DonK's blog

Making the world safe for ...

(Via BoingBoing)

Well, that's it, if you're transporting poorly made copies of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, beware!. The MPAA, UK Customs and other usual suspects have recruited two new agents in the War Against Badly Copied DVDs. That's right, just like impoverished third world immigrants smuggling drugs, now DVD smugglers will be found out by Lucky and Flo, the DVD Sniffin' Dynamic Duo. What do they smell? Cellophane? The ink on optical media?

Locked out of Census2006

Today, a friend contacted me about the technical requirements for the online version of this year's census. This requirements page lists several different versions of Windows (and Mac[OS X]), but no versions of Linux, BSD and other alternative operating systems that might be used by Canadians. The site does indicate acceptable versions of Mozilla and Firefox, which are available for a multitude of environments, but suggests that use of these browsers in completing the online version of Census 2006 must be limited to Windows. Firefox also runs on MacOS X, but Mac users, as suggested by the technical requirements, are only permitted to use Safari. This is a weird incongruency. If MacOS X is supported and Firefox 1.0.4 is supported, why can the two not be combined?

Recommendations for the CBC

My last post concerning the CBC might seem a bit harsh. I critique an issue without providing an adequate recommendation for improvement. Here are the recommendations that I outlined in my letter to the CBC:

  • CBC could expand their experimental OGG Vorbis streaming format to include all local stations (currently only the Toronto broadcast is streamed in OGG Vorbis)
  • The text on the Listen page could also contain a warning for Mplayer users. This might be something like: "Use of Mplayer software to listen to Window Media format audio also requires a licensed version of the Windows Media codec software. Microsoft currently provides a license to use that software with purchases of the Microsoft Windows software and offers the software for standalone download to be used on the Microsoft Windows OS"

CBC condones "software piracy"

(A variation of this posting has been sent to the CBC via their "Contact Us" page)

In the past, I've explained to friends why the CBC's use of Windows Media Player's streaming format disables access to the site for Linux and FLOSS users. The gist of this argument has been that there's no Windows Media Player software available on Linux. This forces the Linux user into purchasing a copy of Microsoft Windows in order to listen.

Recently, a friend sent me a link to the updated "Listen to CBC Page" which now contains a solution for Linux users. The technical solution now proposed on the CBC web page is MPlayer.

Is the tide changing?

Yesterday, Nettwerk Music Group announced that they would join in one of the many RIAA lawsuits started by the RIAA. Since one of the songs listed in the case was an artist represented by Nettwerk, we should have expected them to join the side of the plaintiff, the RIAA, via the RIAA presence in Canada: CRIA (self-appointed defender of Canadian artists). In a beautiful reversal, Nettwerk has stepped up to cover the costs of the defendant.

"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests". Thank you Mr. McBride! It is exactly this sort of action that is needed to demonstrate the true facts in this issue to our lawmakers.

Response from Neil Adair

Neil Adair has responsed to my letter. Reprinted with his permission.

Thanks for the questions. I have previously replied to the CIPPIC

Copyright and patent law has got way out of hand and now actively
stifles innovation. That was not its' purpose when first instituted,
quite the opposite.

Although it is not in our 2006 platform we do have a policy to institute
open source software and open standards in government should we be elected.
I use Linux myself and all the GPC websites are on LAMP. It's an area
where it's easy to practice wh

Letter to candidates

Inspired by Russell's form letter posting, I sent a letter to the candidates in my riding.

I am a technology professional working in the Ottawa area. Technology issues are amongst my concerns in this election. Though these issues are not the only ones which concern me, they are rarely understood by or discussed in popular media to the same extent as taxes or health care.

Copyright law, and the changes proposed in Bill C-60, are of concern to me. While copyright is most often described as a balance between the interests of creators and the interests of users, the debate has been dominated by special interest industry lobby groups representing intermediaries.

Defend MY interests, please...

I'm not the sort of person to follow a specific political party. The concept of a political party, in general, deviates from my approach to democracy: I prefer to focus on the local candidates rather than the party for fear of inaccurate representation. An example of this would be when back in university where Peter MacKay was running in the Central Nova riding. At that time, he might've seemed an unlikely choice for me. He was so well spoken and energetic that I seriously considered voting for him. In the end, though, I felt he was too committed to his party's platform to be an adequate MP for me.

We can still see you

Since watching Sam Bulte's response to the Copyright Pledge, I've been trying to rationalize her odd little view of the world. Her defense of funding from the copyright industry and the obvious conflict of interest reduces to "it's fine for this to happen because you know it happened"... Substituting into her logic: as long as I tell a creator that I've made an illegitimate copy of their art, it's acceptable? Since this is essentially the logic behind Private Copying regime, I guess we don't need Bill C-60 (or it's successor), do we?

We can see clearly now...

As reports of inappropriate behaviour by a major Liberal supporter of Bill C-60 and strong-arm tactics by major music labels increase, a bright new future is dawning for the majority of Canadian musicians. The independent music scene is experiencing significant growth while the hit-manufacturing major label market continues to stagnate.

Now this news is reaching the mainstream. During this morning's bus ride, I listened to CBC's The Current where Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed several indie music insiders. All of them confirmed what those of us who do not support the control culture architected into Bill C-60 by the incumbent copyright industry have been explaining: new technology opens new avenues for new artists.

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