Whether free culture allowing all citizens to fully participate, or centrally owned/communicated/controlled culture, at the root of much of the debates are very different ideas on cultural policy.

How local TV could really matter: end of antiquated phone and cable companies

I suspect most Canadians have seen the advertisements from the Local TV Matters campaign from broadcast networks CTV (and the 'A' Channel), CBC, and Global (and Chek News). This includes some of the PSA's and songs they (ironically) make available through YouTube. You may also have seen the material from the Stop the TV Tax campaign brought to you by re-broadcasters (cable/satellite/etc companies) Bell (and Bell Aliant), Cogeco, EastLink, Telus and Rogers.

As a Canadian citizen you may feel stuck in the middle of a battle between massive television networks and massive communications (phone and cable) companies . This fee for carriage debate may turn out to be good news to Canadians in the long run as it may allow us to finally modernize our communications infrastructure.

>> Read full article on the new IT World Canada Insights blog.

Creators protecting our public domain

Tomorrow, Sunday September 13'th, is the last day make your voice heard in the 2009 copyright consultation.

One of the key ways in which copyright is balanced between the interests of past creators and future creators is through the limited term of copyright. While the current term of copyright is excessively long, and appears to be expanded in the USA every time Mickey Mouse is about to become part of the public domain, copyright is intended to eventually expire.

Since all creativity builds upon the past it is critical that we grow the public domain. Any policy that allows works to clearly enter into the public domain to benefit new creativity, without harming the legitimate interests of past creators, should be pursued. We are quickly moving away from a time when the activities which copyright regulated were corporate in nature and having a floor full of lawyers doing copyright clearance was reasonable. We need to modernize cultural recycling into the public domain to match this new reality.

>> Read full article on IT World Canada's blog.

Why won't the movie and television studios accept my money?

I would gladly pay a hefty monthly fee for this wonderful service—if someone would take my money. In reality, I pay nothing because no company sells such a plan.

This quote is from a Slate article by Farhad Manjoo. While my personal choice is to simply not watch the movies/shows that are not offered to me rather than accessing them for free, I totally understand this situation. It is frustrating that these companies spend so much money on lobbying incorrectly claiming that infringement is the top reason for downturns in revenue.

The CRTC isn’t just a nuisance now, it’s a real threat

An opinion piece by Andrew Coyne on the Macleans BLOG discusses just how dangerous old-media associations like ACTRA can be to Canadian creators and creativity. He discusses how regulations like CanCon might be necessary in limited spectrum media, but only evil and harmful to all Canadians (including and especially artists) in unlimited spectrum media.

Media Democracy Day Vancouver - October 25, 2008

Media Democracy Day 2008 Vancouver will take place at the Vancouver Public Library on Saturday October 25th 2008 from 12 noon to 6 pm. Admission is free and open to everyone. Geoffrey Glass will be representing the Fair Copyright for Canada community in a panel, and Ifny Lachance of the Free Geek Community Technology Centre will help people upgrade to Open Source.

Closing Address: Matt Thompson - Award Winning Online Video Producer, Campaign Strategist for FreePress, Co-founder of

On Poetic Justice and Subsidies

Yet another great post by Copyright laywer Howard Knopf discussing the question of copyright vs. arts programs. He didn't articulate it exactly that way, but this is in reality what is happening: the assumption by many politicians/bureaucrats that if copyright was "stronger" (more tilted in favour of copyright holders) then the arts could be entirely funded by the private sector and would no longer receive government funding. Funding to departments like Heritage could then be redirected to sport, a migration that has already started.

Culture in Danger, Extended Version (Culture en Péril, Version Longue, with subtitles)

This is hilarious... or would be, if it were not so serious an issue.

Other election related Youtube videos:

The Internet Is Exploding ... With Anti-Harper Sentiment

It is interesting to see an article from the Department of Culture, a spoof hosted by artists opposed to various cuts to arts funding, talking about the various artist groups that disagree with the Conservative party on cultural policy.

CBC: Who Owns Ideas?

A CBC Radio feature:

Jim Lebans, a producer with CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, looks at the tangled world of intellectual property and how the digital age is challenging ideas about who owns our culture.

Disney's rights to young Mickey Mouse may be wrong

An article by Joseph Menn, a Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, focused on whether Mickey Mouse was in the public domain. The broader, and I think more important policy issue this debate brings forward, is why we are continuing to use such extremely complex formula for determining when human creativity finally becomes recyclable (copyright term expires).

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