rest of the world.

    I wish some of the regular commenters here, who like to make extreme pronoucements about the cultural industries, would actually have a conversation with an real professionally-engaged artist, publisher or producer.

    Licensing mechanisms like Access Copyright actually work, are not particularly onerous for educational institutions (btw, Anon-K, you would find a lot of folks in the cultural sector who agree with you on CCH and fair dealing), and help ensure a vibrant Canadian cultural sector. Other than relatively few music superstars and Margaret Atwood (who just received a huge international award), no-one is getting particularly wealthy working in Canadian culture — yet that same sector returns billions to the Canadian economy. It’s a bargain.

  21. strunk&white says:

    economic impact
    Here’s an example:

    The Blyth Festival — a yearly theatre program produced and presented in the small town of Blyth Ontario (population 990). A budget of $1 million, 70% of which is raised through ticket sales and private fundraising. 30% through public funding. It attracts over 21,000 visitors to the town and surrounding region each summer, many from outside the country. The immediate economic impact of the festival is calculated at $2.5 million — they employ over 60 people during the festival and pay rent to the town.

    So, with that kind of return on investment, we are going to begrudge the playwrights and other artists their minimal royalties? Why, exactly? Why hamstring a system that does so much good for the economy?

  22. “The expansion of fair dealing would legalize the theft of material under copyright because it would allow teachers and others in the educational sector to make multiple copies of our work without compensation.”

    So….
    If a teacher photocopies a page from a math book that has a list of math problems on it, they’re breaking the law because writers own the copyright on “1 + 1 = X” ?
    If a teacher photocopies a page from a science book that has definitions of Newton’s laws of motion, they’re breaking the law because writers own the copyright on Newton’s laws of motion?

    There are only so many ways to write about science, history, math, geography, etc. If the writers owned these things, these concepts in writing, wouldn’t the court systems around the world be tied up in perpetuity on who owns “1 + 1 = X” and who needs to pay royalties for it?

  23. “Why hamstring a system that does so much good for the economy?”

    Look at the larger picture. Compared to some minor and local economic benefit, how does it impact the large scheme of things? For example, our schools and education system, our tax dollars. How much is this “system” costing all of us in the long run?

    To find a proper balance we have to consider *all* the factors.

  24. “flashback to 2004, when Lessig first published “Free Culture”… under a standard copyright agreement”

    Lessig released “Free Culture” under a Creative Commons license on Mar 25, 2004.

    What was the date of publication for your reference?

  25. strunk&white says:

    oldguy — would any amount of economic impact seem other than minor to you in this debate? You tell me how much the “system” is costing us? I’ve provided numbers for benefit. What costs are you talking about?

    J.H. — please. Copyright applies to expression, not ideas. Is this really where we are in the copyright discussion — basic definitions? Sheesh.

  26. strunk&white says:

    oldguy,

    well, the almighty Google scanned a Penguin printing of Free Culture with the copyright notice clearly visible. Have a look:

    http://bit.ly/bJ2l6Y

  27. Captain Hook says:

    copyright notices
    Yup, and the CC’d PDF version can be found here:

    http://www.free-culture.cc/freeculture.pdf

    It has both copyright notices. Isn’t that fun?

    Now what was you point?

  28. Da Real Troof says:

    strunk&white liar and propagandist for the content industries
    Lawrence Lessig’s free culture is released under a creative commons license…

    from http://www.free-culture.cc/freecontent/

    “FREE CULTURE is available for free under a Creative Commons license.
    You may redistribute, copy, or otherwise reuse/remix this book provided that you do so for non-commercial purposes and credit Professor Lessig.”

    The great thing about Google is that it’s everyone’s friend.

