Thursday, September 23, 2004   Academics urge learning exception to copyrightA coalition of teachers, professors, K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions is urging the federal government to adopt a new exception in the Copyright Act that would give teachers the right to use “publicly available” material found on the Internet in their classroom lessons without charge. At a press conference on September 22, the group opposed a licensing scheme proposed by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to charge schools for the use of digital content, saying the move would put the education of Canadian students at risk. At the press conference, spokespeople for the coalition told Canadian NEW MEDIA that their definition of publicly available would include anything for which no explicit commercial fee is being solicited. Spokespeople recognize that the clock is ticking on the current round of copyright reform, but say they hope a new public awareness campaign will bring legislators onside. CNM will have further details in its upcoming issue.AOL Canada sees kids’ use of Internet balanced between school and leisureAOL Canada Inc. says a majority of Canadian schoolchildren 12 to 17 years old use the Internet to do school work, but a large majority also say they go online to look for music and movies, according to a recent survey. Just a little over half say video games are an important area of interest, and 43% list entertainment news or celebrity gossip as a target of their surfing. The AOL Canada survey found important gender differences in kids’ behaviour online, with music and movies being much more sought after by girls than boys (76% of girls compared with 57% of boys), and other forms of entertainment or celebrity news also finding greater favour with girls (59% versus 27% of boys). Boys listed video games as a favoured activity in far greater number than girls (76% compared to 28%), and looking for Canadian news and sports information also saw greater interest by boys than girls (48% versus 30%). In other findings, 18% of kids admit to using email, instant messaging and chat in the classroom. Girls are more likely to say they do so to too great an extent (29% of this group) compared to boys (8%). Further survey findings will be highlighted in an upcoming issue of CNM. The survey was conducted by Maritz Research (Canada). Interviews were conducted with 219 Canadians between September 1 and September 3, and focused on Canadians 12 to 17 years old. The results from a sample this size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 6.62%, 19 times out of 20.Change of guard at CRIABrian Robertson will step down as president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in mid-November, to be replaced by well-known music exec Graham Henderson. Robertson has helmed the association for 30 years, and will now focus on various projects of interest related to the performing arts. Henderson is currently senior VP of business affairs and ecommerce at Universal Music Canada, and has enjoyed a long legal association with the music industry in various capacities over the years. He is closely associated with the founding of the Puretracks.com Canadian online music retailer, as well as with various efforts to incorporate technology and digital distribution into the recording industry. Both men tell CNM that the move doesn’t signal a change in direction for the association, which has come under fire in the past year for efforts to sue individuals accused of large-scale Internet music piracy (CNM, July 23/04). Both say efforts on the litigation front will continue along with education initiatives. Robertson tells CNM he’s confident he leaves the association in good shape, as sales figures seem to show the precipitous drop in music sales has halted. CNM will feature the thoughts of both men on the fight against file-sharing and the direction to be taken by the association in its next issue.CNIB, Microsoft Canada lauded for digital libraryThe Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Microsoft Canada have jointly won an Imagine New Spirit of Community Partnership award for their work on the CNIB Digital Library. The awards are administered by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. The library offers Canadians who are blind or visually impaired thousands of books and resources in formats they can use. A press release notes that only 3% of published material in Canada is available in such formats. The digital library also contains a children-specific Children’s Discovery Portal, touted in the same release as “the first portal in the world designed specifically for children who are blind and visually impaired. The portal is considered a template for visually impaired libraries around the world.”Harriet the Spy to be produced as live-action seriesToronto-based Protocol Entertainment, the production shop behind shows such as Train 48, is set to create a new half-hour live-action series based on the Harriet the Spy novels. Protocol will produce 22 half-hour episodes, with 2 Friends Entertainment acting as executive producers and Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment acting as international distributors. U.S. distribution will be handled by 2 friends. Rick Mischel, CEO of Mainframe, will be engaged by Protocol as an executive producer on the project.CCTA re-brands for digital ageThe Canadian Cable Television Association has adopted the new name Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) to better reflect the scope of activities it undertakes. A September 21 press release announcing the name change notes: “CCTA’s new name helps underline that in a digital/IP-based environment, consumers will access broadband networks to obtain a range of on-demand services that integrate entertainment, information and communications.” The same release notes that cable companies have made a $6-billion investment in the deployment of two-way digital broadband services over the past four years, and says that cable has become the “principal provider of advanced media services to the home.”‘School of Rock’ trademark application filedCalgary-based Signature Entertainment Corp. filed September 14 for trademark protection to the term ‘School of Rock’. The application is in connection with services including musical score publishing, book publishing, greeting card publishing services, entertainment management services for artists, management services for bands, musical recordings, movie and film production and distribution services, and, musical summer camp services for children, teenagers and adults. The company lists wares that might be associated with the mark including CDs and other recordings, clothes, MP3 players and other electronics, software, and other household goods. The name and proposed services bear more than a passing resemblance to the Rock Camp convergence entertainment property recently produced by Halifax-based Collideascope Digital Entertainment (CNM, May 30/03). A Collideascope executive tells CNM the two companies have no association with each other.Japanese association accepting nominations for Grand PrixThe Digital Content Association of Japan is inviting companies to participate in the nineteenth Digital Content Grand Prix. The competition recognizes services, systems, and producers of digital content. As of this year, the prize’s focus will be on creating new markets and talent by means of recognizing groups that have created services and systems contributing to the vitalization of economic sectors, new technologies, business models, or combinations of each. The deadline for entry is October 29. Judging will take place through November and early December, and the awards presented next January 26. Further information is available at http://www.dcaj.org/d-con/con/mmgp/dcajdcg/index.html.