Archive for August, 2013

James Moore on Wireless Lobbying: Canadians Know Dishonest Attempts to Skew Debates

Industry Minister James Moore came out swinging yesterday against the incumbent’s campaign against Verizon’s entry into the Canadian market and a letter from BCE director Anthony Fell. Moore may have been particularly angered at suggestions that the big three were disrespected after a 30 minute meeting with him when few […]

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August 14, 2013 29 comments News

The Verizon Privacy Risk: Are Canadian Carriers A More Privacy-Friendly Choice?

As part of the campaign against Verizon, opponents have begun to focus on the privacy implications of allowing the U.S. giant into Canada. In a blog post on the company site, Telus points to its privacy work (including fighting a key case to the Supreme Court of Canada) and then raises the spectre of a loss of privacy should Verizon enter the market:

The Canadian government needs to take a hard look at this important issue and ensure that Canadians’ privacy expectations continue to be met; especially if a U.S. communications company sets up shop here. Some U.S. laws, such as Patriot Act, can be quite invasive and could have detrimental impacts on the level of privacy experienced by Canadian wireless users.

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union raised similar concerns in an article over the weekend that warned about the danger of NSA spying on Canadians should Verizon enter Canada.

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August 12, 2013 12 comments News

Harper Stands Firm on Telecom Policy

Prime Minister Harper addressed the campaign by the Bell, Rogers, and Telus to change current Canadian wireless policy in response to the possible entry of Verizon into the market on Friday (media coverage on the issue from the Star and Globe). Harper’s complete comments: “On the telecommunications issues, let me […]

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August 10, 2013 25 comments News

Why Verizon’s Entry to Canada Would Reduce Consumer Wireless Prices

Fresh off predictions that the CRTC would not eliminate three-year contracts and that a Verizon entry into Canada was “highly unlikely“, Scotiabank’s Jeff Fan is apparently back with another report  that claims it is a myth that Verizon’s entry would lead to lower costs for consumers (I say apparently because Scotiabank declined my request for a copy of the report). The claim mirrors the talking points of the incumbent carriers, who have argued that Verizon is a high-cost carrier that will not enter the market with lower prices.

While no one knows what Verizon’s business model will be (or even if they will come), the arguments that they will not result in lower prices requires you to believe that a major new competitor will simply enter with high prices that keep the current incumbent-friendly situation largely intact. One does not need a doctorate in economics to recognize this is highly unlikely. Whether Verizon offers North America-wide roaming or other incentives to attract customers, a new entrant such as Verizon will obviously shake things up and consumers will benefit.

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August 8, 2013 20 comments News

U.S. Copyright Lobby Takes Aim at Canadian Copyright Term Through Trans-Pacific Partnership

The U.S. copyright lobby, led by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, appeared last week before a U.S. Congressional Committee hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and made it clear that it wants the U.S. to use the trade agreement to force Canada to extend the term of copyright.  Canadian copyright law is currently at life of the author plus 50 years, which meets the international standard found in the Berne Convention. The U.S. extended its copyright term years ago to life of the author plus 70 years under pressure from the Disney Corporation (Mickey Mouse was headed to the public domain) and has since pushed other countries to do the same.

The IIPA says that the TPP should require all members to extend their term of copyright (Japan and New Zealand are also at life plus 50 years), which it claims is needed to “maintain incentives for investment in the conservation and dissemination of older works.” Yet a recent study found the opposite with far more public domain books available commercially than books still subject to copyright.

When the Canadian government conducted a consultation on participation in the TPP, copyright was the top issue raised with many focusing on concerns associated with term extension. As I wrote last year, it is worth noting the many important authors who would be immediately affected since their works are scheduled to become public domain in the 2013 – 2033 period.

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August 7, 2013 17 comments News