Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Copyright Consultation Provides Blueprint for Reform

Appeared in the Hill Times on November 2, 2009 as Copyright Consultation Provides Blueprint for Reform This past summer, Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore successfully completed the first national public consultation on copyright policy in eight years. While there were a few inevitable hiccups, the […]

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November 2, 2009 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Consumer Choice Holds The Key To Solving Fee-For-Carriage Fight

Today is the deadline for submitting comments on the fee-for-carriage issue (you can do so directly at the CRTC's website) and I wade in with my views in this week's technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version).  I note that for the past two months, Canadians have been subjected to a non-stop marketing campaign pitting two deep-pocketed industries – broadcasters and broadcast distributors – against each other.  Television and radio commercials, full-page newspaper advertisements, websites and Twitter posts all seek to convince the public that new fees for local television signals are, depending on your perspective, either a TV tax or crucial funding to save local television.

Broadcasters claim some local TV stations will close if they do not receive millions in additional fees from cable and satellite companies as compensation for distributing their signal.  Cable and satellite companies leave little doubt they will pass along any new fees – possibly as much as $10 per month per subscriber – to their customers. The additional fees inevitably will not come from the bottom lines of cable and satellite companies, but rather from the pockets of consumers.

While the reaction for many Canadians might be sensibly to tune out the entire mess, politicians and regulators will still be left seeking a solution. In fact, some politicians have pledged to support local television, but also promised to avoid new consumer costs.  Can these two positions be reconciled?

Perhaps.

The answer may lie in giving consumers more choice, by allowing them to pay only for the channels they want – regardless of whether they are local, foreign, or specialty (such as CNN or movie networks).  

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November 2, 2009 41 comments Columns

Study Finds Downloaders Spend More On Music

A new UK study finds that people who illegally download music also spend more money on music than anyone else. The survey found that those who admit illegally downloading music spent an average of £77 a year on music, which was £33 more than those who claim that they never […]

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November 2, 2009 4 comments Must Reads

Oshawa School Trustee Seeks Elimination Of Copyright Fees

An Oshawa school trustee wants copyright fees eliminated for non-profit school boards in the wake of a new bill for $900,000 in photocopy fees.

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November 2, 2009 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Privacy Commissioner Posts Initial Letter on Lawful Access

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has posted her initial letter and analysis of Bills C-46 and C-47, the lawful access legislation.

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November 2, 2009 1 comment Must Reads