August 03, 2006

Aug. 3, 2006: Culture's Tentacles #1

There is more to this story than it would appear, at first glance. There are tentacles worth exploring ... aspects which are not at first evident.

Caveat: What follows is my own exploration of what I have learned in the last eight months, with information from government websites, some of which disappeared into that great internet maw ... the modern equivalent of file 13 ... deleted, it appears, before a new government took over. Still, according to those who know about these things, I have been assured that the information must still be there, somewhere. Perhaps the information is in a government archive if it interests anyone enough to look further. I have simply used what I found at the time and I do have some screen captures.

ACTRA CALLS BELL GLOBEMEDIA'S BUYOUT OF CHUM ALARMING -- "ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada."

[....] leaving essentially two major media conglomerates and private broadcasters, Bell Globemedia and CanWest Global. Bell Globemedia's holdings already include CTV, The Globe and Mail and 17 specialty channels.

[....] "We're seriously concerned about the impact this excessive media concentration will have on diversity, competition and choice,".... "Canadians' viewing choices are already limited by the swath of duplicated U.S. product carried by private TV broadcasters. This merger will leave us with even fewer voices and less options for seeing our own distinctive stories."

[....] Job losses [....]

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a national organization of professional performers ... ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada [....]

Related union: CARFAC/RAAV

The real protest is in support of entrenching their jobs that would be threatened if US media are allowed freely--that is, unregulated by the CRTC--into Canada ... media like FOX or unregulated Hollywood offerings, and more. Also, they are concerned about copyright * which encompasses more than is usually considered, aspects like language and its use enforced globally for artistic/cultural products. (See below for more on this)

Competition is not really allowed in Canada. From what I read, the CRTC is the instigator and enforcer of the many petty rules and regulations which keep any real competition from entering the system. It rewards those already established by limiting competition through the myriad regulations. Without the CRTC, there might be real, as opposed to the pretend, competition that Canadians now have. Free competition would allow the rise of artistic and cultural endeavours not controlled ... and therein lies the problem for the arts unions, particularly for Quebec francophones, though that will be omitted from items such as the above. Control of the media enforces the control of the news that is presented to Canadians. If you check further ... well, read on.

Related: What do arts and cultural groups say they want?

Is there more to it than what is written or said? Check further. I found more.

Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA)


[....] ACTRA and its predecessors have represented Canadian performers who work in the recorded media, primarily in the English-language, for almost 60 years. Today, ACTRA has close to 18,000 [21,000 now] members: professional artists whose work in television, radio, film, sound recordings, new media productions and commercials entertains, educates and informs Canadians and global audiences. [...] work for all of Canada's broadcasters, the NFB, commercial producers, independent television and film producers, the sound recording industry and developers of computer games and other multimedia products.

The primary function of ACTRA is to negotiate and administer collective agreements establishing minimum conditions of engagement and providing a framework for the contracting of individual members and others by producers. In 1984, ACTRA created the ACTRA Performers Rights Society (PRS), a collective that secures payment of outstanding fees due to performers. The PRS is a component of the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada, administering the royalty paid to performers in sound recordings. [i.e. ACTRA is a union.]

ACTRA members have a vital stake in the future of all the Canadian media, the emergence of new media and the new forms of distribution. This interest arises more than just because it is our livelihood: the members feel passionately that Canada needs a strong Canadian presence [to be read with a jaundiced eye] wherever entertainment and information services are created and however they might be provided to Canadians. We share the objectives for copyright reform outlined in the government's consultation paper, A Framework for Copyright Reform:

· to create opportunities for Canadians;
· to stimulate the production of Canadian content;
· to encourage a strong Canadian presence on the Internet [But there is more to this; one major aspect has to do with language of content, specifically control over its use and the enforcement of such, as cultural products such as online learning go global. ]

If we are to achieve our creative promise, artists whose work is enjoyed by audiences everywhere must be compensated properly for their efforts. Those who use the work must also respect the integrity of the artistic creation. ACTRA's collective agreements have taken important steps toward these objectives. But, in the digital era, it is essential for ACTRA's bargaining efforts on behalf of performers to be supplemented through a range of economic and moral rights in Canada's Copyright Act.

[....] World Intellectual Property Organization ... adoption in 1996 of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) ... December 2000 on 19 of 20 clauses of a new treaty to provide a range of rights for audiovisual performances.

The fundamental starting point for our positions on copyright and performing artists is this:

since the performance of the performer adds value to the artistic work and can give life and grandeur to the script, the work of the performer must be protected by copyright law.

