YOUR NEUTRAL APOSTROPHES SICKEN ME

I have previously dissected the claims of the Creators’ Copyright Coalition. The group is more properly known as the Cranky Copyright Coalition for its overweening attitude that you should be paying their members more for your use of their materials, since such use is probably illegal. (Every time I think of them, I combine the concepts of “John Lorinc” and “asshole.” I know that’s unfair.)

They’ve come out with a position paper that really does call for a levy on everything that can save or record a copyrighted file. (That means you’d pay an extra fee for an iPod. Or a computer!) They call, furthermore, for copyright filtering at the level of the ISP. (This has never been thought through adequately. Essentially everything transmitted through the Internet – not just the Web, the Internet – is copyrighted.)

More worrisome is their insistence that certain exemptions be tightened up or just repealed. (We are exhorted to “[r]esist the expropriation of rights through the use of exemptions granted users.”) The last time exemptions came up, the Coalition whined that blind people get to read alternate-format books without a veto by the author. I explained that the Copyright Act gives the copyright holder the initial right to profit commercially from alternate formats (and the exclusive right to create large-print books).

But if the holder doesn’t step up to the plate, it is not an infringement for certain other bodies to create, for example, a Braille or audio recording of a book. Here, “is not an infringement” mean “it’s perfectly legal and we don’t need to ask first.” As such, the alternate-format exemption corrects a failure of the marketplace and makes real the constitutional rights of people with disabilities. Such correction is imperfect, because if the copyright holder does not produce a large-print version, no one else may.

The new Cranky report makes no mention of the alternate-format exemption. I left a (mistyped) comment at – inevitably – Michael Geist’s blog asking for a public declaration that the Creators’ Copyright Coalition had no plans to call for the extinguishing of the rights of people with disabilities. No response.

So I mailed in a question for attribution:

The CCC has completely misunderstood the exemptions for people with perceptual disabilities. Does CCC intend, at any time in the foreseeable future, to publicly oppose that existing exemption, call for its repeal, or somehow ask that it be rewritten, e.g., to give “creators” any kind of veto over it?

Or should I interpret CCC’s silence as meaning CCC has realized its error?

Again: No response.

These people are so peevish and obsessed with getting paid that, frankly, an absence of a no reads to me as a yes. (They also act like corporate copyright bullies, whose general message is “Thanks for figuring out a new method of distributing content! We’ll take over from here.” Then they’ll try to bill you five bucks for having read those sentences, which self-destruct if you don’t pay up.)

I suspect the Creators’ Copyright Coalition is biding its time and waiting for the right moment to call for the repeal of an exemption that they feel “expropriates” their members’ rights. If they do, it will be amusing to watch them get knocked off their high horse.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.01.27 13:30. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2008/01/27/cranky-copyright/

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