Canadian Copyright Club


Interesting piece over at Tech Central Station by Jay Currie. The topic: How Canada's legal treatment of "private copying" may provide an end-run around the RIAA's "campaign of litigation in terrorum" against file sharing:

RIAA spokesperson Amanda Collins seemed unaware of the situation in Canada. "Our goal is deterrence. We are focused on uploaders in the US. Filing lawsuits against individuals making files available in the US."

Which will be a colossal waste of time because in Canada it is expressly legal to share music. If the RIAA were to somehow succeed in shutting down every "supernode" in America all this would do is transfer the traffic to the millions of file sharers in Canada. And, as 50% of Canadians on the net have broadband (as compared to 20% of Americans) Canadian file sharers are likely to be able to meet the demand.

The Canada Hole in the RIAA's strategic thinking is not likely to close. While Canadians are not very keen about seeing the copyright levy extended to other media or increased, there is not much political traction in the issue. There is no political interest at all in revisiting the Copyright Act. Any lobbying attempt by the RIAA to change the copyright rules in Canada would be met with a howl of anger from nationalist Canadians who are not willing to further reduce Canada's sovereignty. (These folks are still trying to get over NAFTA.)

Nor are there any plausible technical fixes short of banning any connections from American internet users to servers located in Canada.

[Link via Critical Minds]

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  1. 50% broadband!? Really? Bet it’s subsidized. I’m so jealous, wish I could get my neighbors to chip in on my cable bill. Wouldn’t want to pay for their doctor though. I’m still pissed about educating their bratty kids. I don’t download music, just porn. It’s a lot to pay for the 90 seconds a day that I use it, but it keeps me off the playgrounds. You’d think they’d be happy to pony up just for that, wouldn’t you?

  2. Careful, Warren…Ashcroft could be watching, and his sense of humor seems distinctly lacking…

    I laughed my ass off, though.

  3. Warren: It’s subsidized in the sense that it’s provided by monopolists. But once you go broadband, you never go back.

  4. Currie claims that it is illegal under the law for an individual to make a copy of copy righted music and give it to another. It’s not clear why that is different from copying a CD to a hard drive and allowing others to access it. According to his blog none of this has been litigated yet either. Sounds like wishful thinking on his part.

  5. Just wanted to point out this fine bit of quantitative reasoning:

    “And, as 50% of Canadians on the net have broadband (as compared to 20% of Americans) Canadian file sharers are likely to be able to meet the demand.”


  6. “once you go broadband, you never go back.

    Gee, I wonder why.


  7. Maybe the RIAA should take a page from the drug industry’s book, and seek barriers to all those Canadian 0’s and 1’s coming in on the fiber optic lines.

  8. Yes, 50% of them are on “broadband”. No, it’s not subsidized. Most Canadians have had cable television for some years now, originally in order to get American TV stations. The cablevision operators are now Canada’s principal cable internet ISPs. The two largest are Rogers Cable, mostly in Ontario, and Shaw Cablesystems in western Canada. If you already have cable TV, you can add internet access for about US$25 a month.

  9. Chris,
    $25/month! Are you shitting me? I am so fucking jealous, no fooling. I’m paying around 3x that to Comcast here in GR MI (that’s over and above what I’m over-paying for basic cable). Is it just me? I know the US is totally FU’d in gubmn’t regulation, but I wouldn’t think Canada of all places would be more competitive. If they aren’t subsidized (I’m still skeptical) I’ll have to cut WAaaaay back on my Canook bashing. Please give me more info on the Canadian cable market.

  10. I’m paying $100 Canadian a month for digital cable with 90 regular channels, 6 movie channels, and high speed cable modem. That’s about $65 US, with no government subsidies I’m aware of. You guys are getting raped.

    If you’re surprised by high speed access in Canada (50%), check out the numbers from South Korea (over 80% market penetration).

  11. You guys are getting raped.

    By whom?

  12. I do believe this might have something to do with America being bigger and more spread out than the major Canadian cities…but then, I’m guessing on that.

    I tend to vote in favor of “we’re getting raped” as a matter of principle.

  13. The distances between our major pop. centres are huge compared to y’all, excluding the Windsor Quebec City corridor. I do find it amusing that my country’s copyright laws are good when it comes to file sharing tunes, but not when it comes to prescriptions. And one other thing, the rapists are your ISP’s. They are a virtual (sorry) monopoly up here, but the government is NOT involved in pricing. Let the bashing cease.

  14. The cable rates are low because the direct competition are the telcos. Clash of giants and all that.

    The cable penetration rate is huge because the alternative is, well, Canadian TV and you just don’t want to know.

  15. Hey Dick Wolf’s “new” show, Cold Case, is a direct rip of a CTV show called Cold Case Squad, or something like that, so they can’t ALL be bad. Okay, maybe just everything by the CBC.

  16. Further info.
    Basic cable service (30 channels- 1/3 U.S.)=$30
    Cable plus pkg (60 channels, no movie networks)=$50. Approx. 1/2 the stations are U.S. based.
    Full digital cable plus internet, as listed in a previous post, approx. $100.00
    But people up here are still pissed at the cable operators because we do not get to decide what channels we get to buy. For instance, though I am unilingual, I am forced by the CRTC to purchase 5 different French language channels, as well as 3 different multicult channels. It gets even worse if you buy a dish, so, you win some, you lose some.

  17. Any Canadians tried Look TV? I’ve been thinking about switching. Right now, I’ve got Rogers Cable/Broadband.

    PS – 50% of Canadians (15 mil) will replace 20% of Americans (60 mil)?

  18. Look TV seems a bit of a non-starter in Ontario, at least in the Toronto area, from what I’ve seen. You need to be practically line of sight from the CN Tower right now, unless they’ve improved their network of relays. The only advantage they do have is a greater freedom of choice.

  19. I know I’m late to the discussion, but legal file-trading could make me reconsider my “never move to Canada” plan.

  20. I’m currently paying $99/month for Full-tier Cable, Cable Internet and Phone service (not coutnging a LD plan) and I’m in Nova Scotia. My download speeds are great and I’m in the country.

    Its always amazed me how much cable internet is expanding to areas out this way into virtually the middle of nowhere.

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