Professional artists in Canada have had their legislative interests systematically sidelined and ignored. Time to fix that.

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(image courtesy me and my little camera)

Something must change about the way cultural policy is created in Canada, especially cultural policy related to market realities. The way it works now too consistently shuts professional artists out of our own interests. We’re expected to somehow make our living here, but the influence we have on how our marketplace is structured is inconsequential, at best.

At worst, we’re subjected to a patronizing mixture of consultative lip service and behind-the-scenes restructuring that effectively keeps us out of the loop. We work hard to explain what we need from the law. …

An optimistic, innovative future for artists and users of the internet; or the cynical status quo of “it can’t be done.”

by John Degen

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(Image re-used here with permission to me from me. First used here.)

Social media the last couple weeks has been filled with a great deal of discussion, argument, muddled information, and even intentional disinformation about this week’s European Parliament debate and vote on the Copyright Directive.

Proponents of the Directive (and I count myself as one of those) genuinely believe it will help level the playing field around online content, maintaining access for users while demanding greater responsibility and accountability from those online mega-platforms who have so wildly profited from drawing eyes to that content. Most importantly, it will layer in long-missing licensing and stewardship requirements designed to feed back some of the profits from online content use (and there sure is a LOT of profit, currently not going to the artists who create that content with their talent and labour). …

Another heavily coordinated attack of anti-copyright spam and robo-messaging aims to scare lawmakers from protecting artists.

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(Image courtesy me and my little camera.)

by John Degen

In early July 2018, in the face of a tsunami of highly questionable “protest” linked to influential and moneyed Silicon Valley concerns, members of the European Parliament declined to pass a much-needed Copyright Directive. Instead, they postponed any decision on copyright until mid-September when the bill will come again before the entire plenary for consideration, debate, and a new vote.

Serious questions have been raised about July’s online protests, specifically about the extent to which the messaging was actually a reflection of European voices — or human voices for that matter — and the extent to which they show any real understanding of the issues before Parliament. As with attempts to pass laws requiring greater tech accountability in other territories (notably SOPA/PIPA in the US, which saw tech giants threaten blackouts to scare consumers into engaging) European lawmaker offices were inundated with phone calls from non-constituents, automated e-mail messages, and robotic twitter spamming.


Canadian novelist and poet, Executive Director of The Writers' Union of Canada, believer in the future of the book.

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