  29. Chris Brand says:

    Let me get this straight
    It’s fine that their monopolies expand from 14 years to “life plus 50 years”, and that they get a whole raft of additional rights for things like “performance in public”, but any small shift the other way is “legalising theft” ?
    Personally, I consider educating Canadians more important than writer’s pensions (which is what ongoing royalty streams for work your parent did 40 years ago amounts to).
    Once again, the WUC decides to treat its customers as the enemy. That worked great for the recording industry…

  30. strunk&white says:

    how am I lying?
    Free Culture available under two separate copyright-dependant agreements does nothing to weaken my argument. In both cases the original auihtor has been in control of the copyright decision-making from beginning to end. I support Creative Commons licensing — it is a copyright system.

    And that, I believe, is my point.

    Hook — I am ready to hear you call Da Real Troof a mudslinger and a troll. Here I am, just expressing my opinion and stating some verifiable facts, and I’m called a liar and a propagandist. Get up there on your hobby horse and proclaim, good Captain.

  31. Lessig CC
    “This PDF version of Free Culture is licensed under a Creative Commons license. This license permits non-commercial use of this work, so long as attribution is given.”

    “The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.”

    The publishing date of the hardcopy (scanned by Google) just states 2004 without an exact date. But unless it came out before Mar 25th, the CC version predates it.

    Must have been an interesting contract he arranged with Penguin.

    But it still leaves open the question of which was “first” per the comment above:

    “flashback to 2004, when Lessig first published “Free Culture”… under a standard copyright agreement”

  32. Captain Hook says:

    @Chris
    Yup, you’re catching on Chris.

    You will NEVER see strunk&white, his alter ego, or the Writers’ Guild, criticize the broadening of copyright. But infringe these new rights in any way once implemented, or even lobby for scaling them back to something more reasonable and they will be quick to jump all over you as an immoral criminal.

    I for one, would be a lot more willing to take his words (and the Writers Guild) more seriously if they would concede that there is a valid argument for the scaling back of copyright rights. That will never happen.

  33. Captain Hook says:

    He’s a troll
    Hook — I am ready to hear you call Da Real Troof a mudslinger and a troll. Here I am, just expressing my opinion and stating some verifiable facts, and I’m called a liar and a propagandist. Get up there on your hobby horse and proclaim, good Captain.

    —-

    OK. So he’s slinging mud. But he’s slinging it at a troll so I don’t care so much. Sorry.

  34. strunk&white says:

    oldguy,

    I would imagine since Penguin published the print version and (perhaps) not the PDF version, both agreements apply. And see my comment above for my feelings about CC.

    Wow, you folks spend a lot of time trying to prove I’m wrong about something that is public knowledge. And then you call a 8x return on public investment “minor.” I suggest y’all could do with some reprioritizing.

  35. One of the underlying assumptions of arguments like those of the Writers’ Union is that there is an infinitely large pool of money to pay for their stuff, and so every activity that doesn’t result in additional money going to rights holders is “lost revenue” and also “unfair.” There seem to be two critical issues missing from the analysis.

    First, to what extent does making people pay more for access to works result in more money for creators (i.e., to what extent does it result in more money being spent on books and music, and less money spent on other things like cars, medicine, and beer) and to what extent does it simply result in less content being consumed (i.e. paying $10 to read one book instead of $5 each to read two)?

    Second, what is an actual, objective “fair” remuneration for the work done by an author or creator? In a free market situation, this would be determined through the normal forces of supply and demand and competition, but copyright subverts the free market by introducing arbitrary constraints on what people can do and arbitrary limitations on competition. This is important because the whole debate is about what those limits should be. By default, there are no protections or monopolies whatsoever for creators; copyright is something we give them, presumably in exchange for something we wouldn’t otherwise get. Is life + 50 a fair copyright term but a flat 28 year term unfair? Does fair dealing as it exists strike the right balance or not, and why? Is there some objective criteria that we can use to establish how much money a creator should make for a particular type of work, or is “fair” simply defined as a little bit more than whatever the industry has most recently convinced lawmakers to give them, creating eternally-moving goalposts that ensure that creators will always have something to complain about: public libraries lending books; people inviting their friends over to watch a DVD even though they paid the same as the person watching the same movie alone; there’s always some scenario in which one can imagine some extra fee could apply.