[....] With the emergence of digital technologies ... information and communications technologies (ICTs):

· The ICTs allow for rapid and essentially costless reproduction and communication of material …

· Internet-based infringers are potentially more numerous, more anonymous, and may operate from within jurisdictions that provide relatively little copyright protection …

· Many rights holders wish to avail themselves of the potential benefits of digitizing their material and selling to the large markets now open to them via the Internet.

[....] For performers and their unions, the past decade has brought a proliferation in the number and range of uses of the programs and has increased the challenges we face in monitoring the use and securing payments. It has also spawned a new media industry as another field in which ACTRA members can work. The ability to make perfect copies and to manipulate the performance in ways that are not authorized is available widely with the emergence of computer technology and networks. Consequently, ACTRA proposes that the Government of Canada endorse a comprehensive regime of copyright protection for performers.

ACTRA notes that providing a range of rights to performers conforms to the Core Principles for a copyright framework outlined in the consultation paper.

1. The rules must promote Canadian values. [.... What are they and who decides?]

3. The rules should promote a vibrant and competitive electronic commerce in Canada. In August, five of the major Hollywood studios announced preliminary plans to create an on-demand service to provide movies on the Internet. [.... I suspect this has more to do with protection of the industry from competition, particularly from the US ... but there is more to this than just one cultural industry. The broader perspective relates to a UNESCO Protocol -- see below for more on that.]

4. The framework needs to be cast in a global context. [....] [That is, if the UN is involved, there would be global clout for ACTRA members, particularly with digital technologies protected.]


[....] ... we have developed a successful television industry in Canada ... Canadian content programs, we have failed to achieve a comparable success in the feature film industry. According to the latest government statistics, less than three percent of the screen time in Canadian theatres is occupied by Canadian movies. Yet the two industries generally utilize the same production infrastructure. The principal difference is on the distribution side. While Canada's television distribution system is controlled by Canadian companies regulated by the CRTC, the film distribution business is unregulated and dominated by the foreign majors [that is, the US]. Canada is considered part of an integrated North American market for movies. [....]

UNESCO Cultural Diversity Protocol: There is more to this than the name would suggest. It is not about what is commonly thought of as culture; this UN protocol encompasses much more.

Background via previous posts: also, note the imperatives and coercive elements

Scroll to The Digital Solidarity Fund in Frost Hits the Rhubarb Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2006 and skim through:

UNESCO Cultural Diversity Protocol

CFP: The Digital Solidarity Fund: An Internet tax in disguise

Joseph A. Klein, a Harvard Law graduate who has worked as a global technology attorney for more than 30 years, is the author of Global Deception: The UN's Stealth Assault on America's Freedom. January 30, 2006

Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

[FHTR comments] Follow the yellow-red-brick road. It meanders from Canada principally from the province of Quebec (and an ex-Min. of Heritage, DFAIT and assorted stakeholders) and Paris [See an excerpt from "Le monde diplomatique" below] through the UN, working to achieve the UNESCO Protocol on Cultural Diversity (a misnomer, that name -- It is intended to lock in protectionism and control) and helped by that crowd who hang out at UN fests, ranging over ... DOHA ... Bamako ... WTO & GATS ... agriculture ... wine ... audio-visual services ... e-learning ... education ... healthcare services ... postal services ... telecommunications, finance ... transport ... professional services ... broadening the debate and transfering knowledge to developing countries ... to correct the distortions in the world trade system to their advantage ... Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ... thwarting the WTO's MFN or Most-Favoured Nation agreements on "trading without discrimination" ... machinations geared to omitting some nations (What nation could be omitted? Israel) ... presenting the Islamic women's view out of Jeddah [e.g.] ... empowerment of women to "counter the attack on Islam from within and without" ... enhancing diversity of the media including through public service broadcasting ... Many Voices, One World* ... an International Fund for Cultural Diversity ... the urgency of considering the right to communication as an expression of new social rights ...

[* FHTR Jan. 15-20, 2006-- Note that if you Google: "Maurice Strong OneWorld", you will get "Inside Global Civil Society: How it Networks" New online initiative aims to harness the power of the media to benefit children [....] MAGIC" There is related information.]

[....] If Canada continues with this ... protectionism and promotion of the views of those who think we owe the rest of the world a living via the UN's sticky fingers ... we will lose our freedoms to the leftists, socialists, communists and oppressive dictatorships who would run the whole thing. Think champagne socialists swanning about the world's better hotels and finer dining establishments on someone else's dime -- yours.

