The storm of controversy quickly rose when the Canadian Library Association announced
that they would step in to further condemn the initiative before the month was over. With many eyes now on the issue, many grew interested in seeing what would happen next.
Those watching were not disappointed. Words from the CLA became action when they sent an open letter
to Access Copyright, condemning the initiative citing a lack of proper balance.
Three days later, Access Copyright made an official response
to the feedback - both positive and negative. While under fire for allegedly trying to push a one-sided view onto the education system - ultimately students - they said that they would revise and refine the materials thanks to all the feedback and acknowledging that they were not ignoring the negative feedback as well.
While many agreed that this was a good first step, there was criticism
that Access Copyright admitted that the existing materials weren't devoid of flaws, yet they remained online. This ultimately led to the closure
of the site. The only thing left online was a statement that said that Captain Copyright would make a return with revised materials made possible by a board of representatives of many different organizations. Some people wondered why they weren't invited to help out while the CLA openly rejected the call.
While some would have rather seen the initiative disappear entirely, others remained hopeful that this initiative could be turned into something better and balanced. Unfortunately, the outcome would only be revealed through time.
After a number of months of waiting, there was sudden word that the initiative had ultimately been scrapped. A notice appeared where the cartoon superhero would have been. In the notice, Access Copyright explained, "In August 2006, we took the Captain Copyright website off line so that we could revise its content in response to the criticisms the site had received. We worked extensively on revising the original lessons and we commissioned someone with expertise on the creation of educational materials to prepare new lessons on the Creative Commons, fair dealing and the public domain. We also sought the assistance of an advisory panel of educators and copyright experts with a range of perspectives on copyright, and every lesson was submitted to them for rigorous review. We then incorporated their revisions to the lessons so that they could be thoroughly teacher-tested."
Obviously, there was some hard work put in to the revisions, but the notice continues, "Despite the significant progress we made on addressing the concerns raised about the original Captain Copyright initiative, as well as the positive feedback and requests for literally hundreds of lesson kits from teachers and librarians, we have come to the conclusion that the current climate around copyright issues will not allow a project like this one to be successful. It is difficult for organizations to reach agreement on copyright issues at this time and we know that, in the face of continuing opposition, the materials will not be used in the classroom. Under these circumstances there is no point in our continuing to work on this project."
The notice then finished on a positive note, "We began this project because teachers told us that copyright had become too much a part of their students’ daily lives for it not to be taught in the classroom, and they told us they needed a teaching tool to help them do it. We still believe that creating such a tool is important, but we also now believe that no single organization can take the lead on such an initiative. We truly hope that there will come a time when the copyright community – including educators, librarians and copyright collectives – can work together to provide a unbiased teaching tool that provides teachers and students with a balanced view of copyright."
So this doesn't rule out the possibility of an educational tool that teaches students about copyright, but it does seem unlikely that Captain Copyright himself will make a return.
"They have come to the realization that copyright issues are divisive" Darryl Moore commented
on the Digital Copyright Canada blog, "There is absolutely nothing in there about artists (they seem to consider collectives a reasonable substitute) or users which unfortunately shows that they still just don't get it."
"The Captain generated enormous criticism earlier this year when the lessons, which targeted children as young as Grade One, came to light." Notes Michael Geist
, "Access Copyright suggests that it is too difficult in the current climate to develop balanced copyright teaching materials that will be used in the classroom. For those teachers and librarians who requested "literally hundreds of learning kits", I suggest taking a look at the Learning Commons project