Canadian Law

ACTA Vs Canadian Law

From the 12th to the 16th of this month numerous international government representatives will meet in Wellington, New Zealand to discuss the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

This agreement seeks to enforce measures to control the illegal distribution of copyrighted material internationally ; Measures that include restrictions that could result in extensive searches at the border, prohibitions in regards to the use of devices that circumvent the digital locks on media and intrusive, mandatory policing by internet service providers.

In an email to The Ottawa Citizen, Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan stated “Negotiations are continuing and there is not yet an agreement.” and that the current government would not sign on to the agreement unless it “reflects the best interest of Canadians.”

The proposed measures do not reflect the best interest of Canadians.

Since 1997 Canadians have been able to legally make private copies of audio recordings and the sale of region free DVD or Blu-Ray players have yet to be restricted in Canada.

Canadians have also not been subjected to undue searches at the border over this issue, have not been subjected to copy protection since due to the consumer and legal backlash against rootkit based copy protection, and the attempts to force internet providers to police copyright on their systems failed in federal court.

The proposed measures were also introduced in a manner contradictory to our laws on transparency and may conflict with the conclusions derived from our recent public consultations on copyright reform. Even the EU Commission had been forced to put those issues to a vote this month, to open the Agreement’s process up to the public.

Amendments to our copyright act will be proposed shortly by the Canadian Government in response to the aforementioned public consultations.

Contest VS Scam

Seeing that this is about attempts to fool people I thought I’d post this on April 1st.

A few days back I was tinkering with my older computer when I got this call from Florida.

When I picked up and said hello I heard nothing. No voice, no recording. So, of course, I dismissed it as a telemarketing call, from one of those rude telemarketers that use computerized devices that put people on hold while the staff pitches their products and services to someone else.

After hanging up I Googled the phone number, (813) 948-2768, and comments about a credit card scam came up so I decided to jot the number down where I could remember it.

A few minutes later I got another call.

This time the same phone number appeared for a few seconds and then was relabeled as “Unknown Caller“.

Whoops !

I was again put on hold and was subjected to about a minute or so of dead air, that I spent voicing some choice words in the hopes of being recorded by the telemarketer. But in the middle of my rant I was interrupted by a woman, who suddenly called me by name.

Well, apparently I had won something – A Universal Cruise.

Oh Wow ! Enter Gospel music here !

Isn’t it interesting how I’ve managed to win something I didn’t enter ? Something I had no interest in, what-so-ever, because it would require me to waste my time and money getting a passport ?

But of course, this didn’t deter the telemarketer, who apparently thought that because she had my birth date that I could be fooled into believing I had entered this contest, regardless of my concerns about the passport issue and general disinterest in the prize.

Annoyed that she had somehow managed to obtain my birth date I then pressed her for details about the contest. I asked her where I had allegedly entered the contest.

Her response was that she was just some telemarketer that was hired to contact potential winners and that all she knew was that I had allegedly filled up a contest entry form on one of the social networking sites, mentioning AOL, Yahoo, and Facebook by name.

This was all rather vague so I then asked who the sponsor of the contest was, a reasonable question that she apparently didn’t have a response for because she then proceeded to ask me to confirm my details again for my “prize package”.

By then I had decided that if she was unable to provide real answers that her supervisor could, so I asked to speak to him. But of course, customer service appeared to be secondary to getting me to confirm my address and marital status.

Hmm !

So I asked again to speak to her supervisor, stating that I could easily file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner, whose office happens to be in the city I lived in.

That particular piece of information of course resulted in a prompt disconnection.

Goodbye telemarketer !

