Canadian Copyright Laws To Change

It has come to my attention that the Canadian government is working on amendments to the copyright laws. After reading their announcement (available here) I have a few concerns about how they’re going about this.

From the interpretation provided by a Canadian Law Professor (available here) I’m concerned when I read things like we’ll continue to pay levies on blank media, but be unable to use that media for making personal copies of music. Reading the gov’s announcement also makes me wonder what kind of crack they’re smoking – they surveyed how many people in what year? The data they collected and used to form the basis of the needs of Canadian copyright law reform was acquired in 2001 and comprised a whopping 700 submissions? (This was found in their FAQ.) Let’s see – what was the state of technology in 2001, and who could fortell what the needs would be in 4 years, when the changes would be examined?

So naturally the laws they are going to create MUST be wishy-washy, such that they can apply to future technology while sticking to the comments made by some 700 Canadians 4 years ago. Just typing that makes me shake my head. Of course interpretation of these laws will be difficult, and will require many lawyers many hours. I guess that’s not a surprise to anyone.

But they are obviously trying to make it easier to enforce copyright law without explicitly following the U.S. and its DMCA. In the meantime they are removing some of our current rights as consumers of copyrighted material. The legislation will allow ISP (Internet Service Providers) to be forced to provide details of what their subscribers do and how often, enabling the copyright holders to pursue perople in court for breaking their copyrights.

I’m all for supporting copyrights – provided they do not stifle innovation or the creative process. But this does not seem to focus on maintaining status quo. It sounds to me like they are setting up a legal framework that can be used to actively hunt down and kill people who break copyright laws. Yes, kill.

Resistance Is Futile

Today I joined the masses – I succumbed to the alluring call of the white earbuds and the slick interface. I am now an iPod owner.

As a card-carrying member of the geek brotherhood (should that be capitalized?), I was resisting getting an iPod for a few reasons. The lack of open standards support, the proprietary software interface and the price premium for being trendy (never a good thing for a geek) were paramount on this list. But looking around at the alternatives really depressed me, as most of them are large, chunky things. In terms of usability, there really is no way of beating this wheel interface Apple has patented – try as Apple’s competitors might.

So I’ve been coveting an iPod for many a year now, though I’ve always wanted to hold back until I could afford one that was large enough to bottle up my entire music collection. Well Apple finally made my year and discontinued one of their models – meaning price cuts for all!.

So now I’m like a kid in a candy store – though it’s a Linux candy store. I’ve found out that plugging the iPod into my Linux desktop simply worked. I was able to download an OpenSource programme called gtkpod that allows me to sync up the iPod with my music collection, thereby replacing the need for iTunes. And I didn’t have to do a thing!

Bravo to the Linux Desktop people (specifically the Project Utopia team) and the developers working on gtkpod! Now leave me to my precious.

Farewell Cherry, We Hardly Knew You

Today we had a visit from an arborist, or a group thereof. What do you call a group of arborists anyways? Gaggle seems approrpiate. They spent some time climbing about our large cherry tree, trying to clean it up a little. We inherited it from the previous owner of the house who, apparently, did not see any value in pruning the tree. It now has grown so large and thick it is almost killing itself.

The arborist solemnly cleared off the top branches in anticipation of continuing the cleansing in the fall after the tree has a chance to catch its breath. Of course, the tips of the branches have all the blossoms, so I’m not sure we’ll be seeing much of a show this spring from this particular cherry tree.

Ah well, all in the name of healthy living!

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Dogs vs. Cats

I was down at the beach today, nursing my swollen toe and watching Dazy running around trying frantically to catch up with one of the seagulls or ducks. Watching her have so much fun, it occurred to me why dogs are simply better pets than cats. No, I won’t hear another argument about it – the debate is finally settled.

Dogs remind us that there are simple pleasures in life. In fact, they make it so easy to let them have the time of their life that you end up feeling like a better person for inciting such joy in another living animal. Sure it’s somewhat self-centered, but I can’t see how a cat owner can compete with that sense of accomplishment. Cats by their very nature are independent and distant – looking for affection when and if it suits them. And when (if) you finally do seem to make them happy they take on the attitude that it was their due, and that you’ve simply delivered them what they had coming naturally. Dogs on the other hand are much more obvious about their gratitude.

Being able to incite joy and happiness in others is something to be proud of, and taking a dog for a walk on the beach gets you much closer to that ideal than playing with a cat and string.

Of Belts Purple and The Hurting Toe

Yesterday I attended my final test for my purple belt. It involved breaking a board using what is called a double front kick. Sadly, I was unable to break the board doing so. I remember my last attempted kick impacting the board with a really nice, meaty thunk. At that time I felt fine, so when the Master asked me to try breaking it with my side kick (a more advanced kick) I was certainly game. I broke it on something like my 5th try – not stellar performance by any stretch.

On the drive home with my new purple belt around my neck my big toe started to hurt. Not a little hurt, like a cut, a scratch, or a dropped box landing on it. No, this was a nice, deep, soft tissue type of pain. I limped into the house and immediately applied the ice.

Today I’m able to walk, but not without a limp. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but I sure do hate those double front kicks.