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

TPPA looks set to secretly extend NZ’s Copyright Term

Last week the Creative Freedom Foundation participated in a group briefing and Q&A session with David Walker, NZ’s Chief Negotiator in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, and officials Angela Strahl and Yvonne Woutersen.

The meeting made it quite clear that, although the details aren’t final, we can expect to lose many remix rights and see a greater ‘orphaned works’ problem here in New Zealand in exchange for more dairy exports to the U.S. Rather than further protecting artists’ rights, this move will prop up a fundamentalist approach to copyright that will drain the pool of works currently accessible to artists who wish to freely build upon them. Our Big Idea article outlines some of the reasons why this is a problem for kiwi artists.
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Save the date! Dec 8 Fair Deal event in Auckland

Fair Deal: 8 December event inviteThe 15th round of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations will take place in Auckland from December 3rd to 12th. New Zealand artists are likely to be affected by provisions in the TPP dealing with copyright.

The Creative Freedom Foundation is part of the Fair Deal coalition, which strives to keep the TPP from changing New Zealand’s Copyright Act. We’ve grown to include 11 domestic partners and 9 international allies.

On Saturday, December 8th at Toto Restaurant in Auckland from 6 to 8pm, the Fair Deal coalition will host a public event on the TPP, featuring a number of flash talks from our international and domestic coalition members on TPP issues, intertwined with relevant performances and displays from New Zealand artists (see attached flyer for info on the presenters & artists).

Please join us for this event, which will feature free nibbles and modestly-priced beverages (first come, first served).

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS

Could this be you? We’re looking for Kiwi artists who have made work (any media) that is relevant to issues of public domain (remaking old works), copyright and fair use (eg sampling). Works are to be screened at an upcoming event in Auckland in early Dec, and there is room for short live performances too.

There is a budget for artist fees for contributors. If you would like your work to be considered, please get in touch with curator Dr. Dan James ASAP: danuntitled at gmail dot com. Note that this project is a very fast turnaround – the deadline for expressions of interest is 5pm Fri 16 Nov.

Paolo Coelho Invites You To Pirate His Books

Paolo Coelho 2005 Dubai desert

Paolo Coelho

As a highly talented and internationally successful writer we won’t even attempt to explain his case better than him:

“I have nothing against people earning money from their books; that’s how I make my living. But look at what’s happening now. [SOPA] may disrupt [the] internet. This is a REAL DANGER, not only for Americans, but for all of us, as the law – if approved – will affect the whole planet. And how do I feel about this? As an author, I should be defending ‘intellectual property’, but I’m not. Pirates of the world, unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!…

Some people will say: You’re rich enough to allow your books to be distributed for free. That’s true. I am rich. But was it the desire to make money that drove me to write? No. My family and my teachers all said that there was no future in writing. I started writing and I continue to write because it gives me pleasure and gives meaning to my existence. If money were the motive, I could have stopped writing ages ago and saved myself having to put up with invariably negative reviews…

When you’ve eaten an orange, you have to go back to the shop to buy another. In that case, it makes sense to pay on the spot. With an object of art, you’re not buying paper, ink, paintbrush, canvas or musical notes, but the idea born out of a combination of those products.

‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection. The rest is either greed or ignorance.”

Greens Launch Parody & Satire Bill

Gareth Hughes of The Greens has just launched a bill to amend NZ Copyright law so that Parody & Satire are protected in NZ (read the bill here). This is great news for NZ Artists who have ever made, or thought about making, works that make critical comments through found source material.

Australia got this in 2006, and the US has had it for aaages, so its about time NZ caught up and gave its artists the same protections.

Hughes will be holding an online Q&A session from 6-7pm tonight (9 November 2011). Check it out here.

So…Where Are All The Infringement Notices?

This from TechLiberty: 16 days in to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Act and very few infringement notices have been received by ISPs. So what are the Big Content Boys doing and what happened to the millions of infringements they keep complaining about? Tax payers have spent heaps on creating a heavily subsidised enforcement regime for these organisations and now its looking like their claims were hollow. Hmmm…

NZ’s Parody and Satire Review 2008 (OIA)

In 2008 New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development conducted an inquiry to determine the need for parody and satire exceptions to NZ Copyright Law. The Creative Freedom Foundation requested an OIA report on the review, and here’s what we received (PDF, 4.2MB). A public discussion document was ear-marked to be released in December 2008, however a change of government stopped the review due to it not being considered a priority and to date there has been no further activity.

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Copyright Bill has Second Reading in Parliament

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill is due to have its second reading in Parliament today. The item has been due to go through the house for a while now, but has been fairly low on the list. We are surprised to find out that it is being rushed through under urgency, and we’re not alone, MPs who have been involved in the process are surprised as well.

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Call for TPPA Text to be Released

As we’ve mentioned before, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is the next cause for concern in an ongoing line of potential threats to our creative freedom. Like ACTA, the text of this agreement is currently being negotiated in secret by New Zealand and a host of other countries including the US, however leaked documents suggest that a huge array of matters are up for negotiation and if other US Free Trade Agreements are anything to go by we should be very concerned – this could affect the lives and livelihoods of an enormous number of kiwis. Thankfully a group called TPP Watch have started a petition calling for the release of the TPPA text.

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