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).

Ivor Tossell on the Google settlement

By Christopher Moore | March 27, 2009

Ivor Tossell has some thoughtful coverage of the Google-Authors Guild settlement in today’s Globe & Mail entertainment. As he says:

What we’re looking at here isn’t, at the heart of things, yet another online effort to post free content and pay for it with ads. No, Google is using a somewhat older business model: offering a product, and asking people to pay for it. That marks one sensible retreat from the free-for-all world of tomorrow we’ve been promised all these years.

Ivor only goes thuddingly wrong once in the piece, when he declares copyright-holders were “nonplussed” by Google’s project. Actually, the copyright-holders were years ahead of the web gurus here. They were ready to licence their works to Google (or others); they just wanted to get paid proportionally to the value they were providing. It was clear for years (hell, I wrote about it years ago, and I was not the first) that licencing their content was the point of the authors’ lawsuit. That’s what Google has now conceded.

The only people nonplussed, I’d say, were experts like Lawrence Lessig and Tim Wu, who feared that a licencing deal between Google and rightsholders would undermine their everything-must-be-free-for-the-taking approach to digital content. The “sensible retreat” Ivor hails is what many creators have been promoting all along: access and licensing.

The television analogy seems to be looming larger and larger. When television was “free,” it was mostly that “vast wasteland.” Now people are actually prepared to pay for television, and hey, there’s some good stuff being made and offered. They say things move faster in the digital universe, so maybe we won’t wait fifty years for this one.

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Songwriters… getting the message through

By Op-Ed Editor | March 24, 2009

The Songwriters got lots of flak just over a year ago when they proposed a blanket licence at a nominal fee for downloading. But their ideas and the principles behind them seem to be gaining traction, even in unlikely quarters. Today Michael Geist gives grudging respect to the proposal in an essay published in The Tyee.

There are no links in Geist’s piece, but you can see the Songwriters proposal for yourself at their site here.

Update (Mar 25): Michael Geist points out he should not be considered an “unlikely” supporter, having “consistently supported the SAC’s efforts (even if disagreeing with elements of the proposal, some of which have now been addressed).” He invites us to look again at his posts on the SAC proposal:

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2435/125/

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2714/125/

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Writers’ Union on e-rights

By Op-Ed Editor | March 17, 2009

The Writers’ Union recently released the following recommendation to its members:

WARNING

It has come to the attention of the Contracts Committee that a number of publishers have been launching electronic book and print-on-demand initiatives. These publishers are encouraging writers to participate in their projects and are offering royalties for e-book sales at rates from as low as 10% of net sale price.

The Contracts Committee thinks that 15% or 25% of net or even of retail is unacceptable.

The Committee’s additional concern is that these initiatives may lock up both your electronic and print rights for your book with the publisher more or less forever.

We strongly recommend that, right now, you do not sign new agreements, letter agreements or addenda to current publishing agreements that authorize e-books and p.o.d. without first consulting the TWUC office.

The Contracts Committee

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Another copyright conflab

By Op-Ed Editor | March 13, 2009

*Thursday, March 26, 2009
* Speaker: Richard Owens*
* **_Who Says It’s Fair? The Politics of Fair Dealing and the Artist_*

This talk will examine the nature and extent of the right of fair dealing under the Copyright Act (Canada) and the debate on using the implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty to radically enlarge fair dealing rights. Is any such enlargement justified, especially after the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in CCH? The issues will be explored from the perspective of the creative artist and, in particular, with reference to photographers and their creations.

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Lunch 12:00 pm
Program 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm
Place: Heenan Blaikie
Royal Bank Plaza, South Tower
23^rd Floor, 200 Bay Street
Toronto, ON
In the Terry Fox and Pearson Boardrooms
Cost: Non-members – $35.00 Members – $25.00 Creators – $15.00

For details email Rita [at] hebbsheffer.ca.

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Copyright conflab

By Op-Ed Editor |

Attached: notice for a copyright conference in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18 that Olivia Chow is hosting. With Michael Geist, Charlie Angus, and a librarian on one side, can’t help thinking Stephen Waddell of ACTRA and Don Quarles of the Songwriters may set up for another one of those “balance means you give and we take” onslaughts here — but they’ll endure. (h/t to Slaw.)

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Monetizing digitizing, part 1,000,000

By Op-Ed Editor | March 2, 2009

New York Times on monetizing the process by which blogs and online aggregators excerpt published work. If Google News makes a business out of referring readers to others’ work, and Google collects ad revenue from the process, does it owe a slice of its take to all the sites it’s referencing?

Yup, probably.

And here we are linking to them too. This gets self-referential real fast.

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