Consumer Information

Cloud Film/TV Distribution

Six major film and television studios have partnered to bring a new technology to the market, allowing users to view television episodes and film on multiple devices with the ability to share this programming with six friends or relatives.

Ultraviolet is the industry’s response to a reduction of sales of DVDs and Blu-rays in the United States in 2010, down 3% to 18.8 billion.

Starting this summer, they’re hoping to transition from DVDs to this more flexible online distribution to take advantage of the booming digital downloads and streaming sales and rentals. And they have 46 retailers and device manufacturers on board, including Best Buy, Comcast, Samsung, and Toshiba.

There are two major hold outs at the moment though : Apple and Disney.

Apple had its own service but they are expecting to sign on because they allow Netflix already on some onf their devices.

Disney, on the other hand, has their own plans, for a similar technology called KeyChest, which is partly owned by Steve Jobs.

According to Mitch Singer of Sony, Ultraviolet will be fully implemented by 2011, allowing people to view material on cell phones, tablets, video game consoles and computers. And by 2012 they expect to have Ultraviolet software built into portable devices.

Warning for Android Users

Do not download software from China ! They may be infected with a virus and these are the known infected titles :

  • Monkey Jump 2
  • Sex Positions
  • President vs. Aliens
  • City Defense
  • Baseball Superstars 2010

Always download aps from Android Market.

Interesting Move by Quebec Government

Appearently it is the Quebecan provincial government’s opinion that the recession can be counteracted by higher sales taxes.

Today the provincial sales taxes in Quebec went up 1% to 8.5%. And another 1% hike is scheduled on New Years Day 2012.

I guess they got this brilliant idea from the provincial governments of Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia, who all hiked and/or extended their taxes in July.

In my opinion these additional taxes hinder our recovery.

They burden smaller retailers, who will probably consider this the last nail in their coffin, and force larger retailers to cut expendatures and staff.

It is obviously counterproductive.

Song Previews & Royalties

SOCAN is again back in court, attempting to obtain royalties for those 30 second previews online retailers use on their sites.

Three years after the Copyright Board rulled that fair dealing applies because consumers use these previews as research, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers have taken the case to Surpreme Court.

The Federal Court of Appeal has concured with the Copyright Board last May. But SOCAN insists that these previews be subjected to royalties because they would want the definition of the term research limited to format settings.

So SOCAN want online retailers to pay royalties so their customers have the priviledge to preview the music they’re selling, even when no actual sale occurs.

Where exactly does SOCAN think the funds would come from ?

The recording artists, composers, lyricists and music publishers they represent are already legally entitled to royalties from the sale of recordings, so the previews work in the favor. And online retailers are in no way obliged to offer previews, which results in expendatures for maintenance and bandwidth.

You would think SOCAN would appreciate the value of promotion but they seem to be quite insistant on this counterproductive, counterintuitive cash grab.

SOCAN obviously want to nickle and dime legal music download services, whose previews are used regularily by consumers. After all, the legal music download services can pass those extra expendatures on to their customers, right ?

But of course SOCAN would rather emphesize the benefits that would allegedly result from this scheme. You know, how artists and composers would get royalties when in reality the majority of funds would be forwarded to the music publishers they represent.

Ontario’s Eco Fees Confuse Consumers

If you’re an ONtario resident and you’re confused as to why you’re paying for eco-fees, then you’re no alone.

According to a December 23rd, 2003 article in the Ottawa Citizen, people are still getting sticker shock, having believed these fees were discontinued in October.

The problem is that the government actually said they would be discontinueing the expansion of these fees, which means some items are still being subjected to these fees, some under different programs.

For example, tires are still being subjected to eco fees under the Ontario Tire Stewardship program and electronics like televisions are subject to eco fees via a program operated by the Ontario Electronics Stewardship.

What the Government of Ontario refrained from implementing was a second phase of eco fees, on fluorescent tubes and bulbs, aerosols, portable fire extinguishers, mercury-containing devices, and corrosives, such as acidic cleaning products, drain openers, pool and spa chemicals, masonry products and paint remover.

The remaining first phase results in eco fees on :

* Household paints and coatings and their containers
* Solvents, such as thinners for paint, lacquer and contact cement, paint strippers and degreasers, and their containers
* Used oil filters
* Oil containers of 30 litres or less
* Single-use, dry cell batteries
* Automotive antifreeze (engine coolant) and related containers
* Pressured containers, such as propane tanks and cylinders
* Fertilizers and their containers
* Pesticides, including fungicides, herbicides and insecticides, and their containers

Additional information on the eco fees can be found at makethedrop.ca and stewardshipontario.ca.

Liberals Respond To iPod Tax / Bill C-32

It appears that the Liberal Party do not support the so called iPod Tax after all, according to a press release found on their web site.

Like the conservatives they do not see any future for such levies. The Liberals would rather “introduce a new Private Copying Compensation Payment of $35 million to be transferred to Canadian artists each year, through the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC)” according to the press release.

The funds for this compensation, for “uncompensated downloads”, would not come from ISPs or from a levy, the party having recognized that the consumer wants neither.

They also recognized the bill’s digital locks provision restricted the consumer’s ability to make personal copies of material they’ve purchased and would alter this provision to allow copies for personal use.

The other general alterations they propose are the clarification of the definitions of “fair use”, specifically the education use and “mash-up” provisions. They want educational institutions to qualify for the exemption.

Bill C-32 has been referred to a Legislative Committee headed by Gordon Brown, MP for Leeds—Grenville (Ontario).

Please contact your local Member Of Parliament to voice your comments and concerns in regards to the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act.

Thank you.