Learn about Michael Geist, http://www.michaelgeist.ca
Michael Allen Geist is a Canadian academic, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. Mr. Geist was educated at the University of Western Ontario, Osgoode Hall Law School, where he received his Bachelor of Laws, Cambridge University, where he received a Master of Laws, and Columbia Law School, where he received a Master of Laws and Doctor of Law degree. He has been a visiting professor at universities around the world including the University of Haifa, Hong Kong University, and Tel Aviv University. He is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
The misuse of Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system has attracted considerable media and political attention over the past week. With revelations that some rights holders are requiring Internet providers to send notifications that misstate the law in an effort to extract payments based on unproven infringement allegations, the government has acknowledged that the notices are misleading and promised to contact providers and rights holders to stop the practice.
While the launch of the copyright system has proven to be an embarrassment for Industry Minister James Moore, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that many Canadians are still left wondering whether the law applies to Internet video streaming, which has emerged as the most popular way to access online video.
In recent years, the use of BitTorrent and similar technologies to engage in unauthorized copying has not disappeared, but network usage indicates its importance is rapidly diminishing. Waterloo-based Sandvine recently reported the BitTorrent now comprises only five per cent of Internet traffic during peak periods in North America (file sharing as a whole takes up seven per cent). That represents a massive decline since 2008, when file sharing constituted nearly one-third of all peak period network traffic.
The decline largely reflects a shift toward streaming video, which is now the dominant use of network traffic. Netflix alone comprises almost 35 per cent of download network traffic in North America during peak periods with the other top sources of online streaming video – YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime, and Hulu – pushing the total to nearly 60 per cent.
The emergence of streaming video raises some interesting legal questions, particularly for users wondering whether the notice-and-notice system might apply to their streaming habits. The answer is complicated by the myriad of online video sources that raise different issues.
The most important sources are the authorized online video services operating in Canada such as Netflix, Shomi, CraveTV, YouTube, and streaming video that comes directly from broadcasters or content creators. These popular services, which may be subscription-based or advertiser-supported, raise few legal concerns since the streaming site has obtained permission to make the content available or made it easy for rights holders to remove it.
Closely related are authorized online video services that do not currently serve the Canadian market. These would include Hulu or Amazon Prime, along with the U.S. version of Netflix. Subscribers can often circumvent geographic blocks by using a “virtual private network” that makes it appear as if they are located in the U.S. Accessing the service may violate the terms of service, but would not result in a legal notification from the rights holder.
The most controversial sources are unauthorized streaming websites that offer free content without permission of the rights holder. Canadian copyright law is well-equipped to stop such unauthorized services if they are located in Canada since the law features provisions that can be used to shut down websites that “enable” infringement.
Those accessing the streams are unlikely to be infringing copyright, however. The law exempts temporary reproductions of copyrighted works if completed for technical reasons. Since most streaming video does not actually involve downloading a copy of the work (it merely creates a temporary copy that cannot be permanently copied), users can legitimately argue that merely watching a non-downloaded stream does not run afoul of the law.
Not only does the law give the viewer some comfort, but enforcement against individuals would in any event be exceptionally difficult. Unlike peer-to-peer downloading, in which users’ Internet addresses are publicly visible, only the online streaming site knows the address of the streaming viewer. That means that rights holders simply do not know who is watching an unauthorized stream and are therefore unable to forward notifications.
While some might see that as an invitation to stream from unauthorized sites, the data suggests that services such as Netflix constitute the overwhelming majority of online streaming activity. Should unauthorized streaming services continue to grow, however, rights holders will likely become more aggressive in targeting the sites themselves using another feature of the 2012 Canadian copyright reform package.
The old days of “rabbit ear” antennas on our TVs seem like a long time ago. Analog antennas were made redundant by satellite and cable TV solutions, and then the digital age of online streaming. But while the old analog broadcasting signals are now obsolete, a growing number of cord cutters are using digital frequencies to obtain free over-the-air (OTA) HDTV channels. If you’re curious about digital antennas.
What to look for before buying a TV antenna?
Your distance from the broadcast station or transmission tower, as well as the topography of your area, are 2 important factors that dictate what kind of antenna you’ll need. The wrong digital TV antenna — whether it’s too weak or too strong — could result in bad reception and a poor viewing experience. There are websites that and can tell you what kind of signal strength you can get and what kind of antenna you’ll require, based on your location.
Do I need an indoor or outdoor antenna?
An indoor HDTV antenna is usually smaller and easier to set up in the home. If you’re a city dweller, you may only need an indoor multi-directional antenna which picks up signals close by and from various directions. But if you live way out in the boonies — far from broadcast stations and transmission towers — you may still need an amplified outdoor antenna directed precisely at where the signal’s source. An outdoor antenna offers a greater range, picking up signals from transmission towers over 40km away.
Do I need an amplified antenna?
Amplified indoor antennas offer the performance of an outdoor antenna by boosting weak signals. Amplifiers are ideal if you need to pick up a signal from far away or if your signal is blocked by nearby obstacles like trees, hills, or buildings. If TV stations broadcast within close proximity to your home, chances are you already have a strong signal. In this circumstance, an amplifier is unnecessary and will overload your digital tuner, resulting in unwatchable TV.
Choosing the Best TV Antenna for Vancouver, British Columbia with HDTV Antenna Labs GeoSelector BETA
HDTV Antenna Labs GeoSelector will guide you through the process of selecting the best HD TV antenna for Vancouver, British Columbia. Here is what it does for you:
List of TV Stations in Vancouver, British Columbia Displays all TV stations available in or near Vancouver, British Columbia, and generates an antenna recommendation using a sophisticated algorithm which takes into account your exact location, TV stations power and frequency, antennas directionality and gain.
