Canada's record industry loses; ISPs win in music downloading lawsuit

Much more on this later — I'm putting together items for tonight's newscast on this — but the Canadian Recording Industry Association's attempt to force ISPs to turn over customer information that would help CRIA sue what it alleges are illegal music downloaders has failed. A Federal Court of Canada judge handed CRIA a shutout, in a ruling which says CRIA provided no evidence that what Kazaa users and others are doing is illegal. Read for yourself here. It's fascinating. 


Apple and Adobe not getting along like they used to

A very nice piece
by CNET's David Becker
on the relationship between Apple Computer and Adobe Systems Inc.. Both companies are
richer because of each other's existence. Adobe committed early to the
Macintosh platform and always made sure that updates of applications
like Photoshop were out on the Mac platform before they were on
Windows. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that that Apple would make
the big jump from Mac OS 9 to the Mac OS X, a lot of observers wondered
if that was such a good idea. That's because the code base for OS X,
based as it is on a Linux kernel, was so radically different from OS 9
that Apple would be asking all its developer partners to re-code, at
great expense, its Apple applications.
Luckily for Apple, Adobe was right there as an early adopter and backer
of OS X and other developers took their cue from Adobe.
Similarly, Apple built machines that exploited all the great software
innovations pioneered by Adobe co-founder John Warnock, notably the
early adoption of the PostScript printing language. Apple's computers,
displays, and printers were among the earliest and best to render
digital typefaces the way Warnock conceived of them. Apple's commitment
to help realize Warnock's vision helped Adobe.
But now, to use Becker's metaphor, the relationship between Apple and
Adobe is like any marriage that's lasted 20 years:

They share an area code, a customer segment and a history dating back
to the early days of personal computing. But Apple Computer and Adobe
Systems, like many in long-term relationships, have seen the
20-years-and-counting bond between them run hot and cold.
Right now, it's in a colder period. Signs of frost have been
accumulating for the past couple of years, with Adobe dropping
Macintosh support for several software products and introducing others
as Microsoft Windows-only applications. At the same time, Apple has
quietly pushed Adobe out of a few markets by selling its own
applications or bundling them into its OS X operating system.

A new term from Clay Shirky – Situated Software

Clay Shirky describes a new term —
situated software— in his latest
, released to the Net this evening.
Shirky says “situated
software” is “designed in and for a particular social situation or
context. This way of making software is in contrast with what I'll call
the Web School (the paradigm I learned to program in), where
scalability, generality, and completeness were the key virtues . . .
The biggest difference this creates relative to classic web
applications is that it becomes easy to build applications to be used
by dozens of users, an absurd target population in current design
It's a neat essay. Clay describes some applications created by some of
the students he teaches under this 'situated software' paradigm.

Music downloads don't hurt sales, say b-school profs

Professors at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina conclude in a new study released today that music downloads do not seem to have any impact on music industry sales. Their study concludes “downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates, moreover, these estimates are of moderate economic significance and are inconsistent with claims that file sharing is the primary reason for the recent decline in music sales”
Sharman Networks, the company behind the file-trading service Kazaa, was happy to hear about this. This comes, incidentally, as file sharers in Canada await a key ruling from the Federal Court of Canada that will determine if the music industry can force ISPs to turn over customer data so that the record industry can more easily sue those it believes are guilty of copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is suing 247 file sharers in Canada, Italy, Germay, and Denmark, and Canada.

Finally, market researchers Ipsos-Reid report that use of legal music download services exploded last year.

Fewer newspaper readers in Canada?

The latest NADBANK survey is out. NADBANK, in Canada, is to the folks in the newspaper business what Nielsen is to the folks in the TV business. It's an independent research firm that provides a semi-annual scorecard to newspaper publishers that lets them and their advertisers know how many people are reading the papers. It is not the same thing as circulation numbers, which indicate how many people are buying a given paper.

The bottom line for this survey, which tracked readership last fall, seems to be that most papers are losing readers, particularly readers who are 18-34. A free subway paper in Toronto, though, is doing very well with a big jump in readership. In Vancouver, The Province and The Sun switch places as the most-read paper in that city.

Every paper, of course, as their own take on these numbers. Here's a selection:

The Globe and Mail: Free Toronto daily's readership surges
Subway handout Metro jumps 22% as stability reigns in newspaper marketplace
Metro, the free tabloid handed out in Toronto's subway system, has seen substantial year-over-year growth in readership in a national newspaper
marketplace that has otherwise shown remarkable stability . . .
[The Globe also issued a press release.]

