Archive for August, 2007

CRTC Seeks Public Comment on Complaints Commission and Do-Not-Call Investigations

The CRTC has released two public notices seeking commentary on the Telecom Complaints Commission and its plans to delegate investigative responsibility for the do-not-call registry.  The Complaints Commission notice calls for public comment on the plan developed by the major telecommunications companies for a complaints commissioner (I earlier criticized the process behind the creation of the commission).  The CRTC raises many of the right issues, including whether participation should be mandatory, whether the governance structure is sufficiently independent, and whether the complaint process and remedies are adequate.  Anyone interested in participating in the process must inform the CRTC by September 13th and submit their comments by October 1st. Hearings are set for mid-November with a final decision by late February 2008.

The one surprising element in the complaints commission notice links to the second notice – the delegation of investigative responsibility for the do-not-call registry. 

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August 23, 2007 1 comment News

Teen Pleads Guilty to Movie Camcording

A Virginia teenager has pled guilty to one count of unlawfully recording a motion picture in violation of state law after she filmed 20 seconds of Transformers. The teen was fined $71, though faced the prospect of jail time.  The prosecutor advised that the theatre chain, Regal Entertainment (the world's […]

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August 22, 2007 1 comment Must Reads

WHOIS Timeline

Milton Mueller and Mawaki Chango have posted a very useful timeline of WHOIS policy development dating back to 1982.

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August 22, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The SPP on IP

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which brings together the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, concluded this afternoon with a series of new agreements and strategies.  Given the U.S. involvement, it should come as no surprise to find that an Intellectual Property Action Strategy forms a core part of the summit's final documentation.  The document, which focuses on counterfeiting and piracy, includes three broad action items:

  • "Detect and Deter Trade in Pirated and Counterfeit Goods," including developing best practices for enforcement, creating an enforcement network, increase collaboration on IP enforcement, and increased attention on border enforcement.  Note that "digital piracy" is specifically identified as an issue for future work.
  • "Public Awareness and Outreach," which includes greater co-operation between government and industry with increased information sharing.  Lobby groups such as the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network will conduct joint seminars with its US and Mexican counterparts on best practices and enforcement.  The strategy also envisions policy roundtables and public awareness campaigns.  The three countries will combine on a new website that will post articles about IP enforcement around the world, while industry has promised to develop a code of ethics for online transactions as well as a database on the benefits of IP and the dangers of counterfeiting and piracy.
  • "Measuring Piracy and Counterfeiting," which includes developing baseline data on these issues, highlighting the effects of IP in each country's economy, and facilitating the collection of counterfeiting and piracy data.

All of these measures were entirely predictable, given that they are precisely what the North American Competitiveness Council recommended earlier this year.  With that in mind, it bears noting what else the NACC recommended for completion by 2008, since it telegraphs what is on the horizon.  

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August 21, 2007 6 comments News

A Digital Economy Blueprint For the New Industry Minister

Jim Prentice, Canada's new Industry Minister, has been on the job for less than a week, yet his appointment has already sent a buzz through the business community.  With a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's inner circle now at the helm, promoting Canada's global economic competitiveness promises to become a core priority on the government's fall agenda. While some political commentators maintain that the issue rarely translates into voter support, my weekly Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) argues that the good news for Prentice is that reforms focusing on digital issues represent both good policy and smart politics.  By prioritizing three issues – communication, copyright, and consumer confidence – he has the opportunity to establish a forward-looking framework that can serve as a model for other countries and provide a payoff at the ballot box.

On the communication front, analysts are divided on whether recent deregulation will result in reduced prices for consumers; however, there is near-universal agreement that deregulation alone is not enough. 

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August 21, 2007 Comments are Disabled Neutrality