Category Archives: copyright

The Beastie Boys and why copyright isn’t all bad

beastieboys“Only 24 hours in a day, well only 12 notes that a man can play.”

That’s a line from Shadrach, a song on the Beastie Boys’ seminal 1989 album Paul’s Boutique. I know this because one of my more obscure and less useful talents is the ability to recite Beastie lyrics, chapter and verse, at the drop of a hat (I can also beat a biter down with an aluminum bat). I used to joke back in university that I had a PhD in Beastie-ology because of this odd ability.

As a big, big, big fan of the band, I’ve been following very closely the controversy regarding start-up toy maker GoldieBlox’s use/parody of a Beastie Boys song in one of its video ads. In a nutshell, the company recently took Girls, from the album Licensed to Ill (1986), and gave it new lyrics. While the words to the original song were misogynistic – there is some debate as to whether it was itself a parody – the toy folks cleverly flipped it around to be the complete opposite. As a company geared towards making products that encourage girls to get interested in fields such as science and engineering, the lyrics instead mock tropes about how they’re expected to play with dolls and “girly” toys that are pink. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in copyright, music, youtube


2012 blog in review: Roku, cable and copyright

Thanks for the traffic, Terry and Deaner!

Thanks for the traffic, Terry and Deaner!

Before we kick off 2013, there’s one more important piece of business to deal with in these parts from the year just ended: my most-read posts of 2012.

It seems like just yesterday that I started blogging, but in the blink of an eye it has become almost four years. I’ve done my best not to miss a day over that time, with only a handful of hiccups here and there (everybody gets sick once in a while, right?). Coming up with daily posts is tough, sometimes a chore, but ultimately rewarding, given that traffic continues to climb.

Over the holiday break, the nice folks at WordPress sent over some stats about this blog. I relish such statements because they tell me what people are interested in reading about, and they point out where I can make improvements.

With no further ado, here are the five most popular posts for 2012: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in copyright, roku, telecommunications


10 of the biggest tech stories in 2012

The best thing about covering technology is that it’s never dull. As an ever-changing field, the danger for journalists lies not in getting bored with the beat, but in falling behind the rapid developments.

I’d argue this is one area where year-end lists are actually vital; with so much happening on a daily basis, it’s important to step back and take stock of it all. It’s a good opportunity to digest everything that has happened, so that we can figure out what it all means.

In that vein, here are the 10 events or ongoing technology stories that I thought were important in 2012:

10. Apocalypse Not Now


This one is more of a science story than a technology trend, but since all tech is rooted in science, it seems very relevant. In 2012, the Mayan-forecasted apocalypse that was supposed to happen on Dec. 21 came and went without so much as a sneeze. That followed two predictions of the Rapture last year by religious nut Harold Camping, who this year apologized for his faulty forecasts. With the discrediting of this sort of nonsense, perhaps further nutjobs will STFU and allow the world to get on with reality. Or at least study the things that may actually wipe us out, as the new Cambridge Project for Existential Risk plans to doRead the rest of this entry »


10 Canadian tech stories that mattered in 2012

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s end-of-the-year list time. Sure, some people write these lists off as journalists getting lazy and trying to fill some space in an otherwise slow news period. That’s true, but it’s also worthwhile reflecting on some of the things that happened over the past year so that we can perhaps learn from them. As the cliche goes, those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most important Canadian technology-related stories of the past year.

10. UBB: The Saga Continues


Most of the drama over usage-based billing happened in 2011, but the after-effects were still being felt throughout 2012. Independent internet providers such as TekSavvy are still arguing with network owners such as Bell over the price of bits, while other big network owners such as Telus are moving their monthly caps downward. The past year was supposed to see an improvement in how much Canadians can use their internet services, but caps – especially in wireless – went the wrong way instead. The internet access situation is just as bad, if not worse, than it was a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »


10 best (or most important) gadgets of the year

With technology advancing exponentially, so too are the number of new gadgets flooding the market. There are indeed so many gizmos coming out on a daily basis that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them.

That’s why, love them or hate them, top-10 lists are especially useful when it comes to this particular theme. All such lists are purely subjective, as is the one I’ve put together below, but they are handy in identifying some of the standouts amid the sea of stuff out there.

Here are the 10 gadgets I liked best – or that I thought were important – in 2012:

10. Sony 4K TV


With everyone already owning an HDTV, it was inevitable that manufacturers would eventually start pushing the next big thing. Sony is one of the first with its 4K TV, with the 4K standing for the more than 4,000 pixels along its width, making it twice as sharp as a regular 1080p model. This 84-inch beast costs $25,000 so it’s clearly not something I’ll be getting any time soon, but it did look sweet in the demo I saw earlier this year. The only question is: how would Santa get it down the chimney? Read the rest of this entry »


Voltage’s file-sharing lawsuits dealt a blow

Killer Joe: Another Voltage Pictures movie that no one saw.

Killer Joe: Another Voltage Pictures movie that no one saw.

Independent internet service provider TekSavvy received a temporary reprieve from the courts Monday morning in trying to protect customers’ identities from Voltage Pictures. The Hollywood production studio is seeking the real names of customers behind more than 2,000 internet protocol addresses that it says illegally downloaded its movies earlier this fall.

Justice O’Keefe at the Federal Court of Canada sided with TekSavvy, which argued that it hadn’t had enough time to properly inform customers that they might be part of Voltage’s legal action. The studio said TekSavvy had had since Nov. 1, but the ISP said it only received drafts of the motion then, with the final documents only coming in early December.

Only about 10 per cent of potentially affected customers had actually read their notices, while at least 42 people had received them that shouldn’t have, TekSavvy said. The short time frame was resulting in errors being made, the company added. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 17, 2012 in copyright


Bring on the Hollywood extortion… ahem, lawsuits

Voltage Pictures, producers of The Hurt Locker, just lost a lot of fans in Canada.

Voltage Pictures, producers of The Hurt Locker, just lost a lot of fans in Canada.

Well, that didn’t take long: Hollywood has come barging into Canada with file-sharing lawsuits aimed at people who may or may not have downloaded movies over BitTorrent, according to internet service provider TekSavvy.

The indie ISP reports that it has been served with a request for customer information by Voltage Pictures, the Los Angeles-based producer of The Hurt Locker. The company is seeking the release of the identities of 2,000 customers so that it can go ahead and sue them under the new copyright laws that recently came into force.

As copyright expert Michael Geist writes, the next step will involve a court hearing next week where a judge will determine whether TekSavvy will have to release the info. The ISP, to its credit, is resisting doing so. If the court does indeed force the company to divulge names, Voltage is expected to forge ahead with the lawsuits or offer settlements to alleged infringers. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 12, 2012 in copyright, piracy


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