Archive for September, 2007

CBA’s National on Copyright Reform

The Canadian Bar Association's National magazine features an article (page 30) on copyright reform that touches on video, P2P file sharing, and DRM.

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September 27, 2007 2 comments Must Reads

Federal Court Orders eBay To Disclose Power Sellers to CRA

The Globe and Mail reports that the Canada Revenue Agency has won a federal court order requiring eBay Canada to turn over the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all high-volume sellers on the popular website. The CRA wants to find out whether those individuals or companies are […]

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September 27, 2007 19 comments News

Variety on Canadian Heritage Conflicts

Variety has published an article on the Canadian Heritage Copyright Policy branch conflict issue (joining the Globe, which posted on the issue yesterday) that features two surprising comments.  First, Canadian Heritage is clearly no closer to providing "full and frank" disclosure about who knew what and when.  According to a […]

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September 27, 2007 3 comments News

Drop The Box

A new site launches to promote fair use of HD cable in Canada.

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September 27, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Broadcasting Policy for a World of Abundance

My regular technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) focuses on the recent firestorm sparked by the broadcasting reform report commissioned by the CRTC and written by Laurence Dunbar and Christian Leblanc.  The Canadian Association of Broadcasters characterized the report's recommendations as an assault on the foundation of Canadian broadcasting. In this instance, the broadcasters are correct. The report is indeed an assault on the regulatory foundation of Canadian broadcasting – one that is long overdue.

Canadian broadcast regulation was designed for a world of scarcity where broadcast spectrum and consumer choice was limited.  This led to a highly regulated environment that used various policy levers to shelter Canadian broadcasters from external competition, limited new entrants, and imposed a long list of content requirements and advertising restrictions.  As a result, a dizzying array of regulations kept the entry of new broadcast competitors to a minimum, enshrined genre protection so that Canadians were treated to domestic versions of popular channels such as HBO and ESPN, and firmly supported simultaneous substitution, a policy that allows Canadian broadcasters to simulcast U.S. programming but substitute their own advertising.

Yet today's broadcasting environment is no longer one of scarcity, but rather one of near limitless abundance as satellite, digital channels, and the Internet now provide instant access to an unprecedented array of original content.  

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September 25, 2007 1 comment Columns