Interested in putting into practice what you've been learning in school? Making a difference in the local and global community (from your home or in the field)? Learning more about citizen journalism? Changing the world?
The NetiZen News project invites you to a mutual learning and training session in the month of October Contact email@example.com.
The NetiZen News is a knowledge media project of the eCommons/Agora électronique, the pan Canadian not-for-profit online community learning network, with roots in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. We focus on developments in the world of new media and policy, including citizen participation in digital democracy and creative engagement in community media and cultural innovation.
Some of the beats we've been tracking recently include music therapy, copyright issues, phishing, civil society and the World Summit on the Information Society, wireless access in Toronto, creativity, technical developments in netcasting and much more.
Come and learn about citizen journalism, knowledge media design, open source and open access! Join fellow "NetiZens" (citizens online) in participant design of our NEXT Netizen News platform!
For more information, contact Robert Rodbourne, Managing Editor, NetiZen News,
Executive editor: Dr Liss Jeffrey, Founding director, eCommons/agora & McLuhan global research network, University of Toronto
by Liss Jeffrey
This fall the NetiZen News @ eCommons/agora will celebrate its fifth birthday. As usual, we are reinventing the project. The core team consists of: managing editor Robert Rodbourne, project manager Fariborz Lesani, netcast chief Fraser McAninch, assistant editor Nathan Bentley, chief story-teller Amelia Bryne Potter, webster Loreta Vaskeviciene, and chief platform developer Oleg Mitsura. With a mobile cast of volunteers (newcomers always welcome) we are engaged in making media and messages online and offline. Hope you will come out to one of our events and get active in our NEXT NetNews project.
by Robert Rodbourne
Yes, summer is that traditionally slow time when thoughts turn to the backyard, the cottage or some distant location. However, the eCommoners and beat-niks have been hard at work, providing articles and items for your consideration. For example, check out these contributions, among others:
As enjoyable as it is to look back on the happy times of summer, we also are now turning our attention to the fresh breezes of fall. Among many events of notice, in particular we wish to flag Software Freedom Day (September 10th, <www.softwarefreedomday.org>) and the amazing Creative Places + Spaces 2 Conference event (September 30 and October 1, <www.torontoartscape.on.ca>).
Speaking of the latter, the NetiZen team will be on the ground at the event helping to tell the story and link up the many exciting projects and people who will be present in Toronto. Drop by our mobile console, or visit us online (watch www.ecommons.ca for details, coming soon).
Please note: we are inviting aspiring journalists and scribes to join us on September 13, 5pm to 7pm at our real time space, 386 Huron St, Toronto (near Robarts Library and St George subway station) for a mutual learning and training session on citizen journalism. We will demo the next platform. No technical experience or journalistic experience necessary (but both are welcome). Come and help us shape the Next NetiZen News.
As always, to comment on any or all of these articles, you can go to our Net News e-forum ("1NET_NEWS_voxpop " <http://www.ecommons.net/stage/main.phtml?f=31>;
for more general questions please contact me Robert Rodbourne, at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Brendan O'Mahoney
When I first read about the work of Alfred Tomatis, his work seemed so amazing and almost surreal, that I had to share his discoveries with the eCommons group.
One of the most interesting of Tomatis' discoveries took place in the 1950s. He believed, contrary to the prevailing medical opinion, that the fetus is capable of hearing. He asserted that the "fetus hears an entire range of predominantly low-frequency sounds", including it's mother's voice, and when this connection between the fetus and the mother is established, "the embryo draws a feeling of security from this permanent dialogue which guarantees it will have a harmonious blossoming". Tomatis believed that a breakdown in this 'sonic contact' could be the primary reason for many childhood disorders, and devised several ways to reconstruct this primal auditory environment. A most interesting event occurred between Dr. Tomatis and a twelve-year old autistic child while recreating the auditory environment. The autistic boy was described by his psychiatrist as being 'not yet born' and sought treatment by Dr. Tomatis. Tomatis tape recorded the voice of the boy's mother for twenty minutes and then played back the filtered high frequency sounds of the mother's voice. The boy immediately stood up and turned out the lights in the room in a gesture that "took [Tomatis'] breath away...the child was trying to recreate the lighting conditions of his fetal life". The boy eventually went to his mother, took her arms and began to suck his thumb and stayed in this posture until the tape ran out, as if he were "back inside his mother". It was said that it had been the first time in ten years that the boy had shown any signs of recognition for his mother, much less affection. This was what Tomatis later dubbed a 'Sonic Birth'. He has refined the process, however, the method is essentially the same; filtered sounds of an individual's mother's voice are played, which generates a sense of 'emotional nourishment'. The theory is that the individual experiences an 'unconscious' primal return to earliest awareness'.