  36. strunk&white says:

    Hook — I expect no smaller hypocrisy from you than you’ve just displayed. Thanks. The ends do justify the means in your opinion. That’s as previously established.

    So we’re talking about The Writers’ Union of Canada, right? Not the Writer’s Guild, which is a whole different set of folks. At least get your targets straight. That’s fairly important in archery, biathalon, and other aim-based pursuits.

    oldguy — the print version and the pdf version are different publications. That they have different copyright agreements is neither illogical nor surprising. Keep digging for some kind of deceptive conspiracy in my comments, though — have at.

    As mentioned above, CC is a copyright system. It could be argued, in fact, that it is a system that happily turns many traditional creator rights over to users. Since I have previously expressed that I like and approve of CC licensing — in fact, I’ve used it myself — that pretty much discredits Hook’s argument about me personally, or my mysterious alter ego, being inflexible on creators rights. As well, for TWUC and other writer orgs criticizing the “broadening of copyright” see related advocacy around Heather Roberston v. Thomson Corp.

    NEVER, apparently happened in the past.

  37. strunk&white says:

    Chris Brand — “writer’s pensions” — oh, that was the best laugh I’ve had today.

  38. Education costs
    It’s a little tough finding current reports that specifically address this topic, but I did remember something that allowed my to located this:

    “The U of C has an Access Copyright licence that regulates what and how things can be copied. There are two parts to the agreement. Part A involves the university paying a blanket fee of around $100,000–$3.10 per full-time student–to Access Copyright per year for the rights to produce small copies, generally 10 per cent of a work, for limited, private use. Part B is the section covering course packs and allows for the copying of approximately 15 per cent of a work at a cost of 10 cents per page. Part B costs the university about $300,000 per year. This cost has gone up a great deal over the last few years, but will be held at its current rate for at least two and a half more years.”

    Multiply by all the universities and schools across Canada.

  39. Captain Hook says:

    “I expect no smaller hypocrisy from you than you’ve just displayed. Thanks. The ends do justify the means in your opinion. That’s as previously established.”

    What hypocracy? The end DOES justify the means I’ve put forth already. This makes me a hypocrite exactly how?

    Apologies about the Union/Guild muck up.

    Sorry, but publishing using a CC licence discredits nothing. YOU implementing CC does not change the law for all the other publishers. (as much as I’m sure you’d like to be able to dictate law) I said you’d never concede any scaling back of the LAW might be justified. Not simply scaling back your own rights. The two are not the same!

  40. strunk&white says:

    Hook — oh, my mistake (?) when you were talking about rights and scaling “them” back, I was supposed to understand you meant the law and scaling “it” back. I see. This is how you win arguments in your own mind, by revising history.

    Dude, the end only justifies the means, for you, when it’s your chosen end and your chosen means. You are an ethical hypocrite of the highest order, by your own admission. Please note that last part — I’m not slinging the word “hypocrite” at you. You are defining yourself as one.

  41. strunk&white says:

    Oldguy,

    I’ll do your multiplication when you actually provide the equivalent return on investment. How much do universities save by NOT buying textbooks for each student and instead providing photocopied materials? You can’t do only half the math and then present it as some sort of result. What are they teaching oldguys in school these days, honestly.

    How much do universities pay in faculty salaries per year? Better yet, take a smaller sample — how much does the University of Ottawa faculty of law pay in faculty salaries per year? Why expect the education sector to pay those costs and not the costs of materials?

  42. Wow
    Wow @ S&W and the mudslinging… I’ve never seen such dialogue dripping with sarcasm and outright attacks against another. Hard to take it seriously at all…

    Would it be possible to have a civilised debate by any chance? Attacking ideas instead of people? And before you point the fingers at others – please don’t. Everyone is guilty here.

