Welcome to the website of the Creators' Copyright Coalition. We at the CCC are committed to access to our creative works just as we are committed to copyright: we work for copyright legislation that ensures both. Here on our op-ed pages we will be posting opinion, commentary, links, and news of interest to creators and others engaged in copyright reform. Elsewhere, you'll find our archive of studies, handbooks and press releases. And while we're not currently hosting a discussion forum, comments sent to us may be posted or noted here (unless you ask us not to).

Copyright and the poor

By Op-Ed Editor | October 30, 2006

Ethiopian government wants to trademark its coffees: Sidamo, Hara, and others. Something called the National Coffee Association opposed the application in the United States.

Seems like a great opportunity for demonstrating how IP can benefit poor people.

Evidently you can buy “Ethiopian Sidamo” at Starbucks. But Starbucks thinks Ethiopia should settle for “certification,” not trademark.

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Getting Paid under CC licenses

By Christopher Moore | October 20, 2006

Can’t remember being in agreement with hard-edge publishers’ guy Andrew Martin on many things. But I was amused by his comment in a Law Times article (not in their online edition it seems) on Michael Geist’s 2005 book In the Public Interest. Geist explains what a brilliant move it was to make the whole book available as a Creative Commons license and suggests publishers need to get with that strategy.

Martin: “It is perhaps an important development for academic authors with no expectation of payment.”

I discussed much the same issue with Mike Linksvayer of Creative Commons USA at Copycamp last month. Nice guy, full of enthusiasm for the technology. But we never could clarify just how the “commercial rights reserved” part of a CC licence would actually work. It’s not practical for a user wanting to license commercial uses of perhaps dozens of CC items to chase down each author and try to negotiate a fee. But since CC does not have a collective licensing arm, there seems to be no convenient mechanism for users who want to comply. Making compliance hard leads to non-compliance, doesn’t it?

I mean this seriously. I think CC has many useful applications for making things freely available. But is there anyone out there who has ever reserved commercial rights under a CC license and then actually received payment for those rights? Or is CC mostly copyright for rich kids? I’d be glad to hear details.

Geist’s book, a collection of academic articles on public-interest aspects of copyright law, is available here.

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Strangelove Digital GG

By Op-Ed Editor |

One of the nominees for this fall’s Governor General’s awards in non-fiction is Michael Strangelove’s The Empire of the Mind: Digital Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement. from U of Toronto Press. Strangelove is an Ottawa prof, online at www.strangelove.com

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Looks like a win for Heather Robertson

By Christopher Moore | October 12, 2006

Supreme Court ruling on Heather Robertson vs the Globe came out this morning. Text available here

Lots of analysis yet to come. Evidently some of the issues need to be retried. And much howevering in the judgment.

But here is the key sentence from the majority: “Newspaper publishers are not entitled to republish freelance articles acquired for publication in their newspapers in Info Globe Online or CPI.Q without compensating the authors and obtaining their consent.”

On a quick look, it looks like hard cases make bad law (and everything to do with copyright seems to be a hard case these days). A confused, disunited court, attempting to parse the meaning of digitization, when it would be better with a clear law-and-economics focus. This case was about payment not about technology. The authors contribute value, the authors are entitled to be compensated. That’s the heart and soul of copyright, and the judges err when they imagine it is all about changing technologies.

Still, a win’s a win. The Supreme Court still says you can’t take other people’s work for commercial benefit without permission or payment. Glad to have that on the record.

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