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.

Artists and Museums Reach Historic Agreement

Thanks to Julianna Yau, in Ottawa for the Visual Arts Summit (We met face-to-face yesterday), for sending this.

Californicating Intellectual Property & Unfair Competition

Law professor Jeremy deBeer blogs about a lawsuit by Red Hot Chili Peppers against Showtime Networks. The offense? Showtime borrowed from past culture in order to make something new -- in other words, they were creative. Another lawsuit launched by creators who seem to have forgotten where they came from, and what all their creativity is built upon! A copyright maximalist agenda only works for a single generation, and then all creativity and what makes us human is dead.

Is encryption only used for illegal purposes?

Apparently, more and more torrent users are resorting to encryption. There is a suggestion by a BPI spokesman that this technology is being used to hide illegal activities.

The BPI is an arm of the RIAA, so it is no wonder that they come to a conclusion that suits their political agenda. Perhaps there is another explanation?

Online dangers to creators

Cory Doctorow's latest Guardian article is clearly inspired by the recent SFWA DMCA takedown of his work. In it, he takes a step back to look at the threats artists face :

Artists have lots of problems. We get plagiarised, ripped off by publishers, savaged by critics, counterfeited — and we even get our works copied by "pirates" who give our stuff away for free online.

Brazil's minister of culture calls for free digital society

A BLOG article by Martin LaMonica discusses a recent speech by Free culture advocate and Brazilian Minister Gilberto Gil who said that digital technology offers a rare opportunity to bring knowledge to under-privileged people around the world and to include them in the political process. I look forward to the day when a Canadian Minister is as well informed on the diversity in cultural issues, promoting creativity rather than propping up the legacy intermediaries (publishers, broadcast undertakings, music labels, etc).

Is Canada's NFB Film Library the Next Archives in Danger?

The Cinematical Indie BLOG has an article about NFB films that are deteriorating. I bet that if any remaining copyright in these films were dedicated to the public domain or openly licensed that organizations like could digitally preserve this important archive. Probably like what I'm told is true of a lot of Canadian creativity the material is long since "out of print" (unavailable and unmaintained) and yet not yet "out of copyright".

Ontario Election Debate on Cultural Issues September 26 in Toronto

The Collaborative Piano Blog has an article about a debate in Toronto as part of the Ontario election.

Wednesday, September 26 at 7:30pm in the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West, Toronto), Elvira Kurt will be moderating The Great Arts Debate, where candidates from provincial parties can voice their positions and agendas on issues of importance to artists.

It would be great if anyone attending could post a summary.

Millionaire monopolist Jim Shaw tries to tell us all what TV is worth watching and funding..

Dwight Williams passed me a note alerting me to how Jim Shaw is trying to manipulate the Canadian Television Fund to match his vision of television. See two BLOG articles by Denis McGrath: Jim Shaw: Fatuous Gasbag, Cultural Warrior, The WGC (Writers Guild of Canada) weighs in on Jim Shaw.

OECD Public Consultation

The OECD has launched a public consultation for the Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy.

There's a preparatory meeting in Ottawa 3rd October, with various options for online participation, and there's an online questionnaire asking for comments in 4 areas :
* Using the Internet to improve future economic performance and social welfare
* Benefiting from convergence
* Fuelling [sic] creativity
* Building confidence

Canadian Cultural Exports in Decline: properly funding authors and adopting peer production in education necessary..

An Embassy Magazine article by Lee Berthiaume talks about a recent event offering special recognition for Canadian authors coincided with cuts to funding to those same authors. The article highlights recent Statistics Canada studies documenting the rise in our cultural trade deficit.

Statistics Canada reported on June 25 that Canada's trade deficit in cultural goods expanded in 2006 to $1.8 billion, the largest it has been since 1999.

While imports declined 3.2 per cent to $3.9 billion, exports dropped 12.7 per cent to 2.1 billion, the third consecutive decline.

Cultural goods are defined as books, compact discs, films and paintings. Nineteen per cent of Canada's exports were books, 18 per cent film and nearly 16 per cent was advertising material.

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