The Internet

Government issues another blow to competition

An article from the Canadian Association of VoIP Providers includes:

One is left to wonder how the government can rationalize its policies as being "good for the consumer" while incumbents are exclaiming "we got everything we asked for" on Report on Business TV. Why does Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, having no experience in telecom policy and with zero telecommunications experience, feel he is better qualified to make policy than CRTC staff, board members and industry participants who have decades of experience?

Bernier often claims he wants to leave decisions to market forces, failing to realize that where existing monopolies or excessively strong incumbents exist that "market forces" will fail to achieve public policy goals. The government needs to first clean up existing (government created) monopolies in the telecom sector and allow for fair competition before considering the level of deregulation that Bernier blindly advocates.

YouTube part of public relations..

A YouTube video titled Starbucks talks about coffee farmers in Africa shows how some companies realize the need to communicate online with potential customers. This video is in response to a video posted by the Oxfam.

As to the request from the Oxfam activists supporting Trademarks as a way to get farmers more money -- I think this is a demonstration of how far too many activists don't really understand the PCT (patent, copyright, trademark) system and how it can't be bent to be politically biased in who it benefits. Excessively strong PCT is a far greater threat to the livelihoods and other interests of individual creators, innovators and farmers than nearly anything else. Incorrectly confusing the issue of exclusive rights (in this case trademarks) with the need to pay people fair prices for their work only harms these creators, innovators and farmers.

Spam: An Unwelcome Part of Season's Greetings

(Republished on p2pnet)
A Reuters article discusses the seasonal increase in SPAM. It also talks about some of the tricks being used.

In the past SPAM was delivered through regular mail servers which were misconfigured to be mail relays. These days the Virus and SPAM businesses have joined and SPAM is delivered from compromised PCs. Checking the source IP address doesn't help like it did in the past given the ISPs can't easily differentiate messages coming from their customers which are legitimate and those which are SPAM.

Time selects millions of 'citizens of digital democracy' as Person of the Year

It has been widely reported, but needs to somehow make it to the 308 MPs that Time magazine's "Person of the Year" went to anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web. User Generated content is important, and yet our laws are headed in a direction that not only doesn't recognize the value of this content -- it treats it as a bad that competes with "commercial culture".

CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes CBS Forms Record Label, Will Supply Songs to iTunes

A Reuters article talks about how CBS Corp. is reviving CBS Records.

Owning the music also makes negotiating Internet video deals for CBS shows less complicated and more profitable, as TV show producers seek to strike deals with online video services such as Google Inc.'s YouTube.

If these deals seem overly complicated for CBS, then what about the rest of us? Clearly there needs to be a way that user generated content can include past movie, television or music without the complexity that even CBS finds to be too much. Teenagers posting YouTube videos don't have the option to create their own label to simplify the situation.

Geist: The Letters of the Law: The Year in Canadian Tech Law

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) features his annual review in law and technology with a particular emphasis on Canadian developments.

This past year in law and technology has been marked by a series of noteworthy developments including the explosive interest in user-generated content (culminating in Time Magazine's Person of the Year award), the emergence of several artists-backed copyright coalitions, and the arrival of Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, who has focused on reshaping Canadian telecommunications regulations. From A to Z, it has been a remarkably busy twelve months.

Canadian Association of Voice Over IP Providers (CAVP) denounces government CRTC policy.

Since there are so many misconceptions about the announcement from the Industry Minister that they would not regulate VOIP like regular telephone service, I wanted to help draw peoples attention to a press release by the Canadian Association of Voice Over IP Providers (CAVP).


Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Winnipeg - The Canadian Association of Voice Over IP Providers (CAVP) today came out strongly against the governments intention to rewrite the CRTC's decision on regulation of Voice Over IP (VOIP).

Videotron Rekindles Fear of a Two-Tier Internet

Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column discusses the renewed net neutrality concerns in Canada in light of comments from a leading cable executive promoting the establishment of a new Internet transmission tariff that would require content creators of all sizes to fork over millions of dollars for the right to transmit content to ISP subscribers. The column notes that a policy review recommended a net neutrality legislative provision, yet there are indications that the government will ignore the issue when telecommunications law reform is introduced. Toronto Star version, Homepage version

Slyck: Telus Voices Opinion on Interoperability

A Slyck article by Drew Wilson starts:

Two months ago, Telus, one of Canada's largest ISP's (Internet Service Provider,) made demands that the government should back a tougher "fair use" regime. Recently, the same company has become vocal again - this time, the CEO, Darren Entwistle, started defending interoperability and fair use.

Contrast this with what I wrote earlier about the origins of much of the current regressive copyright revision proposals.

Is Telus seeing a competitive problem with centralizing the control of communications technology in the hands of a few telecos and hardware manufacturers? Do they believe, unlike Bell and Rogers, that they can possibly become the remaining teleco monopoly after the anti-competitive shakedown that such control will result in?

Telus coming out in favour of interoperability is as forward-looking and enlightened as if a CRIA or CAAST member started to aggressively come out against DRM. Is this the shape of things to come, or an anomaly?

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