Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bits and Bytes 1

In the travels of late, I have come across things that deserve some mention.

Item: The Canadian Library Association has asked its 2,366 members in its constituent groups, to put forth advocacy at this time to the politicians. It claims to represent on copyright reform the perceived best interests of its professional librarians and their 21 million library patrons.

  • Canadian Association for School Libraries (CASL), including the School Library Administrators' (SLAS) section (approx. 225 members)
  • Canadian Association of College and University Libraries (CACUL), including the Community and Technical College (CTCL) section (approx. 775 members)
  • Canadian Association of Public Libraries (CAPL), including the Canadian Association of Childrens' Librarians (CACL) section (approx. 630 members)
  • Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS), with chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Ottawa, Toronto and Atlantic Canada (appro. 585 members)
  • Canadian Library Trustees Association (approx. 170 members)
Some reform concerns (with my thoughts added afterwards in red):
  • punishes copyright-infringing behaviour, but does not ban devices that might be used to circumvent technological prevention measures for legal purposes => what about research on TPM's?
  • government documents and government data belong to all Canadians and that all Canadians should have access to these materials => Kill crown copyright?
  • Persons with perceptual disabilities must have the same right to access copyrighted materials as all Canadians
    • This right should apply regardless of format in order to accommodate their particular needs => need to break the TPM to conform to known solutions, unserviced by "professional publishers"?
  • Libraries oppose legislation that repeats the same mistakes as the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act. American law does not adequately differentiate in penalties between a counterfeiter circumventing technical protection measures for illegal profit and an individual circumventing technical protection measures to make a single legal copy.
More on their position and kit is here.

Item: I am seeing too often the claim that P2P is taking up 95% of the bandwidth on the Internet. Something appears wrong with that. P2P also includes Skype (2%). Some studies seem to indicate 65% of the bytes downloaded are P2P files. Most studies seem to indicate that HTTP webpage requests, including VPN's, are still actually dominant in terms of traffic flows. More on this to come: I like reading network engineering studies.

Item: Interesting charts here on how small the North American Internet Market is becoming, by users, at just 18% in relation to the world. According to InternetWorldStats, at December 31, 2007, there were 1,319,872,109 users. Canada ranked 14th in broadband penetration and the US 19th based on varied sources of data and periods. Bermuda is #1.

Item: I saw Minister Josée Verner on CPAC at the Status of Women Committee the other day, and I confess I have never seen a Minister read so much from their briefing book. She looked terrible reading answers to questions, with the answers at times apparently from the wrong page. Très inconfortable. Even the "slow pitch" questioners from the same political party, appeared visibly to show disdain, disgust, impatience, and/or disappointment in their faces with this Minister, demonstrating that there may be a larger issue here with this appointment (she could have had an off day too). The questioning seemed to become "merciful" near the end, but for several MP's that wanted their concerns responded to with the unscripted thoughts of the Minister. A hotter issue of how this Department represented Canada overseas with out of date publications arose. No script for that. I cannot see her reappointed here and understand why Minister Jim Prentice is taking the lead on Copyright reform in this Parliament. Her confidence appeared shot both personally, and with her own members. I think all the members wished it was just stonewalling. For "real" TV it was a sad performance to watch. Thankfully I picked it up half way through where it became interesting to see a Minister read all their replies. Is that what her more than $242,000 salary per annum gets us?

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