Landing : Athabascau University

Who's "speaking out" on copyright? "Canadian writers" -- or Access Copyright?

I just got an e-mail forwarded from the Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC), which promotes a Youtube video about the new copyright Bill C-32, and includes a "petition"-style message for sending to MPs: a message that, like the video, speaks out against Bill C-32's new fair dealing provisions for educators.

So as a Canadian educator, I am supposed to write to my MP and the government against C-32's new fair-dealing exemption? See the vid for yourself. And, oh, by the way, watch for the positive mention of Access Copyright, about a minute and a half in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qrcNksj5DE

Having watched the video, I am emphatically more inclined to agree with the shrewd critical comments posted to Youtube about it. And with the more extensive analysis given the video by one commentator, a Canadian novelist who is less than thrilled to have Access Copyright and TWUC "representing" him in this misleading way -- Cory Doctorow makes the important but disturbing point that a message like this is "us[ing] lies to pit creators against schools." For more skeptical critical analysis, Canadian copyright lawyer Howard Knopf has weighed in on this too, calling the video a piece of "orchestrated and inaccurate hysteria."

The problem with C-32 is its protection of digital locks, not its new fair-dealing provisions: these actually represent a big gain for Canadian educational institutions (though still not on the order of what US educators can do under their fair-use laws). However, clearer and more flexible fair-dealing provisions for educators could well spell trouble for Access Copyright, which is, nevertheless, still doing its utmost to alienate Canadian PSE anyway.

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