Post Tagged with: "owens"

Balanced Copyright for Canada Board and Funding Revealed

After several weeks of delays, the Balanced Copyright for Canada site revealed its funding and advisory board late on Tuesday night, hours before the Canada Day holiday.  The primary source of funding is not a surprise – as I suggested in my first post on the site – this is a Canadian Recording Industry Association production.  As the public questions about the site mounted, the regular response was that this was an effort of "employees, unions, artists and creators" and that the all-Canadian Advisory Board would be announced soon.  The fact that the site was really a CRIA attempt to create "grassroots" support for C-32 was not acknowledged.

The composition of the advisory board is interesting.  First, of the 13 members, more than half are either record company executives, former record company executives, or lawyers who represent record companies.  No surprise given the site's backing, but not exactly the promised "employees, unions, artists and creators."  In fact, it is notable that there are very few prominent creators and not many representatives from creator groups outside the music industry such as authors, performers, directors, or artists.  In fact, despite an earlier claim that Loreena McKennitt would be on the advisory board, those plans apparently changed.

Why so few creators?  Quite simply, CRIA's interests are not closely aligned with many other creator groups.  ACTRA and AFM Canada quickly distanced themselves from the effort and most other musicians have been focused on the private copying levy, not digital locks.  Moreover, the site briefly hosted a "consumer letter" that fully supported extending fair dealing to education, a move strongly opposed by some copyright collectives and authors' groups.

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July 2, 2010 51 comments News

The 2009 Copyright Consultation: Setting the Record Straight

Toronto IP lawyer Richard Owens has posted an analysis of last summer's national copyright consultation in which he concludes that "if the aim of the Consultation was to canvass public opinion and discern trends, it failed." Given that the copyright consultation attracted greater participation than virtually any government consultation effort in recent memory, it is hard to see how it can be deemed a failure from a participation and public opinion perspective.  In fact, the government itself clearly recognizes the exceptional participation last summer.  Last week in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant noted:

The participation was unprecedented and we welcomed the comments of rights holders, users, intermediaries and everyday Canadians. We know that Canadians are concerned with copyright and its implications in our increasingly digital environment. This was demonstrated by the thousands of Canadians who took the time to participate in one way or another.

Owens arguments centre on the following four issues:

  1. The majority of the responses were form letters and those should be discounted.
  2. The majority of form letters were generated from a single website – CCER – that had the potential to "game" the system.
  3. Many of the submissions were not well-informed.
  4. The demographics of the consultation participants was not sufficiently representative of the Canadian public.

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April 20, 2010 99 comments News