Archive for October, 2006

Conference Podcasts and Videos

A couple of relatively recent conferences appearances have just been posted online – Mesh Conference has a podcast version of my keynote address, while the Future of Music has posted a video of my panel on DRM (podcast versions are apparently on the way).

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October 24, 2006 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Survey Finds Declining P2P Usage in Canada

The Copyright Board of Canada conducted hearings today on the private copying levy.  Included as part of the evidence was a major survey (not online at the moment) on music copying conducted for the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) by Reseau Circum.  The CPCC, which counts CRIA General Counsel Richard Pfohl as one of its board members, has tracked music copying habits since 2001-02. 

The headliner in the latest survey is that file sharing activity is in steady decline in Canada.  The survey, conducted in June 2006, finds that just 14 percent of Canadians have downloaded music in the last 12 months, down from 15 percent in 2005, 19 percent in 2004, 21 percent in 2003, and 21 percent in 2002.  It goes without saying that this finding comes despite the absence of lawsuits, the absence of copyright reform, and the continual (yet questionable) claims that Canada is a world leader in file sharing.

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October 24, 2006 12 comments News

A Little More Light

Barry Sookman is widely regarded as one of Canada's leading IT lawyers – for good reason given that he's the author of an important text on the area and has been actively involved in several Supreme Court of Canada cases.  Sookman and I have publicly debated one another in several fora, most recently on a DRM panel at the Future of Music Conference in Montreal (video here).  Today's Hill Times includes a column from Sookman titled Copyright Reform: Let the Light Shine In, which is framed as a reply to my Hill Times column on copyright and the environment.

While it won't come as a surprise that I disagree with much of what Sookman writes, that alone doesn't merit a follow-up posting.  

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October 23, 2006 6 comments News

CAB Wins Appeal of Commercial Radio Decision

The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the Copyright Board's radio decision that boosted radio royalties by roughly thirty percent.  The decision is a big win for the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. The collectives may seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.  If they fail, the issue heads back […]

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October 23, 2006 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Time To Cast A Vote Against E-Voting

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version ) discusses the upcoming municipal elections in Ontario and the growing use of electronic voting machines and Internet voting. For example, several Ontario municipalities, including Markham and Peterborough, now offer Internet-based voting, enabling local residents to vote without leaving their homes. Closer examination of electronic and Internet voting reveals some significant dangers that should not be overlooked, however.

Democracy depends upon a fair, accurate, and transparent electoral process with outcomes that can be independently verified.  Conventional voting accomplishes many of these goals – private polling stations enable citizens to cast their votes anonymously, election day scrutineers offer independent oversight, and paper-based ballots provide a verifiable outcome that can be re-counted if necessary.

While technology may someday allow us to replicate these essential features online, many of them are currently absent from Internet voting, which is subject to any number of possible disruptions, including denial of service attacks that shut down the election process, hacks into the election system, or the insertion of computer viruses that tamper with election results.

Electronic voting machines are similarly prone to error.

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October 23, 2006 10 comments Columns