p2p news / p2pnet: More than 500 Canadian art professionals have formed a new coalition to call on the government to take a balanced approach to copyright reform. Appropriation Art: A Coalition of Arts Professionals, includes arts organizations from Alberta, BC, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan along with hundreds of artists from across Canada.
The remarkable list features the President of CARFAC and winners of numerous art awards including eight Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
The group identifies three issues in their letter to Ministers Oda and Bernier: fair access, certainty of access for creative purposes through a fair use provision, and no support for anti-circumvention legislation. Along with the letter, there is an op-ed that also highlights the group’s concerns.
There is something very exciting happening here: musicians, privacy groups, students, and now artists are standing together against anti-circumvention legislation and for balanced copyright. These are voices that until now have been missing from the copyright reform debate.
With their active involvement, they have affirmed that the DMCA-like provisions have little to do with support for creators or creativity. Rather, they are provisions designed to support a small cadre of largely foreign-backed industry groups without representing the real needs of Canada’s own artistic and cultural communities. It is time for the government to listen to its own artists, who are forcefully speaking in their own name.
[Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He can be reached by email at mgeist[at]uottawa.ca and is on-line at www.michaelgeist.ca.]
The Coalition says it offers three principles to ground Canada`s copyright policy:
FAIR ACCESS TO COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL LIES AT THE HEART OF COPYRIGHT
Creators need access to the works of others to create. Legislative changes premised on the need to give copyright owners more control over their works must be rejected.
ARTISTS AND OTHER CREATORS REQUIRE CERTAINTY OF ACCESS
The time has come for the Canadian government to consider replacing fair dealing with a broader defense, such as fair use, that will offer artists the certainty they require to create.
ANTI-CIRCUMVENTION LAWS SHOULD NOT OUTLAW CREATIVE ACCESS
Laws that privilege technical measures that protect access to digital works must be rejected. The law should not outlaw otherwise legal dealings with copyrighted works merely because a digital lock has been used. Artists work with a contemporary palette, using new technology. They work from within popular culture, using material from movies and popular music. Contemporary culture should not be immune to critical commentary.
Associations and organisations supporting this issue represent thousands of members from across Canada, says the group.
For example, “the IMAA /AAMI (The Independent Media Arts Alliance) contains 82 artist-run centres and over 12,000 members,” it says. “The coalition includes established galleries, artist-run centres, groups and associations that provide critical support, facilities and exposure for artists across the country. Curators and directors from over 57 galleries, both large and small, have added their support. The coalition includes over 75 educators in the arts, from 27 Canadian Universities and Colleges. And finally, there are over 250 talented and concerned artists who do Canada proud (a number of whom have been honoured with exceptional awards like the Governor Generals Award, the Sobey Award, the Bell Canada Award). This is Canada`s cultural future. This is what we must try to protect.”
See the full list of people and organizations who signed the open letter here.
For further information, contact Sarah Joyce or Gordon Duggan at 250-335-2384, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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