Archive for April 20th, 2009

Policy Toolkit Nearly Empty In Bid To Support Local TV

This week a steady stream of television and cable executives will appear in Ottawa before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to discuss the "evolution of the television industry in Canada and its impact on local communities."  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that MPs from all parties will demand to know what companies like Rogers, CTV, and Canwest are prepared to do to ensure that local television broadcasting does not disappear in many smaller and medium sized communities. 

The current "crisis" feels new, yet the issues are nearly as old as Canadian broadcasting itself.  The economics of Canadian broadcasting have relied on a range of policy support mechanisms that include: lucrative commercial substitution, which lets broadcasters substitute Canadian commercials during the simulcast of popular U.S. programs; market protection that has limited local competition; declining programming commitments that allows broadcasters to fill airtime with cheaper foreign programming; and corporate convergence approvals that have resulted in only a handful of big Canadian broadcasters.

Broadcasters now argue these measures are insufficient and with the latest round of threats to shut down some local stations, MPs will be anxious to identify solutions to keep broadcasters in business.  As they grapple with the issue, the MPs would do well to remember that at least three separate issues are often lumped together into the single umbrella issue of local broadcasting.

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April 20, 2009 18 comments Columns

A Googlized Torrent Search Engine

Mashable points to the creation of a customized Google torrent search page.  The site was not created by Google (a user did it) and the same functionality has long existed within Google.  Yet the site obviously highlights some of the challenges of distinguishing between sites that offer the ability to […]

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April 20, 2009 5 comments Must Reads

Policy Toolkit Nearly Empty In Bid To Support Local TV

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 20, 2009 as Old Issues in Modern TV 'Crisis' This week a steady stream of television and cable executives will appear in Ottawa before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to discuss the "evolution of the television industry in Canada and its impact […]

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April 20, 2009 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

The U.S. Copyright Agenda and Chinese Freedom of Speech

Julian Ho of the IP Osgoode blog has an interesting post on how U.S. pressure on China to reform its copyright laws may have an adverse effect on freedom of speech.

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April 20, 2009 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Slate on the Perfect Online Movie Service

Farhad Manjoo of Slate on why the perfect online movie service is at least a decade away.

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April 20, 2009 Comments are Disabled Must Reads