Holloway-Smith Steps Down as CFF Director (open letter)

Dear friends of the Creative Freedom Foundation,

It is with sadness that I am writing to let you know that, after 5 long and eventful years at the helm of the CFF I am stepping down as Director and spokesperson.

For the past 5 years I have been juggling my art career, day job, and raising a young family as well as maintaining this work. Recently, however, I have been awarded a scholarship to study a PhD in Fine Arts through Massey University. This requires full-time study alongside working 2 days, managing a household, and raising a 1 ½ year old and a 4 year old.

It is a shame to be leaving this role in an election year when so many issues remain unresolved in the copyright area, but the realities of juggling so many things at once have come home to roost.

After lengthy discussions with the CFF Trustees we have decided that, in lieu of finding a suitable replacement, the best course of action is for the organisation to enter in to a recess/hiatus period, reassessing our future once my studies have commenced.

It has been a wild ride: from our beginnings with the Internet Blackout Campaign, through to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, ACTA, the Parallel Importing Restrictions Bill, and engaging in discussions around the current looming nebula of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Coming from a Fine Arts background, I’ve learned an awful lot about the political process and the media terrain in New Zealand. We have been hugely grateful for the encouragement we have received over the years from our supporters in the creative community in NZ – and we thank you for backing us in this ongoing conversation.

I wish I could say I was stepping down having achieved everything I set out to do, but sadly that isn’t the case. The state of copyright in New Zealand is still far from ideal: the TPP is still up in the air threatening to extend the term of copyright in New Zealand, a full copyright review is overdue, there still isn’t great access to content in NZ, and adequate Fair Dealing protections for artists are seriously lacking.

We are thankful to see the efforts of our fellow organisations continuing to work in this area. Here are a few that you might like to keep an eye on:

  • This month, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand will be launching a site “NZ Commons” that will be dedicated to discussing the opportunities and challenges of opening New Zealand’s culture and knowledge for access and reuse, with a particularly focus on copyright, licensing and the public domain.
  • Ian Jorgensen aka Blink of A Low Hum has published a book called “The Problem with Music In New Zealand”. Blink is a great advocate of NZ Music who has been working in the field for many years. This book outlines particular issues he has experienced over this time and he is setting out to rectify them. Buy a copy and support him.
  • TechLiberty is dedicated to protecting people’s rights in the areas of the Internet and technology – (including Copyright)
  • The Fair Deal coalition continues to operate, keeping a beady eye on the Trans Pacific Partnership
  • The Internet Party has been the first political party to publish an extensive draft policy on Copyright in the lead up to this year’s election. They make some very interesting points.

I would also like to extend a special thanks to MPs Gareth Hughes (Greens) and Clare Curran (Labour) for their highly informed, critically robust, and professional engagement with the issues we have been discussing for the past five years.

Our website http://CreativeFreedom.org.nz will remain live as a quiet resource, and each of the Creative Freedom Foundation trustees will still be following these issues in their own way – they are still dear to our hearts. This isn’t goodbye, it’s see ya later.

For those who might be interested – my PhD topic will be investigating the cultural significance of the landing sites of NZ’s connection to the Southern Cross Cable: namely Takapuna and Muriwai beaches. In many ways this topic has sprung from the work the Creative Freedom Foundation has been doing, and my first project Te Ika-a-Akoranga connects with Copyright issues in a rather direct way.

Ka kite anō,
Bronwyn Holloway-Smith

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