Archive for May, 2014

eli lilly drug cabinet by sciondriver (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cK3ExS

Why the Canadian Government Should Maintain Its Position on CETA and the ISDS Provision

Media reports last week indicated that finalizing the Canada – European Union Trade Agreement has been delayed by a Canadian demand to exclude intellectual property from the scope of the investor-state dispute settlement system. While that sounds like an arcane, technical issue, it actually involves potentially billions of dollars and the Canadian government deserves kudos for adopting its current position even as the pressure builds to simply cave on the issue.

The investor-state dispute settlement provision is among the most controversial aspects of CETA (and the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership) since it opens the door to private lawsuits by companies against the government over the state of national law. These lawsuits can involve claims for hundreds of millions of dollars, with costs that may ultimately be borne by taxpayers. The Canadian government is keenly aware of the risks, since it is currently facing a $500 million lawsuit by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly over the approach of Canadian courts to the concept of utility in patent law. The Canadian government is likely to ultimately win the lawsuit, but the legal risks are still significant, with Eli Lilly effectively demanding that every Canadian pay it nearly $15 due to our patent laws. If Eli Lilly can file a $500 million lawsuit over two patented drugs, the potential for numerous lawsuits and billions in claims is a real possibility.

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May 14, 2014 6 comments News

Copyright Board Indicates It Will Not Include Mandatory Delete Rule in Tariff

The Copyright Board of Canada has issued an order in the tariff proceedings with Access Copyright that indicates its preliminary view is that it will not support the collective’s demand for a provision that would require deletion of digital copies made under a copying tariff where an institution stops relying […]

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May 14, 2014 1 comment News
Netflix Error 108 by Seth Anderson (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/boJSRn

Netflix Speed Rankings Raise Rogers Internet Traffic Management Questions: What Did It Know & When

Netflix released its latest ISP Speed Index yesterday, including Canada for the first time.  Given the popularity of the online video service, the Netflix report has attracted increasing attention as it offers a comparative look at the average download speeds for Netflix customers across Internet providers around the world. While the company acknowledges that there are various factors that influence speed (including device used, video quality, etc.), those issues are found across all ISPs, so the comparisons remain valid.

Canada’s performance is middling at best as the Netflix data indicates that we are a mid-tier country at best.  Canadian speeds that do not compare well with most European countries (note that Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan are not included but would likely rank far ahead of Canada as well). The biggest surprise in the report is how poorly Rogers ranked, coming in last among the 14 Canadian ISPs that were measured. The ranking is particularly surprising since the other large cable companies (Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, and Eastlink) all ranked in the upper half of Canadian ISPs.

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May 13, 2014 34 comments News

How Canada Avoided the Latest Great Net Neutrality Battle

Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 10, 2014 as How Canada Avoided the Latest Great Net Neutrality Battle The Internet community has reacted with alarm in recent weeks to a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that would significantly undermine net neutrality, the principle that underlies equal treatment for […]

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May 13, 2014 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Appointment of New Copyright Board of Canada Chair Offers Chance for Change

Copyright Board of Canada chair William J. Vancise will see his term come to an end this month, opening the door for the government to start the process of reforming the much-criticized board. Vancise has served the maximum two terms as chair, with his time marked by the Supreme Court of Canada’s rejection of the board’s approach to fair dealing, ongoing frustration from stakeholders about board administrative processes, and the failure of the board to broaden its approach by becoming more inclusive of the public.

The exclusion of the public stands in sharp contrast to the CRTC and Competition Bureau, which have both taken steps in recent years to involve the public more directly in policy making activities, hearings, and other issues. By contrast, the Copyright Board does little to encourage public participation, despite the fact that its decision often have an impact that extends beyond the parties before it. When asked recently about the accessibility and participation concerns, the board pointed to an internal working group as evidence that it regularly reviews its practices and compared itself to the Federal Court of Appeal, noting that “of course they [the public] don’t participate, because they don’t really belong there, per se.”

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May 8, 2014 1 comment News