Monthly Archives: January 2008

Study Calls Safety of Tasers Into Question

In reference to the previous post, here’s some research:

Taser Maker Insists Weapons Are Safe

This issue will be pretty high on the PR level for some time, probably with many MPs and other public officials chiming in about how much they love their tasers:

Say No to the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) Proposal for Downloading

Here’s a proposal from the Songwriters Association of Canada as it relates to recouping some of the losses they’re experiencing with internet downloads:

The proposal is this: charge $5 per internet account per month. Based on the level of service across the industry, I’m going to guess that that would work out to the following:
$5 x 12 months = $60 per internet consumer
# of internet consumers in Canada = approx. 17 million
17 million x $60 per year = $1 billion / year


Judging by the links provided on the SAC site, the SAC looks like a bit of a mouth-piece for the music industry, which is in effect, the big 5 media companies that own most of anything related to pop culture produced in the 20th century.

With that kind of backing, consumers in Canada must be aware that this tax (and it is a tax) should not be allowed or acceptable.

If this kind of nonsense becomes law in Canada, it’s a shifty backdoor on a whole pile of ugliness for other industries, including TV, movies, the video my cousin posted on YouTube of him getting bashed in the nuts with a skateboard and countless karoake versions posted by really drunk college kids. They’re all going to have to have a piece of the action if musicians get theirs.

Within a couple of years, Internet subscribers will be subsidizing every failed digital industry, just when it had a chance to break away from TV and other media. A tax like this will stifle the Internet and these people know it.

They’re hoping for it.

This proposal is about as good a “A Modest Proposal” written by Jonathan Swift almost 300 years ago.

Paul (”I’m one of their investors”) McGuinness Calls for Greater Control on Downloading

It’s exceptionally annoying when people in the old school just don’t get what’s happening in today’s digital marketplace.

Paul McGuiness, long-time manager for a little Irish quartet called U2, wrote on their website about the need for more controls on digital downloads. Unfortunately, like many involved in the industry in its hey-day, he completely misses the point.

For nearly a decade, the recording industry has had an opportunity to do something with themselves beyond fleecing consumers of their cash for singles and one-hit wonders, but they haven’t. I’ve bought every single U2 album, I’ve paid for three outrageously over-priced (but great) concerts and hundreds of dollars more in fan related stuff, but he still wants more.

Sorry. I’m tapped out.
We heard this kind of rhetoric when Lars Whazziz Name from Metallica was in a constant rant about losing out on revenue when Napster and other P2P services went live. We heard about the plight of the distributors as more and more of them shut down (except the cool ones that actually have a little more selection than all x number of Jennifer Lopez CDs).

And yet, nobody stopped to ask me what I’d do if they stopped playing Britney Spears or Clay Aiken when all I really wanted to do was find a couple of funky groups like Caribou, The Acorn or Patrick Watson (all exceptional Canadian bands, I might add).

Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with this statement from Paul McGuiness:

“There is technology now, that the worldwide industry could adopt, which enables content owners to track every legitimate digital download transaction, wholesale and retail.

This system is already in use here in Cannes by the MIDEM organisation and is called SIMRAN. Throughout this conference you will see contact details and information. I recommend you look at it.

I should disclose that I’m one of their investors.”

What’s that you say? You’re not aware of any conflict of interest? Give me a break. I can think of a lot of ways to describe this blatant attempt to shut down a couple of billion downloaders, but the reality is, Paul, you’ve gone and shot yourself in the foot.

Why don’t you do something productive like Peter Gabriel? He’s taken this in stride and has started an exceptionally unique company called WE7. At least it’s an effort to make something happen in a positive way.

I know this sounds so obvious, but the media landscape has been permanently altered. Get used to it.

Food Industry: Benzene Still In Use, Despite Being a Known Carcinogen

Just Benzene? Let’s face it folks: the best way to avoid all of this crap is to avoid all the crap. Anything that comes in a package or that has some kind of processing involved needs to be questioned. We didn’t need it 200 years ago and we don’t need it now.

What I’m curious about is when things like ‘pop’, chips and a tonne of other stuff became icons of entitlement. As a parent, I struggle with ways to avoid ‘pizza day’ and ‘movie / popcorn’ night, but how do you do it without being a stick-in-the-mud?

Seriously … if anyone has some tips out there, please let me know.