internet usage

No Royalties On Music Previews

The Supreme Court Of Canada has ruled that music previews comply to the definition of Fair Dealing in the Copyright Act and cannot therefore be subjected to the collection of royalties.

“Research” need not be for creative purposes only. Permitting only creative purposes to qualify as “research” would ignore the fact that one of the objectives of the Copyright Act is the dissemination of the works themselves. Limiting “research” to creative purposes would also run counter to the ordinary meaning of “research”, which includes many activities that do not require the establishment of new facts or conclusions. The fair dealing exception must not be interpreted restrictively and “research” must be given a large and liberal interpretation.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, Canadian Recording Industry Association and CMRRA-SODRAC Inc had wished to collect royalties from internet providers for both previews and full music downloads, the latter also having been dismissed by another ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada today.

These royalties would have resulted in major expenditures for internet providers, who would have passed these on to the consumer.

Cisco Predicts Online Video Explosion

Cisco has released their Visual Networking Index Mobile Forecast for 2011-2016 and it predicts that mobile data traffic will explode because of online video.

The report predicts that in Canada “mobile data traffic will reach 219,897 Terabytes (0.22 Exabytes) per month in 2016” because more Canadians are using their mobile devices to watch movies, television programs, music videos and other content from sites like Youtube.

In 2011, Canada’s mobile data traffic was clocked by Cisco at 10,773 Terabytes (11 Petabytes) per month, “the equivalent of 3 million DVDs each month or 30 million text messages each second.” And their 2016 prediction would equal “55 million DVDs each month or 606 million text messages each second”.

Cisco reported that in 2011 only 57% of that year’s mobile data traffic was video. But predicts that 75% of this traffic will be video by 2016, at 162,179 Terabytes per month.

“We Will Entertain Amendments”

In response to concerns about privacy and judicial oversight, the Conservative government has stated that they would be open to amendments to Bill C-30 in committee.

Cited as the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act, this bill enables the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Commissioner of Competition and police services through-out Canada access to subscriber information without warrants whilst investigating offenses under their mandate.

On March 9th, 2011, a joint statement by the federal and provincial privacy commissioners of Canada was issued in response to the previous proposed legislation. And the concerns listed in that statement and in the October 26th, 2011 statement issued by the Office of The Privacy Commissioner of Canada remain with Bill C-30.

Unfortunately there is also some concern in regards to the interpretation of evidence and preconceptions related to certain activities, like the use of peer to peer services or file services like Megaupload.

Yes, peer to peer programs are being used for illegal activities, as did Megaupload. But does it mean that all activity on these services are suspicious, requiring the collection of information from the users of these services ?

Section 16, subsection (2)(b) may also enable foreign police services to access this information, which could then be subject to their local laws and their inherent weaknesses.

Groups like Anonymous have been able to hack into many of the aforementioned police services so how secure will the information be ? And what’s to stop criminals from abusing section 17, which compels internet and cell phone providers to give private information to any police officer upon receipt of an oral request ?

Hopefully these issues will be addressed with much more than the false dichotomy Canadians have been subjected to lately.

Attention Bell Customers

Bell has announced price “updates” on their home phone and internet services, effective January 1st, 2012.

click here for additional details

CRTC Rules Against Caps

The CRTC has ruled against the capping of wholesale bandwidth.

Under the CRTC’s new capacity-based approach, large telephone and cable companies will sell wholesale bandwidth to independent ISPs on a monthly basis. Independent ISPs will have to determine in advance the amount they need to serve their retail customers and then manage network capacity until they are able to purchase more. Alternatively, large companies can continue to charge independent ISPs a flat monthly fee for wholesale access, regardless of how much bandwidth their customers use. Both billing options give independent ISPs the ability to design service plans and charge their own customers as they see fit.

The CRTC has decided there should be two wholesale pricing models, neither of which include “provisions that would require independent ISPs to impose bandwidth caps on their retail customers“.

The first is a “Capacity-based model”, would contain a monthly access rate for each of the independent ISP’s retail customers, a monthly capacity charge, offered in increments of 100 megabits per second, and any applicable ancillary charges, such a monthly interface charge and associated service charges.

The second is the existing “Flat-rate model”, would of course contain a monthly access rate for each of the independent ISP’s retail customers, and any applicable ancillary charges, such a monthly interface charge and associated service charges.

Interesting British Report

A British firm has published an interesting report in which many Internet provider provider myths are dispelled.

Plum Consulting has found that many of the claims used to justify internet access fees are exaggerated, echoing numerous other reports that came to the same conclusions.

In regards to Canada, OpenMedia.ca has discussed the issue with several Members of Parliament in the hopes something can be done to keep the internet open and affordable. A copy of their report is available for Canadians to send to their local MP.