Captain Copyright Saves The Day at CLA

Access Copyright's “Captain Copyright” campaign raised some hackles at CLA and had a few of us subverting the promotional materials that Access Copyright had at their booth by modifying the stickers they were giving out…


For anyone who doesn't know, Captain Copyright is a character created by Access Copyright to promote copyright to students and teachers.  Unfortunately, it presents a very biased view of copyright without many (any?) mention of fair use provisions and containing various other misrepresentations on the site.

Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and
E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa,
sums up the problems with this campaign way better than I ever could.  His post also has some good discussion about the issue by his site visitors. 

The CLA membership (who weren't consulted about this campaign before it was launched although they apparently should've been) passed a resolution at their AGM (PDF – scroll to page four) that was brought by their Copyright Working Group and the Information Commons Interest Group for the organization to write a letter of condemnation to Access Copyright about this program and to monitor future developments.

There are two ironies with this whole thing – the Captain Copyright web site explicitly restricts anyone's ability to use materials on the site or even link to the site.  (My use of the modified graphic above would be a violation in their opinion.  I'm claiming the non-legal but commonly understood “anything on the Net is free for the taking” precedent as my defense. )

The other irony is that Captain Copryight himself is apparently comprised of a number of potential copyright infractions including one image that evokes the infamous “goatse” (which I think Access Copyright should be ashamed of exposing children to!)  Boing Boing has a post which summarizes the possible copyright infringements in the character. 

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