I don't normally deviate from maritime themed blog entries, but if I feel that a certain topic is very important to us all, especially Canadians, then it is well worth it. One such topic is copyright and intellectual property issues. As a web publisher - creator of unique media, and also of an avid consumer of various forms of media, this is a very relevant topic for me and one which I have followed for quite some time.
The reason I mentioned it here, is that on my last flight across the country, to catch my ship, I watched a really informative documentary called "RIP: A remix manifesto", which highlights the many aspects of the modern dilemma that is "copyrights" and "intellectual property", and how these topics have been hijacked, putting our collective culture in peril.
In light of the current Canadian federal government about to propose new laws, addressing this topics, I believe it is crucial for you to educate yourself on the issues. These proposed laws are expected to be draconian and mirroring the United States' copyright laws, favoring mega corporations' interests, rather that the effects of these laws on their people and culture.
One way to educate yourself, is to watch this entertaining documentary film by local Vancouver Island boy, Brett Gaylor, partly produced by the National Film Board. Although it use music as its protagonist, the film illustrates the far reaching impacts of these decisions, into every aspect of our lives. You can view it online for free, or check your library / video store for a copy. Another way to inform yourself, is to follow Michael Geist's website, where you will find much information on the subject, and links to other sites, where you can take action, or just take it all in.
If you are really hardcore, you can read the Wikileaks page on ACTA, and download the secretive treaty "talks" on the subject. You can also download various leaked version online.
Did you know that every time you sing the traditional "happy birthday to you" song, you are committing a crime in the United States. The rights to that song belongs to Warner Chappell a division Warner Music, which, by the way, makes about 3.5 billion dollars a year, and they would like their $700 from you, before you sing it to your kid. Or perhaps we should hide our home movies of last year back yard birthday party, in fear of getting sued for unlawfully using it, such as they have done to countless people in the US.
Anyways, I think you get the point... educate yourself, take action where you see injustice.