No Indoctrination 2: No Outside Influences?

Diversity of dialogue is the exact opposite of what this UNESCO convention is, which is to give CONTROL to those countries which wish to keep their populace from freedom and democracy through open access to knowledge via the internet [that is, by limiting it -- ed.]. See the efforts to wrest control of the net away from what has been free via [ICAAN in] the US, to give it to the UN whose member states would exercise regulatory, tollgating, etc. controls so that only the rich and government-approved would have access to the tools for freedom. Note that the telcos--quebectel--are very very interested in this. (More on this later.) It is more about protecting industries and getting a firm foothold in controlling what may come in future, for those who instigated this. [quebectel was mentioned on the website]

Ottawa, and the state government of Quebec, provided financial support for an international coalition of professional cultural organisations in favour of cultural diversity, backed by a network of Canadian groups. [unions, the UN in Canada, CARFAC / RAAV, CBC / public broadcasting, telcos, etc. ] [....]

The MacBride report, endorsed by the UNESCO general conference in 1980, and published under the title of Many Voices, One World, was the first document on the global imbalance of information flows published by an international body. It explained the urgency of considering the right to communication as an expression of new social rights (3). [....]

No Indoctrination 3: No Coercion, Helping the Poor of Africa & the World

In Doha, we promised developing countries we would correct the distortions in the world trade system to their advantage.

No Indoctrination 4: Francophone Countries Gain

No Indoctrination 5: Summit's Outcome Important for Islamic Countries

No Indoctrination 6: Control & the CRTC, Protection, Language, Industries & the CRTC

[This UN protocol is] a “cultural diversity” convention that regrettably is more about trade protectionism and cultural prejudice than cultural diversity and understanding [....]

The [US] State Department rightly argues that such definitions are so vague that they could be misinterpreted to enable “impermissible new barriers to trade in goods, services, or agricultural products.” []

Such vagueness, combined with an authority to “protect,” invites abuse, particularly when it comes to trade. It is easy to imagine certain countries citing the convention to justify trade restrictions against certain books written in foreign languages, or even foreign wines, because they pose a threat to local “culture.” [....]

An example from 2004--Internet Freedom, China [....]

The CRTC authorizes Canada 's first three subscription radio services [See below for details of this ....]

VOIP in Canada [See below for more on this ....]

.... why QuebecTel was so interested in the UNESCO protocol/convention. [. . . . ]

[Update as of July 2006, Bell GlobeMedia has just bought CHUM so there is even more ownership concentration in Canada -- more below on this and on the implications.]

February 1, 2006

Another Gift that Keeps on Giving -- CRTC & Lib. Big Brother ...

Protecting Turf and a Cash Grab [....]

Web superhighway likely to be toll road -- Internet service providers expected to add fees to pay for bandwidth-hungry audio and video [....]

A classic cartel [....]

Toward global governance

Note headings and a few phrases intended to give an idea of the content and direction, from Frost Hits the Rhubarb Jan. 15-20, 2006

Global Ministry of Truth [....]

ManyOne's answer is to have the ideological zealots doing the writing and editing in the first place. [....]

Orwellian black is white? ... "women’s empowerment." [which does not mean what the words say ... considered in the context of what would be wanted by a Muslim leader of women in the Middle East / Pakistan, etc. ]

ManyOne "We are setting the stage for the next evolutionary advancement of electronic media"-- Joseph Firmage, CEO and Founder, ManyOne Networks

The Foundation [....]

Maurice Strong

Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to the President of the World Bank. [....]

Out of Pakistan, Romania & ... other hotbeds of freedom and the free flow of information ...

No advertising, no naughty pictures, no business ... so soothing ... so comforting ... so safe for children ... so insidious

Google: "Maurice Strong, OneWorld" ... "Inside Global Civil Society: How it Networks" New online initiative aims to harness the power of the media to benefit children [....]

UNICEF launched a new website which showcases media projects by, with and for children called MAGIC [....]

OneWorld T.V. Spotlight on Human Rights [....]

Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation and Post-War Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Resolution Seminar [....]

Google search: OneWorld and UNESCO [....]

UNESCO workshop to train teachers in SchoolNet telecollaboration activities [....]

UNESCO/OneWorld International Launch Training Video on Radio-browsing Techniques; From: "Irfan Khan" [Pakistan] [....]

