Competition / anti-trust issues.

Evidence suggests broadcasters like the BBC don't want our money

Some copyright holders and their lobbiests claim the reason people infringe Copyright is because they don't want to pay, and that copyright infringement is the largest single problem reducing their revenue potential. Evidence I've seen in my decades involved in the copyright revision process suggested neither are true, and that barriers put up by the copyright holders are the largest incentive to infringe and the largest barrier to revenue potential.

The BBC is an example of a broadcaster I would like to pay money and subscribe to (not only for Doctor Who), but that continues to put up barriers to me doing so.

Legitimacy of new TV options CraveTV (Bell) and Shomi (Rogers, Shaw)

As Shomi received a lot of advertising in recent months I have been asked my opinion on it. I'm known as someone who has strong opinions on digital content distribution, and as someone who is a subscriber to Netflix and not to any traditional BDU (Broadcast Distribution Undertaking, the term the CRTC uses to refer to Satellite, Cable, and related companies).

My shortest answer is to say these these services aren't new, nor are they in the same market as Netflix. These services are an add-on service for existing BDU customers (Must be Television customer for Bell, but can be existing TV or Internet customer for Rogers and Shaw), and not a service that is untied to the BDU.

Sent input on updated IPEG to Competition Bureau

I made a submission to the competition bureau as part of their request for input. This was based on a submission I had made in 2003, updated to reflect new issues in the last decade including the passage of the C-11 Copyright bill.

C-11's "technological measures" components are presumed to protect encrypted media, which is better understood in a competition rather than a copyright sense. While there is no credible evidence that these measures help reduce copyright infringement, there is considerable evidence that they are being abused to manipulate separate markets as well as harm competitors in the same market.

I'm of two minds on CRTC mandatory carriage hearings

As I read The Wire Report and Michael Geist's blog reporting on the CRTC's mandatory distribution hearings, I am of two minds.

On one hand I've intervened in front of the CRTC in the past to state that I believe that broadcasters have to choose between mandatory carriage and fee for carriage, with the CRTC never granting both. The only channels that should be mandatory on BDU's (cable, satellite) are those which have no carriage fees. The CRTC may mandate that the channels be offered in an a-la-carte fashion, but never part of the basic package.

On the other hand, I think increasing the price to the point that more people disconnect from BDU's can only be a good thing in the long run.

Not so special 301 report

The yearly joke from the USTR of their so-called "Special 301 report" came out yesterday. Not surprisingly, they kept Canada on their Priority Watch List in order to keep up their special interest lobbying efforts.

Does this mean Canada is a "piracy haven"? Not in the slightest.

It only means that the USTR continues to echo the unfounded lobbying rhetoric from the IIPA which isn't as interested in promoting the rights and interests of creators and innovators as they are protecting their members from legitimate competition.

My impressions of the DyscultureD Canadian audio blog

I am a big fan of audio blogs. Some people call them Podcasts because Apple iPod users seem to claim responsibility for making them popular. Leo Laporte over at, a large audio/video blogging network with a long history in broadcasting, tried to convince people to call them Netcasts as they were simply broadcasting over the Internet. While I'm a listener to a few shows, and a few other non-Canadian shows, I have always been looking for Canadian shows that cover some of the technology and political stories from the uniquely Canadian perspective.

IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

CRTC’s online consultation on television services.

The CRTC has launched a site.

Note: They are using the Disqus commenting system, so my comments show up at

My submission to the CRTC Re: Local TV Matters

I took the form at as well as the CRTC form and sent the following intervention. The topic was the connections between convergence and the future of television, including local television. (See also: Michael Geist)

CRTC claims transparency sufficient in an anti-competative marketplace

A CRTC press release from the CRTC seems to indicate that they didn't understand the traffic management issue before them. While they separate retail and wholesale in name, they don't in policy. They did not separate the phone and cable companies which see the Internet as a competative threat to their legacy services from the ISPs who seek to offer Internet services.

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