Canadian Law

Astral To Launch Online Service In December

Astral Radio will be launching a online music service in December, which will be followed by a mobile compatible service in January.

The bilingual on demand streaming music and music video service will feature major and independent recordings and will be compatible with the major social media sites.

Additional information on this service can be found on this press release.

Bill C-11 Debate Scheduled For Today

Bill C-11 is scheduled to be debated in the House Of Commons today, apparently under time restraints according to the Projected Order Of Business.

Hopefully the questions on the technological protection measures will be blunt and to the point :

  • In what manner are artists and copyright owners harmed by private copying from copy protected works ? And why does this harm not exist in private copying from works that are not copy protected ?
  • In what manner are film makers harmed by the private viewing of legally purchased films that failed to be distributed in Canada ? And does the sale of this material to Canadians by legitimate retailers and distributors not imply consent to their private use by Canadians ?

The Private Copying section of our Copyright Act distinguished private use from piracy and in my opinion the technical protection measures provisions in Bill C-11 are a step back.

Associations Against Digital Locks

Here is a short list of Canadian groups that are against the technological protection measure provisions in Bill C-11 :

All of the parties in opposition in Parliament had voiced concerns about these provisions on November 2nd, 2010.

Lawful Access = Higher Internet Fees

There’s no way around it. Lawful access will be costly to consumers in Canada.

The internet providers do not have the necessary technology and manpower to give law enforcement in Canada real time access to internet communications, especially the smaller internet providers. And these extra expenditures will be passed on to Canadians.

We are talking about technology used to distinguish criminal activity from normal internet traffic and according to Statistic Canada‘s Canadian Internet Use Survey, 79% of Canadian households accessed the internet in 2010.

The task is not only overwhelming but could possibly be open to abuse and security breaches.

After all, we are talking about individual internet providers here, some of which use different technologies to secure their networks. And I’m sure there are plenty of identity thieves that would love to access the weaker of these networks, some of which are probably tied to the criminal organizations our law enforcement is trying to expose with this legislation.

The 2011 Canadians and Privacy Survey conducted by Harris/Decima for The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found that 8 out of 10 Canadians opposed this legislation because of numerous concerns about privacy and security. And in 2009, Statistics Canada found that 48% of Canadian consumers were concerned about credit card purchases online.

Is this really the time to make consumers nervous about security and privacy online ?

CRTC Will Not Regulate Online Film Rentals

The CRTC will not regulate online film rental companies and broadcasters.

These online broadcaster will not be forced to subsidize Canadian TV content, the CRTC having found no evidence that their activities hurt conventional broadcasters.

Bill C-11’s Digital Locks Provisions – Why ?

The digital lock provisions included in Bill C-11 are meant to curb the circumvention of “technological protection measures“, to halt piracy. But unfortunately many consumers currently circumvent digital locks to perform private copies of music recordings or to view films that are unavailable in their region.

At the moment Canadians are able to purchase music on iTunes and use this
program to convert their legally purchased ACC files to the mp3 format.

These consumers can also purchase region free DVD or blu-ray players from Amazon.com to play legally purchased discs that are not available in the formats compatible with North American players.

Neither of the above acts result in the unauthorized, uncompensated distribution of copyrighted works to third parties yet these acts could technically be forbidden by Section 41 of the Copyright Act if Bill C-11 passes.

Private Copying, as defined in Part VIII of our Copyright Act, is not exempt in Bill C-11. And Section 41 explicitly forbids the manufacturing, importation, sale or rental of technologies, devices or componants whose primary function is the circumvention of copy protection.

It appearently doesn’t matter that the copyright owners were compensated when the recordings were legally purchased from legitimate vendors and that if it weren’t for copy protection that these acts would be considered private copying in law.

The authors of Bill C-11 insist on labeling these acts “piracy”, even when consent is implied by the sale of these recordings to law abiding Canadian consumers.

The American entertainment industry has yet to specify what losses are incured in the private copying of copy protected works. They also failed to specify how they are loosing funds on legally purchased foreign recordings they refuse to sell in Canada.

Why are we allowing this undue, unjustified foreign influence on our Parlamentary processes ?