intermediaries

from The Globe and Mail

ISPs avoid royalties for music downloads
Canadian Press

Internet service providers do not have to pay royalties to composers and artists for music downloaded by web customers, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Wednesday.

The court ruled 9-0 that companies providing wide access to the web are merely “intermediaries” who are not bound by federal copyright legislation.

At issue was an effort by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) to force Internet service providers to pay a tariff.

SOCAN also argued, in effect, to extend Canadian copyright law beyond the country’s borders and apply it to offshore websites that serve Canadians.

Opposing the effort was the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, including the Canadian subsidiaries of some of the world’s high-tech giants such as Bell, Sprint, AOL, MCI, IBM and Yahoo.

The internet service providers (ISPs) argued that artists should seek royalties directly from websites that offer their works, not from the companies that provide wider-ranging access to the Web.

The case was closely watched abroad because of the international implications for the computer and music industries.

SOCAN’s effort contrasted with the different legal route taken by the recording industry in the United States, where the usual tactic has been to sue particular file-sharing services and the individual customers who download music from them.

The attempt to collect instead from ISPs was significant because they provide an easier target for litigation than tracking down a myriad of individual websites and customers.

108860185014463993

Just saw a cyclist get hit by a cab at the corner of Bloor & Church. The cabbie decided to make a right turn, right into the bike. The guy on the bike didn’t seem hurt, he just got flipped off his bike. Still, the cabbie didn’t seem terribly apologetic.

That’s the 3rd or 4th time I’ve seen this happen at this particular corner in a year. The last time I saw it, there was a police car stopped at the intersection, 15 feet away from where the cyclict had fallen to the ground. The cop didn’t even get out of the car.

Doesn’t really fill me with the desire to travel by bike in this city…

108856229842024695

Army to recall former military members
Tuesday, June 29, 2004 Posted: 12:43 PM EDT (1643 GMT)
from CNN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army is preparing to notify about 5,600 retired and discharged soldiers who are not members of the National Guard or Reserve that they will be involuntarily recalled to active duty for possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan, Army officials said Tuesday.

It marks the first time the Army has called on the Individual Ready Reserve, as this category of reservists is known, in substantial numbers since the 1991 Gulf War.

The move reflects the continued shortage of troops available to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fight the ongoing war on terrorism as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, said earlier this month of the Army’s troop strength, “We are stretched but we have what we need.”

Pentagon officials have echoed that statement explaining that while the military is reaching deep into its resources, war planners have long had contingency plans such as this for when troops are really needed.

Several hundred members of the ready reserve have volunteered for active-duty service since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Those who are part of the involuntary call up are likely to be assigned to National Guard or Reserve units that have been mobilized for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to Army officials. An announcement is planned for Wednesday.

Members of Congress were being notified of the decision Tuesday, the officials said.

Unlike members of the National Guard and Reserve, the individual reservists do not perform regularly scheduled training.

Any former enlisted soldier who did not serve at least eight years on active duty is in the Individual Ready Reserve pool, as are all officers who have not resigned their commission.

The Army has been reviewing its list of 118,000 eligible individual reservists for several weeks in search of qualified people in certain high-priority skill areas like civil affairs.

Moore & Eisenstein

How fitting that in the same week I would see Fahrenheit 9/11, I would watch Aleksandr Nevsky (imdb | rotten tomatoes | buy it). True, Moore’s movie isn’t technically propaganda (as the state definitely had no input) and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, but both films are out to get somebody.

While any film from 1938 will seem unimpressive and a bit trite by today’s standards, you have to marvel at the achievement when you put it in context. To have a battle sequence of such grandeur must have been groundbreaking. So many actors — no CGI soldiers here — and scene after scene of battle must have been hell to shoot. And, having watched it, I can see a few little nods that other movies have made to it — e.g., the opening sequence of The Hunt For Red October (imdb | rotten tomatoes | buy it) — which is rather cool.

If you can sit through a 65-year-old 2-hour black & white subtitled 13th century Russian epic, this is the movie for you.

Monster

We watched Monster (imdb | rotten tomatoes | buy it) last night. You know, a year ago, if you’d told me there was a movie that featured many, many instances of Charlize Theron making out with Christina Ricci, I’d likely have wet myself. But after watching it…not so hot. Not so hot at all, actually.

Ahem.

The movie…wasn’t great. It was good, maybe even very good. But Charlize Theron was just so unbelievably, convincingly…I don’t know, just NOT Charlize Theron as any of us have known her. And for that, she deserved an Oscar.