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Communications The Almighty Buck

First Nations Want Cellphone Revenue 513

Peacenik45 writes "The CBC is reporting that First Nations in Manitoba want compensation for every cell phone signal that passes through their land because it violates their airspace. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs recently resolved to negotiate revenue sharing with Manitoba Telecom Services. Ovide Mercredi of the Grand Rapids First Nations says "When it comes to using airspace, it's like using our water and simply because there's no precedent doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do." This move may inspire First Nations in other provinces to follow suit."
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First Nations Want Cellphone Revenue

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  • by mlawrence ( 1094477 ) <martin@@@martinlawrence...ca> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:14PM (#19331461) Homepage
    I want a precedent set. Then I will also sue for any cell phone waves passing over my private property. They are not the only ones with the "get everything and do nothing" attitude.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:15PM (#19331465) Homepage
    So, pray, tell us, what resource belonging to First Nations is being consumed, so that you have less of it the signal has passed through? I will take one silver coin, and drop it on the ground, and you may comfort yourself with the sound of the money.
  • by Viceroy Potatohead ( 954845 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:21PM (#19331503) Homepage
    Before Europeans came to North America, the native people would use every part of a broadcast signal, instead of wasting it like we do nowadays. Apparently they did the same thing with bison.

    Now you know!
  • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:28PM (#19331587)

    So, pray, tell us, what resource belonging to First Nations is being consumed,
    Not "consumed" per se, but cell phones generate electro-magnetic radiation - which kill off bees [slashdot.org] that are necessary for their survival. There's some pseudo-scientific reports that simply state the opposite and should be avoided as much as possible.

  • Indeed. (Score:3, Funny)

    by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:29PM (#19331597) Homepage
    I want revenue sharing for all cell-phone signals that go through my body. WiFi too. Oh, and walktie talkies. And ham radios, AM, FM, and XM. You know what, since it's all just EM waves anyway, I also want revenue for each ray of light that bounces off me and onto anything else. Got a microwave oven? Pay up.
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:31PM (#19331619)
    Are you ready to claim sovereign rights to your land?

    A private land owner getting a decision like that is the kind of thing that would get the constitution amended in the U.S., and would make the Queen angry in Canada.
  • by weighn ( 578357 ) <weighn@gmai l . com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:43PM (#19331733) Homepage

    4. First Nations realise how stupid the whole exercise is
    5. ???;
    6. NO profit.
  • by palewook ( 1101845 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:43PM (#19331735) Homepage
    i wonder if i can sue my neighbor anytime i hear his &&$#! car alarm go off. wait, and the old lady 3 doors down with the barking dog. her too. they all are using the air on my property. (rolls eyes)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:47PM (#19331771)

    More likely a very large tinfoil hat.

    A tinfoil teepee?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:03PM (#19331921)
    I have this really big Faraday cage...
  • by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:16PM (#19332065)
    At least one person has a strong grasp on history and reality here.
  • by debest ( 471937 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:39PM (#19332229)
    Funny story about Ovide Mercredi. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1992 (I think) when the Assembly of First Nations had their annual conference on Manitoulin Island, in Northern Ontario. At this time, he was the Grand Chief of the Assembly, and recogizable across the country. I grew up on Manitoulin and was working as a waiter/bartender at the hotel/restaurant where he and his entourage were staying during the conference, in a little town called Gore Bay.

    We open up the dining room for dinner early for him and his group (about 10 people), as they had to get to a meeting. I get chosen to serve their table. Hey, it's as close to "celebrity" as I've ever seen in this place, so I consider it somewhat of an honour.

    So I introduce myself to the table and run through the spiel. I hand everyone the menus, and then explain the day's "special" (not on the menu). I then explain that all entres come with your choice of pototoes. Now, the kitchen prepared different styles of potatoes: sometimes they were scalloped, or oven roasted, but most often the choices were mashed pototoes or a baked potato. I've been working at this place for a couple of summers now, so the words just flow off my tongue automatically. Plus, I'm a bit nervous, so I'm talking a bit faster than normal. On this afternoon, I say the same thing I've said hundreds of times: "All dinners come with your choice of pototoes: mashed or baked."

    Mercredi is in the middle of sipping a glass of water. As I say this, he nearly sprays the water across the table, looks up at me, and blurts out, "What kind of potatoes!?"

    Instantly, I (and the rest of the table) realize how the phrase "mashed or baked" can sound if you are being a little rushed!

    Naturally, the table explodes with laughter, and I just about kill myself laughing too. They enjoyed the meal, but of course had to make a comment on how "creamy" the mashed potatoes were, and wanted to make sure that they weren't the "mashedorbaked" style of potatoes. :-)

    I wonder if he still remembers that afternoon?
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:40PM (#19332237)
    Find someone who claims their god created the sun and sue sue sue!
  • by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:46PM (#19332275) Homepage Journal

    "The group apparently told MPs that their air space extended even further - to the outer limits of the universe."
    So their property rights sweep across the universe as the earth rotates...which means for about 10 minutes a day each they own Antares and Rigel. Are they Sirius?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:14AM (#19332513)
    > Do they have some demonstrable manner in which cell phone traffic through their airspace is harming them financially?

    They are First Nations peoples, and are therefore not required to show any demonstrable harm from any thing any where at any time. They are born harmed, they live harmed, and they will die harmed, and as an evil white slave-driving colonizer you will pay them the required tribute no matter when your ancestors got here and you *damned* sure will keep your mouth shut when you get the invoice. Now get out your wallet, bend over, and shut your goddamned oppressor pie-hole.

    By the way, the Right Reverend Sharpton gets here in an hour. Do you have your checkbook on you?
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:15AM (#19332519) Journal
    "...if they are a sovereign nation?"

    Let's see if the current POTUS can shed any light on that question...

    "Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." -- GWB
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:46AM (#19332693) Homepage
    The catch is that the EM bandwidth was actually auctioned off outside of their airspace, are they in turn not allowed to auction off that same bandwidth within their own airspace. When they are denied that opportunity, should they not receive compensation under the agreed treaty arrangements.

    Contracts are contracts, some countries treat their indigenous populations even more unfairly but when you make treaties you are bound by them, so it seems likely they have a legally arguable point because in auctioning off that bandwidth with in their airspace and then legally denying access to that bandwidth via government legislation effectively means that the bandwidth was stolen from them within their airspace.

  • by karmaflux ( 148909 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @02:13AM (#19333285)
    ...yes it is.
  • by aevan ( 903814 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @02:17AM (#19333311)
    No, your idea of ownership is preposterous. All of those resources, products, and services do not belong to you. You are living on land that is stolen and consuming products that are the end result of theft, slavery, and murder. Wildlife would do well if the First Nations got up and left to go back home where it came from.

    They immigrated too ya know :P
  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @05:44AM (#19334373) Journal
    You know, all the time some of your gravity bends the space in their land. Ok, it's only very slightly, but the effect exists. Thus they could tax you for that. Since the effect is so small, I think one cent per human per month should be enough. With about 6 billion people in the world, that would be 60 million dollars per month.
  • by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @07:19AM (#19334863) Homepage Journal
    I come from Gallifrey. Have I to pay twice?

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