…and trying to understand it all is like standing in a tornado. There is so much going on right now in regards to Canada’s copyright reform (Bill C-32) that it is almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, there are an abundance of online resources available so that we can learn more about the processes which have been followed up to this point, as well as keep current with what is going on right now. The Canadian government has been maintaining a site called Balanced Copyright, and it holds a wealth of information. Naturally, the Pirate Party has grabbed the domain balancedcopyright.ca, but there is no site yet launched for that URL. I imagine that the group will probably use the domain to counter the one run by the government, and will count on the public not knowing the location of the government’s site. Speaking of government, both MP James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages) and MP Tony Clement (Minister of Industry) have been engaging the public, media and industry groups on Twitter since the Bill was announced yesterday. I recommend following both MPs, along with copyright expert Michael Geist for continuing updates about Bill C-32’s progress.
Fair Copyright for Canada (administered by Michael Geist) also has an active Facebook group which carries updates and opinions relevant to Bill C-32. One point which seems to be an area of contention is the Digital Lock, and CBC News has written a very comprehensive look at what it could entail. I freely admit that I have not had time to read and process all of the information about C-32, and while I will endeavour to do so, I would like to invite someone more expert in the ramifications of C-32 to write a guest editorial explaining the good and the bad of our copyright bill. While many of what we could deem as special interest groups are voicing their opinions about Bill C-32, the most relevant to both us and our readers is what those in interactive media are saying. All of the sites and Twitter accounts above contain links to opinions and press releases from groups such as ACTRA, AFM and the Documentary Organization of Canada, and I invite you to check them out. Here is what ESAC has to say about the reforms:
The Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released a statement about Bill C-32, congratulating the Government of Canada on its introduction of copyright reform legislation which will help protect Canadian content creators and digital media companies. ESAC believes that protecting the intellectual property of industries that contribute to Canada’s prosperity is not only good public policy, but is essential as our economy transitions to more knowledge-based jobs.
“We applaud the government for showing leadership on this complex issue and we look forward to studying the bill more closely,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “Without strong protection for our intellectual property, we’re basically operating in a digital Wild West. Promoting piracy under the guise of ‘user rights’ does nothing to defend the livelihood of thousands of Canadians who rely on turning great ideas into world class entertainment,” she added.
“Piracy fundamentally undermines the integrity of the marketplace. It forces creators to compete against black market versions of their own products, affecting their ability to recover the considerable investments associated with digital media production. A strong bill – one which prohibits hacking of digital works, trafficking in hacking tools and that makes those who facilitate digital piracy clearly liable for their activities – is critical to the success of Canada’s digital economy,” says Parr.
In the industry’s view, a bill with clear protection for intellectual property will enable creators to decide how and at what cost their products can be accessed and in turn allow consumers to decide which products succeed and fail by voting with their pocketbook. Further, by supporting a diverse range of business models, strong copyright will facilitate increased competition, which ultimately leads to greater consumer choice and lower prices.
In related news, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a report about The State of Online Video. While this study was conducted in the USA, the information can be useful to those Canadian companies and individuals who produce web-distributed products. The study is available as a downloadable PDF, or it can be read online.
And now back to our regularly scheduled Canadian game industry news and updates:
THQ has confirmed in an official press release that Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes Online will indeed be released to the North American market this fall. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online is free to play and offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression, allowing players to strategize on and off the battlefield. Players will also have the opportunity to earn or purchase special units and upgrades and improve their army with each and every multiplayer victory.
Vice President of Global Brand Management Travis Plane commented that, “We are delighted to bring this award-winning franchise to gamers in a whole new way with the online version of the Company of Heroes experience. Players will benefit from the persistent upgrades and the ability to tailor their armies to really suit their play style making this a unique experience for everyone.”
Capcom® Mobile and Classic Media, whose portfolio includes of some of the world’s leading kids, family and pop-culture brands such as Where’s Waldo?®, Casper the Friendly Ghost® and Lassie®, have announced the release of Where’s Waldo?® In Hollywood, the sequel to last year’s top-selling mobile phone game.
“The first Where’s Waldo? game was a run-away mobile hit with its addictive mini games and classic search and find puzzles,” said Midori Yuasa, President, Capcom Interactive, Inc. “For the sequel we’ve built on the winning mix with a whole new crop of puzzles, achievements and even more Waldo fun.”
“Capcom Mobile has done a terrific job translating the search and find experience of Where’s Waldo? for mobile and we are excited to partner with their team on the second game,” said Nicole Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media. “With its crowds of celebrities and celebrity-spotters, Hollywood is an exciting place for fans to take up their search for Waldo.”
Based on the international publishing phenomenon, Where’s Waldo? in Hollywood, developed by Capcom Interactive Canada, chronicles the world-famous traveler through a series of tinsel-town themed adventures. Players can join the search with multiple search and find games that are based on classic scenes from the book series, as well as five mini games, including Tic-Whack-Wizard, Odd One Out, and Slide Puzzles. As players progress, they will be able to unlock bonus content and earn in-game achievements. Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood is currently available for download on most North American carriers.