Over the course of his career as an Ear, Throat and Nose specialist in Paris, Tomatis made several fascinating discoveries linking the listening and hearing of a human to several learning disabilities. Tomatis developed three postulates that his future therapeutic work would be based upon:
His primary method of treating people was with the use of something he called the Electronic Ear, which uses the 'gating' technique mentioned in his final postulate. Here is a quick explanation: Just as a stereo speaker has different drivers to recreate sound at different frequencies (a woofer, tweeter and midrange - if you take a part a speaker you will see three different sized spheres, these are the drivers), the ear has different components to hear sounds at different frequencies. Tomatis believed if he could strengthen these components, he could improve people's hearing. He found he could strengthen the ear muscles by turning music on and off; eventually he found he could strengthen the muscles even faster by alternating between high and low frequencies.
Thus, the Tomatis method was fashioned, and he would go on to treat people with such disabilities as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Dyslexia, Asperger's and Down's syndrome. http://www.tomatis.com/English/Articles/Biography.html
by Fariborz Lesani
A summary of my Internet connectivity issues while traveling in Lebanon and Iran.
Traveling in some less advanced countries earlier this year, I was faced with many surprises that turned out to be unfortunate realities. In Beirut, one of the newly constructed luxurious hotels has high speed Internet through a satellite connection. And meanwhile, all buildings next to it have no connection and will not be allowed to install a connection. The new hotel caters mainly to rich foreigners and the Internet is a selling point to bring in more tourists to the hotel and Lebanon in general. The government has allowed them this right.
Hawaii University [sic] of Lebanon does not have any eTraining courses or initiatives, why bother when most students have no feasible Internet connection? - The Lebanese government has banned high-speed connection as it will cut into their profits in other communication sectors with introduction of Internet telephony and other such tools. Money against education and we are not talking about money to fund education!!! But a hotel gets the right to high-speed connection for prestige.
I was just planning to send an email to a professor at Hawaii University in Beirut to ask for his opinion on this matter, and on his business card I could not find his email. After a follow-up I found out that they do not have email as it is not considered to be a mode of communication. I was told that most people considers the task of starting a computer, dialing out to a slow connection to send email too cumbersome and impersonal, when you can just pick up the phone and be done in 5 minutes. To many, including myself, email is the two-minute solution that eliminates the inefficiency of a phone call, without realizing how far our technologies have taken us.
Traveling further to Iran brought even more challenges. Except for a few with illegal satellite Internet connections, most people connect through very low speed, unstable connections. But the currently strict social environment of Iran has made the very slow Internet the only open community for this nation. Most people are very Internet-savvy, with knowledge of the latest developments in community development, public engagement, networking, and netcasting tools available. The thirst for social interaction in a strictly controlled society has the public attached to their low bandwidth and unstable Internet channels for drops of information.
An Internet connection card is easy to come by at every corner store in Iran, but once connected there is no guarantee of access to every site. Due to governments restrictions the Internet has far fewer pages in Iran!! After some investigation I was able to find a card that had no restriction after 10PM, and to my surprise the Internet suddenly had more pages.
Wide public participation in creative pursuits is one of the key pro-social promises of micro media, whether digital or analogue (eg. Camcorders). McLuhan and many others argued that new electronic and digital media allowed consumers to become producers, and users to become makers.
