lovehate: Recent Comments on Canadian Copyright Reform

[I started with this at]

I hope the implication behind many of these comments and responses is not that the only way to have "the arts" in one's life are for them to be monetized. There will ALWAYS be, exponentially, way more free art than commercially-crafted artistic products. Any assertion that even echoes a tone of quantitative value for "the arts" over art makes my skin crawl.

Art will always exist whether monetized or not. Music existed well before ceramic cylinders and oral tradition existed well before summer blockbusters. In both cases performers traveled and made money playing songs and relaying stories passed through generations.

I heard much of this arrogance at the Toronto Town Hall where there was an echoing sentiment that relaxing copyright would destroy "the arts". You know what, "the arts" can take a flying leap off the CN Tower and hope its sense of entitlement will save it - ART will endure.

And before you claim this is somehow too tertiary to the copyright conversation going on here, consider that "the arts" is about persistent PR myth that people who get paid to write or perform are doing something no one else can do. Art does not demand copyright. "The Arts" does.

Are some professional writers better than your neighbour at writing? Maybe.

Are some professional singers better than your cousin at singing? Maybe.

But for most of my life, there's only been one thing that's divided "the arts" from art - marketing.

And marketing is just not worth THAT much to me.


[and after another user replied with...]

Are the staff at your local coffee shop better at making coffee than your neighbour? Maybe.

Could your cousin make you a cup of coffee for free? Maybe.

Would you walk into a coffee shop and leave without paying for your coffee? Not without being arrested.

The difference between coffee made at home and coffee made in a restaurant is debatable, but paying for it is not. Yes, you pay for the marketing there too, but it doesn't change the fact that we pay for the goods, services and intellectual copyrights created by others in this wonderful country called Canada.

Call it Art or The Arts, but I like to be paid for my work. And the idea of wandering around like a busker, hoping someone like you might toss a quarter into my open guitar case is repugnant to me.

If you think it is so easy to make a living writing or singing, why don't you quit your day job and see how long you can pay the bills based on the money you receive after your songs have been digitally transferred for free?


[So I replied back with...]

Before I start, you've misconstrued and misrepresented my original point to where it's unrecognizable in your reply.

I never once said that content creators (no pun intended) shouldn't get paid, or that it was right to take from them, so while I appreciate you speaking passionately about your concern, please do not ascribe such accusations to my post.

My point was not whether I would steal a cup of coffee or not, but rather the frustration at hearing that because I have to pay for it, it's categorically better than what I could make at home.

I could make a living by playing piano and singing. It wouldn't be as good a living as I make now, and it would be a heck of a lot harder, but I could do it. But simply because I choose not to, does not make my playing or talent inferior to those who do.

My entire original premise came from the perceived notion, through the Toronto Town Hall and reading some of the comments here, that monetized artistic talent in Canada was somehow the last bastion of Canadian culture. Also, I object to the idea that a looser copyright system threatens culture. 

As much as I hope you become a billionaire at whatever you do and whatever I do, I have no doubt just by sheer probability that many others out there can do what we do both do far better than us. And that's not because I think we're bad, but that I have faith in the hidden talents of a populace like ours.

Culture is not a definable product of monetized efforts. It is an amorphous variable that includes some of those efforts, but also reaches through the skew perpetrated by them and coalesces the rest.