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Comment Re:Right on! (Score 2) 364

Sure, in principle, but the devil is in the details. "Usage based billing" doesn't really describe what is going on here-- that's the industry propaganda term. This decision was primarily about wholesaler's ability to screw over bandwidth resellers, like Teksavvy (who I use). Under the CRTC's decision, Bell was going to cut my bandwidth cap from 250GB/month to *25*. With $2/GB overage fees. Some companies here charge around $5 (I know!!!) per gig after hitting your monthly max. Canada's incumbent telcos have tremendous power and the CRTC, under good ol' Conrad von Finkenstein, has been entrenching their power even more.

Comment Re:Double Tax (Score 1) 281

I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing...? Because no, there's no copyright levy on iPods &c. right now. The Copyright Board approved one several years ago, but the Federal Courts struck it down. Right now you pay *tax* on an iPod (GST or HST or whatever depending on which Province you're in) but there's no copyright levy on it. In this bill, an NDP member (it's a private member bill; the NDP itself didn't introduce it) merely proposed to explicitly give the Copyright Board the authority to extend the blank-media levy (which already covers blank CDs) to iPods. As well as expanding the scope of fair dealing, which is badly needed (US fair use is much broader than Canadian fair dealing).

Comment Re:Private members' bill is going nowhere (Score 1) 281

The issue wasn't that they can 'hold anything', but that iPods and the such aren't 'media' within the meaning of the Act. They're integrated 'devices'. I'm not absolutely convinced the Court decided the issue correctly, but I think there is valid logic there; they were probably reluctant to expand the authority of the Copyright Board to things like hard drives and consumer electronics when that wasn't really contemplated when the levying powers were established (people were thinking about things like casette tapes and CDs).

Comment Re:Common Sense (Score 1) 281

The angle is that it's only legal when you copy on to a medium on which you paid the levy. So, for example, we pay a levy on blank CDs. I can copy music I have (that was itself legitimately obtained) onto a CD -- that's covered by the levy. Putting it on a hard drive or iPod (for which there is no levy -- the Copyright Board authorized one, but the Federal courts ruled they didn't have the authority to do so) is, theoretically, infringing.

Comment Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (Score 1) 204

She needed *skin grafts*. That's the whole point -- the coffee wasn't just scalding, it was completely unreasonably hot. Why don't you believe she suffered 3rd degree burns...? I think the jury and judge were in a much better situation to decide the facts than you are. It was a very serious burn. At first she only wanted McDonald's to pay her medical costs -- she only sued when they kept on screwing her around. And do you know how the jury calculated the damages? They estimated it was about a days worth of McDonald's coffee revenues. Doesn't seem that outrageous in that context, does it? But the judge lowered it to around $600k anyways.

This case has been misreported so many times. It has been twisted to serve as corporate propaganda for their self-interested "tort reform" bs. It's funny that you refer to drinking Kool-Aid, since you seem to be agreeing with the side who's selling it.

Comment Re:Too bad the US can't comprehend this concept (Score 1) 204

Just to give you more to chew on, it's worth keeping in mind that (in English/Canadian/I'm guessing other Commonwealth common law) judges have a large amount of discretion in awarding costs. Although it is very, very rare, they can even award costs against the *winning* party, if they feel that the whole case was basically an abuse of process.

More routinely, though, costs isn't an all or nothing affair -- you can get costs for individual motions or unreasonable delays caused by the other party. For example, let's say a party wins a trial that takes 5 days. The judge thinks they were really dragging it out -- calling repetitive evidence, or whatever -- and that the matter should have been resolved in 2 days. The judge can award the winning party only 2 days of costs.

In some jurisdictions, costs can also be used to encourage realistic settlement offers. Let's say Party A offers Party B $100,000 to settle. Party B wins, but only gets $70k. The judge can say, "Ok, you get all your costs up to the date of the offer, but it was a good offer that you should have taken, so you'll only get some of your costs from after that date."

There's definitely a risk that costs-awards can make it risky for an individual to seek to vindicate their rights against a corporation -- but the flexibility in the system (MegaCorp can't just say "Here's our bill for the dozen senior partners we had working on this!") mitgates that down side. And as others have pointed out, there are significant advantages to the system.

Comment Re:I'd much rather... (Score 1) 636

This cry of "big government bad!" seems particularly ironic considering the entire broadcast industry is *created* by government regulation; it depends on regulation for its very existence. (Just as one obvious example to get you thinking about it, without regulation over-the-air broadcasts would likely be impossible since the whole thing would devolve into a who's-got-a-bigger-tower mess.)

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