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Damages by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 ImageCreator http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/typewriter/d/damages.html

Why the Government’s Copyright Board Plans Threaten to Spark Another Lobbying Battle

Copyright reform has long been viewed as one of the more contentious policy issues on the Canadian agenda, pitting creators, education groups, innovative companies, and a growing number of individuals against one another in processes that run for years and leave no one fully satisfied. Indeed, my Hill Times op-ed notes the copyright review currently underway before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology promises to run for months with MPs hearing from a broad range of stakeholders presenting perspectives that will be difficult to reconcile.

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June 5, 2018 0 comments Columns
https://pixabay.com/en/clock-wall-clock-watch-time-old-1274699/ CC0 Creative Commons

The 1980s CRTC: The Commission Turns Back the Clock with Old-Style Regulation and Privileged Insider Access

The CRTC was long perceived by many Canadians as a captured regulator, largely inaccessible to the public as it dispensed decisions that safeguarded incumbents from disruptive competition. That reputation was buttressed by initial decisions on regulating Internet telephony, permitting Bell to engage in Internet throttling, and supporting a usage based billing approach that hampered competition. In recent years, some policies changed with the adoption of net neutrality regulations and the efforts of former chair Jean-Pierre Blais to prioritize consumer interests. Yet over the past few months, the CRTC under new chair Ian Scott seems determined to turn back the clock with a commission more comfortable with industry stakeholders and their priorities than consumer groups and facilitating competition.

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June 4, 2018 6 comments News
Stop ACTA 21 by Martin Krolikowski (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bs3Yxp

Regulate Everything: The CRTC Goes All-In on Internet Taxation and Regulation

For two decades, a small collection of cultural groups have been pressing the CRTC to regulate and tax the Internet. As far back as 1998, the CRTC conducted hearings on “new media” in which groups argued that the dial-up Internet was little different than conventional broadcasting and should be regulated and taxed as such. The CRTC and successive governments consistently rejected the Internet regulation drumbeat, citing obvious differences with broadcast, competing public policy objectives such as affordable access, and the benefits of competition. That changed today as the CRTC released “Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada“, a difficult-to-read digital-only report (as if PDF is not digital) in which the CRTC jumps into the Internet regulation and taxation game with both feet.

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May 31, 2018 26 comments News
How WIPO Can Contribute to Achieving the Right to Education, May 30, 2017 event

Separating Fact From Fiction: The Reality of Canadian Copyright, Fair Dealing, and Education

This week, I had the honour of speaking at a packed event at the World Intellectual Property Organization titled How WIPO Can Contribute to Achieving the Right to Education. The panel featured speakers from around the world focusing on the copyright-related education issues. My talk, which used emerging data from the copyright review, focused on the reality of Canadian copyright, fair dealing, and education. A recording of my remarks embedded into my slide presentation is posted below in a YouTube video.

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May 31, 2018 4 comments News
Green Spin by rwhitesi37 https://flic.kr/p/2bkmgn (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Who Needs an iPhone Tax: Canadian Music Industry Instead Calls for $40 Million Annual Handout

As the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology continues its copyright review, the Canadian Heritage committee has launched its study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries. Yesterday, Music Canada’s Graham Henderson appeared before the committee to make his case for copyright reform (the organization will presumably make the same case in the coming weeks at the Industry committee). The industry is garnering record-setting Internet revenues, but it reverted to claims of a “value gap” that doesn’t fit within the Canadian legislative experience and demands for a copyright term extension that would cost Canadians millions of dollars and that was rejected by the government in the TPP.

Most notably, after privately lobbying for a new tax on all smartphones and other devices, the group is shifting toward an even bigger cash haul. Rather than apply a tax on all smartphones, the industry is spinning for a tax on everyone by simply calling for a $40 million handout:

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May 30, 2018 8 comments News