What do we know about the expansion of creative capacity at the community and citizen level? We call this capacity creative engagement, and focus in the eCommons/agora and NetiZen News projects on 'innovation from below.'
This fall we begin an exploration of the question of democratic
creativity. If you wish to get involved, please contact us at
- Dr J
by Robert Rodbourne
Among the many vibrant communities in multicultural Toronto, one that occasionally is overlooked is that of French speakers. These are not only ex-Quebeckers, but people from all over la francophonie and they form a lively part of the metropolis, including in its cyberspace.
One of these carrefours d'internet is found at the clean and user-friendly web site for L'Express, a French-language weekly published since 1976.
The site offers many of the usual services of a newspaper, such as classified ads and letters to the editor, in addition to the de rigeur headlines. Conveniently, it is very easy to subscribe at the site to a weekly email of these manchettes.
In addition, there is also an archives section and a wonderful database of French-language organizations and services.
by Francesca Birks
In a time where we barely dare to ride the public system of transportation for fear of being attacked by strangers of another faith, it may seem overly simplistic to caution individuals towards a solution of creativity, but this is a time when creativity matters most.
During the week of June 26th thru July 1st the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota played host to the Creative Education Foundation's 51st Annual Creative Problem Solving Institute 2005. All of the key lectures revolved around the central theme of "Creativity Matters: Where Passion Meets Need". Among the keynote speakers was anthropologist, educator and author, Mary Catherine Bateson, who wrote With a Daughter's Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson and Composing a Life. She was joined by co-speakers Richard Florida, Hirst Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, and best-selling author of The Rise of The Creative Class and its successor, The Flight of The Creative Class, and Minneapolis City Council Member, Don Samuels, who is also the co-founder of the PEACE Foundation.
What was clearly apparent upon hearing each of the speakers was their commitment to the important benefits of creativity, but not the type of creativity that is done or experienced in isolation, rather the type of creativity that reaches out to a community in order to disperse and extend its benefits beyond the original source.
As her topic Mary Catherine Bateson chose "Willing to Learn: Living Curious, Ambiguous and Imaginative Lives". She encourages individuals to see their lives as a journey of unfolding curiosity. She describes life as an improvisatory art in which we combine familiar and unfamiliar components in response to new situations. As our lives are repeatedly interrupted, we are challenged to refocus our curiosity, and to be willing to continually learn. While the premise sounds simple, it is a much greater and challenging exercise to master. Bateson's work is grounded in cultural anthropology but shaped by the observation that, in a world of rapid change and encounters with strangers, individuals can no longer depend on following traditionally defined paths. In her discussion Bateson pointed out the insights that arise from the experience of multiplicity and ambiguity, and how improvisation can lead to significant achievement.
What is most interesting is how she challenges her audience and her readers, in her latest book, Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery, to fight the urge to interpret life events from a single-minded perspective. In her experiences living in the middle East Bateson encountered a set of socio-cultural rules far different from the ones she was exposed to in the United States. It was an acute reminder of the existence of alternative interpretations we can so easily forget in the comfort of our global homes.
Economist Richard Florida continued the discussion of global vs polar existence when he embarked on a lecture entitled "Engaging Creative Communities: The New Global Competition for Talent". In his original work and 2002 bestseller, The Rise of The Creative Class, Florida identified the 3 T's of economic development: technology, talent and tolerance. In his follow up work, Florida goes global by considering how the movement of talented people across borders affects regional growth. He points out how tighter immigration, faltering education systems and strong international competition mean for US growth. The findings are alarming for a country that for so long has prided itself in assuming the role of super power. Like Bateson Florida begs us to examine how we sometimes unknowingly compromise any potential for creativity by being close-minded in the systems we develop.
