Archive for July 23rd, 2007

Supreme Court Copyright Case Coming on Thursday

The Supreme Court of Canada has just announced that it will release its decision in Euro-Excellence v. Kraft Canada on Thursday.  The case raises some interesting copyright issues including the prospect of explicitly incorporating the copyright misuse doctrine into Canadian law.

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July 23, 2007 1 comment Must Reads

Uncompetitive Canadian Pricing Threatens Mobile Internet

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 23, 2007 as Time to Revamp Mobile Internet Pricing The promise of an always-on mobile Internet – delivered through cellphones and wireless devices – has long been touted as the next stage in the evolution of electronic communication and commerce. That next stage […]

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July 23, 2007 9 comments Columns Archive

Uncompetitive Canadian Pricing Threatens Mobile Internet

My weekly Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the mobile Internet in Canada, arguing that we are falling behind even developing countries as a consequence of overpriced mobile data services in our cozy, uncompetitive market. Until recently, the conventional wisdom held that there were two barriers – technology and cost – to the emergence of widespread mobile Internet use.  From a technological perspective, most cellphones and wireless devices could manage email and text messaging, but were ill-suited for the full Internet experience including browsing and Internet video.  That technology barrier has largely been eliminated, fuelled by popularity of devices such as the Apple iPhone.

The cost barrier still looms large, however.  Canadian carriers have treated mobile Internet use as a business product, establishing pricing plans that force most consumers to frugally conserve their time online.  Indeed, the mobile Internet in Canada is reminiscent of Internet access in the mid-1990s, when dial-up access dominated the market and consumers paid by the minute for their time online. 
For example, Rogers – Canada's sole GSM provider and therefore the only telecom company currently equipped to offer the iPhone – offers a starter data plan that provides 1.5 megabytes of data per month for $15 (each additional MB is $21).  Since that is not even enough data to download a single high-resolution photograph, most consumers presumably opt for more.   The company's biggest data plan provides 500 MB, yet costs $210 per month – far beyond the reach of most consumers.

This pricing, which is comparable to plans found with Bell and Telus, is not close to competitive internationally.  

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July 23, 2007 16 comments Columns

Unreliable Information

The Australian news site News.com.au is currently reporting that "Refugee Tribunal Hit For Relying on Wikipedia."  The tribunal's decision was set aside because it has used unreliable information.  Ironically, the site was not Wikipedia (as suggested by News.com.au), but rather armeniapedia.org.

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July 23, 2007 1 comment Must Reads

The Globe on Open Access

The Globe and Mail featured a lengthy article on the fight for open access in Canada over the weekend, with comments from some of the leaders on the issue.

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July 23, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads