Trosow on Why Copyright Fair Dealing Needs Flexiblity

UWO's Sam Trosow has posted a column on why Canada should enact a flexible fair dealing provision.


  1. “users’ rights are not simply limitations or exceptions, but an integral and underlying part of the copyright system itself”

    Exactly. And it is this lack of focus on users’ rights that has caused the disrespect for copyright laws we are seeing today. From the perspective of the average person, copyright has become all about the creator’s rights, and nothing about their rights. Unbalanced, and therefore ignored.

  2. @oldguy: Let me preface this by saying that I agree with you. However, I want to take a look at it from the other side of the coin. In the ’90s and early ’00s, the prevailing theory in business was the “greed is good”. By this I mean that the goal of a publicly traded business was to “maximize shareholder value”. There is a trickle-down effect to this; it increases the value of things like RRSP funds, etc. The idea of “income trusts” was really no different (an income trust share traded at a premium because of the dispensable cash; so long as the company dispensed cash, the unit price was high… one IC I used to work for went so far as to dispense cash at the same rate as the previous quarter even though the revenues for the quarter wouldn’t support it; they, in essence, emptied the bank account to keep the unit price high).

    To keep the share/unit price up, the company needed to generate more and more revenue (propaganda and cooking the books only goes so far). Now, how to do this? One simple way was to extract even more money from their customers. At least some of this seems to have affected not just the publishing corps but also the artists (although I wonder if some of this isn’t contractual). Remember, if you want profit, then you need to keep the expenses low; R&D/A&R costs money.

    I suspect this is why users “rights” have become less and less respected, and the push to codify this. For instance, it explains the Sony rootkit scam, as well as the increase that we saw in the use of DRM a few years ago. For the purposes of the publishers, it explains the desire for a three accusations system; they can use it to make self-publishing more difficult by getting the creators Internet access removed based on false accusations.