As a follow-up to Florida's theoretical and academic discussion, Don Samuels appeared as a micro-embodiment of Florida's message. Don Samuels grew up in Kingston Jamaica, as the third of 10 children, and moved to the US at the age of 20 to study design. Attracted by the contributions of the black Baptist church community to the Civil Rights movement he attended Luther Seminary and graduated in 2001 with intentions of starting a new socially integrated ministry in his neighborhood. Samuels is a toy inventor, Jamaican immigrant, minister, community activist and politician, and he uniquely serves as an example of the engaged citizenry it takes to embrace the new challenges faced in a fast-moving global world and local community.
In the day-to-day flow of life it is very easy to forget what creativity means, let alone that it matters. It is worth mentioning that creativity doesn't only signify or embody what we experience in exhibitions. Creativity comes close to encroaching the territory of philosophy, as it exemplifies and articulates the rich viability of alternative interpretations of life, and thus encourages an ethic of tolerance, and through open channels of dialogue introduces multiple ways of not only experiencing but addressing life. The imagination is key to understanding and unlocking some of the most problematic societal trenches we dig ourselves into as individuals and as societies. Each speaker at the conference illustrated through varied methods of quantitative statistics, anthropological observation, and direct lived experience the importance of engaging the mind in a creative pursuit of what really matters; the ability for each and every one of us to fulfill ourselves as human beings.
The Global Village returns to Toronto! Spend 10 Future Days living at the speed of thought, to experience the ultimate blend of high-tech and culture.
What Is It?
A ten-day public Festival exploring our future life, work and play.
When Is It?
Friday September 23 to Sunday October 2
Where Is It?
In more than twenty venues across Toronto, from the University of Toronto to the Drake Hotel, from the Design Exchange to the Gladstone Hotel, from the National Film Board to the West Queen West and Regent Park.
What's The Difference?
Oddly enough, this is the world's first public Festival of the Future. We want to inform the locals, excite the tourists, and display tomorrow's culture and technologies. We're a blend of Culture, Commerce and Community.
What's The Audience?
The smart, the curious, the well-educated. Ages depend on the program. Younger people will go for the Queen West action; academics, poetry buffs and McLuhanatics will flock to the U of T; each of our ten theme Future Days will appeal to specific interest groups, Green Day, China Day, Design Day, School Day and so forth; and our free public exhibits at City Hall, Dundas Square and the Design Exchange will attract thousands. How many? We don't know, but we're projecting a paid attendance of 20,000 plus.
What's the cost?
Surprisingly low. An M-Pass, which gives you first crack at everything costs $60, $30 for students, single ticket admissions are $10.
by Amelia Potter
Scenario Planning is a tool that helps people and organizations to think about the future by asking "What if...?" It provides a way for groups to imagine different possible versions of the future, ways to determine which future might be unfolding, and what, given this, might be the best organizational strategy. Scenario planning, while originally developed in a business context, has since been applied to the government, non-profit, and even entertainment sectors. To learn more about scenario planning check out the following books, articles and websites:
by Fariborz Lesani
As I work with the Toronto Tibet Community in planning the first Tibet Film Festival in Toronto, I will be looking for interactions within this community and its relation to the sociopolitical situation in Tibet
Toronto Tibet Community is planning the first Toronto Tibet Film Festival, a great stride for a community looking for ways to have its voice heard, but are we going to hear voices or noises?
As a new entrant to the Tibet saga circle, I have been introduces to many issues and concerns over the last few month. The extent, reach, and implications of these issues are mind bugling and make one wonder what the film festival is trying to address. Sitting at the recent film festival meeting did not make thing any more clear. I realized there is even more conflict within the Tibetan mind. There was some discussion on what the purpose of the Film Festival is, with very little progress, but again what else can be the purpose of a film festival, where almost all the films made on Tibet have a sociopolitical tone to them.
The festival set aside, what intrigues me the most is the process to the film festival. The festival will be a great eye opener, but the process the Toronto Tibet Community is going through is very informative. In our first meeting I notice a great sense of unity and dedication from all members but at the same time there was a sense of loss as to the purpose and hence the formation of a concrete plan. It almost reminded me of how Tibet has followed an absent and forbidden leader with great intensity for a long time.
