I’m sitting on a Via train, heading back to the snowy wilderness that is Toronto, after a day of meetings with the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa. More on the CC at a later date.
This meeting and others like it are the reason I’ve been so silent on the blog, though I assure all commenters I’ve been reading and chuckling at your various smiley face emoticons and winks.
A couple quick notes of interest related to the copyright debate and the state of the cultural sector in Canada.
Firstly, as this train speeds through the cold Ontario night, I note with some small discomfort that all the members of the “creator” class who attended the Canada Council meetings are riding with me here in the Comfort section of Via, while all the members of the “producer” class are riding up front in Via One, enjoying a complimentary dinner and drinks. We’re also drinking back here in coach, but we pay by the glass.
Secondly, I report with delight that I ran into Phillip Smith of Community Bandwidth at the station, and he is sitting across from me right now – the “Your Whole System Sucks” sticker on his laptop is almost touching the Captain Copyright sticker on my laptop. Beside me is Amela Simic, writer, translator and Executive Director of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada. Phillip, Amela and I had a quick talk in the station about the upcoming copyright bill, and all the various sides and interests involved, and despite Phillip’s peg-leg and eye-patch, we’ve managed to be nothing but civil with each other.
This convinces me, again, that Russell McOrmond is probably absolutely correct that most of our disagreements might just boil down to semantic misunderstandings, and that if we could just get everyone sitting around one big table with microphones, we’d have this thing all negotiated and worked out, with fairness for all, in no time. The government could watch over this process, and we’d even then allow them to take all the credit for the incredibly wise bill that comes out of it.
I know some government types regularly troll around this blog, looking to see which way various winds are blowing, so this message is for you:
Get us a table and some microphones, some translators (French/English and Tech/Analog), and then sit back and watch the magic. Of course, someone’s going to have to go and get the producers and publishers from first class.