Happy New Years: Growing issues to participate in...

I have spent much of my life advocating for or trying to protect (against bad laws) new methods of production, distribution and funding. I started with Free Software (before the term Open Source was coined), and moved onto being interested in all forms of knowledge production. These things have been different than other production in that their marginal costs of production to the producer is zero. This allows for new methods of production (peer production), distribution (peer distribution) and funding (charging only fixed costs, 95% solutions, etc) that were not possible with tangible goods.

Crown attempts to suppress use of public documents

This past summer, the British government attempted to exercise its powers under copyright law to try to suppress, or at least, suppress the basis of, a book critical of the US and British governments actions in Uzbekistan.

The book, written by Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, draws upon several government documents to substantiate the claims it makes. Those government documents were initially posted on the authors website, but in the summer the government threatened Murray to have him remove them. Murray removed them for a while, but then apparently decided not to give in to the threat and re-posted all or most of them. This was an action on Murray's part which is not for the faint of heart, and it should not be necessary in a free and democratic society.

CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes

A Reuters article talks about how CBS Corp. is reviving CBS Records.

Owning the music also makes negotiating Internet video deals for CBS shows less complicated and more profitable, as TV show producers seek to strike deals with online video services such as Google Inc.'s YouTube.

If these deals seem overly complicated for CBS, then what about the rest of us? Clearly there needs to be a way that user generated content can include past movie, television or music without the complexity that even CBS finds to be too much. Teenagers posting YouTube videos don't have the option to create their own label to simplify the situation.

Knievel Sues 'Kanyevel' over trademark

Legendary Evel Knievel is sueing rapper Kanye West for alleged "trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and unauthorized use of Evel Knievel's likeness". In the video (see video here) Kanye took the persona of Evel Knieval and tries to jump the Grand Canyon in a rocket as Evel did decades ago. The rocket Kanye uses is similarly marked as Evels was for his attempt. There is actually no doubt that Kanye is copying large portions of this event, That undoubtedly is his intent.

Bob Young on ITBusiness "Podcast".

ITBusiness.ca's Podcasts page includes:

Bob Young's second act (MP3 file)

The man who launched Red Hat brings his publishing-on-demand business to Canada and tells us why everybody's violating each other's patents.

Earlier this week they featured Mr. Young in Bob Young returns to his Canadian roots.

q&a The Red Hat founder launches a local version of Lulu.com while discussing content management, copyright and the Microsoft-Novell deal. Plus: The Tiger-Cats connection

MPAA indoctrination of Scouts

The MPAA has release their badge requirements for the dreaded Scout Copyright merit badge. Not surprisingly it is full of loaded terms such as "Copyright Theft", "Stealing IP", "piracy" and "bootleg". Also not surprisingly it focuses exclusively on protecting the monopoly rights of copyright holders, without even giving an acknowledgement that the consumers of copyrighted works have any rights at all.

Any copyright 'curriculum' which makes no mention of the public domain and term of copyright, or fair use rights cannot be considered balanced. Labeling people who infringe copyright as 'copyright thieves' is an attempt to influence opinion through word association. The term theft cannot properly apply to copyright as the copyright owner is never deprived of what he owns.

We need to protect the music industry from the legacy recording industry!

(Republished by p2pnet, MP3newswire)
Most Canadians are confused about the music industry and how different parts exist that seem to be battling each other for music related money. The largest division is between the composers/authors/publishers of the underlying music and the recording industry (labels, etc).

We are moving into a time when the recording industry may no longer have much of a purpose, with much of their roll being replaced by cheaper methods of recording and distributing recorded music, more fair promotional methods that don't leave the majority of musicians poor in order to prop up superstars, and a wider variety of business models available to artists. The recording industry is fighting back against this modernizing trend, trying to replace some of the money they are loosing in this market modernization by taking it from the music publishing arm which has seen growth with new media.

Digital Info Strategy Requires Courage Before Cash

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Weblog version) examines efforts in Canada to develop a national digital information strategy. The column argues that the government would do well to resist introducing expensive new initiatives by first maximizing the benefits that can be extracted from the current set of policies and programs. Immediate steps could include promotion of open access for federally funded research, adding a digital copy to the legal deposit program, and addressing some relatively non-controversial copyright issues.

Copyright-related Policy summary from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source

CLUE presented its copyright policy summary (HTML, PDF, OpenDocument) to officials at Heritage Canada on December 1, 2006. The proposals include a support for a living "Fair Use" model, as well as an opposition to laws which protect specific brands of technology rather than protecting creativity.

CLUE has endorsed both of our petitions.

Copyright Reform Urgently Needed to Protect our Documentary Films

The following was released by the Documentary Organization of Canada:

The Champions, Donald Brittain’s award-winning documentary trilogy exploring the intertwining lives of Pierre Trudeau and René Lévesque is no longer available to the public. Paul Cowan’s controversial documentary The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss, about First World War flying ace Billy Bishop, can’t be seen either. Rights to much of the footage used in these National Film Board of Canada productions have expired. Our children may never see these masterful interpretations of our history.

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