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Push cart vendors, DVD sellers decry draft copyright law

first_img…say Govt should keep promises, provide jobs The ripple effect that the copyright legislation could have when passed in Guyana has already drawn the attention of the average man in the street who sells CDs and DVDs to sustain their livelihood.Several CD and DVD vendors, who spoke with Guyana Times on Saturday sought to highlight the negative effects the legislation will have, noting that such a move by the Government will cause a hike in the instances of robberies and other crimes.A number of push cart vendors, who have been plying their trade in the streets of Georgetown for several years, told this publication that the Government should seek to employ more persons rather than take away their “bread and butter.”One vendor, Shakiel Wiltshire said, “This will really affect we cause remember they got to study that people got children and people got family to take care of and these times that going it so hard so if they stop this hay, from we pushing CDs and DVDs from selling, is like pushing we out of a wuk. I don’t see what pushing a cart and selling a CD could cause because if they stop we from pushin cart, what we gun get fuh wuk? We nah gun get anything fuh wuk.”Wiltshire added that he has been in the business for a few months now and explained that should Government pass the copyright legislation, measures should be put in place to protect CD and DVD vendors. “Even self he wan ban this hay, is either he find something for we do cause it got a lot of place that when you send in application, you got to wait years before you could get a call.”A push cart vendor who requested his name be withheld noted, “I have been doing this business for about 12 years and wah he (President David Granger) wan bring out deh is nonsense because this is we hustle and if he take us off de road, what he wan we do? We can’t do nothing, what he wan we do rob and thief and them thing and then he gun put we in jail? That ain’t make sense. It don’t make sense because he promising people one set a thing and it ain’t make sense. If he ain’t want CD or DVD pun de road, well leh he provide jobs or whatever but this hay is we living.”Don Sham, who operates at a CD shop on Commerce Street, Georgetown, expressed fear of being without a job, as he is the sole breadwinner for his home.Oswald McBeen, another such businessman as Sham, told Guyana Times he has seven children to take care of and he is the sole breadwinner for his home. McBeen, who has been doing that business for 20 years, asserted, “If they bring out this (my push cart), this gun got to park completely because how else I gun hustle?”When asked to give a suggestion as to what he would like to see done with the draft legislation, the father noted, “At the end of the day, wah them wan do them ah do. I can’t stop them from doing anything. Two or three people can’t make a difference. But I think they need to create more jobs. Instead of taking away jobs, you create and then take away. If you create so that people get something to do, it gun stop a lot of robbery cause what am I supposed to do? Push my hand in somebody pocket?”The copyright legislation or Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation allows creators to safeguard their work through patents, trademarks and copyrights, resulting in prevention of plagiarism.Since the new Administration took over, plans were revealed to have the work of local artistes protected through the implementation of such laws.Over the years, local musicians have lamented that being a performer in Guyana is somewhat of a risky business, since persons have the constant fear of having their work copyrighted.The current legislation, the 1956 Copyright Act, which Guyana inherited from Great Britain following Independence in 1966, has never been revised since, even though its former colonial master had long repealed the legislation that deemed copyright infringement a civil wrong.Though the current Act does provide protection of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works, the fines are extremely low, ranging mostly from £5 to £50 (GY$1750-GY$17,500). Given the time and cost to pursue an infringement in court, some artistes view the exercise as a loss rather than a gain.Following the announcement by Government of its intention to table copyright legislation, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has expressed worry over the impact this could have on the local economy as many small businesses could possibly close as a result of the incoming change.It was in a parliamentary address about two weeks ago that President David Granger stated that legislation would be tabled to bring copyright laws on the books.However, some opposed to the change say it could put undue burdens on local producers of DVDs and CDs and that it would drastically impact on the free foreign movies and programmes currently broadcast on television.Just Thursday, Jagdeo weighed in on the issue saying, “I hope that people will understand… it will be a revolution in Guyana. I’m not going to say much more, because when Government passes that next year, every video store in this country will have to close that sells these bootlegs. And every store that sells music now… the way they currently do, it will have to shut those down too, as well as the guys who are doing the push cart, they can be charged too”.While acknowledging that some may be in disagreement with the position, he clarified that Government should place more emphasis on protecting local intellectual property rights rather than focusing on safeguarding international content. (Davina Ramdass)last_img read more