  43. Get your priorities straight. Hindering our education system is much more counterproductive than any loss of income to our writers could ever be, so um.. sorry Writer’s Union, you will get no get no sympathy from me (especially with moronic FUD statements). They forget that all this entitlement to compensation for copies is made up by legislation to begin with and corrections should pretty much be expected when errors in the original design are encountered. Any arguments against the corrections should be trying to point out that the original design was better overall than the corrected version would be. They point out that there are cons to the corrections, which is fine. We should be weighing the pros and cons of the corrections, but don’t pretend that the original design was based on some god given right to compensation for copies… it wasn’t.

  44. Captain Hook says:

    Yes, your mistake. I’m glad we can agree on something. You choosing to read my words in a particular convoluted way (like when I talk about scaling back copyright I don’t actually mean change the law), does mean that I am revising history. It only means that you are choosing to avoid the question by narrowing your interpretation of it. Sort of like Bill Clinton NOT having sex with Monica Lewinsky. So answer the question then. Do you concede that there is a legitimate argument for reducing the term and/or breadth of copyright? (That is the law or course, in case you still think I’m being unclear here!)

    As for hypocrisy. Would one not have to be promoting one ethical behaviour and then behave in a manor which was inconsistent to actually be a hypocrite? Or am I missing something? I do believe my ethical position and by behaviour are entirely consistent, so there is no hypocrisy.

  45. Captain Hook says:

    err, that should read “doesn’t mean that I am revising history”. Other obvious spelling screw ups I’ll leave you to figure out. I’m just guessing that old struck&whitey will interpret this obvious mistake as capitulation so I figured I better nip it in the bud.

  46. Lessig CC
    You said:
    “flashback to 2004, when Lessig first published “Free Culture”… under a standard copyright agreement”

    So, unless the hardcopy date was earlier than Mar 25th, 2004 your statement is incorrect. It was published under a CC license – first.

  47. strunk&white says:

    soooo, who is Bill Clinton in your analogy, and who is Monica Lewinsky? I’m narrowly interpeting? Your backpedaling is of “in the glare of the 60 Minutes camera” quality.

    I “concede” nothing to you, fake pirate. I have long been an advocate of reforming copyright law, but I think I’ve been pretty clear that I’d like to see reforms that don’t remove established rights from creators.

    So there’s your grammar lesson for the day — the proper pronoun for a singular (law) is “it,” while the proper pronoun for a plural “rights” is “they.”

  48. strunk&white says:

    attribution
    BTW, where did those speaking points come from? By the headline on the posting it sounds like Geist is quoting an official Writers’ Union release or something “Flexible Fair Dealing Legalizes Theft.”

    Since we are, clearly, all about proper attribution and sourcing here, I’d be interested to see where TWUC is publicly expressing this opinion. I’ve been to their website today and can find but nothing on this topic.

    Just wondering.

  49. Education cost of copyright
    “How much do universities save by NOT buying textbooks for each student and instead providing photocopied materials?”

    This discussion is about fair dealing, and proposed extensions.

    You were the one that added the point on how beneficial our current “system” is to the economy. I supplied an obvious counterpoint.

    So is 10% photocopying for educational use “fair dealing” or not? If not then it is costing a large amount of money for all Canadians. Much more than your example is “benefiting” Canadians. So your statement that this is “a system that does so much good for the economy” isn’t justified. Balance in the big picture.

    Return on investment and salaries are irrelevant to the point you made, and my counterpoint. You already have enough information to “do the math”.

  50. Captain Hook says:

    whitey said: “I’ve been pretty clear that I’d like to see reforms that don’t remove established rights from creators.”

    Well I guess that is as close as an answer as we can expect from you. Shall I interpret this as NO, you do not believe there is a valid argument for the rolling back of copyright law? That’s what I expected. So you think the copyright industries stole these rights fair and square and we shouldn’t be able to steal them back.

    You’re being a little thick WRT Bill and Monica. My point was that Bill denied having sex with her by using a very narrow definition of sex. You misinterpret my statement by taking a vary narrow view of “scaling back rights”. That’s OK I don’t expect you to understand. You’d have have to remove those narrow blinders from your face to see anything more than exactly what you want. Watch your step.

