The Canadian Film and Television Production Association's copyright consultation submission includes the following comment that warns against targeting P2P as part of copyright reform: The CFTPA submits that it is almost a truism to state that the success of new business models for audiovisual content on the Internet depends on […]
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Day three of the CRTC's network management hearings brought in the views of several additional stakeholders along with the first large telco of the week. Witnesses included the Independent Film and Television Alliance, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, Council for Canadians with Disabilities, the ARCH Disability Law Centre ACTRA, and MTS Allstream.
While all the creator and producer groups expressed support for net neutrality, it was their position on BitTorrent that was particularly noteworthy. Perhaps heralding an end to the demonization of file sharing, ACTRA emphasized that it wants to compete with illegal downloading and that the best way to do that is to ensure that its members can use applications like BitTorrent to distribute their content. In other words, copyright alone won't address their concerns (they added the need for copyright reform) as network management practices that create a level playing field are essential. Meanwhile, the independent producers emphasized the economic potential of BitTorrent-based distribution. Moreover, ACTRA argued that it was not the role of ISPs to determine the legality of content on their networks. That position is a far cry from what groups like CRIA would like to see happen.
The other big story of the day was MTS Allstream arguing that dominant carriers should never be permitted throttle wholesale services (ie. they argue that any throttling should only occur at the retail level). This led to repeated discussion about the nature of wholesale services (referred to as GAS or Gateway Access Service) with MTS explaining that wholesale service is not like buying Internet access as a retail customer (it was described as akin to a private virtual network). For that reason, there is no valid claim that congestion concerns are the basis for throttling wholesale services (left unsaid is why a company like Bell would throttle – competition from the very ISPs to whom it supplies wholesale access). The discussion was stunning since it left the distinct impression that the Commission did not fully understand what was at issue in the CAIP throttling case.
There was two other exchanges involving Commissioner Len Katz worthy of note. The first was a question in which he suggested that Bell and Rogers do not have a dominant position in Ontario, something that will be news to the overwhelming majority of broadband subscribers in the province. The second was the recognition that prioritization of content is effectively the same thing as throttling of content since the effect in both instances is to place some content on a fast lane and other content on a slow one.
These issues may arise again tomorrow when CAIP appears. Today's summary was compiled by Yael Wexler, a law student at the University of Ottawa. Other coverage available from the National Post liveblog, CBC.ca, and the cippic twitter feed (or mine for MTS).
P2PNet points to a submission from the Canadian Film and Television Production Association that argues that Bell's throttling practices unduly disadvantage P2P content, P2P apps, and end-users accessing legal P2P content.
Day four of the CRTC's New Media hearings featured an interesting mix of presentations as several creator groups sought to advance the discussion with variations on earlier proposals. Carleton professor Ira Wagman provides the details on his blog (part one, part two). Thanks to Samantha Burton for compiling the report.
Earlier this week, Denis McGrath noted that Internet users should be remember that the same Canadian creator groups being criticized over the new media hearing, will be supportive of arguments for net neutrality. Several submissions to the CRTC's net neutrality proceeding from leading creator groups such as CFTPA, DOC, Canadian Conference of the Arts, and the CBC confirm their support for net neutrality and emphasize the importance of P2P as a distribution technology. For example, the CFTPA says:
while P2P applications are undeniably used for the distribution of unauthorized content (as are email, newsgroups and the web), they also are increasingly serving as the foundation for new business models that will enable independent producers to make full use of broadband as a delivery vehicle for Canadian audio-visual programming. Consequently, the CFTPA is concerned that discriminatory traffic throttling may inhibit the development of new applications that would facilitate the ability of independent producers and other content providers to better monetize their content – whether self-distributed, distributfinds its way onto the Internet.
It therefore submits that the CRTC "require as a condition of service that ISPs refrain from employing any traffic management practice that discriminates on the basis of application or protocol."