Music Industry

Library and Archives Canada’s Secret Deal

I’ve been keeping an eye out for details on this secret deal for several days now, since the Ottawa Citizen broke the story.

Apparently Library and Archives Canada has decided to contract out their digital conversion. And instead of consulting the archivists of Canada, they entered into secret negotiations with canadiana.org in exchange for an exclusive contract that would last ten years.

Unfortunately this deal may translate into user fees for Canadians who want to access anything considered other than “basic” on the database. And the Ottawa Citizen article mentions a $10 per month fee for this online access, making some wonder why Canadians need to pay to access their own material.

Having accessed these services for decades for free, I am concerned that these fees may shut out researchers like yours truly. Will I be able to access this database for free at the Archives in Ottawa ? Will individuals have access through their public library for free ? Will students be able to access the database via their university or college for free ?

Yes, it is quite expensive and time consuming to digitize material. But what will happen after that contract expires ? The public has clearly not been consulted and were not given answers as to what is involved here.
And this is why I signed the openmedia.org petition and may also consider contacting my local Member of Parliament over this issue.

Please consider doing this as well on this Canada Day weekend.

Good Morning or Happy Birthday ?

Say, did you know that you can’t sing “Happy Birthday To You” on Youtube ?

That’s right. The age old tune is still copyrighted and to use it you need to pay up.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s an adult or group of children that sings it. And when a film production company called Good Morning To You Productions Inc made a documentary about the songs history, they were required to pay a $1,500 synchronization license fee to use it on their film.

Had this company not paid they would have been liable up to $150,000 in damaged for copyright infringement so they paid up. But of course they also decided to launch a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court representing the Southern District of New York, on behalf of all who were forced to pay to use this song.

The composition was originally entitled “Good Morning To All” and composed in 1893 by Patty Smith Hill and her sister Mildred Hill. And the copyright to that song of course expired in 1921 in the States. But a change in lyrics in 1924 and a different arrangement in 1935 caused the copyright to linger.

Fast forward to 2013.

The plaintiffs claim that they have evidence dating the traditional lyrics to 1911. This would date both the composition and traditional lyrics to over 75 years, rendering both public domain.

They also dispute whether copyright was actually established in 1924 because Robert H. Coleman was only credited for compiling, editing and publishing “Harvest Hymns”, a songbook which featured the melody and lyrics to “Happy Birthday To You”.

The class action lawsuit also alleges that copyright for “Happy Birthday To You” had not been established in several subsequent publications and copyright registrations.

What’s annoying about this is that in Canada there’s no dispute whether this song is public domain with lyrics or not. But everything that is uploaded to Youtube is subject to American law so hold off uploading your birthday videos guys and gals until this is settled.

10 Years !

iTunes is ten years old today !

It went online on April 28th, 2003, offering Apple users 200,000 recordings, and sold over ten million mp3s by the time Windows compatible software was released for the service, on October 15th, 2003.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

Today you will notice many sites have gone dark in opposition to a law proposed in the United States House Of Representatives called CISPA.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act enables private companies and the United States government to exchange information related to internet security issues including private information to prevent cyberattacks, without public disclosure or the need for warrants. And this is of course where the idiom in the subject line of this post comes in.

In order to prevent cyberattacks and attacks against the national security of the United States everyone’s information would be exchanged and stored on multiple computers for analysis, opening this information up to misuse, abuse or theft.

This bill enables the distribution of information that you don’t want made public, from private posts and email to your internet browsing information, without your knowledge or consent. And it also contains an exemption from liability, reducing an individual’s ability to sue if something were to go wrong during this exchange of information.

The proponents of the bill are also relying on people’s inability to understand that the definitions used in this bill may extend the coverage of this bill beyond “cyber attacks”, the term “national security of the United States” having been linked to that country’s commercial interests in past legislation.

Your choice to purchase something outside of the United States could cause your information to be taken under the premise that the purchase was a threat to the American intellectual property owners because the product might not be authentic or authorized by an American company.

Having unfortunately been subjected to counterfeit DVDs in the past via eBay, my personal, private information could be collected and distributed. And because of this, an act beyond my control, I could face further victimization without legal recourse to prevent it.

Yes, some intellectual property provisions have been removed from the bill but what’s to stop them from re-introducing them ? They have no qualms re-introducing warrantless searches, over and over again and warrants do not significantly impede their current efforts to stop crime on the internet. And I have yet to see and evidence substantiating the claim that privacy is a hindrance to law enforcement, so why are these sentiments remaining in Government ?

I suspect internet security firms want to be funded by the public and are doing their best to present these bills as solutions to politicians that have no idea of what is involved.

Vic Toews, for example, is proof positive that politicians can be severely illiterate when it comes to technology.

In February 2012 this Canadian politician had introduced a bill in Parliament that he had not read in its entirety, claiming that it would address child pornography. And he had been so well convinced that it would that he actually accused opponents of this legislation of standing with child pornographers, in the House of Commons of all places.

Even joint statements from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and her provincial counterparts had failed to convince him that there were serious issues with the bill and it took a severe public backlash to get him to actually review what he was proposing.

This isn’t the time for half-baked, open ended legislation that can be exploited by the very criminals that these bills are trying to address. And it is rather stupid to believe criminals would not use arguments about the constitutionality of these laws in their defense.

Opposition has been strong within the United States and a White House petition has apparently convinced the President to threaten to veto the bill, “as currently crafted” in a April 16th, 2013 statement (pdf).

Another petition for Americans and non American alike is also available at Avaaz. There are currently over 800,000 signatories on this petition.

Happy International Record Store Day !

It’s Record Store Day ! Don’t forget to browse your local independent stores today. Click here for a list of your local participants.

Blackberry Music Service To Close

BBM Music will cease broadcasting on June 2nd, 2013 and the company has begun referring its subscribers to other music streaming services like Rdioicon.

This service had offered music streaming services to Blackberry owners since August 2011.

All Music. No Ads. Get Rdio Free.