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Canada’s Internet Music Success Story: SOCAN’s Canadian Internet Streaming Revenues Surpass Radio Royalties

While the music industry continues to focus on a so-called “value gap” that does not reflect the state of Canadian law, mounting data also suggests that it does not provide an accurate depiction of the revenues being generated in Canada today from Internet streaming. SOCAN, Canada’s largest music copyright collective, last week reported preliminary numbers for 2018, with the data indicating that Internet streaming revenues have now hit $62 million, likely surpassing both radio and television royalties as its second largest source of domestic revenues. In fact, Internet streaming now accounts for 22 per cent of SOCAN’s domestic revenues and will almost certainly become its largest domestic revenue source in 2019.

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February 25, 2019 8 comments News
Files by Brian Hoffman (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8XWyaa

The CRTC Opens a Penske File: Chair Ian Scott Commits to Little Action Despite Finding Misleading Telecom Sales Tactics

In the fall of 2017, the CBC ran a high-profile story on high pressure sales tactics used by Canadian telecom companies, sparking a wide range of additional complaints. While Bell claimed the allegations were unfounded and untrue, the CBC followed up with a hidden camera investigation that found more misinformation from Bell sales representatives. Soon after the initial CBC story, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre wrote to CRTC Chair Ian Scott to request a public inquiry into the sales tactics. One month later, Scott rejected the request, noting “Canadians already have a variety of options available to them to seek redress depending on the nature of the issue.” The CRTC response did not sit well with the government, forcing ISED Minister Navdeep Bains to order the Commission to conduct an inquiry.

Yesterday, the CRTC issued its report to the government, where it was shocked – shocked – to find that there are misleading sales tactics being used by Canadian telecom companies that are harming consumers:

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February 21, 2019 6 comments News
geobloqueo-streaming-europa by portal gda (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2bs6taB

Flawed Arguments and Inappropriate Analogies: Why Netflix Taxes and Cancon Requirements Should be Rejected

CBC President Catherine Tait recently sparked a firestorm with comments to an industry conference that likened Netflix, the popular online video service, to the British Raj in India and French in Africa, warning about “imperialism and the damage that it can do to local communities.” The comments were rightly criticized as shockingly inappropriate, as if any video service can be reasonably compared to the subjugation of millions.

My Hill Times op-ed notes that some in the Canadian creator community rushed to defend Tait, however, viewing the comments as a strong assertion for Netflix regulation, the creation of a “level playing field”, and the need for all stakeholders to contribute to the broadcast system. Supporters of Netflix taxes and content requirements – who were joined in the Hill Times last week by Sheila Copps – present a vision of Canadian content at risk without regulatory intervention, leading to the loss of Canada’s “authorial voice” from film and television production.

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February 12, 2019 6 comments Columns
Question Everything (Nullius in verba) Take nobody's word for it by Duncan Hall (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/iVLZt

CRTC on OpenMedia’s Site Blocking Campaign: “Contributed to a Better Understanding of the Issues”

The CRTC released four cost awards yesterday arising from the Bell coalition’s proposal for a site blocking system. The Commission rejected the proposal last year on jurisdictional grounds and has now followed up with significant cost awards to public interest groups that participated in the process. The FairPlay coalition challenged the cost awards to OpenMedia and CIPPIC, arguing that its citizen engagement was “deliberately misleading and cannot represent responsible participation in the proceeding.” It also argued that the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s participation was “irresponsible in nature” since it included arguments questioning the harm of piracy, which FairPlay maintained encouraged the Commission “to disregard the basic tenets of the Copyright Act.”

The CRTC soundly rejected these arguments, ordering the FairPlay coalition to pay over $130,000 in costs as part of four applications (OpenMedia/CIPPIC, PIAC, FRPC, UDC). The Commission’s analysis on the value of the OpenMedia/CIPPIC public campaign is particularly noteworthy given efforts by some commentators to question it:

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February 8, 2019 5 comments News
Fortune Global Forum 2018 by FORTUNE Global Forum (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/PWMTwf

Government Service Delivery in the Digital Age: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy

Last week, I appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics as part of its study on government services and privacy. The discussion touched on a wide range of issues, including outdated privacy rules and the policy complexity of smart cities. I concluded by noting:

“we need rules that foster public confidence in government services by ensuring there are adequate safeguards, transparency and reporting mechanisms to give the public the information it needs about the status of their data, and appropriate levels of access so that the benefits of government services can be maximized. That is not new. What is new is that this needs to happen in an environment of changing technologies, global information flows, and an increasingly blurry line between public and private in service delivery.”

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February 7, 2019 0 comments News