Archive for August, 2007

CARL and SPARC Release Canadian Author Addendum

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have released the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum, a new tool for authors in Canada to retain key rights to the journal articles they publish.

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August 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

EMI’s DRM-Free Music Sales

Coolfer assesses the impact of EMI's move to offer DRM-free music.

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August 15, 2007 1 comment News

The Politics of Culture

The Toronto Star's Martin Knelman provides a good analysis of the thinking behind the promotion of Josée Verner to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, focusing on the celebrations in Quebec City in 2008 marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain.

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August 15, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

The Cabinet Shuffle

As expected, the Conservative government shuffled its cabinet this afternoon with major changes to several of the Ministries that figure prominently in digital issues.  Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda has been replaced by Josée Verner, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier has moved to Foreign Affairs, with Jim Prentice taking over the Industry file.  What does this mean for copyright, telecommunications, and other digital issues?

It is tempting to say very little – the Prime Minister is viewed as having a hand in all key policy issues and given the likely controversy surrounding copyright reform, telecommunications issues such as the spectrum auction, and lawful access, PM Harper will have much to say about the final policy no matter who serves as Minister.

That said, individual Ministers clearly place their own stamp on particular issues.  

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August 14, 2007 1 comment News

Getting Social Networks to Socialize

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) focuses on the lack of interoperability between social networking sites.  While not quite spam, the steady stream of requests for Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, Dopplr travellers, or Plaxo contact updates, highlights the lack of interoperability between social network sites and significantly undermines their usefulness.

The interoperability issue is likely to become more prominent in the months ahead as hundreds of specialty social networking sites covering virtually every area of interest from dogs to cooking, jostle for new users.  In fact, services such as Ning now enable anyone to create their own social network site.  The result is that Internet users are repeatedly required to re-enter their personal information for each new network they join and find that each network is effectively a "walled garden", where the benefits of the network are artificially limited by the inability to link a friend in Facebook with one in MySpace.

These limitations are particularly striking when viewed from a global perspective.  While Facebook is a leader in Canada (as well as in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Norway), nearly a dozen other sites hold leadership positions in other countries.  These include:

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August 14, 2007 10 comments Columns