Devices, and not the memory within, are digital audio recorders: CPCC

In its 2008-2008 private copying tariff application, the Canadian Private Copying Collective asks for a levy on digital audio recording devices such as MP3 players to be reinstated. The CPCC collected nearly $4 million under such a levy until December 2004, when the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the Copyright Board of Canada’s tariff decision. However, in its 2008-2009 Proposed Tariff Backgrounder – excerpts from which appear below – the CPCC maintains that the appeals court left the door open for its latest tariff application.

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CNM People

Patrice Laing has been appointed senior account executive for Yahoo Quebec, Yahoo Canada’s newly branded portal. Prior to joining Yahoo, Laing spent four years in various positions at MSN/Sympatico including national sales manager. In his new role he will be responsible for overseeing all advertising sales activities in the Quebec market, as well as those in the Ottawa and Atlantic areas.

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CanWest helps build a new home for contractors

Considering the current mania for all things home-renovations-related, a new national network of contractors spawned by a partnership between CanWest MediaWorks Inc. and Contractors.com Canada seems well-timed indeed. The new network boasts more than 90,000 contractors coast-to-coast, and in addition to user searches by contractor, also allows homeowners looking for help to post pictures and information on their projects and let the contractors come to them. Other available content includes user-submitted stories and anecdotes about their projects, a Q&A feature, and calculators for loans and project cost-estimates. The network also has a prime spot on CanWest’s Canada.com network: www.canada.com/contractors.

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CHUM Radio falls under MyThum’s spell

CHUM Ltd.’s radio division and MyThum Interactive Inc. of Toronto have combined forces to launch a new aural interactive experience dubbed The Sound Lounge. The venture is powered by Interactivity Desk software from Oslo, Norway-based Never.no, which allows listeners to communicate with program host Cory Kimm, guest artists and other audience members via text messaging. The Interactivity Desk application already powers CHUM Television’s PunchMuch feature, an all-request music video program airing on CHUM’s MuchMusic channel. In a media release, CHUM VP of program development Rob Farina referred to the company’s partnership with MyThum Interactive as "the beginning of a large multiplatform extension of our radio brands and new audio entertainment services to cater to the changing needs of consumers." The Sound Lounge launched on February 5.

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GestureTek broadens reach with InTouch, Titan

Toronto-based GestureTek Inc., a designer and developer of what it calls "gesture-based computer vision interactivity for information and entertainment displays," announced it had signed a five-year distribution agreement with InTouch Media Group, which places interactive digital advertising installations in shopping malls, sports stadiums and arenas, and other such venues. Over the course of the five-year period, InTouch Media will have the exclusive right to market GestureTek’s technology to its client base; the two companies have also partnered with Dublin, Ireland-based Titan Worldwide’s Canadian operations to help with client-facing operations and site management.

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TransGaming teams up with NVidia for Mac titles

A leading converter of PC games for use on Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac platform has teamed up with Santa Clara CA-based graphics chip maker NVidia Corp., resulting in increased compatibility and performance for titles ported to the Mac. Now that it incorporates support for NVidia’s CgFX framework, TransGaming Inc.’s Cider portability engine can run high-level shaders originally designed for use with Microsoft Corp.’s Direct3D technology. "Our collaborative efforts with Cg[FX] provide a sophisticated alternative implementation of Direct3D-compatible high-level shaders on the Mac," said Vikas Gupta, president and CEO of Toronto-based TransGaming, in a media announcement. "This is important because Microsoft restricts the distribution of Direct3D on non-Microsoft platforms. We look forward to releasing many blockbuster titles this year with Cg[FX]."

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Arcadia wins Canadian licence for gaming world cup

Montreal’s Arcadia Production, the force behind one of that city’s annual video game conferences, Festival Arcadia, is branching out into the world of gaming competitions with a new agreement with the Electronic Sports World Cup. The agreement means Canada now joins the ranks of 50 other countries that hold licences to stage qualifying rounds as well as provincial and national finals in the run-up to the global main event. Those tournaments begin in April and will ultimately decide who’ll represent Canada at the Grande Finale competition, to be held in Paris from July 5 to 8. The Electronic Sports World Cup is organized by Games-Services, a Paris-based publishing and promotion company dedicated to interactive entertainment.

