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.

Commentary on Captain Copyright

I have my own commentary on the Captain Copyright website. A collegue, MC, attempted to send his thoughts to the Captain but unfortunately the Captain does not seem to be ready to receive e-mail yet. I'm reprinting those comments (with permission) as inspiration to others who might want to send a balanced comment to the Captain.

I just stumbled on your website. It's quite interesting. As a software developer I think it is important that people understand the importance of copyright. However, while the information that is contained on the website is quite accurate, I am a bit worried that children will emerge thinking that there is only one way to deal with copyrighted information.

Making the world safe for ...

(Via BoingBoing)

Well, that's it, if you're transporting poorly made copies of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, beware!. The MPAA, UK Customs and other usual suspects have recruited two new agents in the War Against Badly Copied DVDs. That's right, just like impoverished third world immigrants smuggling drugs, now DVD smugglers will be found out by Lucky and Flo, the DVD Sniffin' Dynamic Duo. What do they smell? Cellophane? The ink on optical media?

Copyleft / Copyright / Copywrong – Is Copyright obsolete in the Digital Age?

The most recent newsletter from the Creators' Rights Alliance (CRA Briefings #35) contained an announcement about an exciting future event they are organizing.

The Steering Committee also set in motion plans for the Autumn event Copyleft / Copyright / Copywrong – Is Copyright obsolete in the Digital Age? This will be designed as an opportunity for artists and creators to share information and experiences about distributing their work on the Internet. It will feature an electronic salon highlighting some of these projects. Artists and activists from across Canada and from abroad will be on hand to discuss their work and their experiments with new forms of contracts (such as the Creative Commons licence) and business models. The event will close with an address from the popular Brazilian performer, Gilberto Gil, who is also Brazil’s Minister of Culture. The event will be held at the end of September at Ryerson University in Toronto and is being sponsored by the School of Journalism. Keep you eye on this space for more details!

Digital Copyright Canada's Canadian Content now on

Justin Beach of sent me a message to indicate that he has added this BLOG as a headline BLOG feeds for his site. Front-page articles on this site will be showing up on the front page of his site.

PWAC's Executive Director, John Degen, reports on Geist Hart House talk.

John Degen posted some comments to the Professional Writers Association of Canad BLOG. (Note: There is ongoing discussion on that BLOG in the comments, and it is quite worthwhile to read and participate).

I'll add some commentary to what he wrote.

Mr Degen did not like the mention of Sam Bulte. The traditional cultural community liked Ms. Bulte for the same reason the next generation did not: Ms. Bulte believed she already understood the needs of the cultural community, believed she had the solutions to the problems, and did not allow her "work" to be "distracted" by those who had differing opinions. As an author who saw Ms. Bulte as the greatest threat to my creativity, and future Canadian creativity in general, I strongly disagree with John Degen who said that she "put in more good work than anyone else during the last session of Parliament".

Webcast of the March 30, 2006 Hart House lecture

The organizers of the 2006 Hart House Lecture: Our Own Creative Land: Cultural Monopoly and the Trouble with Canadian Copyright have indicated the location to go to for the Webcast.

Ironically this is a Microsoft Media Server (mms) based video stream. Microsoft, as much as the major recording labels and major motion picture studios, represents the extreme "protect the incumbents from change" vision that opposed Michael Geist's balanced vision that protects future creativity and innovation.

As a desktop GNU/Linux user I will try to use various tools which have reverse-engineered the mms protocol and many of the underlying audio/video formats. While this critical engineering technique is legal today, one of the goals of the extreme vision from the incumbents is to make this technique, and the use of the compatibility tools created with them, illegal to create, distribute and use.

The End of (Radio) Days?

An article by Rob Hyndman talks about the future, or lack of a future, that traditional commercial radio has. I am yet another example of someone who previously listened to radio, but currently do not have the time. I sometimes listen to specific CBC shows, but even though I listen to more audio today than I did 5 years ago, it is all in the form of MP3 files downloaded (legally!) from the Internet.

What I listen to are audio blogs such as Cory Doctorow's Podcast, 2600 Magazine's Off the Wall and Off the Hook, Lulabot Drupal Podcast, The Parliament Hillbillies in Ottawa, and others.

Our Own Creative Land: Cultural Monopoly and the Trouble with Canadian Copyright

The following was received from Derek Tsang of the Hart House Lecture Committee.

The webcast will be in real-time, with links from the main Hart House page and from the Lecture website.

The lecture will also be available on the Rabble Podcast Network, and will be broadcast on TVO Big Ideas.

To Mr. McOrmond:

I believe that you may be interested in the 2006 Hart House Lecture, to be delivered by Michael Geist on March 30, 2006 at Hart House in the University of Toronto. The lecture will be webcast live from the Great Hall, and audio recordings will be posted online.

Speaking with Carleton Mass Communications class: Communication Institutions, Cultural Industries and State Policy

On Tuesday March 14 I spoke with Professor Paul Attallah's Mass Communications MCOM5301 class. I have published my slides, which give an indication of the types of topics we spoke about.

The NDP’s Four Point Plan for A Better CBC

This SooNews Wire article includes:

Charlie Angus, NDP Heritage Critic, outlines NDP policy approach to relations with new Conservative government on CBC and Canadian broadcasting policy issues, including CBC governance, local/regional programming, foreign ownership limits, and English-Canadian drama.

See also: Globe and Mail: CBC needs ‘critical mass' of drama, president says by Victoria Ahearn, Canadian Press

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