Sunday, October 2, 2011

Suggestions for Improving the Canadian Reprography Mechanism - 2011

1. Creator Ombudsman. Transparency. An ombudsman to deal with creator issues. Not on the board. No fiduciary duty. Fully and always responsive to creator wishes. One year position. Problems published on AC website.

2. Transparent Response to Creator Queries. All questions handled within seven days. With a real-time web forum and problem threads. AC needs to grow up a little and receive criticism openly, transparently, and with the intent of solving the issue, not simply defending its turf and saying no.

3. Copyright Lawyer for Writers. Writers need a copyright lawyer who is paid by AC, but is completely arms-length from AC, who is hired and fired by us. Law is not about truth. Law is about making your best argument. What we get now is law from a publisher’s, particularly large educational publishers’ point of view. We need our own advice.

4. Redo the Friedland Report. To be delivered to the Ombudsman who will deliver copies to the signatories, undigested to affiliates on AC website, to this blog and AC. AC to respond within one year. Non-redacted.

5. Lawyer’s Opinion on Fiduciary duty. A fund for creators to seek a legal opinion, arms-length from AC. One lawyer has opined that AC does fiduciary duty wrong. This is at the heart of why our reps do not represent us, and there is a lot of money that has been decided, probably in excess of $300 million.

6. New Copyright Act and the Demise of AC. A new version of Bill C-32 has been floated and it will result in the demise of AC. We don’t want our financial statement of $104.2 million frittered away by high-priced help clinging to their jobs.

Do note that a remnant of AC will remain – 15% - and then writers and small cultural publishers can get on with setting it back up 50/50. Introducing the 50% and the UK model are the most important items. There is also education revenue from the current six part test rule that AC has not been upfront and open about with creators.

7. Move to UK-like Program. The long term goal is change to the UK corporate system. One part is that writers receive 50% of the money, and publishers the other 50%. There are four corporations. One licences and collects the money, it is split and then, the second part of the system, sent to the writers or publishers corporation for distribution. Writers have complete control over our money.

We need to find a way to seize the assets in the transition so that the investments and balance sheet amounts, including accounts receivable are split 50/50.

The creator co-chair will oversee the eventual shift to the 50/50 model, and an organization more in line with the UK model of reprography. We will need quick movement when the new Copyright Bill becomes law.

1 comment:

Christopher Moore said...

Dennis, I disagree with your last paragraph. Telling people they need to be sat down and persuaded is rarely going to be persuasive. And our creator representatives at Access Copyright face a difficult challenge in trying to change the organization from inside. I believe they do their best as they see it. Even if we sometimes disagree with them, we should continue to try to give them leverage in search of ways to improve Access Copyright.