Wendy Noteboom Ewell Scholarship

Those of you interested in donating towards the Wendy Ewell memorial scholarship at Iowa State University will be pleased to know that you can give online at this link. Simply fill in your gift amount, designate your gift to “Other (not listed)” and type in “Wendy Noteboom Ewell Scholarship, account 2701589” in the text box provided

You can also purchase prints and cards of Wendy’s paintings from her website.

Christmas Tree Mishaps

On a much lighter note, it is interesting that I am again the #1 entry on the search phrase “how to take down a Christmas tree”, which comes up more and more often this time of year. The link leads directly to this page.

But it’s not the only blog site out there discussing Christmas tree mishaps. This link is also good for a bevy of laughs.

I Get Mail

Pete Quily wrote to me, thinking I might be interested in this. And it is interesting. From Boing Boing Blog; I hope Cory Docterow won’t mind me quoting the bulk of this article and commenting on it.

Canadian MP imports US’s worst copyright AND dirty campaign financing

Sam Bulte, Canada’s Liberal MP who takes giant campaign contributions from the entertainment industry in exchange for delivering US-style ridiculous copyright laws, is a lot dirtier than previously suspected.

Michael Geist has published an investigation into the sources of funding for Bulte’s election campaigns, and shows that Bulte — who wrote a report advocating the most extreme copyright restrictions imaginable and championed the Canada’s Bill C60 copyright law proposal — receives funds from across the copyright industries. What’s more, she’s the only candidate in the country who is funded in this way.

Canada doesn’t have the same sad tradition of corporations buying laws through campaign contributions that the US has, except in Bulte’s case. Not only is Bulte importing the worst of the US’s failed copyright system (when the best remedy a copyright system can offer to file-sharing is suing fans and putting locks on music, that’s a failure), she’s also importing the worst of US electoral politics.

As with the January fundraiser, it is becoming increasingly clear that the pro-stronger copyright lobby is a major Bulte backer. From what I can find on the Elections Canada site, consider that Bulte’s riding association received contributions during this period from the following groups:

  • Access Copyright
  • Association Of Canadian Publishers
  • Canadian Film & television Production Association
  • Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency
  • Canadian Publisher’s Council
  • Canadian Non-Theatrical Film & Video Corp.
  • Professional Association of Canadian Theatres
  • Professional Photographers of Canada * SOCAN

What makes the thousands of dollars raised from these groups particularly noteworthy is that Bulte’s riding association was the only one to receive such contributions. In other words, at a time when the publishing, music, movie, and photographer industries and collectives were concerned with copyright reform, they chose to provide campaign contributions to just one Member of Parliament - Sam Bulte (or at least only one chose to accept such contributions).

Bulte’s NDP opponent is Peggy Nash, and from what I hear, she stands a good chance of being elected in Toronto’s Parkdale/High Park riding, where I lived for ten years. Link

I would be interested in hearing what others have to say about this, like Jay Currie, because I’m a bit ambivalent about this myself. It is interesting that this one MP should be the only MP receiving contributions from these organizations, and you have to wonder what’s so special about Sam Bulte’s axe to grind. At the same time, running through these list of organizations, I’m seeing no initials of R.I.A.A. or any dastardly corporations like Sony trying to impose their digital rights regulations on us unsuspecting Canadians. And whatever you might think of Sam Bulte, she doesn’t have the profile of America’s computer destroying Orrin Hatch.

Access Copyright in particular strikes me as a fairly decent organization — and, full disclosure here, this is an organization that I will be joining when The Unwritten Girl comes out. They have a program for authors which nets them some royalties whenever their books are photocopied. I’ll be joining a similar organization that nets authors some royalties whenever their books are checked out of libraries. These programs have been operating for some time and have been giving Canadian authors some small income from these activities.

I do not support suing people for file sharing, and I happen to believe that I have a right to copy from a CD to an MP3 player any music I legitimately purchase. Maybe I’m not fully informed, here, but I haven’t heard the Canadian copyright agencies driving for this kind of intrusion. Instead, a modest royalty system on blank media has been their preferred method, and one which I think works the best.

But on a different matter of principle, I do hope (and expect) that Peggy Nash will win the election in Parkdale-High Park.

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