Captain Copyright Offline

Captain Copyright was an image that rose to certain levels of fame. Unfortunately for Access Copyright, the firm that created the cartoon character, most of the fame was unwanted.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Bloggers and advocates condemned the character for being “one sided”. Now the Captain Copyright education tool is offline as it undergoes “revision”.

During the initial pounding of criticism, the CLA (Canadian Library Association) decided to act against the creation. Two months later, they took that action in the form of widely publicized letter. It re-opened the debates.

Access Copyright then responded to the criticisms stating that “The site was launched as a pilot project in February and not widely promoted so that we could assess the feedback we received and add to or refine the materials.”

Unfortunately for Access Copyright, even the public statement didn’t bode too well. Part of that criticism surrounded questions on why the pilot project wasn’t taken offline during the revision process. Another part was the lack of transparency of who was going to partake in the “advisory board”.

Now it appears as though Access Copyright listened to the criticisms and took the Captain Copyright material offline. The single page that remains for now says, “The Captain Copyright website and materials are undergoing a revision. The site was launched as a pilot project earlier this year and it is now time to take the feedback it has received and make the revisions needed to ensure this is the best possible tool for educators and their students. Thank you to all of the educators who have already used the materials and provided their positive feedback to us – we’re working hard to make these tools even better for you and are looking forward to re-launching the site.

Thank you also to those who had more critical feedback: we heard you. We have secured a number of subject matter experts and educators to serve on an advisory panel to review and revise the existing Captain Copyright materials, as well as assist with the creation of new materials focusing on topics such as the Creative Commons, fair dealing, and the public domain. A complete list of their names and credentials will be released once it is finalized.

The Captain Copyright site was created for educators because they told us through surveys and focus groups conducted by an independent consultant that they needed tools to help them teach their students about copyright, but none were available. The tools on the Captain Copyright site will meet their needs and ensure that they can offer their students a complete and balanced understanding of copyright.”

Clearly, it appears that Access Copyright spent a great deal of time to consider all of the arguments. It thanked its supporters and addressed not only the critics, but also all of the criticisms.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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