This work is copyright 2004, Russell McOrmond, and licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Last updated April 10, 2004, Russell McOrmond1
The following is a series of publicly published letters between writer and cultural critic Susan Crean2, and software creator and new media activist Russell McOrmond. It is hoped that in publishing these letters that the journey that Susan and I have been taking will be helpful to others to solidify their own thoughts. Susan has been very influential in my thoughts on creativity and copyright, and convinced me that I too am an activist for creators' rights.
There is an introduction after this table. This table will continue to be updated as new letters are written.
April 11, 2002: Susan and I first met at the Ottawa copyright consultation meeting. We exchanged business cards, and heard each other giving our public presentations. She seemed to be in favor of "legal protection for Technological Protection Measures", with opposition of this policy being the main reason our community. It surprised me at that point to hear anyone from the creator community speak in favor of this policy.
April 30, 2002: We got together informally at a coffee shop in Ottawa to get a better idea of where each other is coming from as creators.
October 29, 2002: We spoke in a "debate"
broadcast live from Ryerson University, this debate was co-sponsored
by the CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy and the
Ryerson School of Journalism. It was the first in a series of Gindin
Debates. We each wrote articles before the 2 hour broadcast
Rabble Rumble Website: http://www.rabble.ca/rumble/
Local copy of articles: http://www.flora.ca/creators/crean20021029.html
April 4, 2003: Susan and I were participants
in the Minister's Forum on Copyright hosted as part of the Juno
weekend. My involvement was primarily to warn musicians about the
harm that the Private Copying regime would cause by legalizing
non-commercial private distribution of music, as well as the harm
from "legal protection for TPM".
Heritage Website: http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/ac-ca/progs/pda-cpb/forum/index_e.cfm
Notes from Russell: http://weblog.flora.ca/article.php3?story_id=382
Sept 8, 2003: I was invited as a guest
speaker to talk to a special meeting of the Creators' Rights
Alliance to discuss TPMs and other
These notes formed the outline for my later submission to Heritage Committee http://www.flora.ca/copyright2003/
March 29, 2004: Letter from Russell McOrmond
I am reading Susan's book3 and notice some interesting comparisons between what she wrote and what Lawrence Lessig wrote in the introduction to his book.
March 30, 2004: Letter from Russell McOrmond to Susan
In a world where there are people who would consider Emily Carr, Susan Crean and I as "pirates"4, we need to talk about a balance of rights between creators. Introduced the Writer's Union support of the heirs of Lucy Maud Montgomery to add copyright to works already released into the public domain.
March 31, 2004: Letter from Susan Crean to
Introduction of traditional knowledge discussions in copyright, explaining support of copyright extensions. Introduction of other problems writers face.
April 20, 2004: Letter from Russell to
Independent creative environment that Russell grew up in, compatibility and co-existence between different creativity methods, protecting heirs, the Juno scandal, and whether unauthorized P2P is harm.
Far too many of us do not write to each other. I do not mean quick letters in electronic mail, but the longer and more well thought out letters sent in the past when it might take weeks or longer for the letter to travel a distance. Quite a bit of thinking that goes into a letter has been lost online. While these letters are communicated electronically and posted on-line, I hope to try to capture some of the added thinking.
While it may not seem like it at first, Susan and I share many values. We are both creators who believe we should be able to make a living at our craft. We each believe in a much larger set of issues beyond our own financial wellbeing, and the importance of creativity and culture to our lives as Canadians and as humans. We seem to not differ on goals and ideals, but when it comes down to implementation details there are many things we disagree on.
It is important for readers to realize as they read these letters that we are both creators speaking as part of our own creator communities. The debate thus far has tries to stick debates very much in a two-sided "for us or against us", often pitting intermediaries like the recording and motion picture industry against so-called "pirates" (citizens, audiences). In all of these debates there are more than two sides, and most often creators are forgotten in the debates entirely.
It is hoped that by publicly discussing these issues we may bring the diverse views of creators back into discussions about creativity and cultural policy. It is also possible that by publicly discussing these issues that Susan and I will grow to share more ideas, and we may be able to convince our diverse communities to come together. We are not there yet, but we are getting closer. Each of us is participating in events from the other community, me participating in the Creators Rights Alliance AGM in 2003 and Susan joining me in an Open Source conference5.
is a former Chair of the Writers' Union of Canada, and currently
co-Chair of the recently formed Creators' Rights Alliance/Alliance
pour les droits des
http://www.ryerson.ca/journal/bios/screan.htm (Accessed April 10, 2004)
http://www.writersunion.ca/c/crean.htm (Accessed April 10, 2004)
3Crean, Susan 2001, "The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr" http://www.harpercanada.com/catalog/book_xml.asp?ISBN=0002000628 (Accessed April 10, 2004)
4I am not supportive of using the word "pirate" as I do not see copyright infringement as even being appropriate to use the word "theft". I also do not agree with abusing the word "sharing" when discussing the distribution of creative works without the permission of the creator.