[d@DCC] Interesting meeting this afternoon with the Creators' Rights Alliance
russell at flora.ca
Mon Sep 8 18:06:31 EDT 2003
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At around 14:00 I was at a joint meeting between the Creators' Rights
Alliance and the Canada Council (I believe -- I didn't get an official
agenda), hosted at 350 Albert at the Canada Council offices.
It is always great to be able to have discussions with other creator
communities. This was a small discussion part-way through their meeting.
First was a presentation from their indigenous caucus on TK (Traditional
Knowledge), and then I was there to talk as an independant software
creator about the "Free Software" community as a creators' rights
Summary of what I spoke about, with there then being a Q&A period that
showed considerable interest.
- who we are, with me trying to represent independent software
creators part of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software community.
- 1960's historical split of software from hardware
- prior to the 1960's sofware was always bundled as part of
hardware, with the bundle being "manufactured", distributed and
sold on a per-unit price.
- some software creators continued hardware-like treatment of
software as a "manufactured" good, while other creators felt
per-unit payments such as royalties were just "one business
model among many" (and not often the best).
- 1980's formalization of creators' rights movement with formation
of Free Software Foundation, with many related organizations
- creators not politically powerful, so alliances need to be made.
- alliances made with users rather than non-creator copyright
- part of this alliance involved changing business models to not be
dependent on per-unit royalty payments, and to specifically
spell out rights in copyright license agreements for users and
creators of derivative works.
- greatest threats identified were not end users not paying royalty
payments, but the ability of creators to create, distribute and
profit from works under their own terms. These threats were
mainly from intermediaries (often non-creator copyright holders,
but not always copyright holders).
- Most critical question should be: who controls ICT tools
- Users? Remembering that non-software creators are users of ICT
tools, so rights of users is critical to creators communicating
their works electronically.
- Intermediaries? This is not just traditional intermediaries such
as publishers, but also new (and likely more powerful)
intermediaries from the "software manufacturing" industry.
- Issue that finally brought me into the copyright reform debate and
the protection of creators' rights was "Legal protection for
Technological Protection Measures" (WIPO language).
- LpfTPM is not a protection of copyright for digital works, but a
replacement of copyright for digitally communicated works.
- what people can and can not do with a work is no longer
governed by acts of parliament and the courts, but by the
software within the TPM. This software is under the control of
the intermediary, not the creator, and is not up for public
scrutiny like an act of parliament would be.
- This is not just an issue for software creators, but for creators
of any type of work that is communicated digitally.
- LpfTPM harms the ability of TPM creators to create better TPM which
requires the ability to 'break' TPM and publish exploits for
research purposes. The ability to 'break' TPM for lawful purposes
and publicly published results is a requirement for TPM research,
and LpfTPM removes the ability of researchers to produce good TPM.
In the questions we did bring up the Adobe e-Book and DeCSS cases, as
well as many other nuances. The discussion went over their allocated time
for this part of their agenda, and it seemed obvious the discussions would
continue after this meeting.
Overall there is an understanding within this group of the issues we are
bringing forward, although there was an exception that simply didn't
believe what I had to say. (If curious, ask me outside of this public
forum who this was. I will narrow it down to say that it was someone other
than Susan or myself who were also at the Heritage Ministers Forum on
Copyright <http://weblog.flora.ca/article.php3?story_id=382> )
I suspect that over time the rest of the group will be able to better
understand the issues and will be able to formulate a better informed
position on LpfTPM. They may even convince skeptical people who do
not yet agree with us on the issue.
Timing is important given the Sept 15 deadline for submissions to the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than
politicians should be bought. -- http://www.flora.ca/russell/
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