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Global warming endangers California’s water supply

first_imgORANGE COVE – A century ago, when Harvey Bailey’s great uncle happened upon this spot where California’s Central Valley begins its ascent toward the Sierra Nevada, he could tell it was a land made for farming. Rich soils, abundant ground water, moderate temperatures. His ranch flourished as a modest family citrus farm after he planted the first tree in 1913. Three decades later came a change that would transform not only the Bailey ranch, but the entire San Joaquin Valley. A dam in the foothills to the northwest created Millerton Lake, and nine years after that – in 1952 – a canal carried water from the reservoir to farming communities lining the edge of the valley from Fresno to Bakersfield. California and the federal government had embarked on an era of building dams and hundreds of miles of canals, an ambitious engineering feat designed to capture the massive Sierra snowmelt and channel it to the state’s far-flung cities and farms. It marked the beginning of California’s population explosion and transformed the Central Valley into one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. Roughly half a century after that era ended, California finds itself forced to rethink its extensive system of capturing and delivering water. The state’s expanding population is part of the reason, but it is the effects of global climate change that have given policymakers a sense of urgency. Climate change is expected to alter California’s hydrology in dramatic ways. Scientists predict that the available supply of water may not be able to meet demand, while the existing levee and reservoir system will be insufficient to contain spring flooding. Finding solutions and ways to pay for them already is proving contentious, opening a new chapter in California’s ongoing saga of water wars. The debate has teamed farmers and metropolitan water planners, who argue for more dams and canals, in a battle against environmentalists and the Democrats who control the Legislature. They favor conservation and oppose any measures that will leave a heavy imprint on the environment. California’s era of dam-building helped the Bailey ranch evolve from a humble family farm into a massive citrus operation with 2,000 acres of orange and lemon trees. Harvey Bailey believes a transformation similar to the one California undertook more than half a century ago will be required to ensure its farms and cities thrive in the decades ahead. “You can’t sit on your thumbs and not plan for the future,” Bailey said. “Planning for the future means you’ve got to have more water supplies you can draw on year round.” Vulnerable resource California requires a lot of water, mostly for its nearly $32 billion-a-year agriculture industry. The state uses 43.1 million acre feet a year, enough water to fill three Lake Tahoes. Yet scientific models show the state’s water supply to be the natural resource most vulnerable to the effects of rising global temperatures. The state’s leading scientists and hydrologists generally agree on the potential consequences. Among them: The Sierra snowpack is expected to shrink and melt faster, leaving insufficient supplies for cities, farms and hydroelectric plants during the hottest months of summer and fall, when demand is greatest. Prolonged droughts along the Colorado River will force California and six other Western states to reduce the amount they draw from that river. Earlier melting of the snowpack coinciding with spring storms could overwhelm any part of the 1,600 miles of earthen levees, flooding Central Valley communities that have seen an explosion of suburban growth in recent years. A rising Pacific Ocean or a levee break will bring salty ocean water into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water-delivery system. That would jeopardize the fresh water supplies for 23 million Californians, two-thirds of the state’s population. To avoid that scenario, a plan to build a $3 billion canal to divert water around the delta is back in play. It already is generating dissension, however, much as it did a generation ago when Northern California voters defeated the proposed Peripheral Canal, fearing too much of their water would be sent south. The most crucial part of California’s water system is the snowpack that builds each winter along the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada. It acts as California’s natural reservoir, holding a third of the state’s water for drinking and irrigation. For decades, the cycle has remained relatively unchanged: The snowpack builds through winter and early spring, then melts gradually from late spring through midsummer. That allows the reservoirs to fill and state water managers to release the water in late summer and fall, operating on a schedule that satisfies cities and farmers. Warming temperatures already are beginning to disrupt that pattern. The snowpack has shrunk about 10 percent below its wintertime average, and models show it shrinking 25-50 percent by the end of the century as more precipitation falls as rain rather than snow. “We’re going to have more water when we don’t want it and less water when we want it,” said John Dracup, an environmental engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on California’s hydrology. Expensive solutions The options for coping with the expected changes vary widely but have a common thread: All are expensive. Farmers, agricultural irrigation districts and some city water managers favor creating more reservoirs, an idea that has at least the partial backing of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has proposed spending $4.5 billion to build one reservoir in a valley north of Sacramento and another in a canyon above Millerton Lake near Fresno. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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