Category Archives: Policy

Over-The-Air TV On The Chopping Block

ohaiotaThe landmark hearings that will determine the future of television in Canada, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, are currently in full swing, and it seems that all anyone wants to talk about is the prospect of pick-and-pay. That’s understandable since being able to pick only the stations you want in a cable or satellite package would be highly cathartic to just about anyone. The proposal put forward by the CRTC is actually really great, even revolutionary in a number of ways. There’s one big problem though: a provision that will allow local broadcasters in Canada to shut down their over-the-air transmitters, effectively killing what is supposed to be the fundamental backbone of the entire television industry.

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Help Determine the Future of Canadian TV, and I Actually Kind of Mean it This Time!

I am so sick of this logoThe CRTC recently launched a survey about the future of Canadian television (open until March 14), and by golly this one is sure to create a whole new media environment! Real change is going to happen with our national regulator this time, and now is your chance to blah blah blah blah, yeah I know. You’re sick of this, right? These same talking points that you’ve heard from me, and probably others, dozens of times? Far too many times. Don’t get me wrong, the fetishization of bureaucracy and regulation is a proud Canadian tradition, and one that I certainly hope we don’t lose anytime soon, but this stuff wears thin after a while. The new survey does raise some problems and solutions that I’ve been harping on about for a while, which I’m glad to see. What’s going to be more interesting to most of you is that it includes some questionable attempts to gather public support for regulating Netflix. If you still have faith in the system, by all means join me after the jump for some of my thoughts. If not… well, hang in there. I’ll be posting about cartoons again soon, I promise.

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The Terrifying Future of Copyright

Copyright is a frustrating topic to say the least, and the future of it is a scary thing to think about. No matter how versatile or efficient a system we wind up with over the next decade or so, the circumstances are almost certainly going to be a complete nightmare for somebody, whether they’re artists or users or educators, or… well, basically everybody except copyright lawyers. I feel that exploring the future of copyright is best done by establishing a clear idea of what shouldn’t happen. To do just that, I’ve written a little story that you may want to check out after the jump. In case you’re wondering, this work takes part in the Future of Copyright Contest, which you can read more about here. Enjoy the story, and be sure to check out the other entries as well!

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Why You Should Care About Digital OTA Television

There is certainly a lot less confusion going around these days over the upcoming transition to digital television on August 31 than there was a few years ago. Unfortunately, a good portion of the public, namely those who have become perfectly content with their expensive cable and satellite packages, seem to be completely unaware of why this is so important. Anyone who thinks that picking up television signals for free with an antenna is a lowly, vestigial practice from the Cold War could certainly learn a lot from the growing number of Canadians embracing it, as well as the countries using it for innovation in mobile phone technology.

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Clear Sailing For The Ceeb… For Now


Speculation has run rampant that Stephen Harper’s majority Tory government would spell certain doom for Canada’s public broadcaster. In light of this fear, former (and presumably current) Heritage Minister James Moore has stepped in to assure Canadians that funding for the CBC will not be decreased.

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Wikileaks Confirms US Orchastrated Copyright Reform in Canada

Just in case you weren’t completely convinced that the Canadian government’s campaign to paralyze technological innovation and user rights with insanely restrictive copyright legislation wasn’t completely influenced by direct pressure from the United States, a new cable document released by Wikileaks should eliminate all doubt.

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Journalistic Integrity To Be Euthanized In Canada

The credibility of television news is about to take a huge nosedive in the next of what seems like a series of astounding blunders from the CRTC. The Commission will soon allow Canadian news media to intentionally broadcast what is currently considered false or misleading information. And the deadline to oppose is this Wednesday. (UPDATE: Deadline for one of the submissions has been extended. More after the jump.)

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Courts Reject Government’s Accomodation For WIND Mobile

Crosspost from OpenMedia.ca:

Federal Court has made uncanny timing with their latest decision relating to the government’s ability to reverse CRTC decisions. The Harper government’s ruling that allowed Globalive to establish WIND Mobile in the Canadian marketplace despite the CRTC’s objection has been struck down on the basis that the government had no justification in overruling the regulator. Given that Industry Minister Tony Clement announced on Wednesday the federal government’s intention to overrule the CRTC’s decision to impose usage-based billing on independent ISPs, concern over this development may be understandable.

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Anti-UBB Rally Planned For Toronto This Friday, Parliament Hill Saturday

Word is finally spreading that the usage-based billing being implemented by Canadian internet providers this month is a really, really, really bad thing. In response, a Toronto rally is being organized for Friday 4 February 2011 followed by a Saturday rally outside Parliament Hill to communicate the dissatisfaction of pretty much all Canadian society. (Information is available after the jump for those who don’t use Facebook.) While it is likely to be an impressive demonstration, we must remember that all of this public demand may yield nothing more than a slightly less outrageous, but all-too-similar, compromise.

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You’re A Pirate, Santa Claus!

In 2008, during the heat of the controversy surrounding the government’s impending bill to amend the Copyright Act, many struggled to find compelling and appealing ways to explain the issue to the masses. The new bill would protect digital locks from any type of circumvention, meaning Canadians would be trapped within the confines of proprietary use and would effectively lose any right to use footage or samples from existing works for any reason whatsoever.

Most were (and, to a degree, still are) completely indifferent in spite of how intrusive and wide spread its effects would really be. I decided that the best way to approach this was by hi-jacking the otherwise positive and nostalgic feelings that are shared by many for the Christmas holiday season and using them as a vehicle to demonstrate the type of despair that this issue warrants.

While that original bill did not pass, a similar bill is currently wading its way through the Parliamentary process that has most of the same dire problems. The original post with this story went down with the old “Zannen, Canada” site, so here it is again. Merry Christmas!

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