Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Access Copyright's Grass Roots (="Sabotage"?) Campaign

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing - a very successful expat Canadian author - has a good blog today about how:
Access Copyright, the Canadian author's collecting society (a group that collects money from libraries for book lending and gives it to authors) is using its members' money to sabotage an enormously popular consultation on the future of Canadian copyright.

(emphasis added)
(A small point of correction, Cory. AC is guilty of many things - but administration of the the Public Lending Right - which is actually a good thing because it is designed to help Canadians - isn't one them)

He concludes:
As a Canadian author, Access Copyright is supposed to represent my interests in the Canadian copyright debate. Instead, they are setting out to undermine the first glimmer of sanity in Canadian copyright policy in three governments -- and using my money to do it. For shame.

BTW - here's the whole of AC's missive to its members. And - no - I didn't ask for permission to link to this, as AC once famously insisted was necessary in the Captain Copyright fiasco. Its policy at the time was:
Permission is expressly granted to any person who wishes to place a link in his or her own website to or any of its pages with the following exception: permission to link is explicitly withheld from any website the contents of which may, in the opinion of the Access Copyright, be damaging or cause harm to the reputation of, Access Copyright. In the event we contact you and request the link be removed, you agree to comply with that request promptly. If you link to or otherwise include on your website, please let us know and create any link to our home page only.
(emphasis added)
BTW, despite the name of this blog, Excess Copyright, this blog is not associated in any way with Access Copyright. Old time followers of Access Copyright might remember when it was called CanCopy. It changed its name several years ago to Access Copyright, perhaps because of too many references to Can'tCopy. I wonder what its next name will be.

Other recent Access excesses are discussed here (attempt to get $24 p.a. for each FTE provincial civil servant) and here ($5.16 for each kid in K-12).

Moreover, AC has great difficulty distributing to actual authors the tens of millions a year is so successfully collects. No problem, however, in paying for staff, consultants, lawyers, etc. About 17% of its 2008 revenues of about $37 million went to operating expenses.

And as I said earlier:
Meanwhile, AC has budgeted an astonishing $915,000 for “Copyright Board applications” for 2009 - when there are no AC hearings scheduled. You can bet that this is going straight into the Mother of all cases aimed at post secondary copying. Will anyone step up to the plate to fight this really hard with a truly adversarial approach aimed at saving the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars? Based upon what we have seen in the past, it's very unlikely.
It also may be going into setting the stage for fighting for the $24 per provincial government employee tariff that will take at least $12 million out of the Canadian tax payers pockets for no good reason, unless cut down to size - which is probably at or near zero. Apart from copying for "research" purposes as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada and the copying of internally generated documents, it's difficult to conceive of what other copying activity exists inside government.


1 comment:

  1. The new blog title should be "Knopf for Distribution"