Archive for February, 2009

Commentary on the New Media Hearings

If you aren't reading Ira Wagman and Dennis McGrath, you are missing essential analysis of the CRTC New Media hearings.

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February 20, 2009 Comments are Disabled News

Blurry Outlook for Canadian Digital TV Transition

Earlier this week, hundreds of U.S. television stations plan to shut down their analog broadcasts as they complete the transition to digital over-the-air broadcasts.  While the U.S. had planned for a nationwide change this month, last minute legislation has delayed the full mandatory transition until mid-June.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues that the U.S. experience to date highlights what should be a major concern for Canada – the transition from analog to digital broadcasts is years behind the U.S. with virtually no industry or government support.  This sounds like a purely technical issue, yet the policy implications of that transition will have a profound effect on both the national broadcast and telecom landscape. 

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February 20, 2009 3 comments Columns

CIRPA on the ISP Business Model

Comments from the Canadian Independent Record Production Association, during the CRTC New Media hearing on Wednesday: MR. McKIE:    Turning to the distribution issue and the role and responsibilities of ISPs when it comes to the dissemination and development of content on the Internet, it may be the worst kept secret […]

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February 20, 2009 8 comments News

CRTC New Media Hearings – Day Two: Quebec Creator Unions, CIRPA, SOCAN, CEP, CaleyWray Labour/Employ

Day Two at the CRTC’s new media hearings saw an escalation of demands with groups seeking broad regulations, Internet-based Canadian content requirements, and even reform to the Copyright Act. The following review was compiled by University of Ottawa student Frances Munn (Globe and Mail live blog of the hearing is here; Day One coverage here).  

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February 18, 2009 14 comments News

Smart Pipes vs. Dumb Pipes

While the early focus of the CRTC New Media hearings are unsurprisingly focused on levies and regulation, an important additional issue is quickly emerging.  CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein tried to set the stage for the hearings by noting that they are limited strictly to new media broadcasting.  He then followed with a question to Alain Pinot of the CCA in which he stated that he does not see the relationship between this hearing and the network management hearing. Von Finckenstein's comments come on the heels of the comment from Rogers over the weekend that they run a "dumb pipe" with respect to content. 

It seems to me that the comments are related as they present a vision that puts content in one box (new media hearings and the Rogers dumb pipe) and network management in another (net neutrality hearings and a smart pipe/traffic shaping).  I think this is wrong and points to key question.  To use Rogers' terminology – can an ISP that engages in active network management but does not directly filter content be said to run both a smart pipe (the network management) and a dumb pipe (for content)?

I think the answer is no – current network management necessarily leaks into content and cannot be said to be a dumb pipe.  

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February 18, 2009 12 comments News