Decima Reader Survey, April-May 2003Throughout April and early May, Decima Publishing polled its readers, asking:Should Internet service providers (ISPs) pay a revenue-based tariff to music copyright owners to remunerate them for revenues lost to peer-to-peer services?We gave readers three options:Yes, a flat revenue-based tariff is justified;No, ISPs are just a conduit and not responsible for the content passed through;Maybe, ISPs are the only practical point of collection right now, but another solution should be sought Overwhelmingly, readers believed that ISPs are just the caretakers of the pipes. There is currently a case before the Supreme Court of Canada that will provide a more definitive answer than our unscientific poll. Within a year, an appeal by ISPs, cablecos and telcos will be heard in the matter of Tariff 22 as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada pursues a tariff from ISPs for the music content passed through their servers (CNM, April 3/03). Watch Canadian NEW MEDIA in the coming months for developments in the case. SNAP takes tentative step into broadcasting with CHUM SNAP Media execs are hoping to push the envelope on their company's offerings by delving, modestly at first, into broadcasting. SNAP is currently building a web complement for the new Space Channel show Alienated. As part of that initiative, SNAP is shooting 10 three-minute web live action video shorts that have so impressed Space Channel management that they have been licensed to air on the channel sometime this fall. SNAP has also licensed 10 animation shorts that will also be broadcast. Industry peers are already anticipating the launch of the web site this summer in advance of the show airing. To drive show traffic, SNAP has developed a whole series of standalone web sites with tongue-in-cheek content related to the show's alien theme. Alienated, being produced by Vancouver's Bright Light Pictures, is a sci-fi comedy featuring a dysfunctional family abducted by aliens who then have wacky adventures back on the planet Earth. The web components will feature such content as the "Alien Encounter Advocacy," a self-help group for victims of alien abduction. That site will feature an interactive component that SNAP partner Raja Khanna calls "a dating service for geeks, but it's tongue-in-cheek." The site actually features new functions for the SNAP engine that's been developing through several initiatives including its work on Degrassi, The Next Generation. The site will track users' interests and the connections they make with other users, allowing webs to develop of people with something in common. The other sites feature information on alien abduction, and similar spoofed content. While the sites are intended to look real, Khanna says there's no overt effort to completely pull the wool over users' eyes. "If you try to fool people, a, they'll get pissed off and, b, they'll leave," he says. The sites have been developed with the participation of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, but without the aid of the Telefilm Canada Canada New Media Fund, which turned down SNAP's application. The setback frustrates Khanna, who says that while he and his staff are pleased with the end result, the site doesn't incorporate as many features as he would have liked. The sites will likely feature some sponsorship, and SNAP is working closely with Space Channel parent CHUM Ltd. on marketing. Khanna says the site will also have an ecom component, including the sale of T-shirts and related merchandise. Heritage committee gets ball rolling on copyright reform The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage agreed on April 29 that the chair, Clifford Lincoln, and vice-chairs would "meet to develop a work plan for the review of the Copyright Act." The news is the first step toward opening hearings on the s.92 review of the Act (CNM, Oct. 16/02). Lincoln's Paliamentary assistant tells CNM, however, that hearings won't likely take place before this fall. Trio of new media heavyweights set to collaborate on projects A new powerhouse multimedia research network is finalizing plans to begin collaborating on cross-disciplinary projects. The Banff New Media Institute, Calgary's TRLabs and the New Media Innovation Centre (NewMIC) are coalescing around a Canada Innovation Foundation-supported research project involving wireless technologies and interfaces for which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) should soon be issued. Banff head Sara Diamond tells Canadian NEW MEDIA that the organizations will work together on projects that feature new collaborative tools and interfaces as they try to further understand how cross-disciplinary research can best be done. Education and health will be key themes, with wireless technologies playing an important role. Diamond also hopes to begin discussions with private sector industry players to explore how they might join. Regulations must change as tech challenges TV: