Internet CanCon?

The news following the ADISQ Gala (and the media attention that gave them) earlier this week was that they – in conjunction with several other arts-related groups – want the CRTC to consider regulating Canadian Content on the Internet. Of course Michael Geist has the story: ADISQ Seeks Internet Canadian Content Requirements.

Personally, I am a big fan of CanCon regulations in terms of radio and TV. I think the success of the Canadian musicians in recent years is largely attributable to the fact that CanCon ensured that there was a Canadian music industry. But I also think a large part of the most recent success of those musicians is even more largely attributable to the wonders of the Long Tail than any regulatory scheme. For me, then, although I would support targeted funding to artists (NOT industry-run, though) and other such mechanisms to ensure that they can adequately represent themselves on the Internet, I am certain that content regulation is not the way to go. It’s actually a bit of a joke, the very idea that such regulations could be considered.

Also, check out Casey McKinnon’s views on the subject to understand an artist/producer’s point of view. (Casey runs the great Galacticast with my former colleague Rudy Jahchan.)

“Free” Music

has seemingly not been a hit on campus: Free, Legal and Ignored (from the Wall Street Journal). Sampling only works if it’s a product people want.

Interesting news yesterday

from something called the Aspen Summit. It seems that in his keynote address, Edgar Bronfman (CEO of Warner Music) said that “The War is Over” between the content industry and consumers. We shall see…

News from the US Supreme Court:

Grokster, StreamCast Lose. From the post on SCOTUSblog: “In a decision announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court said: ‘We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties’ – that is, computer users using free downloading software.”

I’m no legal analyst, but it strikes me that the specification that the distributor of the device that may be used for infringing purposes must promote such usage in order to be liable is very important, and will likely precipitate further legal battles before the issue is settled. AFAIK all such distributors caution users against such infringing usage.

Today there are a whole slew

of articles about yesterday’s oral argument in Grokster v MGM that were heard in the US Supreme Court: Reuters, Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times, Wired News, Emily Bazelon in Slate, a context/impact piece in Salon by Andrew Leonard, Hiawatha Bray in the Boston Globe.

Timothy Armstrong is a lawyer

who was present at today’s MGM v Grokster arguments at the US Supreme Court. He has posted an excellent summary of the day’s events on his blog.

The Grokster case

is the subject of a good overview article in The Economist: Illegal file-sharers under attack. The article opens with a very sarcastic lede: “The music business should have stuck by Thomas Edison¬ís technology if it wanted to avoid the threat of piracy. His wax cylinders could record a performance but could not be reproduced; that became possible only with the invention of the flat-disc record some years later.”

I may have forgotten to post

that economics professors Koleman Strumpf and Felix Oberholzer have published a preliminary version of what I think is an important paper: The effect of file sharing on record sales – an empirical analysis [360K PDF]. The authors have come under withering criticism since putting the draft online, but the paper is clearly much better than anything else that has been published on the subject. If you’re curious, the New Observer in Raleigh NC has published a profile of Strumpf. Doesn’t look like an anarchist to me!

The Canadian Supreme Court

began hearing a case about music downloads on the internet today. The question is whether ISPs should be responsible for the royalties to copyright holders of material downloaded on the net. Something worth following, as any ISP would be liable to any Canadian copyright holder. Or so people have been saying today.

Block the RIAA!

At Boing Boing! today yesterday, Cory posted a link to Techfocus magazine’s act of blocking RIAA and MPAA domains from accessing the site. A symbolic move, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.