Monthly Archives: May 2016

Sara Ross

Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Graduate Student Paper Prize Competition

AAA logo

Logo of the American Anthropology Association

The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) has announced the deadline for this year’s graduate student paper prize. The competition is open to all individuals who will be a graduate student through May 1, 2016 in any and all masters and doctoral programs. The deadline for the competition itself is July 1, 2016, and papers may be no longer than 8000 words (inclusive of notes and citations). This, incidentally, is in line with the publication requirements of the association’s journal PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, where the winning submission will be published. The winner will also receive a $1000 prize, split between a $350 cash award and $650 in travel reimbursement to attend the 2016 conference of the American Anthropology Association (of which the APLA is a part) held this upcoming November in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The call for papers includes the following:

Topics may include citizenship; colonialism and post-colonial public spheres; cosmopolitanism; cultural politics; disability; environment; globalization; governance; humanitarianism; medicine, science, and technology; multiculturalism; nationalism; NGOs and civil society; new media; immigration and refugees; resistance; religious institutions; security, policing, or militarism; sexualities; social movements; human and civil rights; sovereignty; war and conflict. We encourage submissions that expand the purview of political and legal anthropology and challenge us to think in new ways about power, politics and law.

You can see the full call for papers here.

Sara Ross

Canadian Cultural Heritage Survey – Deadline May 20th

Minister Joly

Mélanie Joly

The Canadian Federal Government has issued a pre-consultation questionnaire to be completed by May 20th, 2016. As I wrote about earlier this month, Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly has been pushing for new changes within the Federal Government’s handling of cultural heritage and the arts. In order to the initiate the process, Joly announced a “comprehensive digital cultural policy review” focusing on Laws, Institutions, Policies, and Programs, respectively. Before her series of consultations with major organizations occurs, Canadian citizens have been invited to share their own views. According to the Canadian Independent Music Association:

The Department of Heritage launched public consultations on April 23, with an online questionnaire that citizens can complete until May 20. A second phase of consultations will be conducted under the banner of “Strengthening Canadian Content, Discovery and Export in a Digital World”. Through its consultations, the government seeks feedback from all cultural industries participants on improvements that could potentially be made to Canada’s media governance regime. The goal is to better stimulate the creation of Canadian content, while promoting its viability in national and international markets. 

In order to have your say, make sure to fill out the questionnaire by the deadline. You can find the online link here.

Sara Ross

HBO’s IP woes

HBO logo

The American television company HBO has been in the news recently with its interaction on both sides of trademark and copyright law. On the one hand, HBO’s new one hour drama Vinyl is under fire after a lawsuit was launched by 1970s Hip-Hop icon DJ Kool Herc. Kool Herc was offered $10,000 to waive rights to his image before the show was filmed, but declined the offer. The show, co-produced by the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and director Martin Scorcese, used Kool Herc’s name, identity, and voice in an episode of the show intended to show the rise of Hip-Hop in the underground of New York City under the noses of music executives.

On the flip side, HBO has used copyright law to repeatedly block a YouTuber based in Spain from broadcasting on the Internet site after the user spent some of his most recent videos providing spoilers for upcoming Game of Throne episodes. This has enraged some viewers and YouTube viewers, as no direct images from the series are used in the videos, however some attorneys have intimated this may be a natural extension of the site’s DMCA copyright protection request system.

Vinyl, as a series, focuses on a myriad of legal complexities and story-lines, ranging from contract disputes to white collar crime to murder. The eccentricities and envelope-pushing of the music industry is constantly coming up against the rule of law, which appears to be the only thing that can keep the show’s characters from running right off the rails. Both situations appear to be headed towards precedent setting decisions, assuming the cases move forward, and are interesting examples of how a company can be busy fighting both sides of a legal issue at any given point in time.

Sara Ross

Hugh Faulkner Dies at 73

Hugh Faulkner has died at the age of 73 at his home in Rougemont, Switzerland. Faulkner is best known for his role as “culture czar” during the first tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and founder of the Canada Council’s Art Bank. According to his obituary,

One initiative that bolstered Mr. Faulkner’s reputation was his sponsorship of Bill C-58, the law that did in the Canadian edition of Time magazine, which had existed for 30 years. The bill, which passed in February, 1976, amended the Income Tax Act to prevent advertisers from deducting the cost of ads from their corporate taxes unless the magazine had 80-per-cent Canadian content.

The results: Maclean’s magazine went from monthly to weekly publication; Time closed its Canadian editorial bureaus and laid off its staff here, though the magazine continued to print in Canada, offering Canadian ads at a lower price.

You can read the piece in full at the Globe and Mail here.

Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: Globe and Mail Focuses on Potential Changes to Canadian Culture Policy

Globe and Mail

Daniel Leblanc has released an in-depth analysis of the potential upcoming changes to cultural policy within the Canadian Federal Government, following an announcement that Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly will review its entire cultural infrastructure. The piece, entitled “Everything is on the Table”, was published in the Globe and Mail last month. One excerpt reads:

Announcing the launch of consultations with consumers and creators of cultural content, Ms. Joly said she is willing to change laws such as the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, modify the mandates of the CRTC and the CBC, and create new laws or agencies, as needed. The scale of the coming upheaval hasn’t been seen in 25 years, since the Mulroney government revised the Broadcasting Act in 1991 at a time when no one could foresee the arrival of YouTube, Netflix and iTunes.

Ms. Joly said her ultimate goals are to foster the creation of Canadian content across the country, but also increase the international audience for Canadian creators.

“I think the current model is broken, and we need to have a conversation to bring it up to date and make sure we harness its full potential. For a long time, politicians have been afraid to deal with these difficult issues, but I don’t understand why it wasn’t done.… The issue is how can the government be relevant today, instead of being left behind,” Ms. Joly said.

You can read the full article here.

Sara Ross

Free Course on Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime

University of Glasgow logo

The University of Glasgow is sponsoring a free three-week online course on the subject of “Antiques Trafficking and Art Crime”, which starts this June 6, 2016. The course will be taught by researchers involved with the Trafficking Culture international research consortium, and presented in a multidisciplinary fashion. The first week will focus on the practice of looting and how looters are able to steal cultural artifacts. The second week will focus on high art crimes like forgery and museum heists. The third week focuses on the issue of cultural object repatriation and return. According to the organizers:

The devastation caused by the trafficking of illicit antiquities and the theft of art has gained widespread public attention in recent years.

Confronted with the pock-marked “lunar landscapes” of archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria, freshly decapitated Buddha sculptures in Cambodia and empty frames on the walls of museums, we face a difficult question: how do we protect our heritage from theft, illegal sale, and destruction?

In Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime we will tackle this question together.

You can read more about the course at its website here.

Sara Ross

Boardgame News: Operation F.A.U.S.T.

Faust game cover

The art crimes of the Second World War are featured front and center in the new game Operation F.A.U.S.T., where players bluff and guess their way to finding and trading stolen art. “F.A.U.S.T.” is an acronym standing for Fine Art Underground: Stolen Treasures, and the game is set against the threat of the Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg division that sought to plunder the artistic riches of occupied lands. According to The Oklahoman News,

To start the game, players receive two plot cards and five INTEL tokens. Plot cards allow players to take on certain roles in the game, including using an accompanying ability. INTEL tokens can be used to purchase a variety of things in the game.

In addition, an art cache is created by drawing four cards from the art deck. These cards remain face down and are available to any player who can purchase them. These art cards contain a piece of artwork with an attached value. Collect $1,000,000 worth of art cards and win.

You can read more about the game at its manufacturer’s website here.