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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 97: John Lawford on Why the CRTC Should Take Action on Inadequate Low-Cost Wireless Plans

The CRTC’s wireless decision earlier this year dubbed the “MVN-no” decision given its very limited opening to mobile virtual network operators in Canada sparked widespread frustration with the Commission. That decision included one less discussed element, however, namely the expectation that the major wireless carriers would introduce low-cost plans to ensure connectivity for low-income Canadians. Those plans were recently introduced, but John Lawford, the Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, wasn’t impressed. He wrote to the CRTC asking the Commission to take action over plans that aren’t even offered under the main carrier brands. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about that issue, the ongoing concerns with the wireless affordability in Canada, and the deepening frustration with the CRTC.

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August 9, 2021 5 comments Podcasts
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Same Old Spin: Why Access Copyright Needs a Reality Check on Canadian Copyright

Last week’s Supreme Court of Canada copyright decision in Access Copyright v. York University has unsurprisingly been applauded by the education community, which having faced years of litigation launched by the copyright collective, now finds its position vindicated. With the court resoundingly rejecting Access Copyright’s claims that its tariff is mandatory, finding that it had no standing to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement on behalf of its members, and concluding that a lower court fair dealing analysis that favoured the copyright collective was tainted with “a fairness assessment that was over before it began”, there is little doubt about which party prevailed. Yet Access Copyright has returned to its longstanding playbook of downplaying Supreme Court decisions and misleading its own members in the process.

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August 5, 2021 13 comments News
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Copyright Vindication: Supreme Court Confirms Access Copyright Tariff Not Mandatory, Lower Court Fair Dealing Analysis Was “Tainted”

The Supreme Court of Canada brought a lengthy legal battle between Access Copyright and York University to an end last week, issuing a unanimous verdict written by retiring Justice Rosalie Abella that resoundingly rejected the copyright collective’s claims that its tariff is mandatory, finding that it had no standing to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement on behalf of its members, and concluding that a lower court fair dealing analysis that favoured Access Copyright was tainted with “a fairness assessment that was over before it began.” The decision removes any doubt that the Supreme Court remains strongly supportive of user’s rights in copyright and vindicates years of educational policy in shifting away from Access Copyright toward alternative means of ensuring compliance with copyright law.

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August 3, 2021 12 comments News
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Picking Up Where Bill C-10 Left Off: The Canadian Government’s Non-Consultation on Online Harms Legislation

The Canadian government released its plans yesterday for online harms legislation with a process billed as a consultation, but which is better characterized as an advisory notice, since there are few questions, options or apparent interest in hearing what Canadians think of the plans. Instead, the plans led by Canadian […]

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July 30, 2021 46 comments News
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 96: More Harm Than Good – My Appearance Before the Senate Transport Committee on a Copyright Bill to Support Media Organizations

Bill S-225, Senator Claude Carignan’s copyright bill, would create a new compensation scheme for media organizations by establishing a new collective rights system for the use of news articles on digital platforms. It may not become law, but it has sparked considerable discussion within the Senate on the issue of media and Internet platforms. In fact, while the digital policy world was focused on Bill C-10, last month the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications held hearings on the bill with a wide range of witnesses that included News Media Canada, Facebook and Google. I was invited to appear in their last hearing of the session alongside Jamie Irving from News Media Canada and Kevin Chan from Facebook. This week’s Law Bytes podcast episode goes inside the virtual committee hearing room with my opening statement and exchanges with several Senators.

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July 26, 2021 5 comments Podcasts