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@jkdegen: Nothing to See Here, Folks. Keep Moving, Academics Ignore Suffering of Cultural Workers

May 12, 2018 1 comment

[“Everybody knows that the boat is leaking, everybody knows that the captain lied…”
From Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen.]

Testimony at Canada’s copyright review shows cultural workers suffering, the world noticing, and education pretending none of that is actually happening.

by John Degen

Canada’s copyright review committee has been travelling the country, setting down in five major cities to hear testimony from individuals and groups.  [Imagine if the U.S. Congress did that with the Music Modernization Act?]

Testimony from the cultural side of the table has been shocking and compelling. In Toronto, for instance, best-selling children’s author Sylvia McNicoll revealed that she has personally visited a classroom (at a prison school) where the entire class set of her book were bound photocopies. She has suffered a 90% total income drop since 2012 when Canada’s Copyright Act was weakened beyond its ability to protect creators’ rights.

Ms. McNicoll told Parliament that she is reluctantly retiring from the business, and will be selling her house as a result. I can confirm that I have heard similar stories and plans from many respected Canadian authors. That is more Canadian content discouraged and uncreated, and Canadian workers impoverished.

Parliament has heard from publishers that the explosion of free copying since 2012 has affected not only their own royalties, but the royalties they pass to their authors. Some have noted those steep royalty declines (80–90%) represent the difference between profit and loss, and that primary sales of actual books have also been negatively affected. What that means is that continued investment in Canadian content becomes untenable.

Read the post on Medium

What do Canada, Vietnam, China, Russia, Ukraine and Romania have in common? (And, no, it’s not future sites of the Creative Commons Internationale)

April 30, 2009 Comments off

In a demonstration of true bipartisanship, the Obama Administration today elevated Canada to the “Priority Watch List” on the U.S. Trade Representative’s “Special 301 Report”.

A country is placed on the Priority Watch List if the country’s intellectual policy practices “…have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on the relevant U.S. products….Countries placed on the Priority Watch List are the focus of increased bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.”

The Obama Administration found that “Internet piracy is a significant concern in a number of trading partners, including Canada, China, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Vietnam…. The United States continues to have serious concerns with Canada’s failure to accede to and implement the WIPO Internet Treaties, which Canada signed in 1997.”

One can’t help but notice that the report follows hard on the heels of the field hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and the bashing of Howard Berman by the Canadian blogger we call The Wedge.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle at the hearing, including Chairman Howard Berman and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, addressed the failure of Canadian governments for the last 13 years to come into line with international standards.

I was struck by a speech at Canadian Music Week this year by Serge Sasseville of Canadian communications giant Quebecor that public companies do not answer only to CEOs, shareholders and creditors, but as “a good corporate citizen, [we] cannot remain insensitive to the piracy problems affecting the survival of content producers and rights holders.”

Would that the Canadian government had the same view of intellectual property.

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