Canadian Tech News, October 8th – Groups, CBC v CC, Netflix

So I missed last week’s post due to an unprecedentedly busy week and this week I’m in the US of A. Suffice it to say, this weeks’ post is a little different than the others in this series.

The state of group buying in Canada:

A couple of months ago I had not heard of a single group buying sites for the Canadian market. That all changed this month, there has been a mini-explosion of group buying options:

CBC Hates Creative Commons

Reddit user mcantelon discovered a thread of comments buried in the Spark show notes. Spark has a history of using Creative Commons music for intros and bumpers throught the show and providing links to this music with every episode.  A commenter asked where he could find the Creative Commons link to the music used in the latest episode. Show producers Dan Misener and Lilly Mills jump in to provide explanation. Turns out, CBC is not allowed to use Creatives Commons licensed due to a collective barginning agreement! One commenter, Andrew Butash, puts it best “…this is incredibly unsettling. The CBC is a public broadcaster that receives funding from taxpayers. They should not be signing exclusive contracts with any agencies or unions. Disallowing the use of creative commons media is excluding tons of Canadian content from being used by CBC, not to mention wasting money by requiring CBC programs to use non-free media.”

Netflix Gotcha

With the launch of Netflix Canada I was wondering what would happen if you try to log in to netflix.com from the USA with a Canadian account. I was hoping that you’d instantly get access to the US content, allowing for the possibility of a way to spoof your IP from Canada. Unfortunately that’s not what happens. Netflix.com simply does not recognize your Canadian credentials, giving a standard “invalid username/password” type message. When you try to access netflix.ca from a US IP, this happens:

Canadian Tech News, September 22nd – Netflix, Pandora, Hippie Cars, Government Transparency

Netflix Finally Available!
Netflix opened the doors to it’s dot-ca today, offering unlimited streaming service at $7.99 – $1 or $2 less than early rumour suggested. I’ve personally been looking forward to this ever since our household signed up for cable TV again. After poking around a bit today, I’ve found that the selection seems quite limited and random. Hopefully this will improve once Netflix has a larger user-base to offer to rights holder. I am happy that the service does not seem to be influenced by CanCon legislation. Which is to say, there does not seem to be a higher concentration of (obviously) Canadian Content, like there was when iTunes started offering video a few years ago.

I wonder what happens when you log in to Netflix in the US with a Canadian account and vice versa.

Pandora abandons Canadian expansion plans
Tim Westergren – CEO of music streaming service Pandora – slammed Canadian performance rights agencies today, citing high royalty rates as the main reason we won’t be seeing Pandora in Canada any time soon. Starting next year Re:sound wants to increase the royalty rates it charges to websites streaming to mobile devices – up to 45% of the site’s revenue or $0.075/song. In Westergren’s words “over 20 times what radio delivered over AM/FM pays.” Unbelievable!

Calgary firm launches the hippiest car ever
As if electric cars weren’t a hard enough sell for the average consumer already, Calgary’s Motive industries have come up with a way to make them seem even more ludicrous. Hemp-based bodies. The jokes write themselves.

Canadian Governments Respect Internet Privacy
Google has released their latest government requests transparency report – a colleciton of stats about how much private data various governments asking about, or demanding removal of. I was pleasantly surprised to find Canada at the very bottom of the list, making fewer than 10 removal requests