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Application Denied by GotCredit (CC BY 2.0) GotCredit.com

Application Denied: CRTC Rejects Bell Coalition Website Blocking Proposal

The CRTC this morning rejected the Bell coalition’s website blocking proposal, concluding that the application to establish a new anti-piracy agency and approve site blocking without court oversight falls outside its jurisdiction. Opponents of the site blocking proposal frequently cited concerns with the proposal and the limits of the CRTC’s mandate: my posts discussed how it failed to further and undermined the Telecommunications Act policy objectives, and was inconsistent with the CRTC’s policy direction. Similar comments came from groups such as ISOC Canada, which argued that the applications involved copyright, not telecommunications.

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October 2, 2018 6 comments News
read the fine print by unreal estates https://flic.kr/p/bncbwt (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Copyright Term to Super Bowl Commercials: Breaking Down the Digital NAFTA Deal

Canada and the U.S. reached agreement late yesterday on a new NAFTA (now renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA). While much of the focus is on the dairy industry, dispute resolution, and the auto sector, the agreement will have significant implications for intellectual property, digital policy, and broadcasting. It will take some time to examine all the provisions, but the short-hand version is that Canada has agreed to extend the term of copyright, saved the notice-and-notice system for copyright infringement claims, extended the term of protection for biologics at significant long-term cost to the health care, agreed that Internet companies are not liable for third party content, extended border measures on counterfeiting, and promised to drop the CRTC policy that permitted U.S. commercials to be aired during the Super Bowl broadcast.

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October 1, 2018 38 comments News
California Internet tax bill breakdown by Stephanie Robogeisha (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9YoqbP

Canadian Music Group Calls For Copyright Tax on Broadband Data Use

The hearings into Canadian copyright have resumed at both the Industry and Canadian Heritage committees with witnesses making the case for a wide range of reforms. While Bryan Adams received the lion share of attention last week for his proposal to assist creators with quicker reversion of their rights, another proposal from the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) deserves some scrutiny as an illustration of how many groups want new taxes or fees imposed on Internet services and technologies. I’ve written in the past about the music industry’s call for a tax on iPhones and other devices as well as its proposal for a $40 million per year taxpayer handout in until an iPhone tax can be implemented. This week the SCGC introduced a new proposal that would subject broadband data use to a copyright tax.

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September 28, 2018 32 comments News
Montréal, QC (Maison Radio-Canada) by JasonParis (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9NmGLZ

The Internet is not an ATM: My Appearance at the Senate Transport and Communications Committee on Broadcast and Telecom Reform

Earlier this week, I appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications alongside Carleton professor Dwayne Winseck to discuss broadcast and telecom reform. The Senate study, which largely mirrors the government’s broadcast and telecommunications reform panel, is expected to run into 2019 with a broad mandate that covers everything from affordable access to net neutrality. The discussion was similarly wide ranging with discussion on the failings of the CRTC, the lack of telecom competition, and on the need for real data in assessing the impact of the Internet on the cultural sector.

My opening statement focused on the danger of treating the Internet as equivalent to the broadcast system, the realities of how the Canadian cultural sector is succeeding online, and how policy makers ought to respond the changing landscape for communications in Canada. It is posted below.

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September 21, 2018 6 comments News
Bryan Adams by Derek Hatfield (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/67j7jp

Cuts Like a Knife: Bryan Adams Calls for Stronger Protections Against One-Sided Record Label Contracts

Canadian artist Bryan Adams placed copyright in the spotlight on Tuesday, appearing before the Canadian Heritage committee to make his case for copyright reform. Adams attracted widespread media coverage, though the big music industry groups such as Music Canada were conspicuously silent with not even a tweet to mark the appearance. Why the cold shoulder from the Canadian music industry to one of Canada’s best known artists? The obvious answer is that Adams sang from a far different songbook than the industry lobby groups. While those groups have been pushing for copyright term extension and a so-called “value gap” that bears little reality to Canadian law, Adams expressed artist frustration with the industry and one-sided contracts, noting that “I don’t even want to start naming the names of people who have had their copyright whisked from underneath their feet from contracts that they’ve signed as youngsters.”

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September 20, 2018 5 comments News