Liss Jeffrey, PhD
Two reviews of Murray Schafer's Enchanted Forest
- The New York Times
- Eye/ear witness: Jeffrey
NYT online (requires FREE registration):
Mystic Composer in a Magical Forest
By COLIN EATOCK
Published: August 27, 2005
HALIBURTON, Ontario, Aug. 25 - Richard Wagner had his Bayreuth, with its Festspielhaus specially designed to accommodate his music dramas. And now the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve here.
At 72, Mr. Schafer is one of the few Canadian composers to have become known internationally. In the United States, his music has been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. His choral music is popular in Scandinavia. He won the Prix International Arthur Honegger for his First String Quartet; and his 10th String Quartet, commissioned by Radio France, is to have its premiere in Paris in February.
These achievements affirm Mr. Schafer's position as a respectable contemporary composer. But beyond his concert works, there is another Murray Schafer: a mystical visionary who inhabits a nameless artistic category of his own creation. For 40 years, he has been writing a Huge cycle of 12 music-theater works, collectively titled "Patria." …… [snip]
August 29., 2005
Murray Schafer's art shows how the roots of theatre in ritual are still alive and raw. The Enchanted Forest may not be to all tastes, and why should anything be so, in this paradoxical age of abundant choice?
This art is extreme theatre, and not for the faint of heart. There is no manicured pretense on display here.
Instead, out in the forest on Canada's granite shield, as the sun goes down over the darkening pines around the lake -- with a cast of 130, including a child choir of 50, and his talented production team -- Schafer animates an exquisite sort of creative making. He draws on the deep tap root of collective archetypes (earth mother, wise old woman, trickster/shapeshifter, warrior, hero, soul....), and camps up and humourizes some of them (part Blues Brothers, part Wizard of Oz doesn't live in Kansas anymore, instead go visit the big, bad, wolf-howling north woods).
But that is only part of it, the part on offer, as you the participant are included in the performance -- with all of your senses engaged, even the ones you forgot you had like the ones that 'feel' a mosquito coming in for a landing on your exposed neck, or the senses that cannot help but calculate whether that moving bush beside you on the dark trail is a hidden trombonist or some 'real' threat.
As McLuhan might have put this, citing one of his favourite stanzas from Yeats - Schafer in his Patria cycle gets right down " where all the ladders start, in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart."
This is the fourth "extreme theatre" event (in the Patria cycle) that I have attended. You go as you might decide to go on a pilgrimage. The experience is not comparable to much else (except other environmental performance art works, and the rest of the Patria cycle). Last night, once we arrived at base camp in Haliburton, 4 hours north of Toronto, we then climbed onto a bonerattler bus, and journeyed into the woods half an hour further. We -- a full house of 200 people of all ages and nationalities, inculding Germans, Swiss, French, Japaneses, kids, teens, singles, music lovers, those in shape and out -- walked a rough 6 hectare site by torch light to 10 different event locations. At the end of this woody journey, it is a moonless really black night, even the weakly stars do not help much, and you must retrace the whole event course to get back to those bonerattlers, the line ups for the porta-potties, base camp and the ride to your next wherever.
With Schafer's work, you do not simply transport yourself to a theatre; you are tested, you endure (or drop out), you suffer, and if you are into it (and most people I spoke with were), you get ready for transformation. (This is elemental performance and encounter, like a moveable magical Woodstock, happening not in the US mud, but rather in the Canadian lakeside woods, an enchanted trip without the drugs. Children are everywhere, but this fable aims for the universal archetype child, complete with abduction and menace, not the cliched chicklet mc children packaged and sold back to us by disney).
I have always appreciated Schafer's acknowledgements of McLuhan's influences on his World soundscape project of 1970, and his credit to McLuhan for influence on development of his working model of media as environments in Schafer's book The Tuning of the World. Now that Schafer is stressing in recent interviews that a turning point in his artistic consciousness was getting kicked out of U of T music school for "insubordination" before going to Simon Fraser and starting his soundscape project, I appreciate him even more. (I have met him several times, and found him funny, insightful, modest and unfailingly alert.)