January 19, 2006

OneWorld, Maurice Strong, UNESCO & The Global Governance Gang [....]

Updated: Our Freedom alert! Maurice Strong, Internet, Democracy Watch
The Global Governance Gang and the Internet [....]

Maurice Strong and other social leaders and scientists worldwide [....]

Copyright & Your Rights, Media & a Reality Check, Advertising, Personal Sacrifice & Children [....]

Michael Geist: Cleaning up copyright [....]

Related: links on Geist's site [....]

Strong Road to Global Governance

Re: Maurice Strong's Yellow Brick Road to Global Governance -- "The result would be decisions reached by self-selecting elites.... People who hate actual people but love Mankind and seek to improve it no matter what.... " [....]

Bell Globemedia (BCE) -- How does it fit in?

As of July 2006, by acquiring CHUM, BCE / CHUM concentrates ownership in Canada. BCE has been allied with one political party [Liberal] and I believe the public broadcaster is aligned with BCE in internet radio, Sirius. What is the competition? How real is the competition, given the regulatory framework to everything? Do the regulations prevent competition? I think so.

FHTR Jan. 8, 06

Update: BCE, Bud Talkinghorn -& ...


In my last post, I mentioned the importance of investigating high dividend stocks.

I present the case of BCE. BCE owns Liberal friendly Bell Globemedia. BCE, the company, officially donated $25,000 to Paul Martin's campaign. Bell Canada Inc. donated an additional $34,000 to Paul Martin's campaign. It is common knowledge that the company is in bed with the Liberal party. [....]

A Hero Rides into the Dawn of a New Cultural Era: Andy Scott Supports Ze Artistes!

[Liberal Ex-] Minister of Indian Affairs (responsible also for Metis and Atlantic ... Affairs), Liberal MP Andy Scott, has announced that artists should be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.

... access to programs like EI that would have all the training, sick benefits, maternity benefits and income support ...

Is it any wonder that the artists' union demands that candidates for federal election appear at a question and answer session to determine whether they agree with this expansion of entitlements? The one who supports the above--on the backs of taxpayers--has the advantage and it has not cost him anything personally. Taxpayers pay for the Liberal candidate's advantage ... as they do for all the other giveaways and reallocation of resources from those who earned them to the ones who have not.

How does the following fit in?

Bulte (Canadian MP) gets big entertainment bucks, promises new copyrights -- "satisfying rights holder demands" January 1, 2006

Sam Bulte, the [former] Canadian Liberal Party MP for Parkdale/High Park is having her election campaign bankrolled by the Canadian entertainment cartel. Bulte previously authored a one-sided report proposing crazy, US-style copyright laws for Canada, and now her pals from the Canadian Recording Industry Association are throwing her a $250/plate fundraiser -- just the kind of high-ticket event that the poor artists Bulte claims to represent can't afford to attend. Instead, expect this dinner to be stacked with industry fat-cats.

There is a list of participants. ....

[Note: I wrote this earlier this year; then the election intervened. Now, I see the same topics coming up as the CBC and many in the mainstream media work up election steam for their favourite political party to return to its natural role, running everything in Canada ... to their own advantage ... as it has been for years. Should the Liberals win the next election, we can expect the same as I wrote then, which follows. ]

As for copyright, entertainment, artistic rights and others of which perhaps, we had not thought ... and more, there are plans afoot ... money will be made ... travel and tours planned and undertaken ... experts consulted ... the centre will hold firm ... control will remain ... where it has been ... and government-sanctioned cultural elites will sleep serene ... Individuals will pay ... in loss of some freedoms ... in imposition of others' control ... using tax dollars and in other ways ... Read the fine print or skim and scan to the bottoms of webpages ... so much planning and plotting ... and biding time ... while the rest were getting and spending and laying waste their powers ... their common sense lulled into quietude by fine-sounding phrases ...

Meanwhile the long-term plotters and planners ... the justifications and the tax money ... the legal niceties and the bureaucracies ... the 'Friends' and the NGO's ... the foundations and the granting agencies ... the union activists and the supportive industries ... the networks and the stakeholders ... the national and the international ... laboured, all together, moving imperceptibly but purposefully into place ... akin to the Titanic and the iceberg * ... just so ... and all the plans had just about come to fruition [before the last election ... Paul Martin signed the UN protocol Nov. 23, 05] ... Old alliances traded for new ... Another centre will have shifted away from the hated US ... Control will be locked in ... with language like "protective" and "supportive" ... international ... negotiations ... agreements ... binding ... sanctions in place ... all under the humanitarian guise of an international protocol protecting diversity of cultural expression ... within and without the national boundaries ... cultures ... Note that plural ... and Canada becomes literally a nation of minorities, linguistic minorities ... and the official languages department expands, as well.

