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Monday, July 26, 2010

School Budgets Shrink While Writers Get More Coffee Money

This just in from the grand people at Access Copyright. These people are so happy that they can get money from Canadian schools for photocopied pages.

Toronto - July 26, 2010 -
Canadian creators and educational publishers have won a six-year legal battle to receive reasonable compensation for the reproduction of copyright-protected teaching materials used in the classroom, according to a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal.

In 2009, the Copyright Board of Canada certified a tariff to compensate creators and publishers for the photocopying of their works in K - 12 Schools. Ministers of Education of all the provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec, along with close to a hundred individual school boards, had asked the Federal Court to review the decision.

However the Federal Court found that the Copyright Board's decision was reasonable in light of the evidence before it. The Board had heard that over 250-million pages of textbooks and other materials are copied for use in K-12 schools every year.

"This is an important decision for rights holders not just in the education sector, but in every field of creative endeavour," said Maureen Cavan, Executive Director, Access Copyright.

"The decision is bitter-sweet when you consider that the federal government's proposed changes to the Copyright Act could impair future compensation for reproduction of materials used in education," said Roanie Levy, General Counsel, Access Copyright.

What's being photocopied today by the primary, secondary and post-secondary education sector is the equivalent of 3 million books a year. "That's 3 million books that have not been sold. As long as reproduction is compensated, creators and publishers and the thousands of knowledge workers supported by this industry can survive. Take away the compensation, and you will jeopardize a Canadian industry that provides Canadian children and their teachers with Canadian content," Cavan added.
Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, is a not-for-profit organization founded by Canadian creators and publishers to meet the needs of users of copyright protected works, while ensuring fair compensation for that use. Access Copyright represents nearly 9,000 Canadian writers and publishers. Access Copyright works with organizations in all sectors to help them operate legally by providing access to licences that allow for the legitimate use of published copyright protected materials. To learn more about copyright or Access Copyright visit us online by clicking here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How about that Weather....

With all of the wind overnight and a prediction of a warm afternoon, I was curious what the weather was going to do this afternoon. FINALLY, I found a source of frequently update satellite images for my region.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sewage Treatment - Barren Oceans

Victoria's mayor, Dean Fortin, is continuing to spearhead a massively expensive sewage treatment system. The plan is to treat the sewage generated by the 250,000+ people from the region. All of the sewage that was formerly pumped out from several outlets will be routed to one facility in Esquimalt. Then, the bio-matter will be removed from the sewage before the water finds its way into the waters surrounding Greater Victoria.
One of the reasons cited is the harmful chemicals and wastes could collect in the food chain and make its way back to our dinner table. While there are harmful chemicals and agents being released into the waters, there is lots and lots of biological material. It's a digusting truth that what we flush ends up as a vital food source for plants and very small creatures who in turn are eaten by larger creatures and on-up through the food chain. The ocean isn't a grocery store. What we stop supplying will have a direct impact on the ecosystem off-shore. Breaking the food chain could cause a collapse with wide reaching side effects to fisheries and biodiversity in local waters.
There has been no comment on this impact from Victoria City Hall or the other levels of government who are funding this project. It has been previously established that this project is meant to address the optics of sewage being pumped into the ocean and the concern that this practice could negatively affect tourism. The bugbear of heavy metals build-up in the local sea life has been used as the excuse, but Victoria and the CRD is largely a non-industrial center. Its industrial activities are heavily regulated and do not push their wasted into the water supply.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Heart Will Go On and On and On

Bad News: I didn't win, place or show in the Monday Summer Fiction Contest.
Good News: I decided to publish my story anyways.

"Please-- you must stop!" she cried with a hoarseness and desperation etched into her soul. Those big cow eyes were puffy with tears and month without sleep. "Please, just let me go!"
I looked down at her. She was on her knees in the dry hot sand. Her dress was in tatters. I raised my arm and placed my other hand to my heart. She shuddered like a puppy before a rolled up newspaper. She curled into an egg shape, she tore at her scalp with jagged painted nails and shrieked like a wild animal. Her madness was nearly complete.
I drew a deep breath and began to sing:

"You're here, there's NO thing that I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on
I'll stay for a long time
You are safe at my heart
And my heart will go on and on and on and...." As though I could focus my voice like a cannon I aimed down at her head into the sandy beach and let loose a volley. "ON!!!!!"

