Reaction to Access Copyright Statement

Last week, Slyck reported on the statement released by Access Copyright.

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

While this move showed an initiative and effort to improve the ‘educational tool,’ it might be interesting to note how well it fared with the critics.

“It is interesting how after presenting such a one-sided and in a number of cases factually incorrect political view of copyright, claiming it was ‘education,’ that they are suggesting that they were surprised at the reaction.” blogged Russell McOrmond, “Some members of this growing creative community only charge for the initial up-front development costs, harnessing the fact that the marginal cost of production for creativity is zero, and never charge anyone royalty fees for any use.”

Howard Knopf responded to the mention of the CLA (Canadian Library Association), “I frankly think that CLA is wise to stay outside the tent and to be fully free to openly criticize. I and many others have said that Captain Copyright has no place in our Canadian class rooms. I highly doubt that he would be allowed by his sponsor to teach a truly balanced and informative view of Canadian copyright law” he speculated, “Not having been invited to participate in this “advisory panel”, I don’t know what the express or more likely implied terms and conditions of such participation would be. But such participation would probably muzzle or co-opt the participants to at least some extent – and perhaps that’s why CLA has wisely refrained.”

Having followed closely to the Captain Copyright ordeal, Howard commented in a previous post, “I can’t imagine how a consortium of Coca Cola, Pepsi, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC would be allowed to develop a “Captain Nutrition” or “Dr. Diet” program for Canadian schools that would be allowed in the classroom. I’m not convinced that copyright law should to be discussed in K-12 classrooms any more than securities law or real estate.”

“if Access Copyright is serious about relaunching the site, it should drop the site immediately until it gets it right. There is no indication on the current site that a relaunch is planned. Indeed, the site suggests that the response from educators has been “overwhelmingly positive.” Michael Geist said “Access Copyright should move forward in a fully transparent manner by indicating who has been involved in creating the current materials and naming the members of its advisory board. The education community and the broader public should be allowed to judge for themselves whether Access Copyright has adopted a balanced approach before anyone even considers bringing Captain Copyright into the classroom.”

Another aspect of the controversy in the meantime also appears to be requests for funding from the government. This information came about by Michael Geist. He reported “documents just obtained under the Access to Information Act reveal that Access Copyright has been looking to Canadian Heritage to provide funding for the Captain Copyright campaign. On May 1, 2006, an internal memo was sent to the Director General of Cultural Industries indicates that Access Copyright was seeking funding for Captain Copyright and recommending that the matter be discussed by senior management.”

If anything, it would seem that the Captain Copyright makeover is also part of damage control from the initial start-up. In the meantime, the question on everyone’s mind seems to be, ‘what will the new Captain Copyright look like?’ and ‘will it be a fair perspective on the copyright debate?’

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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