Canada

Copyright Legislation Re-Introduced

The Conservative Government has tabled Bill C-11, the “Copyright Modernization Act“. And as predicted this legislation mirrors the previously introduced Bill C-32.

Consequently the issues with Bill C-32 remain, including the digital lock provisions that have the potential to disable the consumer’s ability to copy material for private use.

Overall the bill is a step in the right direction. But these digital lock provisions should be amended to allow the circumvention of copy protection for private copying, as defined by our copyright act.

Copy protection failed in the music industry. They’ve experimented with consumers, failed miserably, and it’s time to move on.

Shortened hearings are expected but the NDP have said they want to table amendments enabling private copying of copy protected works.

Please contact your local Member Of Parliament to voice your comments and concerns in regards to Bill C-11.

Thank you.

Canadians Will Need To Wait

The introduction of the Kindle Fire tablet may been delayed in Canada but several Kindle products are available to Canadians until Amazon gets more of their services into Canada.

The available products are the Wi-Fi tablet and Free 3G/Wi-Fi tablet. But we will probably not get the Kindle Fire until Amazon brings their music and video shops up north.

Access to those services are two of the major selling points for this tablet, although they could decide to open up an app store in Canada for an international device. I guess only time will tell.

Lawful Access Missing For Latest Proposals

It appears the Conservative Government has omited lawfull access from their latest crime reform bill, named the “Safe Streets and Communities Act“, which was tabled today.

Lawful access may be introduced later. But it appears that the 70,000+ signature Openmedia.ca petition may have caused this delay and may result in a more indepth review of this proposal.

New Parliamentary Session Starts Today

Parliament will be in session today and many bills are scheduled to be introduced by the last scheduled sitting day in December, including two re-introduced bills that consumers should be made aware of.

Both should be of concern to Canadian consumers as they are scheduled to be re-introduced with little to no changes, possibly resulting in a loss in the ability to make private copies from copy protected recordings, loss of privacy when it comes to the internet and higher subscription fees for internet access.

Lawful Access – Consumer Unfriendly

The Conservative Government wishes to re-introduce legislation enabling law enforcement to access online communications without a warrant.

They believe that this would help them combat terrorism and crime. But unfortunately they may rely on internet providers to retain information on their behalf, which could be costly for the consumer because the internet providers would require more equipment and personel to do so.

In searching for illicit activity online our internet providers will be required to store vast amounts of information and these extra expendatures will be passed down to their subscribers.

According to a 2002 Statistics Canada report, law enforcement are hindered by the use of pseunomyms, anonymous remailers, dial-up connections and public wi-fi.

One can only imagine how much information would be required to keep track of suspects that use “public Internet stations in airports, bus depots, libraries, cyber-caf├ęs and convenience stores” alone, examples mentioned in the report.

Anyone using any of the above mentioned services would have their information catalogued and accessible for cross referencing and analysis, which is not only a burden on resources at the internet providers but may result in a violation of our privacy laws according to the Office Of The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada.

In an October 27th, 2009 letter to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the Privacy Commissioner stated :

“Though isolated anecdotes abound, and extreme incidents are generally referred to, no systematic case has yet been made that demonstrates a need to circumvent the current legal regime for judicial authorization to obtain personal information. Before all else, law enforcement and national security authorities need to explain how the current provisions on judicial warrants do not meet their needs.”

The aforementioned 2002 Statistics Canada report may claim a lack of standard in cybercrime statistics, possibly resulting in a lack of classification or reporting of these crimes. But crime in Canada is down according to this June 2011 Statistics Canada report.

These costly, potentially insecure systems, are not required. Law enforcement has managed quite well with the current regulations, even with their limited manpower, and the flood of information will probably overwhelm them requiring costly automation.

This is, in my opinion, not the way to go. And this is why i’ve signed the following Openmedia.ca petition :

Please sign the above petition and contact your local Member of Parliament about this issue as soon as possible, preferably before September 19th. Thank you.

Digital TV Transition – Less Than 48 Hours

Television in Canada’s major cities will be going digital in less than 48 hours.

In the early hours of the morning on September 1st the vast majority of television networks in these cities will be converting their off the air signal, the television signal that people capture using an antenna, to digital.

If you’re subcribed to cable or satellite, you will not be required to do anything. These companies will likely convert the digital signal to analog for their customers that don’t use HDTV televisions. And those that are already subscribed to their HDTV services will not likely see any change in their services.

If you have a digital tuner equipped HDTV television and an antenna, you will need to rescan your channels to find the new digital channels and repositioned channels. And if you have an outdoor antenna you will probably have no problem watching the stations you already watch, unless you watch CBC and/or Radio-Canada because they have delayed their analog to digital transition for a year in some smaller markets.

Viewers that use indoor antennas will likely need to reposition their antenna and rescan to find the best signal.

Most VHF/UHF antennas will suffice in the major urban centers, including most of the older models. But many sub-urbanites will require attic or outdoor antenna installations to obtain the best signals.

Amplified antennas are another option but these should be able to capture both VHF and UHF signals ; Many antennas claiming to be “HDTV” may only capture UHF signals and some Canadian broadcasters will still be using the VHF band after the transition.

In regards to individuals who use analog televisions or HDTVs that are not equipped with a digital tuner, they will still be able to watch their local stations if they purchase a digital to analog converter box, which will be installed in-between their antenna and television. But as previously mentioned cable and satellite subscribers will not be required to do anything, even if they have analog televisions or HDTV televisions that are not equiped with digital tuners, because these digital signals will be converted into analog signals by their cable or satelite company.

Depending on your viewing preferences and physical location, you may be able to substitute your cable or satelite with digital television, with is usually clearer because it is uncompressed.

I’ve personally disconnected my extra outlets in my second floor bedrooms and replaced them with digital antennas, saving the associated fees and taxes. And i’ve had very good results placing these antennas near my windows.

Like many people in Ottawa, i’m having problems with Global and Omni 2 because of their weak signals. But i’m guessing they will eventually be conhearsed into better coverage.