[MTP readers may recall that I lived in Toronto and Montreal for many years and played with some of the Quebec and English Canadian artists as a member of Local 406. I try to keep an eye on what’s happening in the North. I can’t help noticing that Google lobbyists and fanboys are running the same old “but censorship!” play in Canada that they tried in Europe and the US. This is kind of ridiculous for the Kings of Algorithms at the Chocolate Factory. This post from Kate Taylor writing at the Globe and Mail sums it up nicely.]
If you believe my current Twitter feed, the Liberal government in Ottawa has misplaced its mind along with all democratic norms and is about to pass a law that will censor Canadians’ internet activity. Apparently, no funny cat video, let alone sneaky political GIF, will ever be safe again as Big Brother Justin rips page after page from China’s notoriously intrusive internet policies. One defiant wit, in the dying days of his free expression, recently posted an old socialist realist painting of Mao onto whose head he had cleverly morphed Justin Trudeau’s face. Meanwhile, in an opinion piece published in the National Post Saturday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole began quoting George Orwell, telling Canadians the Liberals might start monitoring their Facebook groups and their comments on news stories.
Well, the truth is that Trudeau and Mao share neither the same hairline nor the same politics. The alarm over supposed censorship is overblown and misplaced. It is fuelled by dishonest politicking from O’Toole and the Conservatives, and predictable paranoia from technological fundamentalists, those who believe the heaven-sent internet should not be subject to any human law – disinformation and election interference be damned.
Read the post on Apple News
Here’s the future of the Library of Congress!
Normally, finding your book on a university reading list or course outline can be the fulfilment of an author’s fondest hopes: It means that scholars take your work so seriously they want to pass it on to the next generation.
And it can mean a big increase in book sales, directly to students or to university libraries.
At Montreal’s Concordia University, however, those hopes turned to bitter disillusionment this week when poets realized that the Centre for Expanded Poetics had been scanning their books and posting them to its web page without their permission.
“I find it distressing,” said Alana Wilcox, editorial director at Toronto’s Coach House Books, the publisher of two of the books. “Poets make so little money … making their work available for free on a public website feels very disrespectful. … These aren’t tenured professors with salaries; these are poets who are scraping by, getting no compensation for their hard work.”
As well as works by Coach House poets Damian Rogers and Jeramy Dodds, the page for the centre’s contemporary poetry reading group featured high-quality reproductions of entire books by such high-profile Canadian writers as Governor-General’s Award winner Dionne Brand and nominee Lisa Robertson, and international poetry superstar Anne Carson, as well as leading U.S. poets including Claudia Rankine, Ariana Reines and Maggie Nelson.
The books, most of which would retail for less than $20, were available to download free to anybody who clicked on a link. Apparently, centre director Nathan Brown has been running books through a sophisticated scanner to produce copies: a picture on the reading group’s Facebook page in January shows him working on a Atiz brand book scanner of a type that costs at least $10,000.
Read the post on the Globe and Mail