Canadian copyright collecting agency subverting open debate on copyright

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.

Previous to this consultation, the Canadian government twice tried to ram through restrictive, US-style copyright rules, refusing to meet with Canadian creators, net-users, libraries, educators, publishers or musicians. Now, after hundreds of thousands of Canadians came forward demanding public consultations and a balanced, made-in-Canada answer to copyright in the information age, Access Copyright has responded with an hysterical, dishonest call to its members to condemn the consultation and any notion of protecting privacy, access, fair dealing and other public rights in copyright.

The broadside includes this remarkable condemnation of "users" of information -- that is, readers, writers, teachers, scholars, fans, government, students -- "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."

These are the same people who launched the ill-starred "Captain Copyright" campaign, using writers' money to produce embarrassing, half-witted comic books that were meant to indoctrinate children, inculcating them with fear of using authors' works in their own creations.

After the Captain Copyright fiasco, it seemed that Access Copyright would settle down and look at a balanced approach. But recent times have seen an upswing in loony, toxic copyright maximalism from the organization, including a recent bid to collect money for out-of-copyright public domain materials.

As Michael Geist says, "So AC claims that the public is trying to deprive them of their livelihood, while they actually try to get the public to support their livelihood by charging for things that doesn't even belong in their repertoire. Hard to believe that users are now characterized as powerful and adept at controlling the debate. All the more reason to encourage people to use Speakoutoncopyright.ca and make their voice heard."

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.

Copyright Debate Takes Aim at Your Livelihood