Re: News release from CAL

Subject: Re: News release from CAL
From: Mikael Book (
Date: la 05 kesä   1999 - 14:33:02 EEST

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Dear ecup-list subscribers,

the opinions which we read in the news release from the Australian
"Copyright Agency Limited" are not at all unusual. What we have here is,
nevertheless, an unusually straigtforward formulation of what can be
called the militant entrepreneurial approach to information. "Digital
transactions are all recordable and remunerable", rejoices the
businessman, discovering a promised new land ...

'Transaction' is a keyword of "eCommerce". The way Mr Freeman (an
Australian publisher) looks upon the transaction of intellectual property
is revealing: "In my view, copyright in the digital world is effectively a
transactional rather than an inherent property right". If this becomes
the dominant idea of copyright (and that is precisely what seems to be
happening), then both the authors and the public will have to look for
their rights on the moon. The conception of Mr Freeman squarely transfers
all rights to the the owners of the rights to exploit the digital
transactions. These rightsowners are likely to be transnational chains
of information resellers.

Strikingly revealing are also the formulations by Mr McDonald (apparently
another Australian e-commercialist):

"It is wrong to think that material in digital form and material in
hardcopy form will be consumed in the same way by the public",


"It is wrong to think that libraries will play the same role in
relation to the collection and dissemination of digital material as
they play in relation to hard-copy items such as books".

Is not Mr McDonald very close to saying that it is wrong to think
altogether? At least he close to fanaticism, because, what he asserts
himself boils down to his own, highly ideological credo. What he means to
say, actually, is that there are no economic, social and political
alternatives. "It is wrong to think" -- so we just have to accept that
public libraries disappear and the the act of reading itself is
transformed into the *transaction* of reading.

In the international "Save Access"-appeal (cf. released a year ago by the
present writer and some friends it was stated that the

"borders of our common informational ground are threatened by commercial

What we had in mind was, precisely, the legions of Mr Freeman, Mr McDonald
et consortes.


- Mikael Böök

Mikael Book * Katto-Meny * Tallbergink 1/39 * FIN-00180 Helsinki * Phone +358-9-6947730 * Fax +358-9-27090369
gsm 040 5511 324

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