Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by 
Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010) by Anna Lena Schiller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7VfazT

Net Neutrality

jonhz_2017-Oct-30 by Jonathan Hernández  https://twitter.com/jonhz/status/925127995211370496

NAFTA and the Digital Environment: My Keynote on Striking a Fair Balance on Copyright and Digital Policy

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote lecture at American University, Washington College of Law on NAFTA and the digital environment. A video of the talk can be found here (my remarks start just after 11:40) and is embedded below.

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November 1, 2017 0 comments News
Here is the Internet by Wolfgang Stief (CC0 1.0)  https://flic.kr/p/7k6W5j

Government Rejects Call for an Internet Tax: “Conflicts With Principle of Affordable Access”

The federal government yesterday released its response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage report on local media released last June. The most controversial recommendation in that report – one swiftly rejected by Prime Minister Trudeau – was a call for a new Internet tax to help fund Canadian media and the creation of Cancon. As I wrote at the time, the proposal is a terrible idea that runs counter to important policy objectives of fostering affordable network access for all Canadians.

The government response, signed by Ministers Joly, Bains, and Morneau, rightly notes that “access to affordable broadband Internet, particularly in rural and remote regions, is essential to the participation of the Canadians in the digital economy.”  In light of this policy priority, the government firmly rejects the Internet tax proposal, grounding its decision in the principle of affordable access:

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October 19, 2017 0 comments News
Net Neutrality rally by Alistair (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4RFiJd

Toward an Open and Innovative Internet: What Lies Behind Canada’s Net Neutrality Success Story

Today is net neutrality day of action in the United States, a day of advocacy and awareness that brings together hundreds of leading Internet companies and public interest groups. It is an important reminder that the principle of an open, neutral Internet is under threat there due to dramatic shifts in policy driven by the Trump Administration and changes at the Federal Communications Commission. While U.S. rules undoubtedly have an impact on Canada – the viability of new innovative Internet businesses that might enter the Canadian market is linked to rules that ensure that Internet providers do not use their privileged position to favour some applications and services over others – the political and regulatory situation between the two countries is dramatically different.

The Liberal government has been a staunch supporter of net neutrality, regularly citing its importance. For example, Budget 2017 referenced the need to “benefit from an open and innovative Internet” and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains has emphasized the value of an open Internet in discussing telecom policy. When the Province of Quebec’s unveiled plans to mandate blocking of unlicensed gambling websites, Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly responded by focusing on the need for net neutrality and the equal treatment of Internet content.

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July 12, 2017 3 comments News
Twitter's Periscope App TODAY Show NBC by Anthony Quintano (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/rN43Pw

Why Violating Net Neutrality is not a Smart Way to Promote Canadian Content

In the aftermath of last month’s CRTC’s zero rating decision, there have been several pieces in the Globe and Mail raising the possibility that Canadian cultural policy might benefit from zero rating Cancon. In other words, rather than rely on net neutrality rules (including restrictions on zero rating) to ensure that Canadian content benefits from a level playing field, perhaps it would be even better to tilt the rules in favour of Cancon by mandating that domestic content not count against monthly data caps.

The issue was raised during the CRTC zero rating hearing as Canadian Media Producers Association argued that:

the Commission should be open to considering ways in which differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans could be used to promote the discoverability of and consumer access to Canadian programming.

The CRTC rejected the argument, concluding that “any benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system would generally not be sufficient to justify the preference, discrimination, and/or disadvantage created by such practices.” In response, anti-net neutrality advocate Roslyn Layton argued that Canada should exempt Canadian content from data charges, an idea picked up by Kate Taylor and Robert Everett-Green.

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May 31, 2017 6 comments News
Obama in the Backseat: Rally to Save the Internet by Stacie Isabella Turk/Ribbonhead (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/osRvjr

Why Canada’s Net Neutrality Commitment Places Consumers in Control

Canada seemed lost when it came to Internet policy a little over a decade ago. The government showed scant interest in the technicalities of Internet services and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission stood idly by as leading Internet providers engaged in traffic shaping to limit speeds of some applications and mused openly about new fees for the right to transmit content to subscribers. Internally, government policy makers were seemingly untroubled that telecom companies were gearing up to be gatekeepers of Internet content.

My regular Globe and Mail column notes those early Internet policies are unrecognizable today as Canada has emerged as a world leader in supporting net neutrality, the principle that all content and applications should be treated equally and that choices made by Internet users should be free from ISP or telecom interference. The policies do not guarantee Internet success – no law does – but it signals a clear commitment to placing consumers and creators in the Internet driver’s seat.

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May 2, 2017 2 comments Columns