    And I guess you’ve given up on the whole hypocrisy thing eh? Can’t make it work? Too bad.

  51. Chris Brand says:

    economic argument
    The argument that expanding fair dealing would harm the economy feels specious to me.
    Let’s accept the WUC’s assertion that educational institutions would pay much less to Access Copyright, relying instead on Fair Dealing (despite the fact that they haven’t done so in the wake of the CCH decision, because they’re notoriously risk-averse). So the amount they woudl have to budget for books, etc would decrease, which would allow their overall budget to be cut (more money in taxpayers pockets) or money to be spent on other things (smaller class sizes, more resources, teacher salaries, etc). The result, then, would be either taxpayers with more money to spend or a better education system, which presumably turns out citizens who are able to earn more. Both mean more money available for the economy as a whole, and I bet a good proportion of it would be spent on…cultural products.
    It’s entirely possible that WUC members would end up with *more* money, not less, with an expanded fair dealing provision. They’d also have less risk for “borderline” sort of works (parodies and mashups being the obvious examples, but there are also works like “The Wind Done Gone”).

  52. strunk&white says:

    oldguy — seriously, WHAT are you talking about? Visit the Access Copyright site. Here’s an attributed quote from them on their educational licensing for post-sec:

    “Your institution’s licence with Access Copyright gives you permission to copy from a vast repertoire of commercially published books, magazines, journals and newspapers. As long as you adhere to the terms and conditions of your licence, you can photocopy what you need, worry-free.”

    “Please note that the licence includes copying done in support of educational purposes only. Permission is not required for copying that is fair dealing. For more information, please consult with your institution’s administration.”

    “Your institution’s licence covers day-to-day photocopying, which allows you to photocopy up to 10% of a published work or the following, whichever is greater:

    An entire short story, play, essay or poem from a book or periodical containing other works

    An entire article from a newspaper, magazine or journal

    An entire entry from a reference work (encyclopedia, dictionary)

    An entire reproduction of an artistic work from a publication containing other works

    A whole chapter from a book, as long as that chapter does not comprise more than 20% of the book”

    How is it unreasonable for an author of a short story to expect to be compensated for educational use of that short story? This is the argument against expanded fair dealing, I would imagine — if you expand it so far that an author can have her work used over and over again for educational purposes without compensation, then the dealing is not, in fact, fair.

    How are equivalent costs within the education system irrelevant to a discussion about costs in the education system?

    And besides your math is ridiculously wonky. I supplied a benefit to the economy of 2.5 million. You supplied a cost of $400,000. These were each single examples. I don’t know, wait let me get my calculator out… yes, indeed, 2.5 million is still a LOT larger than 400,000. Balance that.

  53. Strunk&bought by the MAFIAA says:

    Is that an Entertainment Biz troll I smell?
    “Hook — I expect no smaller hypocrisy from you than you’ve just displayed. Thanks. The ends do justify the means in your opinion. That’s as previously established.”

    _____________________

    Much like the entertainment biz would like to take away everyone’s right to privacy in order to protect a broken business model and retain control over distribution?

    The ends justify the means indeed.

  54. strunk&white says:

    Thanks for all the good faith debate today folks — Kirk out.

  55. Strunk&bought by the MAFIAA says:

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
    Too bad your desire to create a positive signal to noise ratio for the copy-cartels won’t fly here.

    That’s OK though I’m sure there are (unfortunately) sympathetic ears elsewhere.

  56. strunk&white says:

    Oh, Hook, didn’t see you there behind all your past vows not to talk to me, an obvious troll.

    Do I really need to go over this again? You are a hypocrite because while you believe the end justifies the means (for you), you spend an awful lot of time being morally outraged by what you perceive to be the same attitude in others. I believe the end does not justify the means (and the established western philosophical tradition supports me), and I attempt to live by that belief. By golly, it’s one of the reasons I like to call folks out over here for their various hypocrisies.

