Culture

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.

More competative market shifts...

While discussing the "problems" of subscriber television, this AustralianIT article by John Lehmann includes a very interesting statistic:

Research in the United States showed that people aged between 12 and 24 spent 25 per cent more time on the internet than watching television.

I believe the same type of statistic would apply to radio as well, as more and more people are tuning-in online for all forms of educational, interactive and entertainment content.

How would this shift in the time people spend in front of different "screens" look from the perspective of Television companies? Will they just continue to claim that it is "infringement" of their shows that is the cause of decline in their market? For obvious reasons of bias, the possibility that people are simply not watching their shows doesn't come to mind. They also don't consider the possibility that offering specific shows for paid download may re-capture some of that audience that no longer wants pre-chosen shows distributed by cable TV stations.

Meeting with John Degen, ED for Professional Writers Association of Canada

On Friday afternoon I met with John Degen, Executive Director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada for a very eye-opening meeting. (See also: Anti-copyright: a rebel sell?, and The two branches of the creators' rights movement)

The past submissions to government from PWAC and my own would suggest very different ideas on copyright. We rely on different business models to fund our creativity, and have identified different threats to our creative rights, but have much more that we share than we disagree on.

He has offered to post a more detailed summary of our meeting.

The two branches of the creators' rights movement.

As an independent author of software and non-software literary works, it should be obvious that I come at issues of copyright from a creators' rights point of view. The problem is that there are two very different, and often opposed, interpretation of these rights from within the creator community.
I believe that one of the best articulations of creators rights comes from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, article 27 which has two parts:

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2)Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Creators need a balance between the right to create and the right to receive rewards from past creativity, with the only beneficiaries of an over-protection of the second part being non-creator copyright holders (media and content intermediary corporations).

Canadian Biz, Broadcasters Ready To Debate Canadian Content Requirements

This Billboard magazine article by Larry LeBlanc includes:

Battle lines and unexpected alliances are forming ahead of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s review of its commercial radio policy in May.

Canada’s broadcast and music industry sectors will file their submissions on radio policy to federal regulator CRTC by March 15. Among the potentially contentious issues for the May hearings are boosting Canadian content (CanCon) quotas and furthering diversity of broadcast ownership and formats.

CRTC consultations of interest:

US Copyright office head denounces "big mistake" of extending copyright

This BoingBoing post by Cory Doctorow includes:

The head of the US copyright office has accused Congress of making a mistake by extending the length of copyright in America, calling the term "too long," and saying that Congress made a "big mistake."

See also: US copyright head: world "totally rejects" webcasting restrictions.

Quote of the day: Fireproof libraries!

Cory Doctorow had an Interview in IBM Insights magazine which included the following quote:

And will all this disruption be worth it in the long run? "When the Royal Library of Alexandria burned, none of those documents came back from the ashes," Doctorow says. "When Napster, which at the time was [effectively] the largest library of human creativity ever assembled, was [shut down] by a court order, it took about 10 seconds for that library to spring up again all over the world, and in new forms. Other file sharing networks put it back online almost instantaneously. We've built a fireproof library - and if that's the only thing we remember about the dot.com revolution, then it's been worth every penny we spent on it."

I can't avoid asking the question: why are many of the older generation of authors/creators working to burn this library?

UK: The year of free culture?

As the UK government reviews patent and copyright law to boost Britain's creative economy, Becky Hogge says democratic access to knowledge ought to benefit too.

I found the reference to the Adelphi Charter of specific interest:

It states that, "the expansion in the law's breadth, scope and term over the last 30 years has resulted in an intellectual property regime which is radically out of line with modern technological, economic and social trends. This threatens the chain of creativity and innovation on which we and future generations depend."

Anti-copyright: a rebel sell?

This BLOG posting on This Magazine by John Degen opens a bit of debate between some of the "creators of the past" and the creators who are trying to build on that past.

I would welcome an open discussion with John Degen, if he is honestly interested. We can discuss some of the advantages of using business models that don't ever charge per-copy royalties at all. It will also be interesting to explain why someone who has licensed their work royalty-free under a Creative Commons license would then not want a royalty-collecting agency to be collecting royalties for these same works.

There is now a feature article on p2pnet that forms part of this conversation.

See also: Slyck

Geist: The Digital Road Leads Out of Rome

Michael Geist's Law Bytes column focuses on last week's OECD meeting on the future of the digital economy. The column notes that the discussion pointed to two competing approaches for the distribution of content in the Internet era, one based on DRM and the other on user generated content. BBC version, Mr. Geist's BLOG.

Poppy trade-mark argument reveals unique amalgam of rights

This article by Bob Tarantino, an entertainment lawyer in the Toronto office of Heenan Blaikie LLP, referenced yet another case where laws created to protect commercial interests are simply failing in an attempt to protect culture.

If the mark is sufficiently important to our culture, it should be added to the list of prohibited marks rather than being buried in a partly-forgotten statute, possibly susceptible to loss due to ineffective enforcement by the Legion. The answer lies with whether we want to allow an intellectual property regime designed to protect commercial interests to be used to protect cultural interests.

The two interests are not the same, and are increasingly not even compatable.

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