The Internet

Stories behind the stories

p2p news / p2pnet:- There's always more behind some of the stories reported in the media, and some recent p2pnet stories deserve to be expanded.

Being under copyright != activities are unauthorized != copyright infringement. (For non-computer folks, != means "is not equal to" )

A recent headline story on p2pnet is about Michigan lawyer John Hermann who represents several victims of the EMI, Sony BMG, Warner and Universal sue 'em all marketing campaign.

While it's great to have a lawyer defending these victims, it's important that he uses language that doesn't harm our rights in the longer term.

Mr. Google Goes to Washington

A RedHerring article includes:

Google hired its first lobbyist in Washington, D.C., the search engine said Thursday, as the Internet powerhouse seeks a voice in the capitol with the U.S. government increasingly playing a role in shaping online policy.
“Google believes in protecting copyrights while maintaining strong, viable fair use rights in this new digital age,” wrote Mr. McLaughlin. “We support efforts by the U.S. Copyright Office to facilitate the use of orphan works (works whose rights-holders can’t be found), while fully respecting the interests of creators.”

The hope is that Google will also come to Ottawa, given there are some pretty backward-looking reforms in Bill C-60 and beyond which need attention.

Exposing the extremists in the Canadian copyright debate

As an author in the copyright debate I believe it is important to expose some of the extreme positions that exist, to try to convince Canadians and our government to find a more reasonable middle-ground. We are bombarded by media reports about the "harm" of those who copy or redistribute works in ways that infringe copyright, but I believe the other extreme represents a far greater threat to authors' rights. The other side of the debate we don't see accurately reported are those who want to "maximize" copyright in ways that will only benefit past creators and incumbent (often foreign) corporate copyright holders, and who want to remove freedom of choice from authors and audiences about competing methods of production, distribution and funding of creativity.

Paying protection money to Access Copyright.

The opinion piece by Chrisopher Moore of Access Copyright (Hill Times, Oct 3, 2005, P13) should sound familiar: pay us money and we will remove the threat that we represent.

The article contains considerable misinformation. The educational community isn't asking to get for free something that should be legitimately paid for. While the language of "exceptions" is always abused in the copyright debate, what we are really talking about is an attempt by educators and independent authors to stop Access Copyright from imposing themselves on their competitors. While Mr Moore's association is starting with the large target of educators, they will likely continue their campaign with other audiences.

Tim O'Reilly: The Trend Spotter

This Wired magazine by Steven Levy about modern publisher Tim O'Reilly includes:

O'Reilly's radar is legendary. It works on country roads and on the information sea. It told him there was a market for consumer-friendly computer manuals and that he could build a great business publishing them. It helped him understand the significance of the World Wide Web before there were browsers to surf it. And it led him to identify and proselytize technologies like peer-to-peer, syndication, and Wi-Fi before most people had even heard of them at all. As a result, "Tim O'Reilly's radar" is kind of a catchphrase in the industry.

What would you say to the Canadian motion picture industry about digital distribution?

As part of the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival there will be a panel on Saturday September 24 titled "Digital Distribution: Technology and the Entertainment Industry". Along with Fading Ways Music musician Johnny Charmer, I will be participating in this panel. While this panel will not allow for speeches, the following is what I would like to say and I will try to bring different aspects of it into the discussion whenever possible.

I do not believe that people downloading and sharing music or movies without authorization is a sign of some type of moral decay in otherwise law-abiding Canadians. While there are a small few that may want something for nothing, the vast majority are expressing some unfulfilled need that they would pay for if what they wanted was available commercially.

World Wide Web Consortium Comments on (US) Copyright Office Proposal to Use Single-Vendor Web Service

This submission from the World Wide Web Consortium includes:

In addition to the numerous practical impediments that the proposed vendor-specific, non-standard implementation will pose, we believe that the strategy of designing a government Web service around a specific piece of software as opposed to seeking conformance with existing and widely used voluntary industry standards is contrary to Federal information policy.

Telus Breaks Net Providers Cardinal Rule

By Michael Geist

Appeared in the Toronto Star on August 1, 2005 as Telus Breaks ISPs' Cardinal Rule

Internet service providers always seem to get the first call when a problem arises on the Internet. Lawmakers want them to assist with investigations into cybercrime, parents want them to filter out harmful content, consumers want them to stop spam, and copyright holders want them to curtail infringement.  Despite the urge to hold ISPs accountable for such activities, the ISP community has been remarkably successful in maintaining a position of neutrality, the digital successor (in spirit and often in fact) to the common carrier phone company.

Cory Doctorow gives lecture in London on Policy Laundering, Copyright and the Broadcast Flag

Audio-only MP3 version made by Learn 4 Life is based on the videos from Alfie Dennen's BLOG.

Policy laundering is something that every 5 year old is familiar with. The essential thing that you need to know to understand policy laundering is "but Dad said I could". If you have ever seen a 5 year old come up to his mother and say "but Dad said I could" then you have witnessed policy laundering in action.

The example he starts with is the 1995 NII report that was then laundered through WIPO in 1996 to create the DMCA in the USA, Bill C-60 in Canada, and similarly backward legislation and proposals in other countries. This is critical to understanding where Bill C-60 really came from, and how little authority on this subject that this "Dad" should be granted.

Michael Geist :: More Music Industry Myths Exposed

By Michael Geist

As many readers will know, I’ve written a fair amount about the myths associated with file sharing and music sales.  My writing has focused on the growth of DVDs and video games, changes to the retail channel, and the compensation earned through the private copying levy to demonstrate the losses to Canadian artists are minimal and, to the extent they exist, have very little to do with P2P.

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