Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Star’
Is Canada a free country?
Or is Canada a banana republic?
Today was Byron Sonne’s 331st day in custody. On Monday bail was finally granted, yet Byron had to remain locked up until today, when there was to be a final Bail Hearing where the Crown Attorney would get an opportunity to contest the grounds of Byron’s release.
What has happened to Byron Sonne has exposed injustice in our so called justice system. The reason democratic nations enact laws to protect the rights of citizens is to counter balance the government’s power to crush citizens.
For a nation to be a free country, citizens must be free to both question and criticize.
Without guaranteed civil rights, any citizen can be deprived of liberty. You can wind up in a Gulag. You don’t even have to be protesting anything.
on the 2010 Toronto G20:
“The result was a massive breach of human rights on a scale never before seen in modern Canadian society. “
Among those rounded up in the G20 mass arrests were a many people who were shopping, working, going somewhere else, but uninvolved in the protests. Yet they were rounded up and deprived of the civil rights Canadians expect just the same. Simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Byron has today been released under extremely stringent bail restrictions. The conditions are draconian, and somewhat bizarre. According to the Toronto Star:
“He must also have no contact with anyone accused with G20 conspiracy crimes or anyone associated with a number of anarchist groups or the Toronto Community Mobilization Network. There are no allegations that Sonne has ever associated with those people or groups.”
That last bit sounds like a smear… the very terms of the release are deliberately inflammatory. By prohibiting Byron Sonne contact with people and organizations there is no evidence he has ever any contact with, an association is implied. This is rather like prohibiting Byron Sonne from contact with Adolph Hitler. Except, if you read the Globe and Mail’s heavily biased account it says there is some evidence of Byron “downloading literature of both the far right (Mein Kampf) and the far left (Das Kapital).” Which seems to forge a stronger evidentiary link to Adolph Hitler, or Karl Marx. Who scares you the most?
The group named by the Star that Byron must not associate with is the Toronto Community Mobilization Network which appears to be a collection of activists advocating for the civil rights for groups ranging from the disabled to indigenous peoples. This seems at minimum to run contrary to Section Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Something that has disturbed me from the outset is that the denial of bail appears to be punitive. Is this a case of Canada’s Crown prosecution ensuring that an innocent man will pay the price of incarceration before trial since the trial is likely to exonerate him? In fact, our federal government has published statistics indicating an increase of the use if the remand process which could well indicate that the process is being deployed as punishment rather than waiting for a judicial finding of guilt, particularly when it is unlikely to happen at all.
You can read the rest of the extremely severe bail conditions in the Toronto Star.
I’m fairly new to social media, but something I have noticed is that some tweets about Byron use the #g20report hashtag. I initially assumed that some organization or group might be keeping track of the facts for the hoped for G20 inquiry.
Then I discovered Byron’s own Twitter feed and discovered that Byron himself seems to have invented that hashtag, using it to indicate the tweets he made documenting the G20 security.
This adds a huge amount of credence to the idea Byron Sonne was working as a citizen journalist.
It is also quite interesting that the @torontogoat is still online. We can read through it and see what Byron tweeted in his own words. Read it through and see what you think.
The Best Source
For information about Byron Sonne case is the FreeByron website, created and maintained by his friends and supporters.
I got my title for this post from a tweet I found under the #freeByron hashtag
our story so far…
If you’re new to music industry news, you should be aware that the Canadian “Big Four” which makes up the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is pretty much the same as the American “Big Four” or the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The Canadian corporations are all branch plants of the American mother companies.
Before the rise of the Internet these corporations pretty much controlled most music recording and distribution. The Internet has changed things quite a bit. In Canada one very big change has been that 30% of the Canadian recordings are Independent of the CRIA big Four.
This is a serious threat to these industries. In the United States the massive media conglomerates including the RIAA and the film Industry equivalent, the Motion Picture Association of America MPAA have successfully lobbied the American Government to make laws beneficial to their business interests in the form of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, as well as prosecuting the secret trade negotiations called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
How does this affect Canada?
The Canadian government has introduced new copyright legislation called Bill C-32 The Copyright Modernization Act into our federal legislature. The same way that the Canadian CRIA branch plants mirror the American mother companies, the American DMCA is mirrored in the proposed Bill C-32.
The so-called copyright reforms are beneficial to the corporations but not to consumers. In order to justify this the corporations attempt to occupy the high moral ground by using the argument that the labels are pushing this copyright legislation in order to benefit the artists. They claim that piracy — a word that is used to lump together activities from personal format shifting to commercial bootlegging– takes money away from the artists.
There is a wide spectrum of recording artists. At the one extreme there are the entry level acts, in the middle you have struggling artists and at the far end you’ll find the tiny percentage of stars.
Stars may have the opportunity to renegotiate their contract, or even to dictate terms. None of the other artists are able to do this because the record companies have traditionally held a disproportionate amount of power by virtue of controlling recording and distribution channels.