He is a hybrid thinker and practitioner, a visionary pragmatist. The fact that he triumphed eventually and has found recognition and an audience for his work gives courage to some of us who may lose hope momentarily. As we stepped off those bonerattlers and arrived at the ritual space just before 'Showtime' there he was last night in his trademark fisherman cap and new golf shirt. He did not act like a theatrical shaman but had that look of the anxious father eyeing the skies, and praying for no rain (they were rained out Saturday night, so the crowd was larger than usual ).
Then, at that magic moment when the long horn signalled the end to secular time ( sounded like a tuba looked like something from the Swiss alps) and everyone turned and passed over the threshold and into the mysteries, he melted away to watch and listen to the watchers.
With Enchanted Forest, there is no doubt in my mind that Schafer has somehow taken a major creative leap. It was not perfect, and there were flaws. But they were flaws and imperfections within a brilliant and unique performance production.
One of the producers told me last night that Schafer was offered the full use of Haliburton Reserve to perform all of his work (Princess and the Stars was enacted at a private lake nearby several years ago, and we bonerattled from the same base camp. But now he can have far more artistic control, and can convene his troupe for longer rehearsal times. Every summer he holds a camp for his performers, many of whom volunteer. )
Schafer was asked what he needed in the Haliburton Reserve, and he said "a lake." So that's what he received. The last sequence had us out on a floating wooden structure on that lake, with candles in jars all around. A night bird swooped around, and it felt utterly magical. (No give-aways of the 'ritual plot' and post-logue sequence, in case you are going to see it. )
My favourite review of his work aptly overstates the aesthetic implication of Schafer's "extreme theatre" : " God is his co-designer." That means a loon may sound unexpected notes at unscripted times, a handheld torch may fall accidently on your (well, my) head, or you really can be rained out. It is breath taking, awesome, risky, humbling, and renews the human encounter with the inner and outer unexpected, serendipitous, here and now, life as lived. It is live and afterwards, an unforgettable experience.
In Canada (and doubtless elsewhere) it is so very difficult to maintain integrity and creativity whether as artist, producer, intellectual, whatever it is you do while not fitting into any of the holes that have been provided. First you must survive childhood, and deal with the authorities who refuse to be questioned, and the pressures to conform and obey; then as an adult you must navigate the institutional shoals of indifference, hostility and ridicule, while steering clear of the Procrustean roles rewarded only to those capable of demonstrating due deference.
Murray Schafer has done it. He is in my view *arguably* the one man of his generation currently active artistically who continues to take the risks required to forge a new language by designing and exploding creative depth charges, working over time and cultivating a team of multifaceted talents, and sounding wake up calls from within a distinctively Canadian ground.
He may now have most of the rewards that Canada gives its artists, but he is still out there on the trail, watching with wonder, watching our delight.
Schafer's extreme theatre is for the quick and the living, not the dull and the dead. Let those with ears to hear, hear; and those with eyes to see, see.
The fact that Schafer acknowledges the significance of McLuhan's impact upon him, -- and of course he has long kicked free from McLuhan's ladder and scaffold ( or as i prefer to phrase this, chiming with Castells, we are all post McLuhan now) -- only makes his projects more worthy of serious critical attention.
Schafer's ongoing saga adds to the mystery of how this country treats its integrated creatives, its hybrids, its visionary pragmatists.
I will always be grateful to Murray Schafer for showing powerfully that our Canadian creative originality runs deep and true. His work speaks to me and to many others, about the most universal themes of our humanity, in the multiple voices of music, gesture, costume, nature, spectacle, ritual, and more. Schafer's work for me is always animated by a distinctive Canadian sensibility, one we Canucks can never seem to explain, even to ourselves, but we know it when we feel it.
