Archive for August, 2008

CRTC Says Requests “Valid and Should be Honoured”

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) builds on the CRTC's announcement last week that the national do-not-call registry (DNC) will be operational by September 30th.  I report that the CRTC also recently affirmed the ability for Canadians to use third-party websites – particularly – to opt-out telemarketing calls from organizations that are currently exempt under the law.

Last March, I established, a website that enables Canadians to opt-out of many exempted organizations with a few easy clicks at no cost. Visitors to the site are asked to enter their phone number (and email address if they wish) and to indicate their calling preferences for nearly 150 organizations. The public reaction has been extremely supportive.  Since its launch, the site has sent out millions of opt-out requests on behalf of tens of thousands of Canadians. The reaction from several leading associations has been less enthusiastic.  Within weeks of its debut, both the Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Bankers Association sent letters to CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein complaining about the service and seeking support for their position that requests generated from the site were invalid.  In fact, the CMA sent a notice to its members stating that "it is the view of the Association that members need not honour do-not-call requests that originate from the organization in question."

Von Finckenstein recently responded to the letters (CMA letter, CBA letter – posted with CRTC permission) with an unequivocal rejection of the complaints, providing a clear indication that failure to honour the opt-out requests could lead to significant penalties (companies face penalties of up to $15,000 per violation under the law).  

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August 5, 2008 8 comments Columns

“Limited Consultation, Considerable Action”

Another Canadian DMCA mashup hits the Internet, this one focusing on the lack of public consultation on Bill C-61.

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August 5, 2008 2 comments News

U.S. Court Rules in Favor of Cablevision DVR

A U.S. federal appeals court yesterday overturned a lower court decision that Cablevision's plans to offer a network-based PVR violate U.S. copyright law.  Bill C-61 explicitly prohibits the development of such a service in Canada.

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August 5, 2008 1 comment News

MCPS-PRS Alliance and Big Champagne Assess the Radiohead Experiment

Eric Garland and Will Page of MCPS-PRS Alliance have published a brief study on the effects of Radiohead freely releasing its album.  Garland notes in a media report that "the expectation among rights-holders is that, in order to create a success story, you must reduce the rate of piracy – […]

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August 5, 2008 3 comments News

61 Reforms to C-61, Day 31: TPMs – Restrictions for Canadians with Perceptual Disabilities

Bill C-61 has the potential to impede access for all Canadians; however, one group may be particularly hard hit by widespread DRM use and the bill's anti-circumvention provisions.  Those with print disabilities (called perceptual disabilities in the Copyright Act) rely on new voice technologies to gain access to works that they are physically unable to view.  DRM can be used to limit or eliminate the use of technologies to read text aloud, thereby rendering it inaccessible for a segment of the population.  Indeed, for those that think this is a mere fairy tale, one of the better known instances of "read aloud" restrictions involved the Adobe eReader, which restricted the reading aloud function for Alice in Wonderland.

The Copyright Act contains a specific provision to address access for the print disabled. Section 32(1) provides that:

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August 4, 2008 3 comments News