Meanwhile, over at EA Sports, it seems that the developers have gone out on a limb and predicted that Spain will take home the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Using the market-leading EA Sports™ football engine that drives 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ on the PS3 iand Xbox 360, EA Sports was able to simulate the 2010 FIFA World Cup and test all 32 teams under the same conditions they will face in the weeks ahead. It was determined that Spain will defeat Brazil 3-1 at Soccer City on July 11 to win its first World Cup. The testers holding the controllers – and thus the “players” free will, determined the following from their simulation:
EA Sports is also predicting that soccer fans around the globe will compare these astonishing results to the real-world tournament as it unfolds beginning June 11. The Final itself was an epic battle as Brazil put on a dazzling display of free-flowing samba style football early on against the Spaniards, taking a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute with a Felipe Melo strike from just inside the box. It didn’t take long for Spain to level the score after a goalie error that left striker David Villa in the clear. He tapped in his 6th goal of the tournament in the 42nd minute. The second half saw fortunes turn in favour of Spain, as their disciplined build up play and domination of possession paid off with a goal in the 61st minute when Villa connected for his second goal of the match, off of Andres Iniesta’s driven cross. Brazil had several efforts on goal in the final third of the match but couldn’t capitalize on its chances as they pushed all players forward in an attempt to draw even, eventually conceding a splendid counter attack goal in the 88th minute from Cesc Fabregas, which delivered Spain the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Spain’s path to FIFA World Cup glory included a quarterfinal 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Italy after an absorbing 1-1 draw, and a 2-1 win over Argentina in the semi final. Brazil’s journey to the Final included a 3-2 win over the Netherlands in the quarter final and a 5-4 shootout victory over England after the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in the semi.
Music makers who play games will soon be able to play, record, edit, save and playback their own song creations on their Xbox 360 drum kit peripherals in the form of Vancouver’s All Seeing Eye Games‘ debut title Drum Studio. Drum Studio utilizes the full potential of the drum kit to put the power of music creation in the players’ hands.
No longer will players merely play along to pre-determined drum lines. Instead, they will create their own jams on drums they’ve customized from a library of over 320 sounds. A simple & elegant recording interface allows players to layer in multiple tracks and hone their songs to perfection before they save the song, kick back, and watch an animated drummer play back their creation.
The past few years have seen the music game genre explode into a cultural phenomenon only to fizzle out in its own stagnation & over saturation. Drum Studio aims to push the genre forward in meaningful ways with its robust customization & creation tools and re-ignite some of the passion players felt that first time they sat down at a plastic instrument peripheral.
Drum Studio is the inaugural product of All Seeing Eye Games, a Vancouver-based independent game development studio founded in November 2009. It is dedicated to making accessible games that push the boundaries of innovation. Drum Studio is releasing in June 2010 exclusively on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games channel of Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 80 Microsoft Points.
Twenty-five Boys and Girls Clubs youth from across Canada will get the opportunity to pursue their careers and life goals through higher education as recipients of a $4,000 Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarship.
“I am extremely honoured to be selected as a recipient of the 2010 Future Leaders Scholarship,” said Scott McKinnon, a longtime member of Boys and Girls Club of Saint John. “Without this award, I may not have been financially able to attend university next year and continue towards the completion of my degree. This scholarship will allow me to better focus on the requirements of my courses without worrying about the stress incurred by having to find a way to cover the costs associated with a year at university. I am very thankful that Future Shop has partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to provide this opportunity.”
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, through the generous support of Future Shop, has been supporting the education dreams of youth for ten years through the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships program. The program provides vital financial support at a time when tuition costs continue to rise. Since the program was created, more than 550 young people have received scholarships totaling more than $1.5 million. Each student receives a $3,500 or $3,000 cash award along with a $500 or $1,000 Future Shop gift card to provide needed technology and school equipment.
“I am the first person in my family to go to university. My parents couldn’t afford to go and I feel really blessed to have come to Canada and been given all these opportunities,” said Majda Miljkovic, a past Future Shop Future Leader Scholarship recipient who is currently studying Education at the University of Manitoba. “The Future Leaders Scholarship has helped me keep up with paying for school on my own, stay out of debt in doing so, and also look around me and realize just how lucky I am to be here today.”
Building on the ten year success of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Future Shop have developed a new program, Future Generation, which will launch later in 2010. An evolution of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships, Future Generation will aim to provide young people in Grade 10 with the financial resources to achieve their long term education goals and the skills and technology needed to be truly successful.
“Future Shop is committed to investing in creating positive opportunities for young people and together with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada we have helped hundreds of young people over the past ten years realize their dream of post-secondary education,” said Cheryl Grant, Community Relations Manager, Future Shop. “Through the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships we have improved the lives of youth and families across the country, and we will continue to make a difference through the upcoming Future Generation program.”
Recipients of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships are selected based on their outstanding contribution to their Boys and Girls Club and local community, good academic standing and financial need.
2010 Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarship Recipients
Amaira Hanson, Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary
Erin Hutchinson, Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary
Tammy Morgan, Stettler and District Boys and Girls Club
Courtney Johnson, Boys and Girls Club of Brooks and District
Reid Neilson, Boys and Girls Club Community Services of Delta/Richmond
Janette Wheeler, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs
Eileen Zheng, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver
Sabreen Shahin, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg
Hope Akello, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg
Sarah Stewart, Miramichi Boys and Girls Club
Scott McKinnon, Boys and Girls Club of Saint John
Newfoundland and Labrador
Alexandria Hemeon, Botwood Boys and Girls Club Inc.
Carlos Beals, Boys and Girls Club of Dartmouth
Kaitland Thompson, Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Clubs
Mike Ali, Boys and Girls Clubs of Peel
Osman Omar, Boys and Girls Club of London
Mahdi Hussein, Eastview (Toronto) Boys and Girls Club
Meagan La Plante, Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes
Prince Sunama, Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area Inc.
David Francis, Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough
Ismail Abdulle, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
Richard Lorde, Braeburn Boys and Girls Club
Prince Edward Island
Donald Gallant, Wellington and Area Boys and Girls Club
Lois Boateng, Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle / Club Garcons et Filles de LaSalle
Kayla Krawetz, Battlefords Boys and Girls Club