Top court sends message to Parliament as it orders new trial for Alberta man
By Daniel Leblanc and Katherine Harding
OTTAWA and EDMONTON -- The Supreme Court called yesterday for clearer laws against Internet crime as it forced an Alberta man to face a new trial on charges of selling instructions to perpetrate credit-card fraud on his website. The ruling is one of the first from the top court related to Internet crime and opens the door to further restrictions on the posting of information that could incite others to engage in illegal activity, such as bomb-making. The Supreme Court suggested Parliament take preventive action against Internet crime as recommended by the Alberta government.
"The Internet provides fertile ground for sowing the seeds of unlawful conduct on a borderless scale. And, at the hearing of the appeal, Crown counsel expressed with eloquence and conviction the urgent need for an appropriate prophylactic response," Mr. Justice Morris Fish said on behalf of the 6-3 majority.
"In my view, however, this task must be left to Parliament." A spokesman for the Department of Justice said the matter is under review, and steps could eventually be taken.
"The department is always looking to improve the Criminal Code," Christian Girouard said. Legal experts said the Supreme Court is turning to Parliament to determine when it is illegal to transmit things such as bomb-making instructions through cyberspace and whether the simple posting of information is a crime. The challenge for legislators will be to find a balance between public security and freedom of speech.
"The court is telling Parliament to look into it, but that there is a need for balance here and that they may do more harm than good," lawyer Eugene Meehan said. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the ruling is a "matter of concern" because it could go beyond the Internet and be used to restrict the distribution of information in places such as bookstores.
"We were disappointed in the ruling. . . . Simply the risk that someone might commit a crime, in certain circumstances, is enough to criminalize expression," lawyer Andrew Lokan said. In its ruling, the Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of René Luther Hamilton in 2002 on charges of counselling fraud. Judge Fish said the lower court in Alberta was wrong to acquit Mr. Hamilton, who sold for $50 (U.S.) a device called The Automatic Credit Card Number Generator on his website.
While calling for a new trial on a charge of counselling fraud, the Supreme Court said Mr. Hamilton was not guilty of any crime for selling bomb-making instructions to at least 20 customers as part of the same package.
The difference, according to the Supreme Court, is there was evidence at trial that Mr. Hamilton was well aware of the potential credit-card fraud that could be committed with his instructions. "If you download the programs and use them . . . we accept no liability for your actions!" Mr. Hamilton's website said.
On his website, however, Mr. Hamilton did not inform his potential clients that he would provide them with bomb-making instructions and tips to perform a break-in. In addition, Mr. Hamilton told the lower court he had not read the bomb-making instructions before dispatching them to his clients.
Steven Bilodeau, an Alberta Crown prosecutor who acted as co-counsel on the Supreme Court appeal, said he is "very encouraged" by the ruling.
"It now confirms that people will be held accountable for what they say on-line," he said. "We didn't want people to escape criminal liability because they were just out to make a buck. That's no excuse."
In their dissent, three Supreme Court judges said any new laws could hinder free speech.
"Movies, video games, textbooks and other literary works that describe or depict the commission of an offence may be subject to state scrutiny. I would think it obvious that such a prohibition on expression would be too wide," Madam Justice Louise Charron said on behalf of the two other dissenters, Mr. Justice John Major and Madam Justice Rosalie Abella. Mr. Meehan, a Supreme Court watcher at Heenan Blaikie, said there was a cyberspace dialogue in reference to the credit-card fraud, but no explicit transaction involving the bomb-making material.
"The Supreme Court is clearly saying that Parliament should look into, in a balanced way, whether a monologue can itself be criminal," he said.
Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal on MP3 players
by Angela Pacienza, Canadian Press
TORONTO - The fight over a levy on iPods and other digital music players ended Thursday when the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear any further arguments on the matter.
That means there will be no levy applied to digital audio recorders such as Apple's popular iPod and iPod Shuffle as well as other MP3 players like iRiver.
"Obviously we're disappointed. We felt it was self-evident that those products are sold for the purpose of copying music," said David Basskin, of the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC), the non-profit agency which collects tariffs on behalf of musicians and record companies.
The group had wanted the high court to overturn last year's Federal Court of Appeal decision which quashed the levy on the popular gadgets.
