Category Archives: politics

A note concerning the last post.

First of all, and further to the last post, I want to give some kudo’s to the Library of Congress for putting these photos on flickr.  It’s pretty cool that someone there had the bright idea to share them on a public, super popular, photo sharing venue, instead of putting them on their own gov’t served webpage where dramatically fewer people would be exposed to them.

Further, it makes economical sense in a couple of ways.  First, they don’t have to foot the bandwidth bill for constant use of them – flickr is doing that.  In return flickr has an archive of historical photos that are royalty free.  Secondly, some of the people on the internet may very well be able to provide interesting and pertinant commentary and insight to these photos – something that I dare say would not have happened to the same extent had they only been hosted at the LoC website.

Example, a comment on Wil Wheaton’s Blog:

OK, this is weird. One of the very first photos is of a barn in the Catskills. The angle of the June sun puts the viewing angle as SE, and with the distance of the Catskill Mountains in the background, I would place this photo within 10-15 miles of the farm where I grew up. I can see why my grandfather bought those 400 acres in 1940. With a view like this, Brooklyn must’ve seemed a purgatory.

People often forget when they’re paying their taxes that these things are supported too.  That good works are being done by the the Gov’t. (this is an US example, but our Canuckian Canadian Gov’t is doing some good things too.)

I’m not going to make spiel about contacting your MP’s/Congresscritters or anything here – but I am going to make note that although we may not see  all the good projects are governments are involved in, but they do exist.  So it’s a good reminder to find someone to publicly or privately thank for those we like and support, and voice our opposition to those we don’t – otherwise, no institution, no matter how right thinking, can correctly gauge the community support for the projects proposed to it.


Canuck DMCA, Dead or just biding it’s time?

Canadian copyright law is something I feel very strongly about. Yes, I personally have been guilty of downloading movies or videogames. I’m not perfect. However, I don’t support a policy which places those who would violate someone’s copyright above the holder of the copyright. (This is an issue Sami and I are not in 100% agreement on. I do think we agree on the basics though – that copyright holders have certain rights, they should be protected, and too draconian laws could be bad – it is a matter of degrees. She’ll speak up if I’m entirely incorrect.)

I do support fair and balanced copyright reform. Copyright reform in the works should give people exclusive control over their works for a time, and when that time expires have their work become part of the public domain.

Fair and balanced copyright reform would give copyright holders the ability to seek compensation for loss of profits when their intellectual property is violated.

What fair and balanced copyright reform should not do is place undo restrictions on consumers. For example, we should be able to device shift. We should be able to time shift. We should be able to parody a copyrighted work.

These are rights that are being considered for removal from future copyright reform being proposed by the Hon. Ministers Jim Prentice and Jose Verner.

This may seem like greek to some, but let me illustrate what I think is one of the worst ideas in the proposed reform – the lack of device shifting.

Device shifting is when you take copyrighted material that you have purchased, and move it to another device. For example, you buy a CD. You take the CD home and rip a copy of it to play on your iPod. This would be illegal under the proposed reform. Is this sane?

Sure it is – if you’re a major media label. You’d rather someone buys your CD, then goes home, attempts to put it on their iPod and finds out they can’t. They then have to go onto iTMS (iTunes Music Store) and purchase a second copy for their iPod. Royalties twice, for the same content.

Of course, I’m sure many industries would have liked to have the ear of Mr. Prentice. If I were a horse and buggy manufacturer when the automobile was invented I’d have loved it if I could have bought legislation in Canada which would make it illegal for people to drive automobiles on the roadways. Or if I were a producer of coal-oil, I’d have loved it if electric light bulbs were outlawed.

It is not the place of the government to protect a failing business model.

/end rant. (though I may write more about this in the next little while.

If you want to know more about this, here are a few places to start.

Michael Geist’s Blog – Michael Geist is a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. He is an expert on international copyright.

Facebook Fair Copyright for Canada Group – A group dedicated to discussion of fair copyright reform in Canada.

CBC’s Search Engine article.

The Globe and Mail’s article, New copyright law starts Web storm.