Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Copyright Debate

The following was shared with Access Copyright Affiliates.

You might also want to check out an interesting post on this subject at John Degen's blog.


By now you must have heard about the federal government’s summer-long consultations on reforms to the Copyright Act.

Like other creator and publisher organizations, Access Copyright will make formal submissions to the government on our priorities as your rights collective. Nevertheless, it’s vital that you also get involved to ensure your voice is heard.

This is because an important aspect of these consultations is being expressed online, and that debate is dominated by individuals who do not agree you should get fair compensation for digital and other reproductions of your works.

It’s a simple fact that users outnumber us. But Canadian users involved in the online debate are so adept at leveraging the Internet and social networks to their advantage, there’s a danger that your voices as Canadian creators and publishers will be drowned out by the chatter. Your interests need to be expressed as forcefully as possible, and it’s up to you to get involved to make that happen.

So what can you do? To begin with, go online and tell people who you are and what you do. Before posting a comment online, you do need to register, but not to worry, registration takes all of one minute. Tell them you need and deserve to get paid for what you do, and tell them why it’s in their interest as Canadians that you do. The more you make your presence felt, the more effective you will be.

What else can you do? Use social networking tools to generate discussion of your perspectives. Shoot a video of yourself, post it on YouTube and then Twitter or Facebook the link. We won’t even try to offer suggestions on being imaginative and provocative as that’s your domain, not ours. But do what you can, as often as you can, as loudly as you can, and encourage colleagues and friends to do the same.

Here’s a sample of the sort of message that needs to get out there:

“My name is Jane Doe and I’m a writer. I’ve published xx novels and xx plays in Canada, and I am read all over the world. This is my livelihood. It pays the rent and puts food on the table. I have a right to benefit from my work and get paid for it. I need to get paid, or I can’t go on. When someone reproduces my work for free, it destroys the market for it, and I suffer the consequences. Don’t let them make that legal. It’s not right, and it’s not fair. Creators need to get paid.”

That’s the bottom line: It’s only right, it’s only fair. Creators need to get paid.

Over to you!

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