Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chasing their tails

So. This week it seems to be about privacy. Not so much me, but the fabulous workings of my government's leadership, who by the way, I did not vote for.

In the US, a wide-spread writer's strike has affected network and cable television shows across the board. Communication companies have reacted by refusing to negotiate and by firing production staff. The main complaint is that the writers of the shows and the promos and the webisdodes are not being paid for re-runs on the internet, legal downloads from network websites and dvd residuals. The companies claim that internet content is promotional only and cannot be counted as full content. DVD residuals actually are in the collective agreement, but they aren't being paid. Under the provisions of the WGA agreement, writers will be paid 4 cents for every dvd sold, at an average price of $19.99 US, with the understanding that as the dvd business increases, so will the share. They are asking for another 4 cents, making a total of 8 cents per dvd sold. The strike continues as the networks and cable companies refuse to budge.

Next, Passport Canada underwent a gigantic security breach, not due to a virus, a hacker or a mistake on the part of a minister, but due simply to the way the website works. A regular person, an IT worker for Algonquin Automotive found out simply by applying for his passport in the usual way. He is a curious person, so as he was finishing, he changed a few keystrokes and found basic personal information on other people, like driver's licenses, birth certificates and firearms licenses, at his fingertips. He immediately contacted Passport Canada who looked into the problem. The office now claims the breach is repaired (it isn't according to others) and an audit is underway.

Finally, this week is the likely the week that the Canadian version of the DMCA, Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is to be tabled. In it, the copyright provisions are so strenuous, if you were to purchase a cd for the full-price from a legitimate retailer, rip it on your computer unshared with anyone, put it on your mp3 player to listen to, you will have committed heinous, egregious, naughty naughty copyright infringement. You owe the company who sold you the cd serious money. You'll just have to purchase a copy for your mp3 player, a copy for your stereo and a copy for your phone. If your OS requires software updates that don't recognize your legally purchased file, you'd better buy another copy, or suffer the consequences of white collar criminals everywhere. You also can't unlock something to find out how it works, or record a television show in order to watch it later.

To review: big wealthy companies who are making billions of dollars on internet downloads and dvd sales are refusing to pay artists who create their products. They are lobbying our government and the US government to "protect their product" by claiming that artists are being ripped off by people who enjoy their work. The government's response is to clamp down on open-source and file sharing platforms in a spectacular bid to protect the interests of corporations seemingly under attack by the citizens who voted the government into power in the first place. The government reserves the right to distribute personal information to anyone anywhere due to a mistake brought to their attention by free independent peer review.

I'll be writing to the following people this week to ask for clarification, or at least a Canada Counsel for the Arts grant to fairly publish and distribute 8.5 x 11 laminated copies of my birth certificate, health card, high-school diploma, records of employment, lists of previous addresses, my unlisted phone number, email addresses, forum and social networking passwords and usernames and photo albums, which, once published, will be unwaveringly protected by my government as a consumer product. Woe be to those who attempt to copy them!

Find your mp and write to them.

Stephen Harper, our erstwhile Prime Minister
Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry
Josee Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage

(an exhaustive list of government agencies to contact can be found here: Michael

Our news channels seem to have conspired to refuse to compete for a huge story, in clear violation of anti-trust laws in this country. The cbc ombudsman can be reached at the following coordinates on this subject:

Vince Carlin
P.O. Box 500, Station A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6
Fax: 416/205-2825
Tel.: 416/205-2978

The Globe and Mail, Letters to the Editor

The Globe and Mail, Senior Editors

Peter Mansbridge of CBC's The National


The National
Box 14,000 Station A
Toronto ON M5W 1E6

Ian Hanomansing of CBC's Canada Now

CBC News: Vancouver at Six Newsroom:
TEL: (604) 662-6802
FAX: (604) 662-6878

CBC News: Vancouver at Six c/o CBC
Box 4600
Vancouver, BC
V6B 4A2

George Stephanopoulous of CBC's The Hour

Lloyd Robertson, ostensibly Canada's most trusted news anchor who hasn't mentioned this on CTV news yet.

Global News

1 comment:

Godless said...

We need to stick together against those who would rob us of basic consumer rights.

The copyright-owners may overlook it, but the copyfight is lighting up everywhere. It is a social movement in anything but name. Bring the news to those near you.