The outcome of the federal government’s summer-long consultations on reforms to the Copyright Act will have an impact on everyone, including creators. Please take time to let your voice be heard. Below is my submission. Please go to: (www.copyrightconsultation.ca) and let your voice be heard.
My name is Suzanne Boles. I am a writer and have been freelancing since 1996. I have had hundreds of articles published in magazines and online, work for businesses and individuals offering writing-related services, mentor new writers and teach freelance writing courses to individuals who want to make an income from freelance writing. I am a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and sat on the National Board for six years, including the position of President.
I make my living writing and, since the day I started freelancing, I have watched the industry erode as lines become more blurred in terms of copyright laws related to additional rights and first rights.
I agree that laws need to be amended to meet the new era and implementation of technology, but I implore you to consider ways that are fair to all parties and that does not remove, or have the potential to remove, income from individual creators.
We are entrepreneurs and independent citizens making a living from our work. Yet, studies have shown that freelance writers make, on average, less than $20,000 per annum. This is below poverty line income. Yet, we are still able to purchase goods and services and do what we can so that we are not asking for government handouts to survive. However, if you change Canadian Copyright Law in a way that further removes our additional or initial rights, you remove or further decrease our income. When that happens we are no longer in a position to stimulate the economy, and many of us will we will be living off government programs to feed our families.
When considering any and all changes to the Canadian Copyright Act, I urge you to look at the recommendations of the Creator’s Copyright Coalition to:
-Recognize the central role of authors and performers in innovation and in the artistic and cultural progress of a society;
-Reaffirm that the principal objective of the Copyright Act is the protection of the moral and economic rights of authors and performers;
-Reaffirm their right to just remuneration for the use of their work;
-Reaffirm that the introduction of new technologies should not threaten the fundamentals of copyright, in particular, activity relating to fair dealing provisions;
-Resist the expropriation of rights through the use of exemptions granted users; and,
-Avoid placing the entire burden of defending these rights on authors and performers, who should not have to go to court or install costly technological protection measures.
These are well thought out requests that will impact a large portion of the Canadian population today, and for decades to come.