Friday, June 13, 2008

The New Proposed Copyright Legislation

The new copyright proposal - a nice idea, and a step in the right direction, but it's half-baked. Some good concepts, but clearly designed by a bureaucrat who doesn't own an .mp3 player and hasn't seen YouTube. It tries to understand "fair use", but doesn't go far enough. It also doesn't delineate, along proper lines (IMHO) the difference between fair use and piracy.

I'm all for kicking the pirates' asses, believe me, but there is, to me, a new understanding about fair use since the 1970s. Yes, it comes down to making a buck versus personal use, but the legislation hasn't quite nailed that down clearly. I genuinely think it's okay to make 20 copies of an article to hand out and use in my classroom (hell, I don't even mind if people do that with a few pages from my textbook, or copy my YouTube instructional videos for personal or instructional use). However, I'd still like to put up a PDF of an article on a locked Ryerson website for my students to read, for example, but the legislation won't let me do that. I'd also like to show a TV show or a part of a movie in class, but that's still no dice.

But, piracy...the moment someone copies my whole textbook, or sells copies of it, or tries to sell a YouTube compilation of my stuff on DVD, I say fine the bastards. And I want my cut from the fine, that's what's more.

I'd be happy with 10%, thank you.


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