With 2019 nearly upon us, many sites are taking a moment to reflect back on the past year and the posts and issues that attracted the most attention. On my site, the top issues are easy to spot: the Bell coalition website blocking proposal, wireless costs, copyright reform, and digital trade dominate the top ten. My top ten new posts published in 2018:
Archive for December, 2018
The Consequence of Uncompetitiveness: Canadians Ration Wireless Data As Monthly Usage Ranks Among the Lowest in the OECD
The CRTC released its overdue 2018 Communications Monitoring Report for the telecom sector yesterday, providing fresh data that confirms what millions of consumers already know: the Canadian wireless sector remains uncompetitive, leaving a dominant big three providers whose subscribers use less data than consumers in most other OECD countries. While the carriers long ago shifted away from arguments on price toward one of “quality” (ie. Canada may not be cheap for wireless but you get what you pay for), the data strongly suggests that high prices leave consumers worried about using those networks.
Bryan Adams Warns Canadian Heritage Committee on Copyright Term Extension: Enriches Large Intermediaries, Not Creators
Canadian artist Bryan Adams captured headlines earlier this year when he appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and urged reform to the reversion provision that seeks to remedy the bargaining imbalance between creators and music labels/publishers by reverting the rights many years later. Adams noted that creators never experience the benefit of reversion since it applies decades after their death. Instead, he proposed a 25 year reversion rule, which he argued was plenty of time for copyright to be exploited by an assignee.
Copyright and Culture: My Submission to the Canadian Heritage Committee Study on Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries
The Canadian Heritage committee study on remuneration models for artists and creative industries, which was launched to support the Industry committee’s copyright review, wrapped up earlier this month. I appeared before the committee in late November, where I focused on recent allegations regarding educational copying practices, reconciled the increased spending on licensing with claims of reduced revenues, and concluded by providing the committee with some recommendations for action. My formal submission to the committee has yet to be posted (the committee has been slow in posting submissions), but it expanded on that presentation by focusing first on the state of piracy in Canada, followed by an examination of three sectors: (i) educational copying; (ii) the music industry and the value gap; and (iii) film and television production in Canada. The full submission can be found here.
The CRTC’s low-cost data-only plan decision released yesterday was as unsurprising as it was uninspired. Under CRTC Chair Ian Scott, the Commission has abandoned any pretense of consumer focus, reverting to the days when Canadians perceived the regulator as a guardian of industry interests. The low-cost data-only decision, which is ostensibly designed to address a serious gap in affordable wireless services, will do little to solve the problem. Indeed, even the CRTC admitted that “none of the revised plans on their own would necessarily be enough to fill the gap identified by the Commission with respect to lower-cost data-only plans.” Those revised plans, which CRTC largely supported, would be laughably uncompetitive in most developed countries (as one expert noted yesterday, $30 for 1 GB is not a low cost data plan).