“Here are three things that suck about being Canadian right now:
Last week the CRTC sided with Bell against a group of small Internet Service Providers who want to offer their customers unthrottled connections where what they download is their own business and not subject to interference.
In last week’s throne speech the Conservative government renewed their intention to “modernize” Canadian copyright law. Their effort to do so last session was Bill C-61, a woefully unbalanced and retrograde piece of legislation that led to the greatest citizen backlash to any proposed bill in recent memory. Yet there has been no indication from new Industry Minister Tony Clement that a much-needed public consultation will take place. The best he has offered is the possibility of a “slightly different” version of the bill.
Twitter has just announced that they are killing outbound SMS messaging in Canada due to exorbitant and constant rate hikes from Canadian cell providers (former Industry Minister Jim Prentice vowed to get tough on SMS price gouging, then backpeddled). Cell phone rates in Canada are among the highest in the world, and the result is that mobile penetration is pathetically low and that emerging new cultural platforms like Twitter are being hobbled.
This growing list of backwards policies is already creating a sense of digital isolation: Canadians can’t stream the videos Americans stream, download the files Americans download, remix the media Americans remix, or tweet the way Americans tweet.
With the election of Barack Obama, digital culture in the U.S. hit a tipping point, where a robust online public sphere proved itself capable of changing the world. Meanwhile, here in Canada we’re approaching our own tipping point, where a series of ignorances and capitulations threaten to turn our country into a digital ghetto…”
“He argues that what will replace the current hits-driven music industry is a broader middle class of artists that can support themselves using the Web to promote their music, shows, and merchandise. Rogers illustrates his argument with two examples of artists who distribute their music through Topspin and are making more money than they would under the traditional system.
The first example is David Byrne and Brian Eno’s new album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. By distributing digitally and keeping most of the profits themselves, the gross revenues of the album matched what they could have expected to get as an advance from a music label within the first 50 days. The second example is a lesser-known artist in his twenties, Joe Purdy, who has sold 650,000 tracks on iTunes and was able to buy a house from the proceeds.
Digital sales don’t make up for physical? From the artist perspective they certainly can, and quickly. David and Brian keep the majority of the profits, and (via Topspin at least) are paid within sixty days of the fan purchasing (no wait for recoupment and complex royalty accounting). When your costs are low your royalty rate high and your channel direct, the marginal profitability from the artist perspective can be far different than in the old model, to be sure…”
“Here is the good news: the bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis.”—Al Gore - The Climate for Change - NYTimes.com