Archive for June 23rd, 2008

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Blogging on C-61

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has posted two entries on the C-61, noting the privacy implications of the bill.

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June 23, 2008 2 comments News

University of Calgary Funds Open Access Authors Fund

The University of Calgary has established a $100,000 fund to increase the amount of publicly available research.  The fund of this size is the first of its kind in Canada (hat tip: Heather Morrison).

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June 23, 2008 1 comment News

61 Reforms to C-61, Day 1: Remedy the Lack of Consultation

Today marks the first day of the House of Commons summer recess, yet there are just 61 weekdays until it is scheduled to resume on September 15th.  In light of that numerical coincidence, I am planning to run a 61 Reforms for C-61 series by posting a new necessary reform to the deeply flawed Canadian DMCA each weekday thoughout the recess.  Many of the proposed changes will unsurprisingly focus on the anti-circumvention provisions.  The 61 day series will be aggregated here (and I should note that my site now features a modest change with many of the C-61 postings readily accessible through pull-down menus in the top right corner).

The next 60 postings will identify specific flawed provisions in the bill or reforms that were not included.  To start the series, however, one post on how we got here.  

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June 23, 2008 26 comments News

Summary of 61 Reforms to C-61 Blog Postings

Day 61: The Mysterious Section 3 Day 60: Photography Provisions Day 59: Statutory Damages Reform – Removes Court Discretion For Reduced Damages Day 58: Statutory Damages Reform – What It Doesn’t Cover Day 57: Statutory Damages Reform – Uncertainty Day 56: Interlibrary Digital Loans Must Self-Destruct In Five Days Day […]

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June 23, 2008 3 comments News

The Spectrum Surplus

Each week millions of Canadians buy lottery tickets as they "imagine the freedom" of hitting it big.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that while the federal government may not have won the lottery, it has certainly hit the jackpot with the wireless spectrum auction that is now in its final stages. The auction was expected to yield roughly $1.5 billion for the federal treasury, yet it may now top $4 billion as the bids have far exceeded initial estimates.  That represents a huge windfall for the federal government as an extra $2.5 billion does not come around every day.

The surplus revenues do more than just conclusively rebut the claims of the big three wireless providers (Bell, Rogers, Telus) who aggressively lobbied against a "set aside" that reserved some spectrum for new entrants on the grounds that it would reduce auction revenues.  As telecom consultant Mark Goldberg noted earlier this month, the auction's success also raises the important question of what to do with the money.  

The immediate response from Ottawa is likely to be that the 2008 Federal Budget earmarked the spectrum auction proceeds to debt reduction.  However, that promise was made when $1.5 billion was expected to be on the table.  With nearly triple that amount at stake, the government could fulfill its commitment to allocate the expected revenues to debt reduction and simultaneously use the surplus proceeds for purposes more directly connected to the issues of wireless, the Internet, and communications in Canada.

At least three possibilities come immediately to mind. 

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June 23, 2008 9 comments Columns