Archive for January, 2013

Does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Really Stop Small Business From Using Email Marketing? No.

The criticism against Canada’s anti-spam legislation extends beyond absurd claims about restrictions involving family and personal relationships. Indeed, much of the discussion has focused on the impact of the law on small and medium sized businesses. Barry Sookman catalogs a wide range of supposed concerns, most of which appear to envision a world in which the only way for a new business to develop a customer base is to obtain marketing lists and send unsolicited commercial emails to potential customers.

It is true that the starting point of the law is that businesses must have consent before sending commercial emails. Canada is moving to an opt-in world that gives consumers greater control over their in-boxes and will ultimately provide businesses with higher quality lists of people who genuinely want to receive their messages. Notwithstanding the default requirement for opt-in consent, however, the law contains numerous exceptions that are available to businesses of all sizes and which allow small and medium sized businesses to engage in active (and likely more effective) email campaigns. The exceptions include:

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January 31, 2013 11 comments News

Does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Really Make It Illegal To Promote a Child’s Lemonade Stand? No.

Yesterday’s post on the fears associated with Canada’s anti-spam legislation focused on emails between extended family members. This post will examine personal relationships and the absurd claims that the current rules will stop everything from emailing a teacher to promoting a lemonade stand. Barry Sookman writes that the following would all likely be illegal under CASL:

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January 30, 2013 17 comments News

New Zealand Tribunal Issues First Graduated Response Decision

The New Zealand tribunal responsible for copyright graduated response cases has issued its first decision. The tribunal ordered an individual to pay $616.57, which included $6.57 for three songs, $50.00 for notice fees, $200 for the application fee, and a $360 deterrent fee ($120 per song). Most striking is that […]

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January 30, 2013 4 comments News

Does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Really Make It Illegal To Email a Step-Parent or Great Uncle? No.

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a myriad of posts and articles criticizing Canada’s anti-spam legislation. According to some posts – primarily those by Barry Sookman – the legislation will stop family members from sending commercial email to each other, parents from promoting their children’s lemonade stands, and discriminate against charities and schools.  Is this true?  In a word, no. While there is little point in unpacking each of the many outrageous claims, over the next few days I’ll offer up a few posts on some of the crazier ones.

Today’s post focuses on the suggestion that families will be stopped from sending commercial messages to other family members. Sookman writes:

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January 29, 2013 6 comments News

CRTC Should Put Consumers First and Drop ‘Must Carry’ Requirements

Canadians frustrated with ever-increasing cable and satellite bills received bad news last week with the announcement that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will consider whether to require cable and satellite companies to include nearly two-dozen niche channels as part of their basic service packages.  If approved, the new broadcast distribution rules would significantly increase monthly cable bills with consumers forced to pay for channels they may not want.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that two issues sit at the heart of the broadcast distribution rules.  First, whether the CRTC should grant any broadcaster mandatory distribution across all cable and satellite providers such that all subscribers are required to pay for them as part of their basic packages. Second, in the absence of mandatory distribution, whether broadcast distributors should be required to at least offer the services so that consumers have the option of subscribing.

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January 29, 2013 35 comments Columns