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Archive for 'intellectual property'

Access Copyright

I have an opinion piece out on Access Copyright, English Canada’s longtime copyright middleman. I argue that Access Copyright is a bit like the Blockbuster Video of Canadian university libraries—once indispensable, and now almost obsolete (largely due the Internet). Within a year from now, it’s possible that no Canadian university will still have day-to-day dealings with […]

Copyright on Campus

A recent article by George Monbiot in The Guardian takes a critical look at academic publishers, apparently with a focus on the United Kingdom. The article makes the following points: -Journals now eat up 65 percent of university library budgets. -”[A]cademic publishers get their articles, their peer reviewing (vetting by other researchers) and even much of their editing for free.”  -The […]

Avoiding a really bad drug trip – Pharmacare versus CETA

Boomers are getting blamed for an awful lot of fiscal problems these days. But blaming an aging population for healthcare costs spiraling out of control is misplaced. Missing opportunities to manage and contain costs is the real culprit. Take, for example, our spending on prescription drugs. Costs in that part of the healthcare system have […]

The Sell-Off of Corporate Canada

The announcement this week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not going to intervene in the sale of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan to the Australian conglomerate, BHP Billiton Ltd., speaks volumes about how Bay Street  and its servants in Ottawa are so willing and eager to sell off Canada’s corporate assets to foreign corporations. It’s […]

The Download Decade and the Declining Reputation of the Conference Board

The Globe’s Download Decade started out well but by the end turned into a propaganda arm for big corporate rights holders. Surprise, surprise. This issue is all about who gets what in the digital age, and for the most part it is the already super-rich pressing the case to maintain and increase their revenue streams […]

Downloading and the collapse of the old media regime

Most people I know do not watch TV in real time anymore but use bit torrent to download what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and without commercial breaks. While charges of piracy have loomed over that activity, this practice is arguably legal right now in Canada – one of the […]

The Case Against Ticketmaster

Anti-trust lawyer David Balto, with the Center for American Progress, recently made the case against Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with LiveNation in testimony to the US Congress. The testimony also provides an excellent summary of Ticketmaster’s existing monopoly, some of which I excerpt below: Let’s be straightforward about one transparent fact: Ticketmaster is a monopolist and […]

Hoisted by his own petard

Of all the high-flyers and assorted fraudsters now coming down to earth, this one is just too rich and comical to pass by.  Owen Lippert, now scandalized as the wholesale plagiarizer from Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a speech he wrote for Stephen Harper, was the former Director of the Law and Markets Project […]

Why Harper’s Copyright Reform is Unnecessary

This story in the weekend Globe says that Hollywood raked in about $4 billion in revenues over the summer. A good chunk of this was Batman, with about half a billion in ticket sales (personally, I thought the movie was awful, apart from the stunning performance of The Joker). So it is pretty safe to […]

C-61 and Rockonomics

You wouldn’t know it from proponents of Canada’s proposed Bill C-61, but the music industry is thriving. The main reason is that musicians can control live performances, and make good money doing it. “Pirated” distribution can create an audience willing to play $40 (ranging up to $200) to see a live show. As Alan Kreuger […]

Canada’s trade deficit in cultural services

With the Conservatives’ “Born in the USA” Copyright Act now tabled, the fur is flying. A year after leaping to the defence of the oil and gas industry, Terrance Corcoran has got Big US Media’s back (does Terry ever stand up for anyone but the wealthy and powerful?). As always, Michael Giest, who knows way […]

The Canadian DMCA: Evidence that we are a colony

It is with considerable disgust that we watch the Conservatives introduce the US entertainment industry’s wet dream of legislation to amend copyright laws in its favour. Without any evidence that the super-profits being reaped by Big Media have been adversely affected by file sharing. Without any consultation with Canadians. Without any demonstrable benefit to Canadians […]

“In the long run, we are all the Grateful Dead”

… says Paul Krugman. And I’m in a session at the CEA confence on Keynes where the original quote just came up. Nothing new here to readers of this blog, but I like that Krugman is using his pulpit to deliver the message at a time when the Canadian government is on the verge of […]

Harvard moves to open access

Initiatives like the Public Library of Science have began to challenge the scientific publishers’ monopoly over the dissemination of research but now that high profile institutions like Harvard are coming on board with their own open access policies it really looks like the end of an era. Earlier this year, the Faculty of Arts and […]

Will privacy concerns kill Facebook?

