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.

Ontario's Bev Oda named new heritage minister

This CBC Arts article includes:

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Oda intially worked as a teacher but in the 1970s switched career tracks to broadcasting, taking a position at TV Ontario.

Toronto Star's Martin Knelman wrote an article including:

Stephen Harper named Bev Oda, the Tory MP for Durham, the new heritage minister. Oda happens to be the first Japanese Canadian ever elected to Parliament.

Even more significant is that for the first time in history, this country has a heritage minister who reflects the rich diversity of its arts milieu.

The life expectancies of books

This BLOG posting by author/editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden includes the following about the excessive term of copyright in the USA:

This is why it pains me to hear respectable minor authors going on about how the extension of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years is a victory for the little guy. It isn't, unless by “little guy” you mean the heirs of the author's ex-spouse's step-grandchildren by her third marriage. The real push behind the last round of copyright extensions came from the big entertainment combines. They're bitterly opposed to the idea that cash-cow properties like Winnie the Pooh might ever go out of copyright.

The Producer Electronics Revolution, Part I

The SuitWatch for February 2 by Doc Searls, Senior Editor of Linux Journal includes the following:

That fight is between independence and dependence. Between liberty and slavery. Between free markets and your-choice-of-silo. Between what you want to do and what Apple or Microsoft or Intel or Real or Google will let you do.

It's a fight between those who value music, artwork, video and writing, and those that wish to reduce all those goods to the container cargo they call "content".

It's a fight between the The Net and its founding values on one side, and on the other side an unholy alliance between the "content" industries, Consumer Electronics and the carriers who still think the Internet is about delivering industrial goods in packeted form to our TVs, desktops and MP3 players.

Too little (nothing), too late response from past Heritage Minister Liza Frulla.

The following letter from the Ministerial Correspondence Secretariat for Canadian Heritage was dated January 24. I find it interesting that the day after the election, when it was clear that Liza Frulla not only lost her seat but the Liberals were no longer the government. Like all past letters I received from Heritage it only related to keywords in my correspondence, and did not address any of the substance. In this case it was in reply to a letter saying we need to protect Canadian culture from Bill C-60.

Is the tide changing?

Yesterday, Nettwerk Music Group announced that they would join in one of the many RIAA lawsuits started by the RIAA. Since one of the songs listed in the case was an artist represented by Nettwerk, we should have expected them to join the side of the plaintiff, the RIAA, via the RIAA presence in Canada: CRIA (self-appointed defender of Canadian artists). In a beautiful reversal, Nettwerk has stepped up to cover the costs of the defendant.

"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests". Thank you Mr. McBride! It is exactly this sort of action that is needed to demonstrate the true facts in this issue to our lawmakers.

Canadian music giant funds battle against RIAA

Nettwerk Music Group, Canada's biggest record label, publisher, and management company, is helping out a family sued by the RIAA.

"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests," said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a prepared statement.

"Litigation is not 'artist development'. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love."

Read the full article by Andrew Orlowski of The Register at

Changing Heritage Minister: Front runner is Bev Oda

This CBC article discusses the past Heritage Minister Liza Frulla loosing her seat, and about the front runner for the Conservative Minister, Bev Oda.

The 61-year-old Oda is former a schoolteacher and has filled both production and management roles with Rogers, OMNI 1, Global Television, CFMT-TV and CTV. From 1987 through 1993, Oda worked as a CRTC commissioner and has also served as a member of the Canadian Heritage Committee.

Steve Page writes on the Bulte/copyright issue...

Steven Page, lead vocals and guitar for the Barenaked Ladies, added some thoughts about the election on his BLOG, praising the artists perspective expressed by science fiction writer Cory Doctorow and author/musician Matthew Good.

This current litigious atmosphere is simply a product of the record business trying to prop up a dying, obsolete business model. The labels aren’t the enemy; they’re often run by people who love music and are passionate about the promotion of Canadian culture, but their responsibility is not to the Canadian people, but to their parent companies’ shareholders. It’s the government’s job to protect us (both creators and end-users) from those who are out to exploit us.

Thanks to Michael Geist for keeping this issue hilighted!

Arts crowd having pre-Harper panic

This Toronto Star article by Martin Knelman includes:

With the Conservatives heading for a victory on Monday, the mood has turned so dark that the comments of Bev Oda, Harper's heritage critic, on the subject of increased Canada Council funding, are now regarded as scary — even though just a week earlier, they were considered cause for rejoicing.
In fact, Oda has been saying pretty much the same thing all along, but her remarks have been subjected to wildly different spins.

Ottawa XPress: My House of Commons includes the arts

This article by Stuart Trew includes:

But when XPress called Oda to confirm her statement, she offered a watered-down version, more in line with the party platform and the vague statement of support the Conservatives sent the Canadian Conference Free Will Astrology of the Arts in response to its own survey.

I sent the following as a comment:

Issue not a trivial answer

I am very involved in this area of policy as a self-employed author of software and non-software literary works. I'm also host for the website. I recently posted an article describing the complexities.

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