Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

Canadian Copyright Consultation Submissions Impress

with 2 comments

Well, my copycon submission hasn’t been posted on the big board yet. But every now and again I check back, and while I’m there I read submissions. I’m expecting them to stay posted for a good long while, just because it’s going to take me a long time to read them all. And the more I read, the more I want to read them all. As a reader I’m enjoying reading the submissions. As a citizen, I am impressed with what I’m reading.

Certainly there are a lot of one-liners, which can be pretty much summed up as “if you want me to write, pay me”. I have to wonder why these folks didn’t bother to take this incredible opportunity to actually write about the issue. Because no one in all of this has said anything anywhere (although I am not done reading yet!) about not paying writers or any other creators of intellectual property. Its too bad that these people didn’t take the time to explain their take on the subject a little better so people would understand where they’re coming from. Is it because they assumed no one would listen? Or that they lacked faith in the process?

In a way these submissions are serving me rather like a catalogue. I’m just as likely to google the creator to try to find out a bit more about them.

Take William Gough for example. Clearly he had no interest at all in answering any of the questions posed, but at the same time as one of the later submissions he certainly aware that this website was being read. So he had his agenda, and took this opportunity to speak his piece. I found what he said interesting:

“Thanks to the Internet we now need no middleman.”

–William Gough, copyright consultation submission

So I did a bit of googling, thinking there may be a blog, but not. Too bad, its certainly a good way to help people find you. However, I did find his lulu storefront shop His books sound worth a look.

Deborah Hodge is a children’s book writer whose copycon submission didn’t really say anything new, she seems happy with the status quo and mostly wants to “ensure fair compensation”. But when I took a peek at her website, it looks like her books might be pretty interesting for kids. I’ll keep her in mind for my niece’s next gift.

But there are also many that are saying things I hadn’t thought of before. I know I surprised myself when I started writing mine, because until I started writing, I had no idea I held such strong ideas on the subject. I guess that happens, as life goes on, living informs our opinions. It seems clear that there has been a lot of thought expended for this.

I rather liked the elegance of Tomas Szeredi’s discussion of divorcing format from Intellectual Property. Of course, agreeing with my point of view gets him brownie points, but his Pandora story really hit home with me.  I too have a tough time finding new music to listen to, having given up on radio decades ago. Sure makes finding new music that I like something of a challenge.

Even though I’m not a musician myself, I grew up around musicians, and I have to say the old way (record studio/radio) didn’t seem to work very well. In Canada a rare few made it big. Quite frankly, I don’t even think the best always made it big… mediocre talent that doesn’t offend anyone was probably as important to getting radio play as talent. Fitting in a box probably helped too. Once the handful of “talent” needed to fill the Canadian Content regs was available, the big media concerns stopped looking. Canadians got a lot of bland radio music, and a lot of talented people gave it all up for day jobs. Others left the country, because there was opportunities elsewhere. With internet capability, I believe there is so much more opportunity for artists to find an audience.

My current favorite band is hands down the Arrogant Worms. You can buy their CDs, or you can download them album by album or a buck a song. Best yet, you can listen to their songs online and decide if you like them. If you want to buy their music you do it through MapleMusic their online distributor. (Maple handles a lot of other acts as well.) My other big fave right now is Michael Kaeshammerwho I discovered through a Jazz Festival. Because his website plays the music online I was a fan from listening before going to the festival. (Where I bought his music, direct from him.)

Michael Kaeshammer... stride piano

Digressing? Me?

Warren Layton’s submission again gave the perspective a bit of a turn. For all the time I’ve spent in libraries, and even having my own personal library, its still different hearing about the needs of a professional librarian. He had some chilling accounts of abuses caused by the American law, but he also made me realize just how debilitating the format shift problem is for libraries. After all, libraries are rarely rich, and they too have a delicate balancing act to keep current. Having a huge proportion of their media materials suddenly become obsolete is sobering. But the thing that got me was the access problem.

“There should also be no ban on any technologies that can circumvent a TPM. As a librarian, I see the need for such technologies when providing access to works to the visually impaired (to give just one example). ”

–Warren Layton, copyright consultation submission

Computer programmer Tom Low-Shang‘s submission clearly points out the futility of TPM and DRM and discusses how much of a waste it is, when Canadian programmers could be pursuing far more worthwhile efforts.

I especially liked this idea:

“In order to direct and facilitate the digitization of Canadian heritage, a clear commitment needs to be made in order to preserve the current term of copyright. A pre-determined and generally accepted public domain date must be established for the good of all Canadians and the preservation of the heritage we so proudly maintain.”

–Tom Low-Shang, copyright consultation submission


I think that’s all for now.

Just a thought. If you regret not having done a copycon submission, you still can. Doesn’t have to go on their website: make yourself a blog. It’s a great way to let off steam. I’d certainly recommend wordpress of you’re thinking of blogging. I’ve got the links Links in my sidebar. The difference between the two is that .org is for hosting your blog on your own website, .com is for hosting it here on wordpress. (Thought it was time I gave them a plug.)


Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

October 19, 2009 at 1:22 am

Posted in Canada, copyright, Writers

2 Responses

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  1. […] very positive.   Yet there have been indications that the magnificent outpouring that the copycon prompted from informed citizens may well have been a sham, and there are very real fears that this […]


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