Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
I just submitted a brief to Canada’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform, or ERRE. I expect it will show up on their docket in due course, but you can read it here first. There are many briefs, some very good, but this one is mine. Continue Reading »
I favour electoral reform. I am a newly-minted Canadian, who deeply hopes my first vote for Parliament will not be conducted under the current, archaic, unfair First-Past-the-Post system. So, when my MP convened a Town Hall meeting on electoral reform, I made a point of attending. Here are some notes on the event. I hope they are helpful documentation for other democratic reform advocates.
During July-Sept 2009, the Government of Canada held public copyright consultations, with an eye to writing new copyright law. They asked for submissions addressing five topics. Here’s one of my submissions, on “Competition and Investment“. It’s hard to tell what will become of these consultations. My submission did eventually show up on the official submissions page, but I still want to publish it for the record on my own blog. I have two more submissions, “Copyright and you (me)” and “Copyright and the test of time“, which I published in recent weeks.
Q: What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
A: Three changes:
During July-Sept 2009, the Government of Canada held public copyright consultations, with an eye to writing new copyright law. They asked for submissions addressing five topics. Here’s one of my submissions, on the “test of time“. It’s hard to tell what will become of these consultations, because the government may fall (again) before Parliament gets a chance to pass a new bill. My submission did eventually show up on the official submissions page, but I still want to publish it for the record on my own blog. I have two more submissions, one on “Copyright and you (me)” which I published last month, and one which I’ll dribble out in the coming days.
Q: Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
A: The largest single dynamic is the change in delivery of cultural works from physical containers (paper books, CD disks, celluloid film) to digital information (ebooks, music files, computer networks).
Physical containers are:
During July-Sept 2009, the Government of Canada held public copyright consultations, with an eye to writing new copyright law. They asked for submissions addressing five topics. Here’s one of my submissions, on “Copyright and you“. It’s hard to tell what will become of these consultations, because the government may fall (again) before Parliament gets a chance to pass a new bill. My submission may eventually show up on the official submissions page. Until then, here it is, for the record. I have two more submissions which I’ll dribble out in the coming days.
Q: How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
A: This topic should not just be about copyright, it should also be about culture. I absorb culture, some of it through copyrighted works, some through public domain or non-copyrighted works. I also create works: essays, blog posts, musical performances, even submissions to government consultations. Thus I am *both* a producer and a consumer.
All culture is built by mixing and innovating based on previous culture. Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was based on German folks tales written down a few centuries before.
The purpose of copyright is to strike a balance: to allow a limited right to prevent copying, in exchange for a larger social and cultural good. In today’s Canada, this balance has been greatly distorted, in favour of the publisher and the corporation, against the vast majority of artists, against the public, and against the culture. Digital technology, extra-long copyright terms, and aggressive policies by industry groups mean that publishers have greatly expanded their power to prevent copying. The public interest and the culture are harmed.
Continue Reading »
Today is the day. Voters in British Columbia elect a provincial Legislative Assembly. I don’t hear many people who are happy about the choices on offer. You can vote for the candidate of major party #1 or #2, but you probably didn’t get a say in choosing either one from the pool of possible candidates. You don’t get a way to say “yes” to the party but “no” to the candidate, or vice versa. You can be pretty confident that, whichever is elected, they will go to Victoria with no particular incentive to stand up for your riding to their party leadership. They are more likely to stand up for their leadership against you. You can vote for the candidate of minor party #3 or #4, or an independent, with a sinking feeling that you are throwing away your vote — or worse yet, splitting your side of the vote so that the party you dislike the most walks away with victory.
Chances are, the number of seats elected won’t match the proportion of votes cast. Chances are, as many as 60% of voters will find out they have no-one in Victoria who got their votes and answers to them.
There are better ways to run a democracy than this. The improvement on offer now is called BC-STV. It will be easy for voters to use, and gives a way out of the problems with the current system. Today is the day when British Columbia voters can adopt it, in the Referendum on Electoral Reform being held today.
I support BC-STV. I hope that you will support it too — either by voting for it today, if you can, or by helping make a reform like BC-STV happen in your own jurisdiction.
I remember that Christmas was such an exciting time for me as a kid. There was such anticipation. I was thrilled to be getting something I really, really, realllly wanted. I couldn’t wait to get started with the gift-unwrapping early on Christmas morning.
The adults didn’t seem to be nearly as eager to get up and get going. And later in life, I recognised that, when I was more eager to sleep in than to open gifts on Christmas morning, it was another sign I was no longer a child.
Continue Reading »
Obama was elected US President yesterday, and there was a huge celebration at a bar in Yaletown near our house (see the photo). It felt great to cheer the good news. Ducky and I have both been weeping from time to time over the last few days as the news sinks in.
This is about more than politics. This is a step towards redemption.
Wow. This is so good I have to pass it on. Sean Quinn posted a marvellous article, “The Big Empty“, at FiveThirtyEight.com. Part of what I like is that it elicited one of the best blog comments I’ve read in a long time:
Frankly, I’m appalled at the blatant journalism that is evident in this story. It’s almost as though you’ve gone around the country actually observing what is going on in terms of the ground game, and reported on it. Typical lefties. (Sedi)
Quinn has been visiting McCain and Obama field offices across the country for some weeks, and reporting how deserted the McCain offices were and how active the Obama offices. Today he put it all together, with a devastating sequence of more than a dozen photos of empty (and closed) McCain offices from New Mexico to North Carolina. Check it out.
You know I am against California’s Proposition 8, which eliminates marriage, and I’m a Silicon Valley boy. I was really pleased to see over 50 Silicon Valley leaders take a public stand against Proposition 8, in the form of a full-page ad in the San Jose Mercury News today (October 31, 2008). One name really meant a lot to me: that of Chuck Geschke, co-founder and co-Chairman of Adobe Systems, where I worked for 16 years.
I heard about the ad in news stories, but I couldn’t find it on the newspaper’s site. (It’s funny that newspaper ads don’t make it to their websites. You’d think that for expensive full-page public statement ads, it would be part of the package.) But Techcrunch carried an image: “Silicon Valley Stands United Against Prop. 8“. (Oh, and the No on 8 campaign has a press release with the text.)
With respect to all the other notable people in the ad, Chuck Geschke’s name means the most to me. Like many Adobe-ites in the 1990’s, I learned about ethical, successful business from Chuck and from John Warnock, and from Adobe Systems, the company they founded. I was just a worker bee, but their ethics and culture permeated the place.