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December 30th, 2008:

Pasquale Policelli – My Father

papa closeup 3.jpgPasquale Policelli, my father, passed away one month ago today. He spent the past two years prior to his death fighting hard – lung cancer, lobectomy, COPD and asthma – left him struggling to breathe at the best of times… a bout with pneumonia in the Summer of 2007 left him on oxygen, and two more bouts with pneumonia this Fall led to his passing… He kept his wits about him throughout and he never lost his positive spirit, even with all he had to face he was always there for my mother, my brothers and me, his grandchildren, and all his brothers and sisters…

My father was not an educated man, but he is the smartest man I’ve known and I will miss his love and support, always tempered by his guidance and wisdom. I hope even the tiniest bit of his spirit is embodied in me and that I can live up to his high standards. He never once complained while dealing with his illness these past couple of years. He never once asked “Why me?”. He only asked that he not needlessly suffer, and his peaceful passing during the night, in his sleep, was an answer to that request.

Thank you for indulging this blog post of mine. I had to go into at least a little detail about him – he deserves no less…

I wrote the following verse some time ago from a song entitled My Papa’s Clothes:

I want to wear my papa’s clothes
I want to know what papa knows
The pistol dreams he once supposed
The barrel-chested man with the strength of gods inside him
His fear of life subsiding
Secure in the path he chose
I want to wear my papa’s clothes

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Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…

Well, I’m still waiting to hear back from CTV as to when this show (Spectacle: Elvis Costello With…) will be airing in Canada. CTV is supposedly one of the owners of the show and made much fanfare in April 2008 that this series would be showing by the end of the year… well, there’s like a day left to that…

When the series began a few weeks ago in the U.S. on the Sundance cable network, I emailed CTV and asked when we could look for it here in Canada… and I emailed again and a third time… not one response! They’re not exactly making this viewer feel welcome…

But that’s what Elvis’ job would be if I was able to watch the show… I can’t even catch the clips from the Sundance site (though a couple have been posted on YouTube) as they are “georestricted” (probably at CTV’s request, no less, then they fail to put the show on here). Oh well, if you go to the show’s site you’ll see the list of guests (past, present and future) and see that there is a marathon of sorts tomorrow on New Year’s Eve starting at 5 p.m… (hmmm… maybe I can find a grey market satellite to watch a couple of these episodes…)

Anywho, there’s Elton John, Lou Reed, Bill Clinton, James Taylor, Tony Bennett, The Police, Herbie Hancock, Smokey Robinson, Rufus Wainwright and Diana Krall (I wonder if Rufus’ and/or Diana’s own Canuck families will get to watch the show!) and more… so quite a range and I’m sure it will be interesting, to say the least…

Come on CTV… let’s get this show on the air! And may the Muse be with you…

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Copyfight in Canada

Precedent, a magazine about the “new rules of law and style” for lawyers in Canada, had an article entitled “Copyfight” in its latest issue. There was a bill (C-61) that fell by the wayside because of the last federal election being called. Various lawyers discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of C-61 which was assailed by its critics for making most of the public into “copyright criminals”. As the premise of the article goes:

Not long ago, a copyright protest would have seemed like a piece of absurdist parody (“Actuaries of the world, unite!”). But the federal government has made it clear that it intends to rewrite Canada’s creaky copyright laws, and in a world awash with media, everyone has something at stake. Creators want to be paid for their creativity, while consumers want to enjoy, share, and re-purpose it. Copyright has never been as clear as property rights, and deciding what’s legal hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it’s turned into a very public, very bitter tug-of-war – an out-and-out copyfight.

One of my favourite writers/bloggers in the area of copyright/intellectual property matters in Canada is Michael Geist, a lawyer in Ottawa who is the “go to” guy for the media on these sorts of issues. I’ll leave the last words for him, but I have that good old-fashioned contradiction inside of me on this issue – I certainly make “fair use” of many songs out there (if I own the album, I don’t see why I can’t download the mp3 version), but if I ever do publish a song, I wonder how “fair” it will seem to me then… Oh that I would have such a problem!

“We ought to recognize that copyright is not the only incentive to creativity,” says Michael Geist, leaning over a table at a tiny, packed Second Cup on the University of Ottawa campus (“his second office,” noted a colleague).

Geist isn’t a free-everything activist (of which there are plenty on the Internet). But he has argued loud and long that overprotection can be as dangerous and innovation-stifling as underprotection.

Geist argues that users’ rights to use copyrighted works for fair purposes shouldn’t be restricted by contracts or digital locks. His vision recognizes that, like it or not, users are increasingly becoming creators in their own rights. With the advent of “Web 2.0,” the technological barriers to accessing, altering, and rebroadcasting copyrighted material have evaporated. And, adds Geist, “what used to be a relatively small community of geeks became us. It became the Canadian public.”

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