Last week I wrote about the astonishing demands
of the Canadian music industry as it seeks a massive overhaul of Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill. The Canadian Independent Music Association is seeking changes to the enabler provision that would create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, and many other websites featuring third party contributions. If that were not enough, it is also calling for a new iPod tax, an extension in the term of copyright, a removal of protections for user generated content, parody, and satire, as well as an increase in statutory damage awards.
CIMA and ADISQ, which represents the Quebec music industry, appeared before the C-11 committee last week and the demands only seemed to increase. For example, ADISQ is asking the government to add a requirement for Internet providers to disclose customer name and address information to copyright owners without court oversight. Conservative MP Paul Calandra rightly noted the obvious parallels to Bill C-30, where the government wants similar disclosures to law enforcement. In this case, however, ADISQ wants the information disclosed to a private party based on nothing more than an allegation of infringement. Calandra’s comments suggest that the government recognizes the dangers of such an approach.
The proposed lack of due process is not limited to the disclosure of subscriber information. During its appearance, CIMA said it wanted a takedown system without any due process.
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A Quebec court has issued a permanent injunction against Quebec Torrent. ADISQ and AFTPQ, the two Quebec associations that filed suit against the torrent tracker site, report that the Superior Court ordered the site to shut down the section of the site that permitted unauthorized sharing of music, movies, and […]
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When Rogers Communications began promoting its Rogers@Home high-speed Internet service nearly a decade ago, the company branded it "the Internet on Cable." My weekly column (Toronto Star version, homepage version, Ottawa Citizen version, Tyee version) notes that years later, their service, as well as those of their competitors, is gradually morphing into "the Internet as Cable" as broadcasters, Internet service providers, and cultural groups steadily move toward the delivery of content online that bears a striking resemblance to the conventional cable model.
While cable television has its virtues – some consumer choice, the ability to time shift programs by recording them with a VCR or PVR, and video on-demand offerings – it is largely premised on limited consumer control. Cable distributors determine channel choices, geographic distribution, and commercial substitution (with input from the broadcast regulator), offer only limited interactivity, and quietly even possess the ability to stop consumers from recording some programs.
Until recently, the Internet was precisely the opposite, offering unlimited user choice, continuous interactivity, and technological capabilities to copy and remix content. That is gradually changing as broadcasters seek to re-assert greater geographic control over their content, ISPs experiment with cable-like models for prioritized content delivery, and some creator groups lobby the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to adapt Canadian content regulations to the Internet.
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