James Moore on C-32

Submitted by martha on June 24, 2010 – 10:26am

I am deeply disappointed by the responses and discussion around Bill C-32. It is a reminder of just how little is understood about copyright across both the cultural and political sectors. Heritage Minister James Moore’s recent comments are among the most disheartening: in a four minute clip of comments made to the Chamber of Commerce Minister Moore said in essence that copyright reform is about “those investing in creating jobs” and “invest in their creative goods”. Not once does he use the word art or refer to artists or creators. This it seems to me does a disservice to the multitudes of artists and creators (and by extension the broader arts and culture sector) who do not often share the views of the industry (the investors in creating jobs). Cory Doctorow put it this way in a recent post: “the “creativity” that the new Canadian copyright law rewards: writing an ebook reader, designing a tablet, building a phone. Those “creators” get more say in the destiny of Canadian artists’ copyrights than the artists themselves.” Minsiter Moore ends his comments by noting that Canada is a trading nation. I would add that we are also a creative nation one that is on life support given the continual underfunding of the arts. The discussion around copyright reform does little to inform or educate anyone about why we have copyright and why it matters to creators to ensure some form of remuneration especially at a time when arts organizations are reeling from waves of operational cuts. It also does little to further our understanding of a central feature of copyright: a vital and informed public domain – one that inspires all artists to create new work. The internet affords tremendous opportunities for more control of creation by artists at the same time as expanding our cultural commons – the anti-circumvention language will I suspect slow this process further notwithstanding any changes to fair dealing. It is unclear to me how that language and this Bill is constitute a balance. Mr. Moore I am not an extremist I work with artists and arts organizations I teach copyright to art students. I am concerned that Bill C-32 does little to address the radical imbalances I see everyday in the arts community.

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