Apparently, this telemarketing company had not considered that a large percentage of Ottawa residents are in the public service industry and may be employed by the following or may know someone who is employed by the following :

I am a regular reader of RedFlagDeal’s contest forum so I enter contests frequently. But even I keep track of the contests I enter and having won numerous contests I know the following :

  • The sponsor or sponsors of contests contact winners directly, usually via their public relations department, legal department or department assigned to contests.
  • This representative knows where you have entered the contest because he or she has to know whether you agreed to comply with the rules of the contest (or not) and answered a skill testing question correctly (or not).
  • Contests are for publicity so no sponsor would ever ask their identity to be concealed. It would be counterproductive and they couldn’t write the contest off as an advertising expense with Revenue Canada or the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Prizes are NOT taxed in Canada or subject to any fees. In the province of Quebec the publicity contests fees are paid by the sponsor in advance in exchange for the right to advertise the contest in that province.
  • There are NO legal fees incurred in awarding a prize. Whatever expenses the sponsor incurred in running the contest is written off as a promotional expense because contests are promotional. These expenses include delivery (shipping & handling) and any customs fees & duties paid by the sponsor, if any.
  • You are NOT required to pay customs fees on prizes to the sponsor or sponsor’s representative. It is Canada Post or the courier (Fed-Ex/UPS) that collects and processes customs fees on Revenue Canada’s behalf, if any, when the prize is physically received by you from a foreign address.
  • The sponsor or representative should be able to provide a link to the rules and regulations that you had allegedly read online as a condition to enter their contest, upon request. These rules and regulations need to comply to our Federal, Provincial and Municipal laws to be valid.

Basically if the caller is loud, obnoxious, argumentative, dismissive and/or cheap, I tend to suspect he or she is a con artist.

And BTW, just after the call I had found out that my Facebook profile privacy settings had been changed allowing everyone to view my birth date. Check your settings !

Proposed Local Television Levy

I know this isn’t about music but I thought I’d post something about it here.

My local cable provider, Rogers, insists on passing the proposed levy on when quite frankly they could easily absorb most of it, like the blank audio media manufacturers and importers have absorbed the blank audio media levy.

I don’t believe their scare tactics and in the end if push comes to shove I, like many Rogers customers, will move on to off the air broadcasts for my local television, which is free, and use the net as an alternative to time shifting.

By August 2011, I will have access to about thirteen stations in HD quality here in Ottawa, five of which are already on the air and two of which will be on air shortly.

According to TVfool, a site that maps out local television signals, I would need to install an antenna in the attic of my rental unit to get most of my local channels but that would be quite inexpensive and I currently get three channels in my second floor bedroom, crystal clear and at top strength with a simple RCA HDTV Antenna.

Unfortunately I can’t get satellite because outdoor antennas aren’t allowed on my unit. But another option will be that IPTV service Bell will be expanding with their Fibe internet service.

Yes, Bell might consider passing it on as well but they will still try to compete with Rogers. And vice versa if their customers start talking to their customer service about the possibility of lookinf at the competition. Hint ! Hint ! 🙂

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TigerDirect (CA)

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New Levy Proposed For Mp3 Players

A new levy for mp3 players and iPods has been proposed in Parliament.

Private Members Bill C-499 would extend the current private copying levy from blank audio cassettes, CD-R, CD-RW and DAT tapes to MP3 Players, including iPods, in order to compensate copyright holders for the distribution of copyrighted material to these devices.

Unfortunately the previous attempt to expand this levy to “digital audio recorders” called for rates up to $75 per device, which would have been passed onto consumers by the manufacturers, and would have resulted in the decimation of the Canadian sales of these devices because Canadian consumers would have imported them to avoid the additional fees.

As a consumer I oppose these levies because I believe I have already paid for the right to distribute recordings that I have purchased online to these devices. And I have also purchased the compact discs from which I make private copies, copies for personal use that are deemed legal since the passing of the Private Copying Act in 1997.

Remuneration is not required from me because I do not download music illegally off the net, yet this levy is based on the assumption that I download recordings off the net illegally simply because I own a device that can be used to store this material.

After all they had assumed that most of the previously levied items were used to make copies of copyrighted material. And this will of course result in further assumptions about film downloads, which will likely result in more levies in the future on DVD-R, DVD-RW and devices on which video can be stored or played back.

We need an equitable, logical remuneration scheme based on the realities of today’s recording industry.

Distribution is no longer limited to a physical medium like vinyl, cassette or compact disc and the consumer should not be paying for a recording every time they copy this recording to a medium when this copying is meant for personal, private use.

Please contact your local Member of Parliament and voice your opinion on this issue as soon as possible.

I will be updating this blog entry as the issue progresses.