Dr. Dawg

Copyright follies: Western and Toronto combine against access

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email surveillance.jpg

This is an outrageous story, which has not yet drawn the public attention it deserves. Two major Canadian universities have entered into an agreement to stifle access to sources and conduct surveillance of campus staff email.

Simply emailing a link, if you can believe it, is held to be equivalent to photocopying a document. I suppose that physically pointing to the university library and uttering the name of a book or paper is now under the ban as well.

It’s not just gummint, therefore, that wants to watch every move you make. Copyright, once a means of improving access to authors’ works*, is yet again being used to choke the flow of information.

If ever there was a cause that calls for massive cyber-disobedience, this is it. People can literally die because of this wild kind of overreaching. Even the property-rights folks must concede that things are by now completely out of hand—when even emailing a hyperlink, surely in an author’s best interest, can now be considered a copyright violation.

What a loathsome combination of Big Brother surveillance and information gatekeeping—and no doubt the two universities involved continue to have the effrontery to present themselves as institutions of learning.

* Carys J. Craig, “Putting the Community in Communication: Dissolving the Conflict between Freedom of Expression and Copyright.” (University of Toronto Law Journal, v.56 [2006]; “Locke, Labour and Limiting Author’s Right: A Warning against a Lockean Approach to Copyright Law.” (Queen’s Law Journal, v.28 [2002]). [with thanks to Bob Tarantino]

[H/t Chet Scoville]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 20, 2012 11:05 AM.

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