Archive for May, 2015

MWC 2011 by Official BlackBerry Images (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Balsillie’s Call for Patent Troll Reform: RIM Co-Founder Pushes For Made-in-Canada IP Policies

Research in Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie wrote a lengthy article on Canadian innovation policy last week that focused primarily on intellectual property policy. While the article would have benefited from some editing, Balsillie’s core argument is that Canada needs to do a better job of identifying and protecting domestic interests when it is developing intellectual property policy.

There is much to agree with in the Balsillie piece. For example, he rightly criticizes the 2012 Canadian copyright reform bill as primarily a response to U.S. pressure:

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May 15, 2015 Comments are Disabled News

No End in Sight: CISAC Calls for Another Canadian Copyright Term Extension

I’ve written multiple posts on the government’s surprise decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings without public consultation or discussion (surprise, cost to consumers, limited competition, reduced access to Canadian heritage, lobbying impact). In recent days, a further implication has arisen: other groups are now demanding that the government extend other terms of copyright within the law.  If the government agrees to those demands, it would result in all works, including books and music, being locked out of the public domain for decades.

CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, has publicly chastised the Canadian government for not also extending the term of copyright for authors to life plus 70 years. The current term of protection in Canada is life of the author plus an additional 50 years. That meets the standard found in international copyright treaties and is what is used in a wide of range of countries including Japan, New Zealand, China, South Africa. Indeed, the majority of people around the world live in systems with copyright protection of less than life plus 70 years.

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May 14, 2015 4 comments News
Phones, Phones & Phones by TechStage (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Why the CRTC Fell Short in Addressing Canada’s Wireless Woes

The competitiveness of Canadian wireless services has been the source of an ongoing and contentious debate for years. Last week, Canada’s telecom regulator concluded that there is a competitiveness problem, yet in a decision surprisingly applauded by many groups, declined to use much of its regulatory toolkit to address the problem. Instead, it placed a big bet on the prospect of a smaller wireless carrier somehow emerging as a fourth national player.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission began investigating the wholesale wireless services market in 2013. The big three wireless companies – Bell, Rogers, and Telus – argued that the market was competitive and that no regulatory action was needed. By contrast, new entrants such as Wind Mobile called for regulated roaming rates so that they could offer viable national services with more affordable connectivity wherever their customers roam.

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May 13, 2015 5 comments Columns

CRTC Falls Short on True Wireless Competition

Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 9, 2015 as CRTC Falls Short on True Wireless Competition The competitiveness of Canadian wireless services has been the source of an ongoing and contentious debate for years. Last week, Canada’s telecom regulator concluded that there is a competitiveness problem, yet in a […]

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May 13, 2015 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive
Sony ATV Music Publishing by Jay Kogami (CC BY 2.0)

CMRRA Confirms Denial of Licences for Public Domain Recordings

CMRRA, the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency, recently wrote to the Toronto Star and the Hill Times to respond to one of my columns which focused on the lobbying and denial of licensing effort to stop cheaper public domain recordings from entering the Canadian market. The column reported that CMRRA had issued a “pay as you press” licence for the recordings to ensure that creators were paid for the works still in copyright. CMRRA was later ordered to stop issuing the licence.

CMRRA writes that the column’s statement that record labels ordered the denial of licences is “patently false”. Dig deeper into the letter and it becomes clear that CMRRA confirms that it denied the licence, but takes issue with the claim that it was record labels that ordered it to do so. In the case of the Beatles recordings, it was Sony/ATV, which is jointly owned by Sony and the Michael Jackson Estate that ordered the denial of licence. Sony also owns one of the world’s largest record labels.

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May 12, 2015 2 comments News