Telus Voices Opinion on Interoperability

Two months ago, Telus, one of Canada’s largest ISP’s (Internet Service Provider,) made demands that the government should back a tougher “fair use” regime.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Recently, the same company has become vocal again – this time, the CEO, Darren Entwistle, started defending interoperability and fair use.

The move may be extremely effective for two reasons. The first reason for its potential effectiveness is the fact that the Canadian government is currently in the planning stage on copyright reform. The second reason is that AT&T is one of Canada’s top two ISP’s (and therefore a large company). Unlike some countries, Canada has only three main ISPs two of which has a dominating presence across Canada: Telus (AT&T) and Shaw (Rogers.)

“Ipods, mobile phones and other, new, devices are being used by more and more Canadians to play downloaded content – a trend that will only grow. In turn, this provides artists with new platforms to showcase their work. Yet legal uncertainty threatens to undermine these opportunities.” Darren explains, “Everyone agrees that artists deserve fair compensation for their work. There is something wrong however, if you are potentially in breach of copyright law every time you digitally record an episode of Trailer Park Boys.”

He elaborated his point, “[T]he ambitions of those who would like to expand services to consumers are stymied by a murky legal landscape.

The practical result? Innovation is being held up.”

While not directly saying anything about DRM (Digital Rights Management) or mentioning reverse engineering, he appeared to insinuate that DRM hinders consumer rights and backs reverse engineering for the sake of innovation. It’s not directly mentioned, but it is indirectly argued.

“TELUS therefore, joins with the growing number of copyright creators – and users – in advocating for what we call a ‘living’ Fair Use model.

In a nutshell, this model would mean that copyright has to be flexible enough to permit Canadians to use and transfer legally obtained copyrighted materials – like songs and TV programs – from one technology to another. . . from their TV to their PVR, and from their ipod to their mac.”

Quite clearly, Telus wants Fair Use. This deviates from Bell Sympatico Canada’s and Rogers’s internet services as they haven’t yet provided public opinions for the time being. What has been left out of the whole debate so far is any mention of network neutrality. This is unlike the US version of the copyright debate, where network neutrality is at the forefront of the debate. Still, there are plenty who are currently hailing this new opinion from the corporate giant as forward thinking and positive – a concept that is seemingly hard to come by at times.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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