Access Copyright’s Statement on Captain Copyright

Access Copyright has posted a detailed statement on the Captain Copyright controversy. It claims that it always intended to provide a balanced perspective on copyright.  To that end, it says it is working with copyright experts and educators to review the current materials and to create new lessons on issues such as the public domain, fair dealing, and Creative Commons.  It also claims that its linking policy was misunderstood – its now says it was about protecting kids from inappropriate content – and that it being redrafted.  The statement concludes by saying that the site will be relaunched later this year and invites the Canadian Library Association, which has condemned the site, to work with them.

While a cynic might suggest that the change is attitude is due primarily to the growing number of schools that dropped links to Captain Copyright, to its desire for government funding, and to the public bashing from the CLA, it is good to see that Access Copyright is committed to making changes.   However, three small points in response to the statement.

First, if Access Copyright is serious about relaunching the site, it should drop the site immediately until it gets it right.  There is no indication on the current site that a relaunch is planned.  Indeed, the site suggests that the response from educators has been "overwhelmingly positive." 

Second, the explanation regarding the linking policy is simply not credible.  The policy was virtually identical to one used by the main Access Copyright site and presumably was just cut and pasted.  Protecting kids would mean avoiding links to inappropriate content from the Captain Copyright site, not to the site.  Access Copyright should acknowledge that the policy was a mistake and drop it altogether, particularly since linking policies are unnecessary and unlikely to be enforceable.

Third, Access Copyright should move forward in a fully transparent manner by indicating who has been involved in creating the current materials and naming the members of its advisory board.  The education community and the broader public should be allowed to judge for themselves whether Access Copyright has adopted a balanced approach before anyone even considers bringing Captain Copyright into the classroom.

One Comment

  1. Eric
    Access Copyright finally took the site down.

    International Fair Use Day Team