Canadian Politician Worried About Fair Use Freebies

from the oh-no! dept

Canada has done a better job than many other places in trying to balance the rights of creators and users of intellectual property – but as in many places in the world, it looks like that may be shifting in the wrong direction. A Canadian politician is trying to push a copyright reform bill that would require schools to pay a license fee for content that is available free online – even if that content is designed specifically for people to use for free. In fact, the politician recommending this change seemed upset at the “freebies” offered by fair use, and decided it was time to shut them off. Apparently, no one explained that “fair use” isn’t a loophole, but a necessary point of balance in copyright law.

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Comments on “Canadian Politician Worried About Fair Use Freebies”

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Chris Reuter (user link) says:

Another Boondoggle.

This had my blood pressure climbing until I actually read the article. Basically, they want to make it so that everything on the net is payware for educators unless explicitly stated otherwise. Since most content providers already have a terms and conditions page (and most free educational material these days is under the Creative Commons license), this doesn’t really change things for the people who want to give their stuff away.

The good news about all of this is that it doesn’t in any way limit Canadians’ freedom and presumably would let educators use content on the web even if the license forbids it.

The bad news is that it’s dumb. It differs from standard practice on the Internet (proprietary content is password protected, free content is not) which is what was originally recommended. So instead of just telling teachers that they can only use stuff they can get to without cracking a password, we need a new government department to collect fees from schools and give it to the entertainment conglomerates.

So once again, my tax dollars are being funnelled to Disney. Hooray!

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