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In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

Nearly twenty years ago, Ian Kerr was a rising star in the law and technology field at the University of Western Ontario. He had already published on the role of computers as intelligent agents in the nascent world of electronic commerce and was crafting new courses examining the legal and ethical challenges posed by machines and the law. In the fall of 1999 – about a year after I had arrived at Ottawa – he agreed to a visit to consider coming to help build a leading program focused on law and tech. I spent the day trying to convince Ian to come, offering tours of the law school, the city’s foodie hot spots, and a dinner at my house. My closing argument was that no matter his decision, this was going to happen since Ottawa was ideally situated to lead on tech law and policy and that there was no better place for him, personally or professionally.

I’m heartened that Ian told me during my last visit with him at the Ottawa Hospital that the decision was one of the best he ever made. But I was wrong. This wasn’t just going to happen. It happened because Ian – my colleague, friend, advisor, and professional partner – made it so.

Ian passed away last night after months of battling complications from cancer. He was a singular talent, whose impact not just on the field, but on everyone he worked with, taught, mentored, or lectured will be felt for decades to come.

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August 27, 2019 70 comments News
Tax Service by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4wPt8s

The Cultural Lobby Demands for Internet Taxes and Fees: The Forgotten Piece in Canada’s Lower Wireless and Internet Cost Puzzle

Over the past few weeks, both the National Post and Reuters have reported that the Liberals plan to include lower Internet and wireless costs as part of the fall election campaign. The reports indicate that reforms could include price caps or a firm commitment to facilitating the entry of new competitors in the form of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). I’ve posted regularly on Canada’s high wireless prices and efforts to address the issue (here, here, here, here, and here), which remain uncompetitive relative to many other countries (some of the reasons why are discussed in this LawBytes podcast episode with Antonios Drossos of Rewheel Research).

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August 27, 2019 4 comments News
TPP Signing, February 4th, 2016 by US Embassy (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/DCM31U

Canadian Government Consults on Expanding Pacific Trade Treaty to UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand

The Canadian government has launched a public consultation on expanding the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, formerly TPP) to other countries, specifically citing the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand. The consultation could raise significant concerns as the UK would be the first non-Pacific country in the agreement and Taiwan could spark a response from China. Moreover, opening the agreement to new countries must likely factor in the possibility that the U.S. might want to re-enter the agreement if there is a change in administration in 2020.

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July 30, 2019 0 comments News
November 24th 2008 - Graffiti by Stephen Poff https://flic.kr/p/5Earra (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

What is the Point of the Broadcast and Telecom Legislative Review if the Government Has Already Decided What It Intends To Do?

The Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel released its interim report – What We Heard – yesterday alongside the long-overdue release of the written submissions to the panel. The report doesn’t contain any surprises given that the various positions on key telecom and broadcast issues are well known. While the panel is set to deliver its final report in January 2020, there is increasing reason to suspect that the government (if re-elected) has already decided what it wants to do.

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June 27, 2019 2 comments News
Mind the gap by Kristian Dye (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5JAk2X

Better Data, Better Results: Comparing the Gap Between the Copyright Review and Heritage Study on the Music Industry’s Policy Proposals

My recent series reviewing the Industry Committee’s copyright review (process, evidence, witness balance, citation) was about more that just why the decision to ignore the Canadian Heritage committee study on artist remuneration was justified. The series provides a data-backed assessment of the quality of the consultation of the respective committees, which is inextricably linked to their final recommendations. The better process is important because when comparing the recommendations from the two committees, the Industry committee consistently provided deeper analysis even in areas where there was agreement. The better analysis is not a coincidence: better process generates better policy and the Industry committee engaged in broader consultations in which it heard both from more creators and more users than Heritage.

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June 26, 2019 4 comments News