As I mused yesterday about Facebook’s lack of respect for privacy in a bid to make billions, along comes a story putting Facebook’s valuation at $15 billion. But I’m not convinced Facebook is poised to take over the world just yet. Myspace once sat on top of the social networking world, and I’m wondering whether […]

Harper’s Christmas present for the US entertainment industry

Copyright lawyer Howard Knopf, writing in the Hill Times, summarizes what he expects from the Conservatives in updating the Copyright Act to attack file sharing, all to the benefit of a US entertainment industry that has been feigning injury better than any elite soccer player. Knopf also points out many areas where Canadian copyright law […]

File sharing is good for you (and the music industry)

A lot of people assume that file sharing is a bad thing for artists and their recording labels. This independent study done for Industry Canada, by Birgitte Andersen and Marion Frenz, suggests exactly the opposite: file sharing increases exposure and can increase record sales. Below is the abstract, and after that some interesting post-study commentary […]

RPE downtime

Relentlessly Progressive Economics (old site at progecon.wordpress.com) was suspended earlier today by WordPress due to a complaint about copyright violation. We are working to cleanse our posts so that they are within the definition of fair use (though this is contested terrain). Wikipedia’s article on fair use of copyrighted material is here.

The Olympian Spirit, Copyright Style

While we’re all breathlessly awaiting the federal government’s long-promised revisions to the Copyright Act, interested parties may want to check out Bill C-47, the federal government’s proposed legislation to grant extra special intellectual property right protection for the Olympic movement and its related symbols.  For a summary of the legislation, check out the Library of […]

Over-the-top copyright protectionism

Copyright has always been pitched as striking a balance between the rights of creators to make a living off their work and the rights of the general public and future generations to benefit from that work. In recent decades, as big corporations have replaced actual creators as owners of many copyrighted works, the balance has […]

The end of DRM for online music?

Over at Wired, Leander Kahney comments on this week’s deal between Apple and EMI to sell EMI’s catalogue free of digital rights management (DRM): How Steve Jobs Calls the Tunes Steve Jobs’ new partnership with EMI to sell music without copy protection is a lesson in how to wield power in the digital age. Carefully […]

Pervasive externalities and intellectual property

The authors of this paper address the relationship between (overly rigid) intellectual property laws, in copyright and patents, and externalities (spillovers), with a rethink of the assumptions driving the economics. Spillovers MARK A. LEMLEY Stanford Law School BRETT M. FRISCHMANN Loyola University of Chicago – Law School Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. […]

Stiglitz: patents and drug monopolies

We have been picking on copyright a lot recently, but we should not neglect patents, that other arm of “intellectual property”. Like copyright, patents confer monopoly power. They have little to do with a “free market” but everything to do with real-world capitalism. In his monthly column, Joseph Stiglitz makes the case against patents with […]

More truthiness from John Ibbitson

John Ibbitson leaps to the defence of the US entertainment industry and their bid to hold back the tide of history. It is not clear at all what harms are being caused by the existing Copyright Act and why it should be fixed to make rich US entertainment corporations even richer. To channel Dean Baker, […]

The Anti-RIAA Manifesto

Adam Frucci at Gizmodo has it out for the Recording Industry Association of America, the good folks who like to sue teenagers and students in order to protect their lucrative oligopoly. This nonsense may soon be coming to Canada if changes to the Copyright under contemplation in Ottawa win the day (introduced initially by the […]

Rethinking copyright, TV edition

Much of the outrage about file sharing (aka “piracy”) has come from movie studios and record companies, but not much at all from TV networks. Of course, they do put out their product for free, albeit bundled with advertising. Lots of people record these shows and watch them at their convenience, often skipping the adversiting. […]

More thoughts on music and copyright

Below is Steve Jobs’ article, playing on some of the same themes as Barlow. But without the grand conclusion that Barlow espouses: musicians can control live performances, and make good money doing it. “Pirated” distribution can create an audience willing to play $40 (ranging up to $200) to see a live show. We already see […]

One from the vault

Arun Dubois’ posts on copyright and intellectual property have me digging back a decade to my days as a bureaucrat at Industry Canada in the Information and Communications Technology branch. I remember reading this essay by John Perry Barlow, published in Wired back in 1996 or so, and finding it really compelling. Reading it again […]

Information wants to be free…

This is good news and good timing. With Steve Jobs on side, maybe the folks at Heritage/Industry will reconsider their quaint attachment to rigid intellectual property rights measures when they set about drafting amendments to the copyright act. Dare to dream…

Copyright Changes Afoot?

The recent flurry of stories about Canada’s copyright laxity (see below) suggests that the “rights holder” community is softening up the Canadian public for a strong dose of copyright medicine. Want to see first-run movies at your local theatre just like everyone else in North America? Better support some tough new copyright (and criminal code) […]