March 11, 2004   Minister promises action on WIPO ratificationCanadian Heritage minister Hélène Chalifour Scherrer told a packed meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on March 9 that she hopes to have legislation that would let Canada ratify the WIPO Internet treaties in place by this fall. Getting Canada to a position where it can sign the treaties will mean drafting legislation that provides legal protection to technological measures used to protect copyrighted material. Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage have had longstanding disagreements on this and other issues. Canadian NEW MEDIA will have more details in its upcoming issue.Telefilm saved for one more yearCanadian NEW MEDIA has confirmed with Canadian Heritage and Telefilm Canada officials that the Canada New Media Fund will see one more injection of $9 million to last one year. There will likely be no changes to the guidelines for the money, which will be distributed according to the results of a late-April funding round. The additional funding was made possible by a corresponding one-year extension of the Canadian Culture Online Program. Further details will be available in the upcoming issue of the newsletter.Alliance numériQC launches new siteThe Alliance numériQC today unveiled a new web site, with new sections for news, advocacy, member showcases, special member-only offers from other members, and a notice board. The site was built by Egzakt.MNet wins WiredSafety prizeThe Media Awareness Network has won a WiredKids Excellence in Internet Awareness and Education award from the U.S.-based organization WiredSafety. “Media Awareness Network has protected and educated children online long before it was fashionable. Their work on online privacy was the first of its kind anywhere in the world,” says Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, in a media release. “Those of us considered experts in this space have always followed in the footsteps of Media Awareness Network.”Senate committee removes copyright extensions from C-8The Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology voted without debate on March 10 to remove a controversial clause that would extend copyright protection for the works of some dead authors in legislation that serves mainly to unite the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada (CNM, Feb. 20/04). The committee removed the measure from Bill C-8 on the recommendation of Canadian Heritage lawyers. The staffers told the senators, “As we’re talking today, this clause has become obsolete.” They added that it would take months of discussions to put the clause back in – the works in question fell into the public domain on December 31 after the bill faced delayed passage. The bill will now go to a third and final reading in the Senate before winning Royal Assent. Ian Wilson and Roch Carrier, heads of the Archives and Library respectively, were on hand to urge passage of the amended bill, saying a merger of the two institutions will accelerate the creation of a new knowledge-based institution that will better serve Canadians. By way of example, Wilson noted the institution will announce within a month a new digital-on-demand service to put library/archives materials into the hands of users outside the nation’s capital. The announcement will have to wait, Wilson told CNM after his appearance, until issues of how the material will be paid for are sorted out, balancing access concerns with the costs of digitization.AOL Canada to ISPs: fight spam using new standardAOL Canada has written to members of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers urging them to use a new non-commercial open standard to help fight the spread of spam email. The system, dubbed Sender Permitted From (SPF), works as an extension to the SMPT email protocol, and confirms that emails really originate from the host name they claim to. “Early results with SPF have been extremely encouraging. Combined with other tools and policies in use on our network, we’re now blocking up to 2 billion spam messages every day. We know that SPF alone will not stop spam, but we believe it is a major step forward,” reads the letter signed by AOL Canada president and CEO Craig Wallace.Canadian students create their own around-the-world expeditionSchoolchildren from different parts of Canada took part in a first virtual classroom experimental school project organized by Canadian Heritage’s Virtual Museum of Canada on March 10, including kids from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario. The project took kids on a virtual trip around the world based on the online exhibit Ilititaa … Bernier, His Men and the Inuit. The trial was made possible by the Canadian Heritage Information Network, Communications Research Canada and the National Research Council of Canada.Hip Interactive named N.A. distributor for PariahToronto-based Hip Interactive Corp. has signed an agreement with global interactive game publisher Groove Games naming Hip as the exclusive North American distributor and European publisher for Groove’s upcoming title Pariah on PC and console game formats. Hip will hold the licence during its fiscal year ending March 31, 2005. No financial terms for the deal were released.Bell music offerings set to expand further?Bell Canada made a slight splash with news March 4 that it will, like rival TELUS Corp., build a music download service in partnership with Moontaxi Media. The online store is expected to be launched this spring. It appears, however, that Bell may soon offer ringtones in addition to the Puretracks download and existing MusicMatch streaming music services. Sharp Robot VP of business development Vincent Estick told Canadian NEW MEDIA affiliate publication Report on Wireless in late February – discussing the shop.muchmusic.com wireless portal and Microcell’s absence from that deal (CNM, Feb. 6/04) – that “(Microcell has) agreed verbally to participate in not only the CHUM music portal, but the Sympatico music portal which will be launching in the next 30 days…no one else knows that we’re doing the Sympatico/MSN portal.” Further details are not available, and Bell officials have not yet returned a call for comment. Sharp Robot is a wireless content integrator with a focus on back-end micropyament systems. For more information about Microcell and the CHUM deal, see the Feb. 25, 2004 issue of Report on Wireless.