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).

Child labour?

By Op-Ed Editor | April 21, 2009

Not exactly a copyright issue, but there’s rights here, and it’s all a bit gobsmacking. Brings back the need for real State of the Artist legislation and not that fraud we got stuck with a couple of years ago.

Ontario government needs to legislate child protections, says ACTRA

Toronto – Ice cream giant Chapman’s is producing commercials in Toronto with child performers, potentially as young as four years old, while failing to adhere to the minimum terms and conditions of work that have been negotiated in the Canadian commercial industry’s National Commercial Agreement (NCA).

“This company generates millions of dollars targeting children to buy their products,” said Dan Mackenzie, a spokesperson for ACTRA Toronto. “It’s distressing that they can’t see fit to ensure that the child performers in their commercials receive the protections, wages and residual payments negotiated between ACTRA and Canada’s advertising industry representatives.”

Standard rates and conditions for all performers are part of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA) negotiated between ACTRA and the Institute of Communications and Advertising (ICA) and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). The ICA/ACA represents both advertising agencies and the companies that hire the agencies.

“ACTRA takes very seriously the need to protect children in the commercial industry,” stated Mackenzie. “Children are especially vulnerable to pressures from advertisers, agencies, producers, agents and parents. Doing commercials outside of the industry agreement means that producers are not bound to standards negotiated in the NCA for wages, safety, tutoring, nutrition and other rules that limit the hours and conditions under which children can work.

Employment legislation in Ontario has very little to say about children who work in the entertainment and commercial industry. That is one of the reasons high profile Canadian actors are leading ACTRA Toronto’s lobby of the Ontario government to bring in Status of the Artist legislation that would enshrine child work rules in law.

“Advertisers who do not want to adhere to the minimum terms and conditions of the NCA highlight are why it is so important that the Ontario government bring in strong and enforceable legislation to protect children in the commercial, film and television industries,” Mackenzie added.

ACTRA Toronto represents more than 15,000 professional performers. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven organization that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of Canada’s English-speaking performers in recorded media.

For more information:
Chris Faulkner ACTRA Toronto Public Relations Officer
P: 416.642.6710
E: cfaulkner@actratoronto.com

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The Google deal discussion

By Op-Ed Editor | April 20, 2009

ALAI Canada (wierdly enough that’s the acronym for the Canadian Literary and Artistic Association) is hosting a discussion of the Google deal on Wednesday.

Toronto Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Speakers: Catherine A. Campbell, lawyer and publishing consultant
Christopher Moore, writer and historian
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Lunch: 12:00 pm
Program: 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm
Place: Access Copyright boardroom, Suite 800, One Yonge
Street, Toronto M5E 1E5
(Toronto Star building, one stop south of Union Station on the LRT)

Cost: Non-members – $35.00 Members – $25.00 Creators – $15.00

The topic for discussion is the settlement of a class action in the United States against Google, brought by authors (with the backing of the Authors’ Guild) for copyright infringement and a separate lawsuit brought by five American publishers, backed by the American Publishers Association, raising the same issues. Millions of copyright books including Canadian books found in U.S. libraries were digitized by Google without authorization from the rightsholders. The settlement agreement between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google is subject to a “fairness hearing” by a U.S. District Court (Southern New York) starting on June 11, 2009. The settlement has been criticized for pre-empting what is more appropriately dealt with by legislation and for being anti-competitive. Rightsholders may opt out of the settlement until May 5, 2009, but is there a benefit beyond maintaining their right to sue Google themselves? Those who don’t opt out can remove their books entirely from all servers up until April 5, 2011 and terminate specific commercial uses later at any time. The settlement will set up a Book Rights Registry in the U.S. to collect revenues from Google for commercial uses and pay rightsholders. Is this settlement good or bad for rightsholders, readers, researchers and libraries? Where do Canadian books fit into this? What are the ripple effects for copyright revision and the emerging e-book market in Canada?

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Suing the bastards — ERDC gets certification

By Op-Ed Editor | April 16, 2009

Excellent news from The Electronic Rights Defence Committee of Montreal

After more than a decade, the Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) has received authorization from Quebec Superior Court to proceed with a class action suit against some of the biggest names in Canadian media.

At issue is electronic use without permission or compensation for work by freelance writers in The Montreal Gazette. The defendants are the Montreal Gazette Group, CanWest Global Communications, Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings, CanWest Interactive, Southam and Southam Business Communications, Infomart Dialog and Cedrom-SNI.

In February 2008, the Honourable Eva Petras, J.S.C., heard three days of arguments from Mireille Goulet – the ERDC lawyer, and a team of lawyers representing the defendants. The Justice’s decision was rendered March 31, 2009. It authorizes the ERDC to institute class action proceedings with writer and translator David Homel as its official designated member. The class action group includes all freelance writers whose articles, originally published in The Gazette, have been allegedly illegally reproduced on the Infomart data base since 1984.

The next steps will lead toward a trial on the merits of the case, a process which may take several years to reach a conclusion.

The ERDC case is one of several in North America seeking compensation for unauthorized electronic use of freelance writers’ work. In October 2007, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled five to four in the Heather Robertson vs. Thomson case that freelancers do indeed hold copyright on their work reproduced in electronic data bases. The US$ 18-million class action settlement in the United States which followed from the Tasini vs. New York Times case is currently before the US Supreme Court, which has agreed to decide whether a lower court has jurisdiction to approve settlement agreements. The Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec (AJIQ) is also currently in the process of undertaking a class action against several Quebec media providers.

For more information: Mary Soderstrom, ERDC president, 514 276-9257, David Homel, ERDC class representative, 514 288-6690 Link to judgment (in English) http://www.jugements.qc.ca/ (Search for Superior Court decisions in March 2009 (cour superieure, keyword: ERDC)

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