Saturday, February 16, 2008

Access Copyright Board of Director's Report: Part 1, Its Hard to Get to the Beef!

On occasion Dr. Michael Geist gets a report of a report and posts the information up in advance of the report being publicly available. Snippets of content are posted and then inevitable the evidence arrives.

With baited delight, I come back later, to whisk over to the new hyperlink to obtain the report, in this case downloading directly from the Access Copyright site (this is called "bandwidth stealing," Dr. Geist!).

Seeing the report download before "I" pop it open (I do this with PDF files), I open a tab and go over to the Access website and hunt down the public report.

Before doing so I read their terms of service (TOS) and privacy statements, as those have become of interest lately (I was using the free plugin for Firefox, the Canadian Collaborative Privacy Protection and Accountability toolbar for a while, to automatically scan for the Privacy information from any website: an interesting exercise itself).

In Access Copyright's case, they appear to have a TOS that in a word is complex. Why so complex?

They give rights then they take them away, condition what they take away, then make various offers of grant, then go into UPPERCASE typing ... any UPPERCASE typing I have seen is impolite on the Internet (clue time), and is an indicator of "older" legal advice that in the norm of public behavior on the Internet is to be classified both "Ignorant" and "Rude" at the same time. Every EULA that uses BOLD typefaces, is très gauche. Even MS limits its use to what it must specifically repeat on instructions of its licensors. Its wised up.

So Strike 1. UPPERCASE

What you can do with the content: Authorized and limited licence
Access Copyright grants you a royalty-free, non-exclusive and non-transferable licence to view and display the Content on your computer, and to download and print all or any part of the Content. Unless you have a separate written agreement with Access Copyright that permits further uses, you may only use the Content for personal or educational purposes.
Copyright (c) 2007 ACCESS COPYRIGHT
Nice, simply stated at first glance, but the following 728 words before "Links to Other Websites"?

What does this actually imply, like I need this permission, and if its not stated, I do not have it otherwise? Huh?

I do not have otherwise the right to view your site on the public portion of the Internet? Display its content (ephemeral copy in RAM), and to download (permanent copy of a public website and any of its content) and print anything of what I see?

Strike 2. For requiring EULAYZER to take a peak at your "licence" and making this an issue.

Socan, the copyright collective the fact finder pointed to as a positive model, uses 696 words for its entire TOS; Access Copyright's is 1349 words.

Next pitch ...

This one get the apoplectic award and strike 3: the report of Access Copyright's Board of Directors on the report of the Fact Finder, Professor Friedland, is DRM'd so that you cannot print it, you cannot copy from it, you cannot comment on it, you cannot well do much with it but read it. No fair dealing here at all or fair use readily.

In a sense, this Content appears to violate the grant to me, that I do not think I need. Of course somewhere in the 728 words following its likely excused, but it all seems so unnecessary.

There is a lot there to talk about here, and I hope it gets talked about at a public inquiry, not a committee. Why not a committee? A committee won't get it, but an inquiry would, and would not let go of certain issues, like ...

In Part 2.

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