    And, I’m sorry, were you actually wondering whether or not I believed established rights protected by copyright law should be removed, or “scaled back” by your WalMart-inspired logic? We’ve talked about copyright before, haven’t we?

    But I guess we have given up on finding the official attributable quote from TWUC on those speaking points.

    Il en est un plus laid, plus méchant, plus immonde!
    Quoiqu’il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris,
    Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris
    Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde;

    C’est l’Ennui!—l’oeil chargé d’un pleur involontaire,
    Il rêve d’échafauds en fumant son houka.
    Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
    —Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!

    — Charles Baudelaire

  57. Once again, why do people feed these trolls online and IRL. Unions can be very dirty. We proved in court that construction unions are the dirtiest of them all; bribery (including blackmail) and stalking being their crimes. I most certainly shouldn’t equate all unions with the same generalization but my feeling is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  58. Strunk&bought by the MAFIAA says:

    La langue du peuple
    J’aime bien que t’essaye de te cacher en arriere du Francais. Est-ce que tu te sens mieux maintenant que t’as dit quelque chose ou la plupart des particants ne comprenent pas ou ne pourront pas repliquer?

    Charles Baudelaire, franchement, mais j’m’attend de quoi de quelqu’un qui utilise le titre d’un manuel de grammaire pour son pseudonyme.

    Y’a des gens qui pensent que leur merde sent comme des roses.

  59. Chris Brand says:

    Sources
    I think Michael was pretty clear that he was quoting from “Speaking points provided to members”. Presumably if those speaking points were on their website, accessible to all, he’d have said so.

  60. strunk&white says:

    Chris,

    I can read. The headline says “Writers’ Union of Canada: Flexible Fair Dealing Legalizes Theft.”

    Where does TWUC make this claim?

    And S&bbtM, sorry if you are offended by my quoting Baudelaire in French. He was French, no? I guess I assume in Canada, most people will be able to get the gist, or use a translation tool. Next time I’ll stick to English verse if that makes you happier.

    There are many English translations online. Here’s my favorite, by Jacques LeClercq (I claim fair dealing in using this quote, though of course, Baudelaire is in the public domain):

    There is one viler and more wicked spawn,
    Which never makes great gestures or loud cries
    Yet would turn earth to wastes of sumps and sties
    And swallow all creation in a yawn:

    Ennui! Moist-eyed perforce, worse than all other,
    Dreaming of stakes, he smokes his hookah pipe.
    Reader, you know this fiend, refined and ripe,
    Reader, O hypocrite — my like! — my brother!

    — Jacques LeClercq, Flowers of Evil (Mt Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1958)

    Broadly interpreted (not narrowly) I would say this quote means… I mirror your methods. And btw, I do believe “merde” smells like roses… eventually, when used as fertilizer.

  61. Rights are the attack on Canadian culture
    “and would constitute an attack on Canadian culture”

    “At the beginning of twentieth century, one in seven people on earth spoke Russian. Today it’s one in fifty people. Preservation and sharing of Russia’s cultural heritage in the information society, should be one of the biggest challenges for the country. It is ironic that among the main obstacles to solving this problem are weaknesses of law and those who exploit them, the so-called societies for collective management of rights.”

  62. Rights are the attack on Canadian culture
    Link (Russian): http://www.chaskor.ru/article/mohnatyj_shmel_16146

  63. Captain Hook says:

    @s&w
    “You are a hypocrite because while you believe the end justifies the means (for you), you spend an awful lot of time being morally outraged by what you perceive to be the same attitude in others.”

    I have no moral outrage with other people believing their end justifies what ever means they want. My moral outrage is with their ends and their means alone not their belief in either. My moral outrage is with ever expanding copyright, copyright collectives, and attempts at controlling my private life through copyright. That is hardy hypocrisy.

    Though I must say a do save a little moral outrage for you. Someone who claims to want “fair” copyright, but is unwilling to see any erosion of existing rights for copyright owners, even when it means the alternative is loss of real private property rights, privacy, and freedom of expression. Some kind of “fair” that is!

