Canada

Black Friday/Cyber Monday in Canada ?

Several Canadian online stores have decided to have Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday sales.

Like their American counterpart Amazon.ca has decided to have both a Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday sale. Amazon.com had already begun their sales, including a DVD sale I might be taking advantage off because of our strong dollar. But the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales at Amazon.ca will only begin at Midnight, Pacific Time, on November 26th, 2010.

Computer and electronics retailer Tigerdirect has also decided to follow their American site’s lead and have Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of their own. And I’m assuming Best Buy’s Canadian operations will offer their version as well shortly.

I guess I’ll be busy looking at sales this weekend. 🙂

Update: Sears Canada has also decided to have a Black Friday Sale: Electronics Extravaganza!. I’m browsing the site as I’m posting this message. And no, their specials are not limited to electronics.

Once You Know, You Newegg

Cineplex Now Offering Online Movie Rentals

Film rentals and purchases are now available to Canadians via the Cineplex store site, some of them discounted, or even free, with Scene point redemption.

But to view this content you will need to install the Cineplex Media Manager, which is not available yet for Mac and Linux machines, and have Windows Media Player 11 installed.

The content downloaded from this web site is therefore limited to Windows machines (Windows XP SP2/newer, Vista or 7), Plays for Sure devices that can sync a 1500K video and the Xbox 360.

The site states they will be expanding their compatibility shortly.

Blockbuster Canada Unaffected

Blockbuster Canada has published a press release re-assuring their customers that the Canadian operations are unaffected by the Chapter 11 Process in the United States.

Apparently the Canadian subsidiary is still profitable, at 440 stores through-out Canada.

Netflix Now In Canada

Netflix is now online in Canada and offering unlimited film and television downloads at $7.99 per month.

Unlike their American counterpart, they are not currently offering rentals by mail. But Canadians can now stream videos to their desktop and laptop computers, Wii, PS3 and mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.

The company promises to add the XBox 360 and internet compatible Blu-ray players and televisions shortly to their service. And the service will be available on the Apple TV device soon as well in Canada.

BTW, those wishing to try the service can do so for one month, for free. Details can be found on the Canadian Netflix site.

“DVDs are wasteful” says James Cameron

According to an article published by D.I.S.H Information, James Cameron believes DVDs will eventually fade as a consumer product and will be replaced by downloads.

This may be true in the United States, causing Blockbuster to consider bankruptcy in that country. But we’re unfortunately still tied to the medium here in Canada because of the lack of affordable, unlimited internet.

Blaming piracy many of this country’s major internet providers have capped the file transfers their customers can make, even at times reducing these caps without the customer’s knowledge. And this is delaying the implementation and use of legal movie downloads in Canada.

Canadians face the possibility of additional fees when their transfer limits are surpassed, in some cases up to $2 per additional gig. But some of these internet providers apparently think their customers are stupid enough to believe they should pay more for less, when more legal material is being made available to them online.

Even now my internet provider is attempting to have me sign onto their new “deals” which will reduce my transfer limit from 60 to 25 gigs, using the premise that I would have faster downloads and possibly access to IPTV in the future. And of course these are promotional rates, which means I would be subjected to a significantly higher regular rate in a year, if not six months.

No thanks ! I’m going to stick to my DVD rentals.

CPCC demands levies on MP3 Players

In a press release dated June 2nd, 2010 the Canadian Private Copying Collective criticized the recently proposed amendments to the Copyright Act stipulated in Bill C-32.

They are again proposing a levy on Mp3 players, this time at a rate of up to $25 per unit in response to a survey of 1000 Canadians. And apparently found some support in The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to extend the levy to digital music recorders.

In response to this issue Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus proposed such a levy on audio recording devices in a private members bill in Parliament, Bill C-499, on March 2010. But it stalled at first reading without the support of the conservatives, who in turn tabled Bill C-32.

The problem here is that the CPCC are trying to implement a scheme that ignores the fact that royalties are already being collected on the sale of online recordings, a medium in which copying is required for use, and that the popularity of these recordings are dependent on the sale of mp3 players.

The CPCC may claim that MP3 players are without value without music in their press release. But online recordings are nothing but a series of ones and zeros without devices to play them. And compact discs are a dying format from which people will make less and less private copies from as time goes by so the CPCC is basically trying to sustain their existence by levying anything that comes along.

One has to wonder what the true value of these rights are now that the CPCC are attempting to propose a significantly reduced rate, from $21 per gig of memory in March 2002 to $25 per unit.

Did the value of these rights drop over these eight years or is the scheme being made more palatable ? And would the later then mean the rights are being subjected to the market and are flexible in value ?

The CPCC do attempt to claim they are looking for fair value on their Save The Levy site. But how fair is it to levy consumers via the mp3 player manufacturers, who would pass on these expenditures to their customers ?

Private copying may result in copying. But this copying is distinguished from commercial distribution because it is for private use by the consumer.

It does not result in the collection of funds by the consumer, from which royalties would have been collected if it were commercial distribution.

Furthermore it is the consumer that distributes music to these devices and not the manufacturer of these mp3 devices, so the manufacturer is not engaged in the commercial distribution of music either.

Like the compact disc player, these are playback devices in which media is introduced by the consumer ; Media whose data is played from the media, stored in memory and converted into music.

Yet CD players are not levied because the distribution medium in question is the compact disc, a format whose sales result in royalties. And in turn it can be argued that online recordings are also formats whose sales result in royalties.

Bill C-32 addresses issues relating to online piracy by establishing penalties for the illegal distribution of music, both offline and online. And this will further promote the collection of royalties from legitimate online distributors and sites from which music can be streamed.

I believe the proposed mp3 player levy is redundant in light of the measures tabled by the Government of Canada and could be counterproductive if it results in significantly higher prices when it comes to audio playback devices.

In conclusion I oppose the proposed levy as a consumer and would remind the government that such a levy would promote the importation of playback devices by individual Canadians, to the detriment of Canadian retailers.

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I would again like to remind you that you may contact your local member of Parliament on this issue using the contact information provided by the Parliament of Canada web site.

You will find this information by entering your postal code in a form on the main page, under the words “Current Parliamentarians“.

Thank you.