CCTA The Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) has released its National Viewer Survey, conducted by The Strategic Counsel, which surveyed 1,500 households in late-March about their entertainment habits. The results clearly show the Internet challenging and overcoming television as a prime source of entertainment for Canadians, particularly young ones. In fact, the survey shows, 56% of 15-to-19-year-olds say the Internet is much more or somewhat more important than television. As a response, the CCTA is calling for action on strengthening copyright protection on content and educating Canadians on the importance of intellectual property rights. Further, the CCTA is calling for a looser regulatory environment that would allow the cable industry to offer a greater choice of programming to consumers. CITO provides $1.3 million to new media, wireless research Communications and Information Technology Ontario has announced, under its College Partnership Program, $1.341 million in funding to five projects. The winners are Algonquin College's Francis Bogsanyi, who will study a virtual haptic surgical training station; Mike Duncan of Niagara College, who is researching real-time collaborative visualization systems; Avrim Katzman, Sheridan College, for the development of real-time interactive television game systems; Peter Spasov of Sir Sandford Fleming College for studying a ubiquitous location tracking system using standard wireless technologies; and David Athersych, St. Lawrence College, for ad hoc network support for meetings. Loto-Québec files for E-SCRATCH trademark protection The Société des loteries du Québec, responsible for overseeing lottery games in the province, has filed a trademark protection application for the term E-SCRATCH. The mark would be used in connection with lottery games. It's uncertain whether the application is in connection with the existing e-scratch service marketed by West Greenwich RI company GTECH Holdings Corp. That company has trademarked the same name in the U.S., where it's used in connection with a service whereby customers buy tickets at a traditional kiosk, and find out whether they've won by inputting the ticket number at a web site. GTECH is marketing the service worldwide. The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that lotteries conducted over the Internet are illegal under the Criminal Code (CNM, Mar. 21/03). ArtsDVD files trademark application for name A company called ArtsDVD Inc., 1236 Wood Place, Oakville ON, has filed for trademark protection on the term ArtsDVD. The application is in connection with services including mail order sales, the import and export of DVDs, books, art and prints. T-Net calls for nominations T-Net British Columbia is calling for nominations for its T-Net 100 awards. Companies wishing to compete can download the nomination form at http://www.bctechnology.com/statics/Tnet100-AwardsNomination(03).pdf. InternetStudios hires Capstone to advise on acquisition InternetStudios Inc., Vancouver, has engaged Capstone Investments Inc. to assist the company in evaluating potential media acquisitions. The company notes in a media release that it "has been actively evaluating several acquisition targets since the beginning of 2003." InternetStudios provides online licensing for film and television rights through its subsidiary OnlineFilmandTVSales. Canadian Heritage announces new Virtual Museum collections Canadian Heritage officially unveiled the new Community Memories section of the Virtual Museum of Canada during the 56th annual conference of the Canadian Museum Association. There are 21 exhibits now in the collection, with the participation of over 100 museums across the country. Events will be held across the country at the contributing museums to introduce the collection nationwide. Naked News goes to airwaves Toronto-based Naked News is now offering free one-minute sound clips to radio stations of its "Athena the Greek" content. Broadcasters can download the content from the Naked News site. "I know it sounds strange to have Naked News on radio, but we are responding to requests of Naked News fans who want to enjoy Naked News when they cannot reach their television or monitor. They believe our content is entertaining with or without the nudity," says producer Lucas Tyler in a media release. Confusion over spam reigns among Canadians: MSN.ca An online poll of 1,600 Canadians aged 18 and older visiting MSN.ca's web site finds that Canadians aren't dealing well with spam. Almost one in four reply to spam emails with a request to be taken off the mailing list, 42% don't know who to contact to report span, and 78% have never reported spam to their ISP. In all, 22% of Canadians "feel that spam is something they have to live with," according to MSN.ca in a media release. But, notes the release, 85% of Canadians do recognize that spam originates from companies paid to send bulk email. The poll was conducted by OpenVenue e-Research Solutions.