[* Thomas Hardy: "The convergence of the twain"]

Language watchdog considers hiring -- Outaouais inspector Complaints in region are up 263 per cent since 2003-2004 -- l'Office Quebecois de la langue francaise Dave Rogers, The Ottawa Citizen, January 07, 2006

Outaouais is the area just across the Ottawa River from Ottawa.

[. . . . ] Mr. Paquette said one of the biggest problems is inadequate French instructions on electronic products, video games and computer software. The language office sends promotional material to foreign manufacturers, but can't enforce the language law outside Quebec. [....]

Then the UNESCO protocol, once enough countries in the UN have signed on, will work to their advantage ... for enforcing French globally. What will be the protection for the English language information and access, given the other languages that the UN protocol will protect and promote? Is this not more of a move to de-emphasize English along with promotion of the other official language?

Liberal pandering and the UNESCO convention work together ... to protect, preserve, perhaps even expand and pander some more.

Along the way, the citizenry may lose some freedoms and the lack of control that has been integral to the internet up to this point ... freedom that they have taken for granted ... Think toll gates, the loss of the freedom to access information if there are cultures and cultural industries legally protected and perhaps behind a firewall of regulations [protecting Islam, for example, by limiting access for their women to information from elsewhere] ... People would lose some ability to learn, to share and to disseminate information around the world, the keystone for encouraging individual freedom--the freedom to roam the internet world at will, bartering, selling, buying, trading the products of their labours and their intellectual endeavours, their inventions ... Culture is an increasingly elastic term ... influential, yet so weak as to need international and binding agreements ... There are so many stakeholders who must be protected, who must be harnessed to immediate action.

Canadian Heritage and Department responsible for the Status of Women News Report: Canada Accepts UNESCO Convention on Diversity of Cultural Expressions

According to Liberal ex-Minister Lisa Frulla:

books, films, television programs, and other cultural goods and services have a distinctive nature that goes beyond their commercial value. The Convention reaffirms the right of countries to take measures to foster diverse cultural expressions, and it will be a reference point for future international agreements with a cultural dimension.

In other words, this will become crucial, the base line, and only a beginning.

France and the francophonie: influence

Manifold Ways That Societies Express Themselves Le monde diplomatique [ ] Nov. 2005

The following paragraph is duplicitous, in my opinion. The effect of this convention is the exact opposite.

[. . . . ] A convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions was approved by member states at the Unesco [UNESCO] general conference last month. It intends to provide a legal framework for the universal declaration on cultural diversity, unanimously adopted soon after 11 September 2001. By making cultural diversity part of humanity's common heritage the declaration opposes "inward-looking fundamentalism" and proposes "the prospect of a more open, creative and democratic world" (1). Its key principle of diversity in dialogue [. . . . ]

This is the exact opposite of what this UNESCO convention actually does. Instead, it gives CONTROL to those countries which wish to prevent their populace from knowing about freedom and democracy through open access to knowledge via the internet. See the efforts to wrest control of the net away from what has been free via ICAAN which happens to be located, I believe, in the US, to give it to the UN whose member states would exercise regulatory, tollgating, and other controls so that only the rich and government-approved would have access to the tools for freedom. Note that telcos such as quebectel are very interested in this.

Canada [Quebec, in particular] and France, which played a key role in framing the cultural exception doctrine, are the prime movers behind the convention. France mobilised countries in the Franco-phone world. Canada set up its international network on cultural policy and succeeded in bringing together about 60 arts ministers and many NGOs for an informal discussion on promoting diversity. In September 2001 Ottawa, and the state government of Quebec, provided financial support for an international coalition of professional cultural organisations in favour of cultural diversity, backed by a network of Canadian groups. [ the union of artists CARFAC / RAAV, various government departments, foundations, agencies, NGO's, and international groupings ]

The scope of the convention reaches beyond media and broadcasting to "the manifold ways in which the cultures of social groups and societies find expression". [....]

Now that the convention has been approved [but it still has to be ratified by a number of UN members] despite US hostility, it will become a baseline and private and public players will have to come to terms with it. This is why it is so important for new players to become involved, to ensure it is implemented and to stretch its limits. [....]


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