The Internet

CopyNight - Tuesday, November 22

Every fourth Tuesday, fans of free culture gather in cities across North America to talk about the conflicts between freedom and intellectual property regulation. Welcome to this month's CopyNight: Tuesday, November 22, around 7pm.

So far only a few Canadian cities are involved: Toronto and
Montreal. I would be interested to co-host one in Ottawa if there is anyone interested. We may be able to tie this directly into Free Culture campus groups being launched at Carleton University and Ottawa University.

i, cringely: Google-Mart

An article by Robert X. Cringely includes:

This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.

November 15 meeting with David McGuinty, MP for Ottawa-South

I set up a meeting with my MP, Mr. McGuinty, earlier this morning. We met in the Lobby which is part of the parliament buildings I had never been to before. It is a room immediately behind where the government-side parliamentarians sit in the House of Commons Chamber.

I wrote up a 1-page (2 sides) summary so that I would have something to hand to him and to reference during conversations. (OpenDocument format, PDF format)

Summary: I started by suggesting that this is an economic policy and competition issue, not a moral, property or "theft" issue. When new communications technology reduced the marginal cost (the cost per additional unit) of the reproduction and distribution of creativity. With techniques such as peer distribution (P2P) this marginal cost is brought near enough to zero to not being worth metering.

Protecting Creators' Rights in the Digital Age -- letter to the CRA.

The Creators' Rights Alliance sends out a monthly news briefing. In the November issue (#31) there was a report from the conference entitled Copyright Reform in Canada: Meeting the Challenges of the Digital Age held at the Old Mill in Toronto in September 15-16.

I sent the following letter as a reply to that section of their briefing.

Geist: Facing The Facts on Internet Governance

Michael Geist's Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Freely available version) focuses on the Internet governance issues that will take center stage at this week's World Summit on the Information Society. He argues that the current system requires change and that building on ICANN need not lead to U.N. control over the Internet nor to greater global censorship. I conclude that rather than rhetoric, compromise is needed based on the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, and respect for national sovereignty.

The Manitoban: Google Print launches online library

This The Manitoban article by Tessa Vanderhart includes:

“The real question is what needs to happen for Google Print to launch digitization in Canada,” said Michael Geist, a Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law.

“The problem is not that Google Print isn’t accessible to Canadians. The problem is that Google can’t launch a Canadian Google Print focused on Canadian titles because our fair dealing approach would not cover the digitization of the work.”

Information Meeting on Educational Content and Copyright in the Digital Age

The issue of "educational use of the Internet" will be one of the issues discussed at this meeting on November 21 in Geneva, Switzerland.

I am told that Bruce Couchman (Senior Legal Analyst, Intellectual Property Policy, Industry Canada) and Danielle Bouvet (Director, Legislative and International Projects, Copyright Policy Branch, Canadian Heritage) will be speaking about the situtation in Canada.

Microsoft Is Leaking Internal Documents to Make Us Think They Have a Plan

This week's i,cringley article by Robert X. Cringely includes:

Microsoft's core businesses are slowing down. Google could become a major threat to Microsoft. What harm could Google cause Microsoft? Microsoft's greatest business vulnerability is Office. If a competitive product (or service) hit the market it could further dilute Microsoft's earnings since they'd have to lower Office prices to compete. Another great threat is Google could become an organizing influence in the Open Source world. They could guide the Open Source community and it could become a greater threat to Microsoft.

See also: Gates memo warning of 'disruptive' changes does not demonstrate full understanding of change.

Europe: Give us digital rights for digital consumers

This The Register article by Lucy Sherriff includes:

The UK's National Consumer Council (NCC) has lent its voice to pan European calls for the music and film industries to stop treating consumers like pirates.

The pan European consumer organisation BEUC is launching a campaign, backed by MEP Zuzana Roithova, to see consumers' digital rights enshrined in law because it believes consumers' rights being ignored by many online music vendors.

Please write and ask your MP why they aren't fighting to protect our rights in Canada!

Lessig: Google's Tough Call

This Wired magazine article by Lawrence Lessig includes:

No publisher ever said, "I'll lose money on book sales, but I'll make it up from Internet searches." They therefore intone "grave misgivings" about copyright in order­ to demand a piece of the action­: money. It's an old technique (the Motion Picture Association of America famously tried it against Sony Betamax). But the inspiration is not copyright, it's Tony Soprano­.

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