Writers' Union of Canada smears attempt to expand fair dealing: "Legalised theft"


Last week, Canadian Member of Parliament Charlie Angus introduced a Canadian copyright reform bill that, among other things, would liberalise the Canadian "fair dealing" rules (the rules governing what uses you're allowed to make without permission, such as quoting for criticism or analysis, parody, fan art, etc).

Now, the Writers' Union of Canada has launched a smear campaign against the bill, especially against the fair dealing clauses, claiming that Angus's provision will "legalise theft" and harm Canadian culture.

What the Writers' Union fails to recognise is that writers are among the most prolific fair dealers around: we copy and paste text all the time in the course of our normal lives, whether for research, criticism, or reference. An expansion of the right to use information is an expansion of the right to create information.

If there's one thing that the post-Napster era has taught us, it's that reactionary campaigns against reasonable copyright reform alienate audiences and legitimise violating copyright by making all creators look like greedy dinosaurs. The leadership of the Writers' Union needs to wise up and work to protect its members' interests while they're using information as well as when they're publishing it.

Writers' Union of Canada: Flexible Fair Dealing Legalizes Theft

(Thanks, Michael!)