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Copyright Clouds Are Gathering

there's a storm a-comin'

All signs are pointing to Industry Minister Jim Prentice introducing Canada’s long-awaited copyright reform bill into the house of commons within the next week or two. Sadly, all signs are pointing to this as-yet unborn legislation being even more restrictive than the stillborn bill C-60, which was the Martin governments stab at the same thing.

The general impression seems to be that the new legislation will boil down to being a “Digital Millenium Copyright Act v2.0” (the DMCA being the U.S. equivalent legislation introduced seven years ago, and one of the most mis-applied and ineffective (link your own MPAA/RIAA study of choice on piracy here) pieces of software in my memory.

I’ve started a half-dozen follow-up paragraphs trying to encapsulate why you should care. I’m aware the prospect of following Canadian government legislation on copyright reform is… not particularly appealing, but you should care. This is a critical issue to Canadian content creators of all stripes (artists, actors, writers, producers, musicians, teachers, researchers, academics…) and equally important to all Canadian content consumers (everyone). It will influence what types of entertainment and educational content you can watch, and how you can watch it, and who you have to pay to watch it. It will influence what types of entertainment and educational content you can create, and how you create it, and who is the gatekeeper to distribution. It will influence how much it costs to buy an iPod, and whether academics can be sud for research by corporations who don’t like their findings, and weather or not we want US Government to be able to not only influence Canadian policy, but to (by some accounts) write it outright.

This is not a partisan issue (the Liberal proposal was awful as well), this is an issue about Canada having a chance to be a strong Global leader in progressive copyright… or capitulating to U.S. Pressure to copy a bill whose own architect says “Canadian copyright law is already stronger and better than that of the US.

More P2P Fun with Mark

What can I say, this was the first image GIS pulled up.

Reusing headers. How gauche.

There are not only one but two new posts by Mark Cuban on his P2P stance over at his site.

While they help to clarify his position regarding his first post (which I wrote about below), they make his overall viewpoint (in my opinion) even more skewed.

In one breath he argues that consumers really can’t tailor their individual ISP accounts to their personal ideals, and in the next he advocates a system where outbound traffic is charged a per kb rate independently of all-you-can-eat inbound traffic, because that makes the most sense to him personally:

For most internet users, like probably 99pct of us, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in our bills or consumption. In fact, many of us could opt for cheaper plans because beyond the family photos or videos we may upload every now and then, or the rare backup of our hard drives, most people don’t consume much outbound bandwidth at all.

which is true if 99pct of all internet users don’t play on-line games, or have on-line connected devices (especially game consoles), Or use Skype (or any other VOIP-based telephony), or webcam. or iChat, Or VPN, or FTP, or upload to their own websites, or participate in distributed computing projects…
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<__> <-- The Boat Mark Cuban-->¡

What can I say, this was the first image GIS pulled up.

So I have this interesting post I’ve been trying to write about steak sandwiches all week, but I keep finding things which distract me from that vital task. To whit:

I like Mark Cuban. I also like his Blog (you can tell as it’s one of a very small list over there on the right hand of the screen). I like controversial singular personalities in both pro-sports and media, and think that a lot of the dynamic vision that can lead to innovation and excellence in both is often much harder in groupthink “corporate consensus” ownerships. However in his recent open letter to Comcast I can’t really understand what he’s possibly thinking.
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Why the Writers Guild strike may threaten digital rights on-line (or “Defending Mr. Moneybags”).

He's a great guy - honest!

The Explosively Talented Christopher Bird is a great blogger. He not only writes regularly for the Torontoist, but his personal site updates regularly, is witty and charming, and covers (almost to a precision decimal place) topics of vital importance to me including Ontario Electoral Reform, lazy writing clichés, and the Legion of Superheroes.

I agree, to an uncanny extent, with most of his viewpoints. Finding a kindred-spirit who is a regular blogger is always truly heartwarming as it makes one feel less lousy about not writing more oneself… I just need to point people in his general direction – takes a lot less effort.

That being said his recent post on the Writers Guild of America strike troubled me as it evokes a general feeling I’ve gotten elsewhere on-line that this is a slam-dunk issue that can be boiled down to:

“This is a battle over corporations earning billions of dollars and unfairly refusing to give those most responsible for the creation of the content which mandates their profits their proper due.”

Succinct. Great copy. But just not true.
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St. John’s in glorious High Definition

Oooh. Powerpoint.

Firstly, thanks to everyone who came out to either of my panels as part of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival. It was great to get out of town for a couple of days and I had a great time meeting with you all, and participating in the face-2-face session on Friday.
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Late to the party.

Read it. Live it. Love it.

Hi. Welcome back.

One of the reasons I decided to revitalize this blog was that I missed having an outlet to vent some of my random half-formed theories and gut instincts about the future of new media. I’d been (mostly unbeknown to me) forumalting the seeds of a grand theory about how media audiences are segmenting, how content creation with niche audiences in mind is increasingly important, how audiences will get smaller but choosier… lots of good stuff.

Then of course my birthday rolls around and my brother was kind enough to pick up The Long Tail. Somehow, I managed to completely miss out on this novel at it’s release dispite the fact:

  • I’m a Wired subscriber
  • I was aware of Chris’ writing
  • The cover is a pleasing white
  • He’s pretty much written everything I wanted to say, but backed it up with… research… and math… and stuff

So… go read that instead.

One of the interesting things of the concept of “the long tail” is that it’s a relatively easy concept for the novice to grasp. To whit: when a consumer isn’t limited by scarcity they are more diverse in their consumption choices. This just makes sense. At a corner store I’ll be happy to find “cheese”, at a large grocery story I’ll pick up “fat free mozzarella”, and at a specialty shop I might eventually get “reduced fat Canadian bocconcini.” With an increase in selection, I can narrow down much tighter what actually appeals to my taste.

Why Anderson’s book does an admirable job of showing how these “non-blockbuster” markets are increasingly important to on-line ventures that are not limited by conventional shelf-space (like Amazon, or iTunes) it doesn’t take into account the implication that this is a natural consequence of social interaction as well, and has implications for social networking, viral marketing, and all that other marketing gak that advertisers are, increasingly, excited about.

But, more on that next time.