Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freedom of digitalization...

I've been trying to keep up with Canada's new DMCA bill (C-61) but it's difficult. Almost any time I read or hear about it there's so much jargon and I don't have the patience to deal with it or filter through it.

I have never had C-61 explained to me in a reasonable way, but I don't have to be a politician to know that this bill is absolutely ridiculous and needs a lot of work and a lot of input from Canadians.

A very good friend of mine wrote Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, with both standard and very unique concerns about Bill C-61:

"...for someones mp3, video and whatever collections, one can't really tell. For example I have a ADC membership from Apple that enables me to download software, thus I may not have discs, or ever will have discs but the copy is perfectly legal. But how will I prove that at the border? or my mp3 collection that I have had for years based off of cd's that I have owned in the past and may no longer own today? It is all fuzzy and not sound to do this, and in the end looks like a waste of time and clogging our legal system.

"Secondly, I work in the realm of internet security and I typically have materials that are used to attack websites, but I am on the protective end, so I have or try to have what the offenders are using in order to be proficient.

"So for me this is a scary thought because I could be fined for legally possessing material, and in the end being fined and potentially having my hardware and data destroyed in a needless search, let alone the privacy infringement and trade secret material I may have at any given time."

Masse wrote back with some very interesting things to say:

"Recent reports confirming that the government is in secret meetings to negotiate the terms of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is yet another example of the way this government is allowing U.S. corporate interests to lead Canada around by the nose. These secret ACTA talks in Geneva are likely to result in treating children who trade songs for their iPods like members of international counterfeiting rings; institutionalize the mandatory snooping of personal Internet use; legislate the seizure of personal computers at the border to search for copyrighted materials; and make it easier to use heavy-handed lawsuits against individuals as a tool to prevent file-sharing.

"Unfortunately, the government has completely ignored calls to bring forward reasonable copyright legislation. In fact, this bill is worse than originally feared. There is no evidence of an attempt to strike any reasonable balance that would protect either artists or consumers. Instead, we are faced with a full capitulation to the U.S. corporate lobby that will pave the way for the criminalization of perfectly reasonable behaviour (like format shifting of most legally purchased content)."

I'm still trying to learn more about Bill C-61. It could very well be the most important piece of legislation Canada has seen since the Charter.

Read up on the subject and if you feel strongly about it, take Brian Masse's advice:

"I would strongly encourage you to stay active in this fight by putting the heat on the Ministers of Industry and Heritage, the Prime Minister, and the leaders of the other opposition parties. Whether you call, write, email, or all of the above, your participation will be important to making our opposition to this bill impossible to ignore."

Thanks, Mark.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Club whitey...

Every now and then, someone is going to utter a line that seems borderline racist and it usually sounds something like; "Why does every other group other than white men have advocacy groups and clubs?"

It's stupid, but in some way, I understand it.

The initial reaction is to say; Listen. Whitey's been in power over most (practically ALL) of the western world for centuries. Whitey has a tendency to be short-sighted and unapologetic. Basically, Whitey fucks shit up. A lot.

And that's easy to say when the entire path of the modern world has been blazed by rich white men. But rich black men, or rich white women, or rich Chinese people wouldn't escape the same pitfalls of humanity which brought us to this point in time. I refuse to believe that skin tone and gender make people that different.

Immediately after the notion of a club or group of white men is proposed, images of the private country club with a giant sign out front - "No Jews or Blacks" - springs to mind. The only women and foreigners allowed past the gates are the ones who fold napkins and wash dishes while the White Male Club smokes cigars and devours $40 club sandwiches. Whitey's sit and discuss which currency makes the best toilet paper and how many strippers they could fuck in a weekend.

But that's the fear. The fear of the old times and the fear of a stereotype which seem to me, were just a symptom of a dead culture trying to create a new one which satisfied their inadequacies. If there's one thing rich white folks are good at it's pretending the world is A-ok just by measuring their slice of the pie.

I offer up a different vision for a White Male Club:

Factory workers, miners and mechanics sitting around a patio, drinking beer and eating hot dogs. No real threat to anything but their dying organs and discussing the same things as people of other races; how badly Whitey fucked shit up.

These are basically my family reunions, except women are invited to join in. And my Syrian relatives. And my black roommate. And basically anyone else who wants to drink beer and eat hot dogs, we're pretty easy going.

The notion of establishing an official Club Whitey is always met with that same fear of the old stereotypes, but there's already unofficial clubs all over the world and most of them are just like my family gatherings.

The big secret is that most white people are fine with our secret, backyard hot dog clubs. It's the giant organized white groups that make us nervous and shameful. The ones who always preach heritage and purity of race. Yeah, those motherfuckers. The ones who form demonstrations promoting the establishment of official White Male Clubs.

Those bastards are right that the world is becoming less white, but that's not a bad thing. And it isn't nearly as scary as they make it out to be. Over time, when Asians, Indians and Hispanics populate the world, when everyone in the west celebrates Cinco De Mayo, they'll look at my family reunions and think; "Look at that white club. Drinking beer and eating hot dogs, just like in that documentary."

Maybe I'm wrong and the stereotypes and "white is right" bastards will be long forgotten.

Or maybe they'll be delighted and surprised by how open we are to other people.