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Rogers on the corner of Robson and Seymour by Jeffery Simpson https://flic.kr/p/hZGAN (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Message Received: Why Unlimited Wireless Plans Show Government’s Emphasis on New Competition is Being Heard

Long available in other countries, “unlimited” wireless plans arrived among the big three carriers in Canada yesterday with Rogers launching new unlimited options that offer 10 GB of data at full speed and unlimited additional data at a far slower speeds of 256Kbps. While some criticize the throttled overage speeds or the inferiority of the Canadian plans when compared to what is available in the U.S., this is a good step for consumers that ration their data each month in fear of incurring significant overage charges. Indeed, the comparative data shows Canadian consumers use less data than consumers elsewhere, particularly subscribers with Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Moreover, with carriers generating more than $1 billion per year in overage fees, the change is not trivial with some analysts characterizing the move as a negative for Canada’s wireless industry.

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June 13, 2019 1 comment News
Corus Quay by JasonParis https://flic.kr/p/9QoQgb (CC BY 2.0)

Super-Secret Submissions: Corus and SaskTel Block Disclosure of Their BTLR Submissions Claiming Prejudice to Their Competitive Position

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been posting several of the more notable submissions to the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel submissions that were previously not released to the public. These included Bell, Shaw, Cogeco, Quebecor, CWTA, and a Rogers submission that was released months after the submission deadline. The Access to Information office at Minister Navdeep Bains’ ISED has now completed the request and says it cannot disclose submissions from Corus and SaskTel. Both companies are apparently taking the position that they can withhold disclosure of their submissions on competitive grounds, citing Section 20(1)(c) of the Act:

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June 12, 2019 3 comments News
Plateau de la Godivelle - 29-07-2008 - 11h42 by Panoramas (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5cGyem

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 15: Cows, Cars, and Copyright – A Conversation With Myra Tawfik on the IP Concerns With Implementing the USMCA

The new NAFTA – dubbed the USMCA or CUSMA depending on where you live – took a significant step forward recently with the introduction of Canadian legislation designed to ratify the treaty. The economic implications of the agreement are enormous, particularly with respect to digital issues and intellectual property. Myra Tawfik, a law professor at the University of Windsor and Senior Fellow with CIGI, joins the podcast this week to discuss Canada’s longstanding history of facing external pressure on copyright, the role that trade negotiations now play with that pressure, and the implications of the USMCA.

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June 10, 2019 0 comments Podcasts
CityTV Videographer by Kurt Bauschardt (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9Sy5Bd

Rogers Calls for Expansion of Media Bailout to Cover Broadcast Organizations…and Thinks Netflix Should Pay For It

My series on previously secret submissions to the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel (earlier posts on Bell, Shaw, and Cogeco) continues with the Rogers submission, [Update: Rogers notes that it posted the submission on its site roughly three months after the submission deadline, so it has not been secret since early April] also obtained under the Access to Information Act. There are several notable aspects to the submission, but perhaps none more than Rogers calling for an expansion of the new tax credit for media organizations by extending the approach to broadcasters and expecting Netflix to help pay for it. The media bailout has attracted considerable criticism, particularly given the government’s implementation that has raised serious independence concerns. Before the recent controversies, Rogers envisioned expanding it:

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June 6, 2019 5 comments News
Large copyright sign made of colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces by Horia Varlan https://flic.kr/p/8nDt9B (CC BY 2.0)

Fixing Fair Dealing for the Digital Age: What Lies Behind the Copyright Review’s Most Important Recommendation

The long-awaited Canadian copyright review report features numerous good recommendations, many of which were rejections of industry lobbying: a rejection of new restrictions on fair dealing for education, rejection of Bell’s FairPlay site blocking initiative, and rejection of limits on safe harbours in response to the so-called “value gap.” Yet the most notable recommendation is the committee’s support for fair dealing for the digital age by expanding its scope and ensuring that it applies equally in the analog and digital worlds.

I wrote about the need to fix fair dealing for the digital age in May 2018:

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June 5, 2019 2 comments News