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Danger: High Voltage by Rhys A (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8jQYkS

Federal Court Short-Circuits Voltage Pictures’ Canadian File Sharing Class Action Copyright Lawsuit Strategy

The Federal Court of Canada has strongly rejected an attempt by Voltage Pictures, one of Canada’s most litigious copyright companies, to use a reverse class action lawsuit approach to sue potentially thousands of Canadians. The court ruled that Voltage met none of the requirements for class action certification and in the process confirmed doubts that merely pointing to an IP address is sufficient grounds for a copyright infringement claim. The Voltage strategy was launched in 2016 as it sought certification of the class, a declaration that each member of the class had infringed its copyright, an injunction stopping further infringement, damages, and costs of the legal proceedings (the issues were discussed in this Lawbytes podcast episode with James Plotkin).

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November 14, 2019 8 comments News
CISAC Global Collections Report 2019, https://www.cisac.org/Media/Studies-and-Reports/Publications/Royalty-Reports/2019-CISAC-Global-Collections-Report-EN, pg. 45

CISAC Labels Canada a “Digital Champion” for Digital Music Royalty Growth

The Canadian music industry has engaged in extensive lobbying efforts on copyright invariably pointing to concerns regarding revenues from digital music services. But the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), which brings together 239 collective management organizations in 122 countries and five regions, recently released a global report that told a much different story, calling Canada a digital champion given the share of royalty revenues coming from digital services.  CISAC represents over four million creators active in five major repertoires: audiovisual, dramatic, literature, music and visual arts. Its report identifies five digital champions within its top 20 global markets. Canada sits third in terms of both digital share and five year growth.

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November 13, 2019 0 comments News
Macron at GFAIH by Michael Geist

The Global Forum on AI for Humanity: A Global Forum That Excluded the Globe

Earlier this week, I traveled to Paris to attend the Global Forum on Artificial Intelligence for Humanity (GFIAH). The by-invitation event featured one day of workshops addressing issues such as AI and culture, followed by a two days of panels on developing trustworthy AI, data governance, the future of work, delegating decisions to machines, bias and AI, and future challenges. The event was a part of the French government’s effort to take the lead on developing a new AI regulatory framework that it describes as a “third way”, distinct from the approach to AI in China and the United States. The French initiative, named the Global Partnership on AI, is particularly notable from a Canadian perspective since Canada is an active participant in the initiative and will host the next global forum in 2020.

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November 1, 2019 0 comments News
Rewheel Research, The state of 4G & 5G pricing, 2H2019: more-for-less, http://research.rewheel.fi/insights/2019_oct_pro_2h2019_release/

Wireless Worsens: Report Finds Canadian Wireless Pricing Now Less Competitive Compared to Other Developed Economies

The cost of wireless services emerged as a political issue during the recent national election, with most parties taking turns promising measures to increase competitiveness and lower consumer costs. The Liberals based their platform on a commitment to reduce costs by 25 per cent over the next two years, a measure that some analysts suggested had already been met. I argued that the 25 per cent reduction target was measuring the wrong thing, noting that “the 25 per cent price decline may sound attractive, but if other countries experience declines of 30 per cent or 40 per cent, it means that Canadians would actually be paying even more relative to consumers elsewhere.”

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October 30, 2019 1 comment News
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by World Bank Photo Collection (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/25613452631

What Comes Next for Canadian Digital Policy Under a Liberal Minority Government?

In the closing months of the last Liberal majority government mandate, I spoke to a government official about the lessons learned from the prior four years. Their response?  If we knew then what we know now, we would have moved much faster on policy. The four years moves very quickly and if you don’t manage to lay the groundwork and introduce proposed legislation within the first 12 – 24 months, it becomes very difficult to enact given competing policy priorities, demands on committee time, Senate review, and a myriad of other challenges.

As I think about what comes next for Canadian digital policy under the new Liberal minority government, those words strike me as more relevant than ever. Even if the government runs more like a majority than a minority (which certainly seems likely on digital policy as no one is forcing an election over privacy or wireless pricing), the same ministers return to their portfolios (which may or may not happen) and the same committee structures return largely unchanged (which will not happen since that INDU chair Dan Ruimy was not re-elected), picking up where the government left off in June will not be easy. Further, the Liberal platform provides the roadmap for future reforms, but moving rapidly on these issues – particularly given expectations that a minority government’s mandate may run shorter than a majority – suggests that quick wins will be preferred to extensive legislative reform.

So what are likely next steps on digital policy?

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October 23, 2019 0 comments News