My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

7 Articles Tagged with “copyright”

  1. An open letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

    Recently I talked about the threat to Canada’s public domain. The following is a letter I have sent in response to the government consultation on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As with all my blog posts, it is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. I encourage you to speak up by February 14 and write your own letter declaiming the desecration of the public domain! Email [email protected]


    Hello,

    I am writing as a concerned Canadian citizen, as well as a student and future educator, with regards to the effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Canadian copyright law and the public domain. I am aware of the potential benefits of the TPP for Canada’s trade and economy. However, analysis of the proposed agreement reveals that accepting the TPP would commit Canada to extending its copyright term from life of the author plus 50 years to life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively leave the public domain in Canada stagnant for 20 years. Beyond that, the increase in copyright terms will mean an additional delay—in some cases, more than a century—between the publication of a work and its entry into the public domain. Many Canadians,…

    Read more…

  2. Please, protect the public domain!

    My New Year’s Eve was pretty good. As I am not much of a party-goer I did not plan on doing anything special. My two friends Cassie and Carly had extended a casual invitation to perhaps do something. Eventually they decided to watch the hockey game, and having no interest in hockey, I did not go over to their house. But I asked them to “alert me in the event of an impromptu snowball fight”. Sure enough, around quarter after eleven, I received a pushy text message explaining that they were coming over to my house! This was followed by one that advised me to have my coat on—at that point, I knew the game was afoot, and I prepared to ambush their ambush. A snowball fight ensued, followed by the more constructive act of creating a snowman. Later we went inside and played a card game, Dominion, that their other friend had brought. It was intense and interesting, and it was a good evening.

    New Year’s Day is always better than New Year’s Eve. Always. Because New Year’s Day is Public Domain Day. Every year, children and adults alike gather round to give thanks and feast, to…

    Read more…

  3. Submission to the legislative committee on Bill C-32

    Today is the last day that the House of Commons legislative committee on Bill C-32 is accepting submissions regarding possible amends to Bill C-32, our latest attempt to amend the Copyright Act. What follows is my submission to them. It is definitely not very formal and contains no real proposed amendments--many more knowledgeable people have already made such submissions, and I defer to them in that area of expertise. Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to have my voice heard.

    Dear Legislative Committee on Bill C-32,

    I am not a pirate.

    Hard to believe, I know. The current draft of Bill C-32 seems to imply that piracy is rampant in Canada, and in particular among the demographic to which I belong, that of the 18–34-year-old university student. Curiously enough, this perspective corresponds to the one advanced by the industries who distribute music, movies, and media, the very industries who are now complaining that Internet piracy is destroying their business model. While I expect such heated, anti-consumer rhetoric from those industries, who after all are obligated by their shareholders to demonize and portray consumers as immoral beings who will only partake in legally-provided media if they have no other option,…

    Read more…

  4. Game Over: Would you like to play again? How Conservatives and copyright broke my spirit

    Last summer, the government of Canada held an open consultation on the issue of copyright reform. The result: over 8,300 submissions, over 6,000 of which expressed opposition to another copyright reform bill similar to Bill C-61. You can read my submission here.

    It turns out that I and anyone else who submitted to the consultation, wrote a letter to his or her MP, showed up for a meeting or rally, or participated in the Facebook groups or online discourse, have done this all for nothing. We've been wasting our time. Because we're about to do this all over again.

    What's sad is that it didn't have to be this way. Tony Clement is the Industry Minister now, and his attitude toward copyright reform is more sensible than Jim Prentice's. Apparently he was open to a different approach than the one Bill C-61 took--and considering how unacceptable Bill C-61 was, I'll take that. Alas, it looks like Mr. Clement and his fellow cabinet minister, James Moore have differing opinions. So Grandfather Harper intervened.

    The result will apparently be a "Canadian DMCA" that is, as Cory Doctorow puts it, a "goddamned disaster." While…

    Read more…

  5. My doomed love affair with the Kindle

    Some big news in the Canadian tech industry this week was the advent of the Amazon Kindle in Canada. I've mentioned my mad love for the Kindle previously as well as my discomfort with Amazon's approach to tethered appliances. So, now that the Kindle is finally available here, will I be getting one?

    The short answer is no, not right now. Technologically, I think the Kindle is an amazing device that uses some pretty interesting physics to make reading easy and comfortable. It boggles my mind that we have the ability to store so many books in such a small, slim shell and take it anywhere with us! However, I still have reservations about whether an e-reader is necessary, and I'm still set against tethered appliances. So here's the long answer.

    One More Piece of Luggage

    When you leave the house, what do you check to make sure you've got with you? Keys, mobile phone, ID, maybe money? What about your Kindle?

    I've got this bizarre notion that, if I one day get a smartphone, I could use that device as my e-reader as well. It makes sense to combine them; we've already rolled music players and cameras…

    Read more…

  6. My experience at a local debate

    This morning I went to a debate for the candidates of Thunder Bay-Superior North (my riding). The debate was hosted by LUSU, so naturally most of it was focused on how the candidates can help students. There were plenty of questions about student loans and debts, jobs after graduation, taxes, etc. I used the debate as an opportunity to actually familiarize myself with the candidates, one of whom will represent me in Ottawa by the end of this election.

    The four candidates were Brendan Hughes (Green), Bruce Hyer (NDP), Don McArthur (Liberals), and Bev Sarafin (Conservatives). Naturally I'm biased toward the left, and this presents me with the question: if I think the Green Party or the NDP would do a better job than the Liberals, should I vote for one of those candidates instead of voting for the Liberal candidate, thus splitting the Liberal votes and enabling the Conservative to get elected?

    Watching the candidates speak, I was able to get a sense of how they'd do in the House of Commons, as well as their stance on the issues. All were articulate; all tried to emphasize their personal connection to the region and their commitment…

    Read more…

  7. Canadian Copyright: A Call to Arms

    Fair Copyright for Canada

    You often hear someone invoke the phrase, "As a __," in which he or she then goes on to name some sort of position or title that gives him or her the ability to voice an opinion on the subject at hand. "As a world leader...," "As a scientist...," "As a schoolteacher...," "As an evil overlord...." Here's something on which we should all have an opinion.

    As a person, I value access to information. Many people, especially those my age, do not realize how saturated we are with information (or if you do, you may not understand what that means in a historical context). Go back in time about 550 years. There was a new invention on the scene in Europe: the printing press. The printing press allowed people to do something that, until then, was a very laborious task: it enabled the mass transmission of information in a written form. Prior to then, books were copied out by hand--usually by monks--and few people knew how to read. Most knowledge was passed on orally. And most people had access to very little information compared to what an individual knows today.

    Fast forward 550 years back to present day. We…

    Read more…