  64. strunk&white says:

    Yes, except I disagree that your “alternative” scenarios are the real outcomes. See how that muddles up your little poisoned well construct, there?

    You might do better to be morally outraged by advanced particle physics, because I’m pretty sure you understand that about as well as you do my position on copyright or anything else. And advanced particle physics doesn’t regularly embarrass you on the Internet. Or maybe it does. I don’t know what you do in your time away from cheerleading for Michael Geist.

  65. Captain Hook says:

    your merde sir.
    “Yes, except I disagree that your “alternative” scenarios are the real outcomes.”

    Oh yes, I’m well aware of this. You’ve already made it known quite plainly that you don’t think that such a reasonable argument can be made. How you can be so sure of this, when such a great many others besides me have raised these concerns, I have no idea? I mean other than through your blinkered irrational faith of course.

    So you’ve given up on trying to get the hypocrisy label to stick then? I told you this beautiful pirate outfit is all Teflon. Your merde will never stick to me. Though I must say, it does seam to adhere well to your outfit after bouncing off mine.

  66. just abolish copyright
    Just abolish copyright. It doesn’t work, and it never will again. So remove these government-induced monopolies over the transmission of content, and allow our business to move on to new business models which *do* work and which don’t antagonize our public.

    Music isn’t suffering, writing isn’t suffering; but the publishing industry as we know it, might be. Too bad, technology has changed, and they need to change with it. We should just abolish copyright so that our businesses know to move on in the modern world. Otherwise they’ll keep trying to circumvent democracy to enshrine their old ways of thinking, at further oppression of the Canadian people.

  67. Anonymous Coward says:

    Copyright will be rendered obsolete in the near future but what do I know? I’m only an artist who doesn’t use copyright and never will.

    “The artist is the antenna of the [human] race.” – Ezra Pound

  68. VancouverDave says:

    Let’s look at the real problem
    For “fair dealing”, substitute “public libraries”. It’s the same argument, only more “fair” to writers.

  69. “writer’s pensions” — oh, that was the best laugh I’ve had today.

    Then contribute to CPP or a private pension plan – like anybody else that is self employed.

    A lack of planning on your part, does not constitute a problem on my part.

  70. Laurel L. Russwurm says:

    Schools and Libraries should not have to pay copyright collectives for copying at all…
    Authors and publishers used to love it when libraries or schools bought copies of their books. These are big markets, but even better, they provide guaranteed exposure. This kind of exposure creates what we call “branding”.

    So I think it is obscene that our schools are forced to hand vast sums of money to copyright collectives for “blanket” copying rights. These “royalty” payments are not based on actual use, they are calculated per head. This is ridiculous. How then do these collectives figure out which writers get paid? Pulling numbers out of thin air? If the royalty was per book — the way that it used to be — the correct people would get actual payments reflecting how much was actually sold. When a school buys a book… the book is bought for everyone in the school – when anyone in the school uses it it should fall under personal use. That should clearly make a teacher photocopying an article for their students a fair use.

    The schools pay piles of money to the collectives. Yet no one has the slightest clue to what was copied, least of all the collectives. (Guess somebody has to pay the salaries of the copyright collective staffers. I’d be very interested in knowing how much money copyright collective employees earn from administration of “royalties”. Wanna lay odds that the lowest paid Writers’ Union or Access Copyright staffer makes more than the average author?)

    No wonder writers can’t make a living.

    I remember reading about how magazine writers in the 1920′s made only a few cents a word. In the seventies they were still making almost the same rate of pay, although the cost of the magazines and books had risen astronomically. But it was so expensive to manufacture books… the cost of reproduction was so great, naturally the writers were the ones to take it on the chin, suck it up and make do with whatever pittance the publisher would allow. Now that there are ebooks — which cost virtually nil to produce — writers are still being paid only a tiny fraction of the cover price. Writers need to be paid more, no question, but not at the expense of our kids. Publishers and copyright collectives need to enter the 21st century.

