Michael Geist: The new copyright extension does not benefit Canadian artists, but large foreign record labels

Longer copyrights will only cost Canadians more money while sweeping up legitimate uses and reuses of content by artists and their access to crucial audiences. 

Article by Michael Geist

The government’s surprise decision to include copyright term extension for sound recordings and performances in this week’s budget is being painted by the music industry as important for Canadian artists. But sources suggest that the key reason for the change is lobbying from foreign record labels such as Universal Music and Sony Music, who were increasingly concerned with the appearance of public domain records from artists such as the Beatles appearing on store shelves in Canada. As discussed in this post, Canadian copyright law protects the song for the life of the author plus 50 years. However, the sound recording lasts for 50 years. That still provides decades of protection for record companies to profit from the records, but that is apparently not long enough for them.

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Topics: Copyright

CBC: Did you know about cost-effective, mobile phone service Google Fi Wireless? Well, it won't come to Canada anytime soon

The new phone service is a cost-effective alternative , though only available to Americans for now. 

Article by Dianne Buckner for CBC News

Google is about to launch a new cost-effective mobile phone service for Americans only. And as the news spreads, it may trigger a new round of grumbling in Canada over the state of this country's telecom industry.  

Google Fi will cost a mere $20 a month for talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in more than 120 countries. And here's a flashy selling point: customers will pay only for the data they use, and even get a refund for unused data.  

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Topics: Cell Phones

The Globe and Mail: Spy Watchdogs are speaking out about huge flaws in the current system

The watchdogs for Canada’s spy agencies say they are being left in the dark about intelligence activities.

Article by Colin Freeze for The Globe and Mail

The watchdogs for Canada’s spy agencies have got together to tell Parliament how much they resent being kept apart.

Telling a Parliamentary hearing they need new laws to allow them to compare notes about Canada’s counter-terrorism operations, the review bodies say they see only a partial picture of what federal police and intelligence agencies are doing.

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Topics: Online Spying

BCCLA: The amendments to Bill-C51 don't change our core concerns about this reckless bill

None of the amendments to Bill C-51 begin to address the fundamental threat on basic rights and freedoms, experts say.

Article by Carmen Cheung for BCCLA

This week, the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence continues its pre-study of Bill C-51, while an amended version of the Bill proceeds to third reading in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (“SECU”) made just four amendments to the omnibus bill, despite hearing witness after witness express serious concerns about the Bill and its impact on basic rights and freedoms. We don’t think these amendments even begin to address the fundamental flaws in the Bill, and discuss why in our submissions to the Senate. These submissions also include our take on some of the comments made by government lawyers at the clause-by-clause review of the Bill at SECU – comments which deal with the scope of the new CSIS powers; accountability in cases where information sharing by government results in harm to individuals (as we saw with Maher Arar); and whether the Federal Court of Canada is being asked to authorize unconstitutional activities by CSIS agents under the proposed warrant regime.

Topics: Online Spying

Wow! Over 200,000 speaking up about Bill C-51 - thanks, Canada!

This is amazing: our joint petition against spying Bill C-51 has reached an incredible 200,000 signatures.

Thanks to everyone for speaking up and sending the government a clear message that this Bill is reckless, dangerous, and ineffective. We would never have reached this point were it now for thousands of Canadians taking action to spread the word in local communities right across this country.

This makes our #StopC51 campaign one of the largest ever in Canadian history!

Huge thanks to all our partners in this effort - especially our co-hosts and Avaaz. With polls now showing 56% of Canadians against the Bill, with just 33% in favour, it's clear that public opinion has swung dramatically to our side.

It caps off a remarkable week, that has seen grassroots-driven protests take place across Canada, and 60 leading business people, investors, and entrepreneurs pen a joint op-ed in the National Post calling for Bill C-51 to be scrapped.

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Topics: Online Spying

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