Archive for May, 2011

The Economics Behind Access Copyright

Yesterday’s post highlighted the recent Access Copyright decision to refuse pay-per-use transactional digital licences (late in the day I received a note that AC appears to have had a change of heart). As I noted in the conclusion, the copyright collective faces an increasingly problematic balance sheet. According to its 2010 annual report, it spent more on itself in the form of administrative costs (including legal fees and board compensation) that it actually dispensed to Canadian authors from its 2010 revenues. Admittedly, these numbers are not easy to find. Indeed, for an organization devoted to collecting licensing revenue and distributing it collective members, the annual report is incredibly vague in providing clear numbers about precisely what gets distributed to Canadian authors. 

Despite the obfuscation, the numbers can be teased out from the 2010 annual report with a bit of digging (it is not easy and I am open to corrections and clarifications). [Update: Some comments note that the annual report includes a specific distribution number as page 19 states that the distribution for 2010 was $23.3 million. Unfortunately, that figure does not disclose how much of the 2010 revenues were distributed. The 2010 distribution drew from both 2010 provision for royalties for distribution ($24 million) and the balance entering the year, which stood at $29.5 million. The analysis below makes it clear that the majority of the 2010 distribution came from the prior balance, not from the 2010 revenues] 

Start with the revenue – licensing revenues, including interest income, came in at $33.7 million, a drop of $1 million from the prior year.

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May 26, 2011 31 comments News

Shaw Shakes Up Broadband Market With Bigger Data Caps

Shaw has announced new broadband plans that offer far more data, faster speeds, and better pricing than comparable plans at competitors such as Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Shaw says the plans will be rolled out over the coming months and offer far bigger caps (including some unlimited plans). While the […]

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May 26, 2011 38 comments News

CRTC Launches Consultation on Over-the-Top Video Providers

The CRTC has launched a “fact-finding exercise” on over-the-top video providers such as Netflix. The Commission is focused on their impact on Canadian broadcasting system. Comments are due by June 27, 2011.

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May 26, 2011 8 comments Must Reads

Access Copyright Stops Pay-Per-Use Digital Licensing

Earlier this year, Access Copyright won a Copyright Board decision that granted a new interim tariff for post-secondary education institutions. This is the first of three posts that examine the aftermath of that decision, the current economics behind Access Copyright, and the challenges the copyright collective faces over the long haul. The interim licence, which effectively sought to maintain the status quo as the copyright collective and educational institutions sort through the Access Copyright demand for a massive increase in its current tariff structure, provided the collective with a potential continued revenue stream and delayed what appeared to be a near-universal decision among Canadian universities to drop the Access Copyright licence altogether.

While some were surprised that the educational institutions did not seek judicial review of the Copyright Board decision, I suspect that many institutions came around to the view that the interim tariff was helpful in the short-term. Many institutions were facing faculty not ready to shift away from the Access Copyright licence in January 2011. The interim tariff bought them time to complete the transition. That transition now appears to begin as soon as September 2011 as universities prepare for an alternate approach based on five key sources of materials:

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May 25, 2011 37 comments News

Retail Council Calls for Scrapping Private Copying Levy

The Wire Report reports that the Retail Council of Canada is calling on the government to scrap the private copying levy in the aftermath of the CPCC demand to create a levy on memory cards. The CPCC’s David Basskin argues eliminating the levy would “recriminalize making private copies” but that […]

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May 25, 2011 6 comments Must Reads