Eminem is a star. How does Universal Music treat him?
Last week the music industry was shaken by court decision on a lawsuit. Universal Music, one of the big four record companies. has been ordered to distribute more of the money collected in royalties to the rap star Eminem.
The Star: Court ruling in Eminem case may raise pay for digital downloads
This article reveals some really interesting things.
Universal argued that Eminem should be paid a standard 18 per cent royalty rate for those sales, as he is for physical copies
are you kidding me?
18% for digital downloads?
FBT contended that providing a song to iTunes was actually a third-party licensing situation, similar to film and TV deals, which calls for a 50 per cent royalty rate.
The thing about digital distribution is that it costs next to nothing.
Once the initial costs are paid — recording, promotion — the actual distribution costs is free. The income is pure profit.
Universal said it will petition for a rehearing.
Universal is unwilling to give creator Eminem 50% of the profits.
This record company is going to go back to court and fight this.
I have to wonder how the mid range recording artists make out. Or the little guys.
Though the suit centered on details in Eminem’s contract, the basic principles involved could be relevant for other acts, especially those with deals made before the advent of digital downloading. Stiffelman and other experts said most newer artists have contracts that specify compensation for downloads.
Do these newer artists get 50% of the profit from downloads?
I don’t know, but if 18% is the most a star like Eminem was able to negotiate, 18% is probably the high end.
The Motown Alumni Association, whose membership includes Martha Reeves and the Four Tops, had filed an amicus brief on FBT’s behalf.
“All the Motown artists who now receive a penny (per download) may be in a position to negotiate a new royalty because of this decision,” Martin said.
Motown artists have been enjoying a royalty of one penny a download.
1¢ per download → Artist 68¢ per download → Record Company
The Artist wrote and performed the songs.
The Record Company fronted the money for studio time, promotion and distribution (most probably all recouped from the artist portion of royalty over time).
After recording is done, digital distribution costs next to nothing.
Which is why personal copying and online music and movie sharing is so nearly universal. It costs next to nothing.
Yet a record company like Universal would rather fight their own artists tooth and nail than share the proceeds of sales with the artists in anything like an equitable fashion.
And of course I also wonder what the record company contributes that justifies a cut as high as 50% on a download.
Is it any wonder musicians are choosing to go Independent?
All the so called copyright “reforms” — the DMCA, the DEAct, ACTA and our very own Canadian DMCA, Bill C-32 — exist to legislate anti progress. They want to protect the imbalance of power recording companies had over creators in the latter part of the 20th century.
They want to change the laws to take away the freedom of choice that technological progress has brought creators.
Canada needs copyright law that will help creators, not corporations.
[Thanks to Jason Koblovsky for the heads up]
Eminem in Concert photo by Andy Sternberg under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
[Essentially Canada badly needs electoral reform, and my head is full of nifty ideas on how to fix things. Since politics isn't going to go away (unfortunately) and the issues only dominate my life sporadically-- after all, I'm not a politician, only a citizen-- I've decided to blog my "how to fix Canada" musings in this
“If I ran the Zoo er Country...” series.]
A friend of mine once told me about an alternate universe story where it was perfectly legal to shoot politicians for cause. Sorry, I can’t remember the name of it, and I never did manage to read it, but it was one of those crystalline ideas that lodge in one’s brain as a “good idea”. After all a system like that might elicit better behaviour from our elected representatives.
Alright, I admit it, I wouldn’t actually go that far, but for sure our elected representatives need to start being accountable. Now, I know this may sound pretty extreme, especially if you are a politician. Maybe lying should be just a misdemeanor, at least until they start getting into double digits.
But really, what are politicians selling us? Their words. We elect them – hire them – because of what they say. If what they say is a lie, that’s at the very least false advertising.
If a car manufacturer sells us a faulty piece of equipment Canadians have legal recourse.
Or if we buy any product based on false claims we have legal remedies.
Yet when politicians lie to us we’re supposed to suck it up and get over it. But if a politician lies to the citizens, it is nothing less than fraud. But they make the laws.
It’s high time we started insisting that politicians tell us the truth.
Because they work for us.
A few good links…
And my personal favorite:
MacLeans Magazine: Conservative Talking Points for the Decision to Cancel Spring Break for MPs
Write to your Member of Parliament and tell them what you think about premature prorogation or anything else! You can find your MP with this lovely link – it will also help you find out who your MP is if you don’t know. It’s time that Canadians started letting them know what we think about how they represent us.
Find your Member of Parliament
Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell him too!
Prime Minister/Premier Ministre Stephen Harper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The government gives more weight to postal mail: you can mail your comments without a stamp!!:
The Right Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A.
1600 90th Avenue Southwest, suite A-203
Canada badly needs electoral reform. Take a peek at the Non-Partisan Fair Vote Canada site to get information some ideas of electoral reform. All Canadians need to join in these non-partisan discussions.