Bill C-32 Letter to Ministers Moore and Clement

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 8, 2010 – 1:11pm

The content of my letter to Ministers Moore and Clement:

The Honourable Tony Clement                                        The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Industry                                                           Minister of Canadian Heritage and
C.D. Howe Building                                                          Official Languages
235 Queen Street                                                             House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario                                                                Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H5                                                                           K1A 0A6
minister.industry@ic.gc.ca                                               moorej@parl.gc.ca

September 5th, 2010

Dear Ministers,

My name is Martha Rans and I am the Legal Director of the Artists’ Legal Outreach (ALO) in Vancouver, British Columbia. The ALO provides summary legal advice to artists and art organizations. We offer workshops, resources and clinics where artists can meet confidentially with an experienced lawyer. Over the past 3 years we have met with at least 100 individual artists and provided information and education to over 1000 people, organizations, and creators on copyright and related material.

Last year, I appeared at the Toronto Town Hall and invited you to come and hold an event in Vancouver and hear from individual creators in all disciplines. As you know, BC is home to a significant creative community particularly when you include entertainment software, film, and multimedia digital art. The West has a significant role to play in the creative sector and it is unfortunate, that we didn’t see you here.

I hear from many young emerging artists. Their actual knowledge of copyright is limited. It is to these limits that I would direct the Minister’s attention no matter what happens to Bill C-32. There is it seems to me a significant need for copyright education. Most people don’t know beyond FBI warnings on their DVD’s or small print of click-through terms and conditions what copyright is, what it means and its value to creators. They also don’t appear to know what they are presently paying for whether we are talking about blanket licenses, royalties or levies. This needs to change if we are to nurture a truly creative and arguably innovative economy. In Australia a country with some important similarities to our own they have two organizations that provide education and outreach on copyright: a Copyright Agency and Art Law Australia. The practical reality is that artists as creators, and innovators as those who create value from creativity, benefit from experienced advice and information. Access to information in this most digital age supports creation and innovation and avoids litigation. The more an artist knows the better able they are to negotiate terms with a potential content distributor, publisher or advertising agency. Daily, I am impressed with the new ideas for innovation and entrepreneurship across the digital media world – they too need access to informed advice and information about copyright. The more they know, the better able they will be to access the many tools available including Creative Commons licenses and new forms of digital media distribution. At the same time we can and should be looking at new business models to support creators rather than relying on locking content down in a manner that creates if nothing else self-censorship and false economies. This is one of the outcomes of the anti-circumvention language of the present Bill.

As someone who works on a daily basis with working artists I urge you to consider carefully the practical realities of a grossly under supported arts and culture sector and the application of a new regime that does little to address the ongoing imbalance between creators and the industry and digital community. I would welcome the opportunity to address these issues with committee in a further detail.

Respectfully,
Martha Rans

Legal Director, Artists Legal Outreach

Lecturer, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

 

PDF Copy of the Letter:  ALO Letter to MP

 

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