Michael Geist and Our Own Creative Land

This is in the nature of an experiment, since I’m sitting in Hart House waiting for Michael and blogging on a BlackBerry, which certainly isn’t an optimal input device for a Blog. I doubt if I’m going to be putting URLs or images in this post.

A full house and folks queued up waiting for rush tickets. The multimedia Flickr enhanced slide show has been running in best Beckman Centre fashion but much quieter. We are in Hart House after all.

As simon pointed out earlier today this is being live webcast and podcasted so you can point out any of my grosser misinterpretations.

Enough. Now for the main event.


Michael starts with the Samite Bulte’s fundraising event 4 days before the Election, and his reaction on his blog, picked up by the MSM. He’s run through the coverage on the blogosphere and has just screened a video of an all candidates meeting with Bulte being asked whether she would take the Copyright pledge.

New voices in the blogosphere.
75,000 new blogs a day are being launched.

He’s demonstrating blogger.com and RSS feeds.

The medium of blogs has spawned new types of creativity.

Fanfiction. The Creative Archive License Group.

Creative Commons and the initiatives of Larry Lessig now has 50 million works licensed.

Knowledge sharing. He starts with Wikipedia and a million articles. Its a global phenomenon. Wikibooks. Public Library of Science. The Internet Archive. Google Scholar and Google Books. A 21st century card catalogue.

Open source collaboration – we haven’t seen anything yet. While print media may be declining, online services from MSM are burgeoning.
Forbes.com has outpaced the Wsj the FT and Fortune combined because it sees itself as in the Ad business.

The market formed by the Long Tail.

Irwin Law’s launching of In the public interest, Michael’s edited essays from late last year.

CBS offering podcasts of radio soap operas. Youtube offering clips of basketballs. Videogaming – the Ontario government has just annoUnced tax credits for game production.

Music is in decline. Walmart is the leading seller of music in North America. Indie labels haven’t declined.

The developments have been phenomenal.



There are new stakeholders. Copyright matters.

Education. Libraries.

Michael gives a potted history of copyright. 1921, 1988 and 1993. He’s losing his audience at this speed, though its just extreme truncation 2002 and the Icrave TV debacle.

New communities of stakeholders seeking a balanced approach to copyright. He quotes the Supremes in Theberge. Lucy Maud Montgomery Copyright Term Extension Act didn’t pass.

Bulte took a very old stakeholder rights holder perspective.

The consultation was skewed in favour of established interests.

The effects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Chilling effects on innovation and competition Australia has just released a report which recommends 37 exceptions to address innovation privacy and competition concerns.

There is another choice.

Wipo implementation in a Canadian manner. Interpret fair dealing in a broad way. Use must be fair. We can choose access to knowledge with a national digital library in 5 years for less than the Canadian Heritage currently spends.
Crown copyright should be abolished. Its indefensible.

We can choose free speech. We can choose privacy. Sony case shows that we sign away our privacy.

We can choose innovation and the freedom to tinker. Protection from digital rights management. Governement funding should require research to be open access. 3 weeks of radio access in Australia and Norway.

We can choose culture by freezing copyright terms. Creators don’t care. The Disney Corporation cares.

We can choose balance. Between creators and users.

Who owns our creativity? We do. Its our choice. Choose wisely.


  1. Well Simon, sitting on the other side of the room, I had my laptop out trying to take notes for myself. You are braver than I; posting as you did. And fairly accurately, I might add. The reception after was almost as interesting — seeing who was in attendance. An interesting cross section of people — from students to academics to business people.

    All in all, I found Michael lucid and convincing and would encourage anyone who is interested in the subject and didn’t make it out to try the podcast. It was good seeing you there.

  2. Way to go, Simon! I can just picture you, thumbs flying, pounding out caps and full stops as well. It gives a great sense of immediacy. Would have been cool if Joel had been blogging from the other side of the room at the same time; maybe next time.

  3. More commentary at http://www.dabydeen.com/2006/03/our-own-creative-land.html – and yes the acoustics were bad, some of the slides were too busy, and I mentioned in an earlier post that the webfeed was simply a headshot with none of the slides. Which makes me wonder whether the sound could not be cut into the slides like Dick Hardt did at OSCON2005 – see http://www.identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/ and the new O’Reilly riff at http://identity20.com/media/ETECH_2006/

  4. Thanks for this, Simon. And from your BlackBerry! I’m impressed. I have notes from the Information Highways conference which I will be posting to my blog over the weekend but they won’t have the immediate energy of this post.

    I also noticed an general lack of understanding as to how to effectively use PowerPoint in those sessions as well. My favourite in the “bad” category was the person who had verbose slides, and then proceeded to discuss in detail something related but different as she paged through them. There was no way to read the slide content while listening to the talk. At least, I couldn’t.

  5. Ah bad PowerPoint – Dan Pinnington and I have a double act we’ve done in 3 countries now on the use and abuse of PowerPoint. I’ll see if I can upload the paper for the Slaw community, or if anyone wants a copy, please email me. It’s 30 pages and around 1.2 MB in PDF

  6. Michael told me that the reason the republications may be different (i.e. not have the slides), was that he was concerned about how far the fair dealing defence for a university lecture would stretch, if the images were deployed in other ways.