    Any educational materials purchased by schools should entitle the schools to use them any way they choose. As a parent I am furious to hear that students are compelled to use certain materials even though they are not necessarily the best materials — because they have been paid for. Schools are not rich… scratch the surface of any public school and you’ll find high school students routinely using texts older than they are. Not necessarily a bad thing for history class, say, but for programming? Not acceptable.

    Broad fair use for education is essential if we want our culture to thrive.

  71. I assume that each and every Writer’s Union member will henceforth stop quoting so much as a single word from any other writer’s copyrighted works, which they are entitled to do under existing fair use provisions, because, after all, theft is theft, writers should be paid, blah blah blah blah blah…. right?

  72. john walker says:

    If its anything like the Australian scheme – most of the money goes to publishers.
    This money is ultimately Public money. Hard copy books cost a lot to make , publishers ect did a lot of value adding, but whether this subsidy to educational and other publishers is (in the age of cheep & low capital cost e-publishing) still good value for this public money is for the public to decide.

    A lot of the books in question were sold long before the widespread adoption of scanning machines ect.
    The authors have a point about the retrospective and non-consenting changing of the understanding under which they sold the books years ago.

    The problem of distinguishing coping or education from coping for fair use is a old problem, it was the reason for the UK patent act of 1851 an act that was enacted a few weeks before the Greatest information exchange of the C19 : the great exposition.

    In a civil society the best answer is always: compromise.

  73. john walker says:

    “The problem of distinguishing coping or education from coping for fair use is a old problem”
    should read The problem of distinguishing copying for education from copying for unfair use is a old problem

  74. Dashing Leech says:

    Defining “fair” in educational context
    @strunk&white: I realize I’m late to this party, but your following quote so enrage me that I had to comment:

    “How is it unreasonable for an author of a short story to expect to be compensated for educational use of that short story? This is the argument against expanded fair dealing, I would imagine — if you expand it so far that an author can have her work used over and over again for educational purposes without compensation, then the dealing is not, in fact, fair.”

    Why it is unreasonable should be obvious. It’s education. But to be more specific, let’s try just a couple of detailed reasons. First, short stories (and other writings) are written for the literary consumer, not the student. (If they are written for the student they lose all meaning as it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of students learning about writings written for students, which serves no educational purpose.) Compensation comes from the consumer, as it should.

    Second, higher cost of entry. Education is fostered by keeping it cheap. Adding costs like copyrights to education either reduces access to the materials by not using them to keep costs down, or by increasing costs to compensate and thereby reducing access to the education itself, keeping the poor poorer and less educated. There is no parallel with consumers.

    Third, students generally don’t get to chose what material they have to study. They are captive to the educator.

    Fourth, writers are not compensated for their specific writings. Access Copyright is a blanket payment. It is a de facto subsidy for writers on the backs of said poor students who don’t get to decide what material to use.

    Fifth, it biases market forces. Blanket coverage means bad writers get compensated the same as good writers. Neither the educator picking the material, nor the students, get to decide whose material is worthy of compensation. That creates “free riders” in the writing industry. (If you are unfamiliar with the “free rider” term, it’s common in economic and game theory and I’m sure you’ll find it with a Google search.)

    Sixth, copyright is something the public collectively gives to creators, not an inherent right. It is not a natural thing and the concept of owning an idea or expression is absurd on its face. It is an artificial monopoly created solely to entice creators to create and distribute their works for the greater good of all. However, that means it must be inherently limited. Absolute control by authours is not good for all, and neither is no control. In this context, what is “fair” is defined by what is a good balance between the needs of society and enticement for *good* creators to create. It is not defined by compensation for every usage (real or blanket access).

    Free access to materials for educational purposes far outweighs the enticement from compensation. If (blanket) educational compensation is a significant part of total compensation for an authour then we have the circular problem outlined above, and they become “free riders” on the educational writing circle. If educational compensation is not a significant part of total compensation then then any argument for “fairness” disappears as writer interests are negligibly harmed for a huge benefit of education.