Canadian

Postal Talks Broken Off

I’ve just received an email from Canada Post, informing me that talks inbetween the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers have broken off.

Click here for the official notice from Canada Post.

Postal Update : Back To Work Legislation Tabled

Back to work legislation has just been tabled in Parliament. Additional details can be found at the following :

Canada Post Updates / Canadian Union Of Postal Workers

Sega Pass Hacked

An undisclosed amount of Sega Pass users have had their personal information stolen, along with encrypted password information.

Email addresses and birthdates were compromised and Sega Pass appears to be offline. The incident happened last Thursday but no details in regards to the network’s Canadian users have been published.

Gouging Canadians – Mobile Data Roaming

So the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has confirmed what every Canadian cell phone and mobile data user has suspected for years, and more so. Canadians are being gouged when it comes to mobile data roaming charges.

According to their May 30th study, Canadians that download and upload whilst roaming are charged some of the highest fees in the world, at up to US$24.61 per 1 MB transfer on a laptop.

These rates are of course prohibitive when it comes to the viewing and uploading of digital photographs and videos. But the use of cloud services whilst roaming are also subject to these enormous fees, as are music downloads.

I personally believe that though somewhat inconvenient at times, WI-FI is the preferable option for any traveler that wishes to transfer files to and from their devices.

Free WI-FI is available in many hotels, motels, campgrounds, airports and chains like Starbucks and McDonalds though-out Canada and the United States. And some hotels also offer faster wired connections, in select rooms of course.

Personally i’ve saved quite alot of money using Skype in hotel rooms and campgrounds in the past, using these free connections. And there is an option to limit transfers to wi-fi on the new iCloud service, so there are ways to avoid these fees altogether.

So, what does it mean ?

As you may have heard the Conservative Party was elected as a majority in Canadian Parliament yesterday, the New Democratic Party having been elected into the opposition. And you must be wondering what next ?

Well, it obvious that copyright reform will likely be on the agenda shortly.

When the election was called Bill C-32 died whilst it was being reviewed by a legislative committee, the legislation’s digital lock provisions having been a major issue.

Had Bill C-32 passed, consumers in Canada would have been able to make private copies but would not have been able to circumvent copy protection to do it.

This meant that the counsumer would again be subjected to the whims and experimentations of the film and music distributors, who in the past had attempted to impose digital locks that kept people from copying material, even for personal use, to the extent that it caused security issues (i.e Sony BMG’s rootkit).

Basically Bill C-32 appeared to give the music and film industries an ability to disable private copying whenever it suited them, independently from the democratic process, whilst possibly giving them the ability to impose additional levies to conform to several World Intellectual Property Organization treaties. And of course this didn’t bode well with the Canadian consumer, who refused to pay the exhorbitant rates proposed on iPods/mp3 players and were wary of RIAA style copyright litigation.

Format shifting, the ability to copy copyrighted material from one medium or device to another, will probably remain a major issue in the forthcoming new copyright reform bill. And i’m hoping we have progressed on the issue.

The majority of consumers simply want more control in regards to the accessibility and portability of the content they purchase. They should not be subjected to obtuse allegations of piracy nor should be subjected to levies or taxes on devices on which they store legally purchased material.

Royalties are obtained from this legally purchased material, some of which is dependant on the existance of devices that enable the consumer to access this material.

For example, if it weren’t for iPods and mp3 players the consumer would not be purchasing music downloads from legal distributors, who pay royalties to rights agencies.

Levies on such devices may sound good to some artists but in reality it would result in fewer purchases because the consumer would eventually be presented these extra costs by the manufacturers. After all, the WIPO treaty ratifications would have resulted in additional levies for foreign content, resulting in prohibitive costs for the consumer.

This may be being sold as a compensation scheme for artists and composers but in reality quite a large amount of levies collected from the sale of blank audio media failed to be distributed from the current levy.

According to the Canadian Private Copyright Collective ‘s financial highlights, only $183,301,000 of the $284,878,000 collected from 1999 to 2009 was distributed. And nearly 11% of the monies collected were used as expendatures by the collective itself.

One can only guess how much of these levies would remain available for distribution if international copyright owners were to get levies. But is clear that all of these schemes would be quite costly to the consumer.

In March 2002, the CPCC had requested a rate of $21 per gig, as publisized in the Canada Gazette, and the Copyright Board had decided on a rate of $15 or $25 per device in December 2003 until having their decision overturned by the Federal Court Of Appeal, twice.

I certianly hope both the Conservatives and New Democrats appreciate the fact that this is not the time to hinder the sale of consumer products by introducing costly levies that fail to be distributed to the artists and composers.

Privacy Commissioner Investigating Breach

A representative of Canada’s privacy commissioner has told Postmedia News that it is investigating this month’s Playstation Network/Qriocity security breach.

The security breach has caused additional headaches for Sony in California, where a class action lawsuit was filed on Wednesday over this issue.