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CBC Fairplay Memo, obtained under ATIP

“This Really Isn’t Our Fight and It Will Cost Us”: Behind the Scenes of CBC Support for Bell’s Website Blocking Plan

Bell’s behind-the-scenes effort to drum up support for its site blocking proposal at the CRTC has been the subject of several posts over the past few months. Based primarily access-to-information requests, I’ve identified Bell pressure on universities and colleges such as Ryerson University, George Brown College, and Brock University, who all submitted support letters to the CRTC, though those letters were not always quite what they seemed (Brock University quickly distanced itself from the submission, the Dean behind the Ryerson letter advised Bell that he could not speak for the faculty). Earlier posts also highlighted Bell’s astroturfing campaign with its own employees and its undisclosed meetings with CRTC officials months before the proposal was made public.

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August 16, 2018 3 comments News
A protester holds a sign in Times Square by Geoff Stearns https://flic.kr/p/aw6XLr (CC BY 2.0)

One-Sided Story: Lobbyist Data Shows Music, Movie and Publisher Groups Account For 80 Per cent of Registered Copyright Meetings in Canada Since 2015 Election

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez travelled to Toronto last week, providing an opportunity for the newly-named minister to meet with cultural groups. With many of the biggest rights holder groups tweeting out the meet and greet (CMPA, Writers Guild, Access Copyright, ACTRA, ACP), the visit sent a signal that the new minister is readily available to hear creator community concerns. While Rodriguez should obviously take the time to meet with all stakeholders, an extensive review of lobbying records related to copyright since the 2015 election reveals that 80 per cent of registered copyright meetings for government officials, including policy makers, political staffers, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, have been with rights holder groups. The behind-the-scenes imbalance runs counter to oft-heard claims regarding the influence of companies such as Google and suggests a diminished voice for education, innovative companies, and users on copyright policy.

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August 14, 2018 8 comments News
New TELUS Store at Southgate by Mack Male (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/AnsScm

Telus vs. Telus: Who Do You Believe on Wireless Competition in Canada?

The state of Canadian wireless competition has been a much-discussed issue in recent years with numerous reports providing evidence that Canadians pay some of the highest rates in the world. In fact, even the Competition Bureau has concluded that “market power concerns persist in the Canadian wireless industry” and “when market power is exercised, prices are higher, and wireless penetration is lower, than in a market that is competitive.” In response to the Competition Bureau’s report, Telus argued that the CRTC should “reject the Bureau’s submission in its entirety.”

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August 9, 2018 4 comments News
TEDxRyersonU2013_SocialMedia_1 by TEDx RyersonU https://flic.kr/p/oT5sGq https://flic.kr/p/oT5sGq

Behind Ryerson’s Support for Site Blocking: Bell Reviewed Draft Submission, Was Warned It Did Not Represent Faculty View

Having examined how Brock University and George Brown College (part one and part two) came to support the Bell coalition website blocking plan, this post relies on Ryerson documents obtained under access to information laws to reveal how Charles Falzon, Ryerson’s Dean of Communications and Design, came to write in support of the site blocking plan. Much like the other two institutions, Falzon was approached by Mark Milliere, a Bell executive, asking for Ryerson’s support for the initiative.

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August 8, 2018 7 comments News
Fenton email to Sado, obtained under FIPPA

“One of Our Key Hiring Companies”: The Missing Link in the George Brown College Support for Bell’s Site Blocking Plan

Earlier this year, I posted the results of an access to information request to George Brown College (GBC) that sought to explain how the college came to publicly support the FairPlay website blocking proposal at the CRTC. Much like similar documents from Brock University, the George Brown College documents showed a request from Mark Milliere, an executive at Bell-owned TSN, about a week before the deadline sparked the submission. The resulting letter, which came from GBC President Anne Sado, was cited by the Bell-led coalition in its reply letter to the CRTC.

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August 7, 2018 2 comments News