Celine Dion wailed. She tightened into a fetal position...

A month ago I was on a cruise ship traveling from Bahrain to Kuwait City and back again. I won the prize by answering right on an AM radio contest-- turns out I was almost the only person listening. Little did I know that cruise was shared by Celine Dion and her entourage. I was awoken on our first night out-- the ship was going down. By the time I got to the deck, there were no more life boats left. I jumped into the ocean and swam for a silhouette of trees and land with little more than my carry-on bag. It had a copy of Schismatrix, a Discman, a mix CD, pencil, paper and a glass Coke bottle.

Exhausted, I collapsed on the shore of the little island to await rescue. I awoke to the smell and black plumes of smoke. I got up to find a woman warming herself by a fire. I went to greet her. I was horrified: she was burning her wooden life raft for warmth. I burst out, "What are you doing!?! You don't use a life raft for firewood!" She started and looked at me with that blank slack-jawed look that was force fed to me by the agents of CanCon. It was Celine Dion.

"I need to get it going to cook something," she replied. "Get me some fish and cook it!" The Diva demanded.

"Get your hangers-on to do that." I spat back.

"They are not here."

"You came here by yourself in that raft?"

"Yes: I took one. Engelbert Humperdinck had one to himself, so I thought it was a good idea to do the same."

"You and the other celebrities took all the damned life rafts? That's amazing! No wonder there were none left. Didn't--" The irony of what I said next preceded the words: "Didn't you learn anything from Titanic?"

She shrugged, "I learned that you can love forever."

I made this howl of incredulity. Her godless song was inescapable in the years that followed the movie. It burned itself into my brain, embedded imperfectly in my photographic memory. Something about being stuck in front of this soulless diva made me snap. I took a step back like a ring master. With bravado, I started to bellow out my own mangled version of My Heart Will Go On. From childhood, people had been cautioning me to never sing. The combination of a bad voice and tone deafness made me quite a crooner. She stomped off from my singing. I gave chase, singing that horrid song again and again until she could have no more of it.

"Leave me alone!" She screamed at me.

"I had to hear your version a thousand times. It's about time you heard mine!" I went back into song. She continued to try to evade me but gave up, sat on log and tried to block her hearing. I persisted. When I thought she had blocked her hearing, I pantomimed the song. Eventually I stopped long enough to convince her that she could unblock her ears. Then I started off again. She went to forage for food and I sang. She ran into a patch of foliage. I stayed in the clearing and sang all the louder. I figured that we would be rescued in a few hours, so I tried to get all of my revenge singing done before that. That night, I fell asleep near her by the smoldering remains of the raft. The next morning, there was no sign of rescue yet. She was already awake. She eyed me as though I were a mountain lion about to strike.

"Are you quite done with that asinine singing of yours?" She asked with nothing but contempt for befouling of her famed song.

I coughed and cleared my throat, hoarse from the day before. "And my heart will go on....!" She stormed off, down the beach. I followed her giving song.

In the days that followed, I started to doubt we would ever get rescued. Days stretched into weeks. I feared they were overlooking our island and my rescue because they knew Celine Dion was here and a rescue ship would be obliged to return her to her adoring fans. Each day, I found new ways to mangle her song. Every so often, I called her Deline Cion. I would break things up and sing to the CD player, thereby ruining the work of others for her benefit. She soon took on this haunted, ratty look like someone who had walked through a 1000 miles of wilderness. By the third week, I could tell she was getting used to it. I made myself scarce. I slept on another part of the island. I let our contact lapse almost two days. Then, I snuck back to her camp site by the charcoal of the boat. She lay sleeping. I crept close, knelt low and let out, "And my heart will go on....!" at the top of my lungs. She screamed and ran on all fours towards the beach. Only the cold surf shocked her back to a lucid state.

She had long since given up trying to plead with me. After a few days of "please, stop this" and words to that effect, it didn't look like she could muster an emotional or intellectual reason for me to end the torture. Now she took it, sobbing and pounding on the sand when it all became too much for her. Good, Celine, good, I thought. After eleven years of suffering that song, I knew how she felt.

There came a day where all this became boring. By my accounts, I had sung her song about 2000 times and the books seemed balanced.

I said, "I'll do this: I will throw a message in a bottle into the ocean, describing what I've done and where they can find us. If-- IF-- you promise to never sing that song again in your life."

"I agree. I never want to hear that song again, either."

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