Tuesday, February 15, 2005

 

The Party of the First Part

Fatcitzen is taking copyright classes from Miguel Sanchez AND Dr. Nguyen Van Fook Listen to Andrew Vincent and the Pirates: Theme From Degrassi Junior High (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Warning! This post is about school n' booklearnin' first and rock n' roll second. Your's truly has gone Back To School. Motivated partially by a desire to improve myself and partially by the desire to have a greater understanding of which statutes we audiobloggers are breakin', I've begun auditing a course in intellectual and industrial property at the University of Ottawa. There was much nervousness as I arrived in the classroom wondering what to expect. Newsflash! Things have changed: More than half of the students in class use laptops rather than pen and paper to take notes (I don't think half of us could TYPE fast enough to keep up back in the day, even if we could afford a laptop). Newsflash! Things haven't changed THAT much: At least one guy in the class was using his laptop to surf the net and play solitaire during the lecture. Ahhhhhhh, schooldaze! How I miss Techmo Superbowl. If you're at all interested in the impact of the internet and copyright law on the artists you love and your ability to listen to music where you want, when you want there are a whole PILE of cool things to read and learn. I'm currently really digging Promises to Keep by Harvard Prof. William Fisher. In it, Prof. Fisher describes in great detail the (very complicated) legal processes that - among other things - lead your cds to cost $20. He also proposes an alternative copyright compensation scheme which, he believes, will offer better prices to consumers and more money to artists. (I haven't finished the book yet, but, from what I can tell, it looks a little like the levy system we have in Canada. Unfortunately, since it would mean a major change to record company business models, it might be a non starter.) Toronto Star Columnist and U of O Professor, Michael Geist has written a great deal about the internet, copyright law and music here in good ole Canada (where peer to peer file sharing, pot and gay marriage are all legal, or close to it. After me, everyone: "The Maple Leaf Forever!"). In this presentation, Geist argues that our approach to "modernizing" Canadian copyright law should be what he calls a "Seinfeldian Nothing." In a couple of recent pieces in the Toronto Star (registration required) Geist says the parts of the music industry that are actually developing new talent (i.e. the indies) look to file sharing as a way to INCREASE business rather than decrease it. Geist argues that the fat cats (I'm talking to you CRIA) complaining about the debatable impact file sharing is having on their bottom lines should focus on using the legal remedies they currently have (ie the millions of dollars of levies that are collected on blank CDs, tapes and other media) rather than searching for new ones (like RIAA-style lawsuits against individual file sharers). Ok, ok, enough with the geeky tech law stuff. More rock later, I promise. Buy a copy of William Fisher III's Promises to Keep Buy a copy of Michael Geist's Internet Law in Canada Professor Geist was also one of the leaders in establishing the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic Andrew Vincent and the Pirates rock out. You can buy copies of their records here
Comments:
Fatcitizen. Happy to read the last few blogs. The squeegee family is well but we don't plant crocuses it tulips (they have a count in Feb. don't you know). Anyway, wanted to say proud of you (not sure the right word) on the O.U. thing.
 
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