The Toronto Star: Star dominates rivals in fight for Toronto readers
Industry survey confirms huge lead
Other papers lost readers in 2003
The newspaper war still rages, but the Toronto Star remains by far the dominant newspaper in greater Toronto while its three major rivals have all lost readers, an industry report shows. A survey released yesterday by Newspaper Audience Databank Inc. shows that in 2003 an average 1,036,800 people read the Star the previous weekday, unchanged from 2002 . . ..
[The Star also issued a press release]

National Post: I could find no story online from the National Post but that paper did put out a a press release.

Calgary Sun: Sun tops with families
Your Calgary Sun is rising faster than ever. So fast, in fact, that it's now the most read daily paper among 18-49-year-old Calgarians. And we're also the leading daily newspaper through the week and on Sundays for city families …

Noam Chomsky has a blog

OK, now this whole blog thing is really going mainstream. Noam Chomsky has a blog:

This blog will include brief comments on diverse topics of concern in our time. They will sometimes come from the ZNet sustainer forum system where Noam interacts through a forum of his own, sometimes from direct submissions, sometimes culled from mail and other outlets — always from Noam Chomsky.

That's what he wrote on March 24. I'd provide a link to it but the link that should point to it: – is broken.
You can also get an RSS feed off his blog (he's using Moveable Type. He must be smart.)
The good news is that, while some of Chomsky's books require your undivided attention because they can be a bit tricky from an intellectual point-of-view, his blog posts are like coffee-shop chats — informal, still full of insight, and short enough that you don't need an entire morning to digest them.

Community newspapers: Why we love 'em

I work at some big-time, big-city capital-m Media outlets but I started out at the twice-a-week Orangeville Banner and worked my way from there to one small daily to another. When I was at the Banner, I'd have given my eye teeth to be on staff at the Globe and Mail but, now that I am, I'm glad no one was around to take those eye teeth and that I got a chance to live and work and write about all the communities that I lived in.
Now, over on the listserv for the Canadian Association of Journallists , we're talking about commmunity newspapers. Community newspapers are, by and large, the weekly or, at least, non-daily newspapers that often serve as the paper of record in smaller communities.
Tina Kennedy is a writer at the South Peace News of High Prairie, Alberta, a weekly with a circulation of about 2,000 copies. High Prairie is way the hell up there, from my vantage point here in southern Ontario, a town of about 3,000 people halfway between Edmonton and the Northwest Territories. Tina's paper is an award-winner and here's what she had to say about working on titles like hers (this has been lightly edited from her original post):

From Upper Armpit Alberta, . . .
The pay is shite, the hours are worse. But there's something at community newspapers that draw many of us here: the communities and their issues.
I happen to work in a very busy area that leaves me less time for actually writing something than I care for. But it's so bloody dynamic that I get amazed when I read dailies and realize just how much they miss.
There's so little connection between community newspapers and dailies. Instead of the regurgitated national stories–with a different spin–we often get things as they're breaking.
For instance, this little town stood up to the Alberta government and the feds. Told both of them that they weren't paying their policing bill any more and they could stuff it. It was a successful effort to get someone to pay attention to the funding formula for policing. Did the dailies in Alberta pick it up? Nope. Now today the budget will bring with it a new funding formula for towns with populations under 5,000.
There's no doubt that reporters working in a daily medium are far removed from those working in community newspapers or magazines.
…in all honesty, I don't know that I'd ever go to a daily. I like wearing my jeans to work. I like knowing that Lyle at the arena doesn't care who I am and has no problem sitting down to have a coffee with me and letting me in on the recent budget cuts to a local sawmill.

To which I said:

Hurrah for Tina!
Great post. All the things Tina just enumerated — having a connection to a community you can really get your arms around and writing stuff that has an immediate (and, one hopes, positive) impact on your neighbors — are what makes newspapering a lot of fun at the same time that it teaches you a whole lot about how the world actually works.
At CTV, and before that at the Post, we often get very bright interns from journalism schools, many with multiple degrees beyond what they were studying for in journalism. Invariably, we end up in a discussion about the value of j-school and how it can help get you a job. My advice has always been and will always be that, while what you learn at j-school might help, it will help far more if you sign up to cover library board meetings or a rural police force for a community paper. Go do that for a year and you'll find out fast what your interests are; what your strengths and weaknesses as a reporter are; and, most importantly, that the way you go about collecting news, assembling interviews, and crafting a story is never the way it was described in your class or in your textbook.
Now, I don't want to make it sound like commmunity newspapering is journalism heaven because there are some crushingly dull days on the job and the pay, as Tina mentioned, is crap and you never have enough time/resources/support, plus you have to take your own pictures.
But if I didn't have to worry about the bills, I'd just as soon go back to the Orillia Packet & Times — not a community newspaper but close, a daily with a circulation of 11,000 — where, as the city hall reporter, I'd spend hot summer nights hiding out in the cool basement of the Stephen Leacock Museum there with the museum curator, some town councillors, and some buddies, gossiping and playing snooker on Leacock's pool table, and toasting his ghost with cheap Scotch.

Gas prices; record highs in the U.S., bouncy in Canada

I asked gas station owners, petroleum industry associations, economists, analysts, and as many consumers as I could find but no one could provide with a satisfactory answer about why gas prices in my market — the Toronto area — or in Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, and other major Canadian cities are bouncing around with such big swings. Gas in Toronto was 70.9 cents a litre Monday at lunch. Tuesday at lunch it was at 80 cents. In Winnipeg, one consumer said she bought gas Monday for 64 cents a litre and on Tuesday it had popped to 78 cents a litre.
Meanwhile, the in the U.S., gas prices are hitting record-highs — the average tracked by the American Automobile Association came in at over $1.73 a gallon yesterday — and some commentators are warning it could go to $3 (U.S.) a gallon.
All of this prompted a piece I did last night for CTV's national newscast. You'll have click on the “Related Video” link on the right of the story at that site to watch the piece.

Behold! The folly of PR dopes

Here, in all its glory, is a good example of the dopey pitches reporters too often get. (Thank goodness they come now by e-mail
and not by telephone!)
The pitcher here is a fellow named Jamie Adams. I've never heard of him before and it seems obvious he's never heard of me. Nonetheless, he earnestly believes books on Cisco networking technology “would make a great blog”.
You can vote on this issue over there to the right using the handy-dandy blogpolling feature
First, Jamie apparently has no idea what a blog is. I don't care who you are but books on networking technology never make good blog.

Second: He's clearly never spent any time at this blog for if he did he would quickly learn that the content he is pitching is entirely
inappropriate. Nonetheless, Mr. Adams is likely able to say to his bosses that he dutifully e-mailed this pitch to x number of tech
journalists, fulfilling his daily quota of meaningless bumpf.

So far as I can tell, I'm about as patient as they come when it comes to public relations types fumbling their way towards some kind of
meaningful relationship with me but this is the kind of mindless pitch that gives the profession the reputation it would like to avoid.

From: “Adams, Jamie”

Date: March 22, 2004 10:01:39 AM EST

To: “Adams, Jamie”

Subject: Cisco Press for your tech. blog


I'm writing to inquire about how we could work together to add information about Cisco Press titles on your tech blog? Cisco Press has a wide variety of networking technology titles that may appeal to your readers in categories like routing/switching, security, IP Communications, optical, and more!

Cisco Press,, is the only authorized publisher of Cisco networking technology and certification self-study books for Cisco
Systems. Our titles would make a great blog on self-study books available to help professionals stay on top of their game, or for those interested in pursuing Cisco certification -Cisco Press has the only authorized materials available.

We recently launched a new series called the Network Business Series which your readers may also be interested in:

*The Case for Virtual Business Processes ISBN: 1-58720-087-2 COMING SOON!
Power-up your Small-Medium Business Network: A Guide to Enabling Network Technologies ISBN:1-58705-135-4

Taking Charge of Your VoIP Project ISBN: 1-58720-092-9

IP Telephony Unveiled ISBN: 1-58720-075-9

Planet Broadband ISBN: 1-58720-090-2

I could provide you with chapter excerpts of our titles in PDF form so that the readers can download a sample chapter from your site as a way to bring readers to your blog. Let me know your thoughts on ways to collaborate.



>> ————————————

Jamie Adams

Publicist, Cisco Press

Pearson Technology Group

800 E. 96th Street, Third Floor

Indianapolis, IN 46240

tel: (317) 428-3012

fax: (317) 428-3121


Cisco Press, a partnership between Cisco Systems and the Pearson Education division of Pearson plc, is the official publisher of Cisco networking technology and Cisco certification self-study materials.

> ****************************************************************************

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