Creators Connecting:

Susan Crean & Russell McOrmond

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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.

Time sequence and Table of Contents / Correspondences

There is an introduction after this table. This table will continue to be updated as new letters are written.


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.

1Full contact information for Russell McOrmond can be found on his work website at (Accessed March 30, 2004)

2Susan 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 Createurs. (Accessed April 10, 2004) (Accessed April 10, 2004)

3Crean, Susan 2001, "The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr" (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.

5Susan plans to attend an event in Toronto on May 9-11, 2004: Open Source and Free Software: Concepts, Controversies, and Solutions (Accessed April 10, 2004)