For the better part of two decades, Canadian cultural groups have been pressing Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, the CRTC, to regulate and tax the Internet. The CRTC and successive governments consistently rejected the Internet regulation drumbeat, citing obvious differences with broadcast, competing public policy objectives such as affordable access, and the benefits of competition. That changed last year when the CRTC released Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada, in which it dramatically reversed its approach. Peter Menzies, a former CRTC commissioner and Vice-Chair of Telecommunications, joins this week’s LawBytes podcast to help sort through Cancon funding, Internet regulation, and the CRTC.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 6: Former CRTC Vice-Chair Speaks Out on the Plan to Regulate and Tax the Internet – “Dangerous Game to Play”
Most treaties are negotiated behind closed doors with no text made available until after a deal has been reached. Yet there is a treaty with enormous implications for the Internet, copyright, and broadcasting that has been hidden in plain sight for the better part of two decades. This week, the World Intellectual Property Organization resumes discussions in Geneva on a proposed Broadcasting Treaty. To introduce WIPO, the proposed treaty, and its implications, Jamie Love of Knowledge Ecology International joins this week’s LawBytes podcast. Love warns that the treaty could extend the term of copyright for broadcast content, create a wedge between broadcasters and Internet streaming services, and even result in new restrictions on the use of streaming video.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has spent the past year reviewing the state of Canadian copyright law. The review, which is scheduled to result in a report with recommendations for potential reforms, featured hundreds of witnesses representing a wide range of views. To introduce some of the issues and provide some insight into how the review process functions, this week’s LawBytes podcast relies on the audio recording of my committee appearance in December 2018. It opens with my seven minute opening statement and continues with several exchanges with MPs on issues such as fair use, the USMCA, crown copyright, and anti-circumvention rules, which are often referred to as digital locks.
Earlier this month, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains took his most significant policy step to date to put his stamp on the Canadian telecom sector by issuing a proposed policy direction to the CRTC based on competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation. To help sort through the policy direction, the state of the Canadian telecom market, the role of independent companies that rely on regulated wholesale access, and lingering frustration with the CRTC, this week’s LawBytes podcast features a conversation with Andy Kaplan-Myrth, Vice President of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs with TekSavvy, Canada’s largest independent telecom company.
The first full length episode of the new LawBytes podcast features a conversation with UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, who leads the high profile investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Denham, who previously served as Assistant Commissioner with the federal privacy office and as the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner, reflected on her years in Canada, particularly the Canadian Facebook investigation and concerns with the Google Buzz service. Denham emphasized the need for Canadian legislative reform in order to address today’s privacy challenges. Denham was recently appointed chair of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, which she expects will increasingly focus on global privacy standards.