Eye Weekly (Toronto): By the industry, for the industry

I was in Toronto for the last few days, which is why my part of this BLOG has been more quiet than normal. Fortunately Canadian creators and audiences have continued to hold Sam Bulte and the Liberals feet to the fire on their lack of balance or ethics on critical cultural, Internet and technology law policy. (See Canadian Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow's note about the Candidates Debate the day earlier)

This issue was also included in the online version of Eye Weekly for January 12, 2006 (Look for "By the industry, for the industry").

Why should I care about the revenues of intermediaries?

(Also on p2pnet, mp3newswire)

Various legacy intermediary industry associations, such as branch-plant versions of foreign industry associations such as CRIA, CAAST, and CMPDA, are often telling us how much of a decline in revenue they are observing. They then ask governments to "fix" this problem.

I don't doubt that the major labels and similar associations have seen a decline in revenue. I also don't doubt that there has been a decline in revenue with the distribution channels that they control, such as the retail of mechanical media.

Geist on Bulte scandal: Tipping Point / Campaign Contributions

Michael Geist wrote two recent BLOG entries talking about the Bulte campaign scandal and her willingness to be bought by the foreign content/media intermediaries.

If the amount of blog discussion and private email that I am receiving is any indication, the story about the Sarmite Bulte fundraiser hosted by the leaders of CRIA et al is at a tipping point with the potential to crack into the mainstream political press. There is coverage today from Jack Kapica at the, Pierre Bourque has placed the story on his front page, and I reference it again in my Toronto Star column. I suspect the catalyst was a boingboing posting over the weekend that has generated blog comments here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Copyright is a critical issue to millions of Canadians and the Bulte fundraiser sends an awful message about how the government views the concerns of those people. The Conservatives have made accountability their number one issue and it seems to me that the Bulte fundraiser plays right into their hands.

Update: Prominent coverage from Bourque has generated yet further commentary on the Bulte issue.  For more blog comments, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Hollywood urged to use internet downloads to counter DVD pirates

This article in the Scotsman by Fergus Sheppard includes:

The anti-piracy expert said: "There's certainly a hardcore of users you are never going to stop downloading, getting the latest movies, games and records.

"I think what the movie studios and the record industry really have to do is make that number as small as possible, and make it as easy as possible for the generally law-abiding mass of internet users to get the content they want online."

In order for this to work the digital content must be DRM-free. As long as the encoding method of the content imposes restrictions on what viewing technology can be used, there will be an incentive to not purchase content (and either not view at all, or view an infringing version).

These distributors need to realize that so-called "copy control" technical measures cause a decrease in their revenues, not an increase.

Ten predictions for the new year

Blake Ross offers Ten predictions for the new year which includes:

The RIAA will be granted its long-awaited patent on the concept of suing your own customers and promptly sue the MPAA for violating it. Buoyed by this success, the RIAA announces its intentions to patent the act of granting patents and threatens to “sue the patent office out of existence” if it is granted.

Dvorak: Why Must the MPAA Lie to Us?

From the PCMAG Email newsletter:

The big media companies and the movie industry are crying foul over the FCC's broadcast-flag loss. For them it means consumers may have less access to their great content... or so they say. Columnist John C. Dvorak thinks that's baloney; he says the real reason the media companies are upset is, of course, loss of money. Dvorak wonders why the MPAA and others can't be honest and tell us why they're really worried. But if they won't, well, Dvorak will do it for them.


Am I a communist? Bill Gates thinks so...

There has been much said about Bill Gates and his comment that those who have different ideas on the expansion of Patents and Copyright are somehow communist. Wired Magazine published an article that included:

Glenn Otis Brown, executive director of Creative Commons, wondered whom Gates was referring to when he made the remarks. Certainly not Creative Commons, which is a "voluntary, market-based approach to copyright," Brown wrote in an e-mail.

See also: Mitch Kapor's BLOG, Dan Gillmor's BLOG, BoingBoing, ATTABOY, The Register, TechDirt

TechNewsWorld: Dig Deep To Get the Truth About File Sharing

This article by Jon Newton (of includes:

The entertainment industry in the U.S., via the MPAA and RIAA, is doing its damndest to sue "consumers" back into buying product instead of exercising choice, and they have the enthusiastic support of the mainstream media, which faithfully repeats everything the members of the music cartel and studios churn out.

See also Big Music Canada fiasco

My attempt to help the movie industry crack down on piracy

First, a little bit of history.
I was boycotting DVDs and DVD players altogether.
Then my VCR broke down. When my wife and I went to replace it, there was an ex-demo VCR/DVD combo unit that they desperately wanted to get rid of. So we bought that.
My wife has since rented a few DVDs for my daughter to watch, and with christmas coming up, she started looking on eBay for DVDs for my daughter.
(firtunately, my daughter is only five. Although she probably could read this, she's very unlikley to find it and spoil her christmas present).

She won an auction of a Barbie DVD. The seller is apparently a German company and they ship through the Phillipines. She did all her usual checking of feedback, read the listing thoroughly and so forth and was happy (she's a pretty experienced eBayer).

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