[d@DCC] "Collective Copyright" versus "Copyright Collective"

Joseph jpotvin at linuxmail.org
Fri Jun 2 08:45:58 EDT 2006

I am new to this list. Hello.  I'm going to start off with identifying
what I think is a nefarious twisting of language in copyright circles
(most prominently in Canada) that directly misrepresents the specific
definition and the general intent of the Berne Convention and the
Canadian Copyright Act, namely the use of the word “collective”.

As defined, I think cleanly and simply in these laws:

A "collective work" is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or
encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate
and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.

(Also relevant to this topic: A "joint work" is a work prepared by two
or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged
into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.)

The  problematic  morphed meaning of the word comes from the idea
expressed in WIPO of “collective management of copyright and related

And then this shift in emphasis proceeds to the reversing of the words
from “collective copyright” to “copyright collective” where suddently it
becomes a collections agency for copyright royalties. This latter idea
has become formally recognized by the Dept of Canadian Heritage
http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/societies/index-e.html .

I am currently leading an emerging inter-departmental and inter-sectoral
initiative called Intellectual Resources Canada (IRCan) which provides
support for communities engaged in the creation and evolution of
intellectual assets under joint and collective copyright, that are of
interest to the Government of Canada.
http://iit-iti.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/colloq/0607/06-05-25_e.html  and

My concern is that the twisting of the term “collective” (referring to
individuals acting together) to, in effect, “collecting” (referring to
gathering royalties) leads some people to suggest that we should not
make use of the “collective” concept at all with IRCan, since our intent
is to include the full spectrum of business approaches, including those
that do no gather royalties (eg. certified open source or free software
licenses, or some of the Creative Commons licenses).

Perhaps a push is required to re-establish and defend the meaning of
“collective” as given in the Berne Convention. This is similar to the
need to re-establish and defend the meaning of “standard” as given in
the WTO Agreeement on Technical Barriers to Trade (Annexes 1 and 3) to
counteract frivolous claims of “departmental standards” etc.

...Or have I missed something?

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