Rabble Rumble & Balance of "Human Rights" in Copyright...
russell at flora.ca
Thu Sep 26 17:14:52 EDT 2002
I hope that nobody minds that I am trying to do some "open source"
research. For the curious, I have offered to do a live debate with Susan
Crean of the Creators' Rights Alliance. This debate will happen on
Rabble.ca for a new section called "Rabble rumble".
In discussions so far, the format will be:
a) We each write a less than 1000 word position based on the following
"With advances in information and communications technology such as
the Internet, copyright is no longer necessary."
b) We each write a less than 300 word rebuttal to the others position.
c) We do a live debate at Ryerson (Toronto) that will be streamed over
(I have asked what file formats, but haven't been told yet ;-)
c) A new forum is opened up on Rabble for everyone to participate in
With the "What is Intellectual Property" underway, I want to ask an
Susan Crean has often said to me that she believes that authors rights
are human rights, and references the United Nations Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, article 27(2).
From my reading of the declaration, the UN-UDHR includes two rights that
directly relate to the balance in copyright.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
<B>receive and impart</B> information and ideas through any media and
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of
the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement
and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material
interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production
of which he is the author.
Copyright law is often talked about as a balance between interests.
In this case it is a balance between rights recognized in the UN-UDHR.
Interpretations of these rights become quite heated.
a) Article 27(2) appears to clearly be an exception (or a contradiction)
to article 27(1) and Article 19. Is this just a belief based on feelings
from the current battle with publishers who aren't fighting for rights but
b) What constitutes a "moral interest"? Having laws against plagiarism
is something I believe we all agree with, but what about the claims that
moral rights should allow authors to dictate what form, what tools and
even what brands of tools publishing can happen with?
c) What constitutes a "material interest"? If a for-profit company
makes money distributing a work, I suspect we would all agree that the
author should receive material benefits. What about not-for-profit
communications such as private copying?
Do "material interests" guarantee a specific business model, as
suggested by the entertainment industry, or just guarantee that if there
is a business that the authors receive a fair cut?
Who determines what is a fair cut? I believe we would all agree it
should not be the publisher, who are currently trying to claim all
d) Where is the division between moral and material interests? This was
at issue with the Theberge case. I suspect that for many of us this case
muddied the division more than it made it clear.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
See http://weblog.flora.ca/ for announcements, activities, and opinions
Submission to Innovation Strategy | No2Violence in Politics
http://www.flora.ca/innovation-2002.shtml | http://www.no-dot.ca/
For (un)subscription information, posting guidelines and
links to other related sites please see http://www.digital-copyright.ca
More information about the Discuss