The non-profit agency had been collecting the tariff - $2 for non-removable memory capacity of up to one GB, $15 for one to 10 GBs, $25 for more than 10 GB - since December 2003 through a tax built into the price of the devices.
It stopped in December 2004 when the Federal Court overturned the policy at the urging of the Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access, a group which represents retailers and manufacturers such as Future Shop, Wal-Mart Canada, Apple Canada, Sony Canada, and Dell Computer Corporation of Canada.
The CPCC, which collects levies on blank media such as CDs, argued that since the new technology opened yet another avenue to make illegal copies of songs, a levy should be collected on behalf of music creators.
But the Digital Access group argues otherwise. It calls Canada's levy system unfair and "a longstanding problem."
"People are forced to pay whether or not they use the media for music," said spokesman Fraser Smith, from the group's Ottawa offices. "A lot of people, including small businesses, use it to back data files and photos. That's a huge problem."
He added with the growing popularity of legal downloading websites such as ITunes and Puretracks, consumers are paying twice - once for the song and a second time when they burn it to CD to listen to it.
He added that the private copying levies were introduced in an analogue era and need to be re-examined.
"It was made for blank audio cassette tapes," said Fraser.
Approximately $4 million was collected from sales of digital audio recorders between December 2003 and December 2004.
The money is sitting in an account and will be returned to the importers and manufacturers of the products. There's no word yet on whether consumers who paid the hidden tariff will be reimbursed, said Smith.
In addition to fighting against the MP3 player levy, the Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access asked the Supreme Court to re-examine the validity of the private copying act which permits the CPCC to collect tariffs.
The court rejected the motion meaning the law remains constitutional and the CPCC can continue collecting levies on behalf of performers, songwriters, music producers and record companies.
Selon l'enquête mensuelle NETendances (<http://www.infometre.cefrio.qc.ca/loupe/omnibus/default.asp>), 12,3 % des adultes québécois ont déjà consulté un blogue. En juin, on apprend que 63,6 % des adultes québécois ont navigué régulièrement sur Internet. De plus, 53,2 % des internautes adultes québécois ont communiqué par courriel, 23,5 % ont discuté en direct sur Internet et 15,9 % ont écouté ou téléchargé de la musique par Internet.
The NetiZen News is produced at the Electronic Commons/Agora Électronique. eCommons is a pan-Canadian, not-for-profit community learning and practice network that is creating a space on the World Wide Web for community development, citizen engagement and cultural content creation. This organization and web site is always in a reinvention phase.
Volunteers and contributors are welcome. We train, and co-learn. If you are interested, visit the eCommons at www.ecommons.net
Selected sister projects include the World Summit on the Information Society civil society site http://wsis.ecommons.ca.
The McLuhan global research network www.mcluhan.ca.
Chief cyber architectof the eCommons and NetiZen News is the byDesign eLab www.bydesign-elab.net.
NetiZen News Contributing Editors: Nathan Bentley, Hannah Cho, Alex Kuskis, Fariborz Lesani, Brendan O'Mahoney, Amelia Potter, Trudy Rawlings.
NetiZen News Contributors: Nathan Bentley, Hannah Cho.
NetiZen News is a joint project of byDesign eLab and the eCommons/Agora. Please use and recycle the Netizen News and give credit to the original authors.
The Netizen Newsletter is edited by Robert Rodbourne, Netizen News Managing Editor;
Assistant Managing Editor is Nathan Bentley.
Executive Editor is Dr Liss Jeffrey.
NetiZen News 'zine Manager: Loreta Vaskeviciene
Net Newsletter (email) and Subscription Manager: Fraser McAninch
NetiZen News Next Platform architect is Oleg Mitsura (building in open source with Drupal)
All email correspondence should be addressed to Robert Rodbourne (email@example.com).
Tel: 416-596-9533 x280
The NetiZen News is an independent public interest project designed for Canadians who seek news they can use to make informed choices.
The eCommons/agora project is a Community Learning Network partly sponsored by Human Resources Development Canada's Office of Learning Technologies.