Latest Posts

Heavy Duty by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/MTgEda

Industry Committee Recommends Adding Digital Lock Exception to USMCA Copyright Provisions

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has released its recommendations for changes to Bill C-4, the bill designed to implement the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement. I appeared before the committee and used this week’s Lawbytes podcast to highlight some of the discussion. The committee had a limited time to study the bill, but arrived at some important recommendations on the copyright and digital policy provisions.

First, it recommended adding a new exception to Canada’s digital lock rules to address concerns in the agriculture sector about the right to repair their equipment. The issue has been gaining momentum around the world as many identify the over-broad restrictions often associated with anti-circumvention laws. The recommendation:

Read more ›

March 12, 2020 2 comments News
Kids in the Hall @ Cobb Energy PAC 05.24.2008 by Melanie McDermott (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4QTTDu

The Cancon Conundrum: Why Policies to Promote “Canadian Stories” Need an Overhaul

Cultural policy in Canada can be contentious, but there is one issue – support for Canadian content or Cancon – that unsurprisingly enjoys near unanimous backing. Given the economic benefits, federal and provincial policies encourage both domestic and foreign film and television production in Canada, but there is a special place for certified Canadian content, which is typically defended on the basis of the need to support cultural sovereignty by promoting “Canadian stories.”

Read more ›

March 10, 2020 5 comments Columns
22 NAFTA Style by Steven Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/CSNKez

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 42: What Does the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement Mean for Digital Policy?

The ratification of the Canada – US- Mexico Trade Agreement has captured considerable attention with several committees studying Bill C-4, the bill aimed at ratifying the deal. Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to appear before two of those committees – the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade and on Industry, Science and Technology – where I discussed the digital law and policy implications the agreement. This week’s podcast features excerpts from those appearances, including my opening statement and the ensuing discussion with several MPs on copyright term extension, cultural policy, and privacy.

Read more ›

March 9, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
WhatsApp / iOS by Álvaro Ibáñez (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/ksmHKt

Bains’ Other Wireless Affordability Problem: The Broadcast Panel Plan for WhatsApp, Skype and Other Internet Services to Pay Canadian Broadband Taxes

Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry today promoted the government’s plans for wireless affordability. The effort was largely an attempt to reiterate its wireless affordability platform, which targeted a 25 per cent reduction in consumer wireless bills by emphasizing more competition through MVNOs and spectrum set-asides. The renewed emphasis on the policy comes as an updated Wall Report finds that prices have been declining in some baskets (the long-overdue emergence of unlimited-ish plans a key factor), but not in the core middle tier of plans where prices remain high. The government states “Canadians have been paying more overall compared to consumers in other G7 countries and Australia” and noted that the government will track pricing on a quarterly basis starting from January 2020. Coming on the heels of threats from incumbent telecom companies such as Telus, it was good for the government to re-assert its policy objectives for the sector.

Read more ›

March 5, 2020 1 comment News
Standing up to foreign influences by Government of Alberta (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2grfB9N

A CRTC Without the West: Why an MP Is Calling a Broadcast Panel Recommendation “Discriminatory” and Warning it Could Further Alienate Western Canada

The Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel report calls for a massive overhaul of Canadian communications law including significant changes to the CRTC that even include a name change to the Canadian Communications Commission. Yet more significant – and seemingly more controversial – is a change to the requirements for commissioners. The current CRTC Act provides for the creation of regional commissioners, who must reside in their region with the expectation that they are better positioned to raise regional concerns. The panel recommends dropping regional commissioners altogether, requiring instead that all commissioners reside in the Ottawa/Gatineau region:

Read more ›

March 5, 2020 4 comments News