Archive for February, 2018

FBI Anti-Piracy Warning! by Shunsuke Kobayashi https://flic.kr/p/2HJmHK (CC BY 2.0)

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 2: Weak Evidence on the State of Canadian Piracy

Having examined the state of current Canadian copyright law¬†with respect to anti-piracy measures, the series outlining the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan continues with an examination of the evidence on Canadian piracy. The coalition argues that piracy in Canada is a growing threat, relying on data from MUSO to suggest that current activities “makes it difficult if not impossible to build the successful business models that will meet the evolving demands of Canadians, support Canadian content production, and contribute to the Canadian economy.” My next post will discuss economic evidence in Canada, highlighting record growth in authorized streaming services and production in the Canadian creative sector. This post is limited to data on Canadian piracy rates and whether drastic measures such as website blocking are needed.

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February 13, 2018 5 comments News
Press Conference: Meet the Co-Chairs by World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JqKwT9

The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 1: Canada’s Current Copyright Law Provides Effective Anti-Piracy Tools

The Bell coalition’s website blocking proposal has sparked a huge public outcry, with thousands of Canadians submitting interventions to the CRTC opposing a plan premised on website blocking without direct court involvement. I have written several posts on the issue – a general assessment on why it is a terrible idea, a closer look at the economic reality of the Canadian film and television sector, and a discussion of Bell’s inconsistent comments to the CRTC vs. business analysts – but the case against the radical plan merits a closer look at both the evidence and the legal arguments. With this post, I begin a new series that will make the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan.

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February 12, 2018 10 comments News
Bell Canada ExpressVu Satellite Dish by Tony Webster https://flic.kr/p/BRyfnp (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sending a Different Message: After Bell Website Blocking Coalition Warns About Cord Cutting, Bell CEO Says It Isn’t Accelerating

The Bell coalition website blocking proposal places considerable emphasis on the impact of cord cutting, a reference to television subscribers canceling their service. Earlier this week, I blogged about CMPA data that called into question claims of negative impacts on the industry, with the actual data confirming record investment in Canadian television and film production and more than a billion dollars being spent annually by consumers on authorized video services such as Netflix, CraveTV, and Club illico.

While the Bell coalition wants the CRTC to believe that there is urgent problem requiring a radical regulatory solution (it acknowledges the CRTC can only authorize blocking in exceptional circumstances that further the objectives of the Telecommunications Act), Bell’s own commentary to financial analysts strike a much different tone. During yesterday’s quarterly earnings conference call with analysts, Bell executives said absolutely nothing about piracy or website blocking, instead emphasizing the success of both its TV and online streaming services. For example, CEO George Cope stated:

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February 9, 2018 7 comments News
Pay No Tax Ever sign, duty free, sign, Pearson Airport T3, Toronto, ON, Canada by Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/nuuRgK

Trudeau Puts An End to the Netflix and ISP Tax Debate: “Consumers…Pay Enough for Their Internet”

For the past two years, the prospect of creating a Netflix tax or Internet tax has been the digital policy issue that would not die in Canada. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage called for an Internet tax last June, the province of Quebec remains anxious to pay digital sales taxes (there is nothing stopping them from doing so now), and many creator groups continue to the call for mandated contributions on Netflix to “level the playing the field” (the level playing field argument is misleading). The uncertainty surrounding Netflix and ISP taxes has not been helped by the reopening of the issue at the CRTC after the release of the government’s digital Cancon strategy and Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s occasionally leaving the door open to the possibility.

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February 8, 2018 12 comments News
Diplomacy by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images http://alphastockimages.com/

Canadian Copyright Diplomacy: My Appearance before the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs

Last week, I appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs as part of its study on the impact and utilization of culture and arts in foreign policy and diplomacy. I was asked to consider the impact of Canadian copyright in foreign diplomacy, leading to an interesting and engaging discussion that touched on everything from the changes to the IP provisions in the TPP to the legality of streaming services. My opening remarks, which emphasized the potential for Canada to engage in copyright diplomacy by serving as model for other countries, is posted below.

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February 7, 2018 Comments are Disabled Committees, News