Welcome to the Media Law Roundup, a survey of the week’s developing media news.
An August 30th decision by the Copyright Board of Canada (CBC) ended private copying tariffs on microSD Cards in Canada. This decision blocks a 2011 request from the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) to levy a rate of $0.50 for a card of 1 gigabyte or less, $1.00 for a 1GB-8GB card, and $3.00 for a card with 8GB or more. In Canada a private copying levy, nicknamed the “you must be a criminal” tax, is placed on blank media as supposed compensation for illegal file sharing made possible by new media. Whether microSD cards primarily functioned as an audio recording medium was a key issue in the decision. The CBC determined this was too difficult and costly to establish. Despite the decision to halt tariffs on microSD cards, a $0.29 levy will remain on blank CDs. A notable controversy around the private copying levy occurred in 2003-2004 and again in 2007- 2008 regarding the CBC’s decision to place, and later prohibit, the “you must be a criminal” tax on iPods and other mp3 devices.
A taped interview of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) CEO Fadi Chehade at the Asia-Pacific Region Internet Governance Forum in Seoul sparked unwarranted excitement about the possibility of ICANN moving its headquarters to Switzerland. Chehade’s comment that ICANN is interested in setting up legal structure in Switzerland fueled such reports. Since its formation in 1998, ICANN has been headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The organization, which is dedicated to keeping the Internet secure and stable, coordinating and administering logistics such as domain names and IP addresses, is often criticized as being too U.S.-centric. While ICANN has been recently pushing to be more international, opening “hub offices” in Istanbul and Singapore, moving its headquarters to another country would break ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments with the U.S. government.
Late last week Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, lost Internet for more than 24 hours beginning on August 29th. Damages to the city’s telecommunication infrastructure due to fighting and disruptions in Turk Telekom (an Internet service provider for the area) most likely caused the outage. Due to the history of Internet outages occurring at key times for the Assad regime, some more dubious speculations regarding the cause of the outage have surfaced. In light of recent hacking attacks on U.S. websites by the Syrian Electronic Army, theories surrounding a hacking take-down on Aleppo’s Internet have emerged; however, poor Internet connectivity and infrastructure are generally accepted as this outage’s culprit.