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Networked devices lead to spike in online traffic

Sandvine, a Waterloo ON-based provider of solutions for networked homes, says that services linked to Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox gaming console service and Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod digital music player are leading to surges in broadband traffic.
The Xbox Live online gaming service and Apple’s iTunes music download service have both caused online traffic to swell at times, namely around the holiday season and the release dates of certain game and music titles and software updates. For instance, a bump in broadband traffic was recorded in fall, when new games became available for the Xbox and iTunes version 7 was released.
Sandvine, of course, says the situation is custom-made for its deep-packet inspection (DPI) technology. "With the growing popularity of online gaming, it is evident that today’s best-effort networks are not well-suited to provide the consistent, high-quality services that subscribers expect," said Sandvine president and CEO Dave Caputo in a release. Supporting that point, IDC director of consumer multiplay Matt Davis said: "Applications such as gaming, VoIP, and streaming video can be adversely impacted by unpredictable jitter, latency, and packet loss that are characteristics of today’s broadband networks. Adding additional capacity and bandwidth is key, but does not solve the problem as bandwidth-intensive applications put pressure on available network resources."

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Older kids not all that ‘Net-savvy: study

A joint study by Microsoft Canada Co. and Ipsos Reid has some startling findings for parents: of the 1,000 children between the ages of 10 and 14 that were interviewed, 70% said they believed that any personal information they put online and invited friends to view was private. Further, 37% of girls and 22% of boys in the same age group said they’d sent a photo of themselves to someone online. To help put the word out and educate kids and parents about the dangers of the Internet, Microsoft and Ipsos Reid, together with the Kids Internet Safety Alliance, kicked off a cross-country speaking tour in Calgary on February 7. The tour will also make stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal over the next two months. The survey also found that 85% of kids surveyed with access to the Internet inside the home also had other means of accessing it away from parents’ supervision, and 15% of respondents said they’d been to websites they knew were off-limits.

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Chart a course for discovery – head to ShipwreckCentral.com!

ShipwreckCentral.com, the online home site of The Sea Hunters television series, is one of the most successful convergent sites on the Web. Produced by Halifax’s Eco-Nova Productions, ShipwreckCentral.com has received various accolades since its launch two years ago, including being named cool site of the day by Netscape, USAToday, and Refdesk.com. The site was also a finalist in the Excellence in Cross Platform category at the 2006 Canadian New Media Awards (CNMA).
As of January 2007, ShipwreckCentral.com has logged more than 350 000 discreet page views, and is averaging more than 1,200 visitors per day. The interactive cornerstone of the site remains the Interactive Shipwreck Map, where users explore a database of media-rich shipwreck records using a fully interactive map-based interface. The main entry and exit page, Live from the Dive, features reports from the Sea Hunter’s location shoots in a video ‘blog format. A two-person production team provides daily reports on the Sea Hunters’ progress.
A partnership with Internet TV service provider Brightcove has enabled the launch of Shipwreck Central Broadband Television, where new video content can be uploaded in minutes. This service helps drive traffic by growing the audience through video syndication, search engine indexing, RSS feeds, and controlled consumer sharing. The site’s capabilities to generate revenue have also increased, incorporating pay media services into the site and offering videos for rental or sale. In the future, Brightcove’s advertising network will also be utilized.
In June of 2006 ShipwreckCentral.com launched a member’s-only subscription section. Expanding on the concept of Shipwreck Central Broadband Television, paying members are offered access to unparalleled amounts of content and the ability to participate in active shipwreck searches. These searches will be filmed and turned into exclusive content for subscribing members.
The continued success of ShipwreckCentral.com will drive viewers to episodes of The Sea Hunters currently airing on History Television and National Geographic Canada. Visit us at www.shipwreckcentral.com!

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