HDTV Antenna Labs Antenna Suggestion for Vancouver, British Columbia An expert analysis done specifically for your location. Tigerbangs, an over-the-air TV reception guru, shares his prescription.
TV Reception Reports for Vancouver, British Columbia TV reception reports are filed by people who want to share their TV reception experience with others living nearby. Wondering what antenna works for others in Vancouver, British Columbia? Check the TV reception reports.
The mid 2000s were the beginning of television programs becoming available via the Internet. iTunes began offering select television programs and series in 2005, available for download after direct payment. The video-sharing site YouTube also launched in 2005 allowing users to share illegally posted television programs. A few years later television networks and other independent services began creating sites where shows and programs could be streamed online. Amazon Video began in the United States as Amazon Unbox in 2006, but did not launch worldwide until 2016.Netflix, a website originally created for DVD rentals and sales began providing streaming content in 2007. In 2008 Hulu, owned by NBC and Fox, was launched, followed by tv.com in 2009 and owned by CBS. Digital media players also began to become available to the public during this time. The first generation Apple TV was released in 2007 and in 2008 the first generation Roku streaming device was announced.Smart TVs took over the television market after 2010 and continue to partner with new providers to bring streaming video to even more users. As of 2015 smart TVs are the only type of middle to high-end television being produced. Amazon’s version of a digital media player, Amazon Fire TV, was not offered to the public until 2014. These digital media players have continued to be updated and new generations released. Access to television programming has evolved from computer and television access, to also include mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Apps for mobile devices started to become available via app stores in 2008. These mobile apps allow users to view content on mobile devices that support the apps. After 2010 traditional cable and satellite television providers began to offer services such as Sling TV, owned by Dish Network, which was unveiled in January 2015.DirecTV, another satellite television provider launched their own streaming service, DirecTV Now, in 2016. In 2017 YouTube launched YouTube TV, a streaming service that allows users to watch live television programs from popular cable or network channels, and record shows to stream anywhere, anytime. As of 2017, 28% of US adults cite streaming services as their main means for watching television, and 61% of those ages 18 to 29 cite it as their main method. As of 2018, Netflix is the world’s largest streaming TV network and also the world’s largest Internet media and entertainment company with 117 million paid subscribers, and by revenue and market cap.
The Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) consortium of industry companies (such as SES, Humax, Philips, and ANT Software) is currently promoting and establishing an open European standard for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast and broadband digital television and multimedia applications with a single-user interface.
As of the 2010s, providers of Internet television use various technologies to provide VoD systems and live streaming. BBC iPlayer makes use of the Adobe Flash Player to provide streaming-video clips and other software provided by Adobe for its download service. CNBC, Bloomberg Television and Showtime use live-streaming services from BitGravity to stream live television to paid subscribers using the HTTP protocol.
BBC iPlayer originally incorporated peer-to-peer streaming, moved towards centralized distribution for their video streaming services. BBC executive Anthony rose cited network performance as an important factor in the decision, as well as the unhappiness among consumers unhappy with their own network bandwidth being consumed for transmitting content to other viewers.
Samsung TV has also announced their plans to provide streaming options including 3D Video on Demand through their Explore 3D service.
Additionally, BBC iPlayer makes use of a parental control system giving parents the option to “lock” content, meaning that a password would have to be used to access it. Flagging systems can be used to warn a user that content may be certified or that it is intended for viewing post-watershed. Honour systems are also used where users are asked for their dates of birth or age to verify if they are able to view certain content.
IPTV delivers television content using signals based on the Internet protocol (IP), through the open, unmanaged Internet with the “last-mile” telecom company acting only as the Internet service provider (ISP). As described above, “Internet television” is “over-the-top technology” (OTT). Both IPTV and OTT use the Internet protocol over a packet-switched network to transmit data, but IPTV operates in a closed system—a dedicated, managed network controlled by the local cable, satellite, telephone, or fiber-optic company. In its simplest form, IPTV simply replaces traditional circuit switched analog or digital television channels with digital channels which happen to use packet-switched transmission. In both the old and new systems, subscribers have set-top boxes or other customer-premises equipment that communicates directly over company-owned or dedicated leased lines with central-office servers. Packets never travel over the public Internet, so the television provider can guarantee enough local bandwidth for each customer’s needs.
The Internet protocol is a cheap, standardized way to enable two-way communication and simultaneously provide different data (e.g., TV-show files, email, Web browsing) to different customers. This supports DVR-like features for time shifting television: for example, to catch up on a TV show that was broadcast hours or days ago, or to replay the current TV show from its beginning. It also supports video on demand—browsing a catalog of videos (such as movies or television shows) which might be unrelated to the company’s scheduled broadcasts.
Stream quality refers to the quality of the image and audio transferred from the servers of the distributor to the user’s home screen. Higher-quality video such as video in high definition (720p+) requires higher bandwidth and faster connection speeds. The generally accepted kbit/s download rate needed to stream high-definition video that has been encoded with H.264 is 3500 kbit/s, whereas standard-definition television can range from 500 to 1500 kbit/s depending on the resolution on screen. In the UK, the BBC iPlayer deals with the largest amount of traffic yet it offers HD content along with SD content. As more people have gotten broadband connections which can deal with streaming HD video over the Internet, the BBC iPlayer has tried to keep up with demand and pace. However, as streaming HD video takes around 1.5 GB of data per hour of video the BBC has had to invest a lot of money collected from License Fee payers to implement this on a large scale.
For users who do not have the bandwidth to stream HD video or even high-SD video, which requires 1500 kbit/s, the BBC iPlayer offers lower bitrate streams which in turn lead to lower video quality. This makes use of an adaptive bitrate stream so that if the user’s bandwidth suddenly drops, iPlayer will lower its streaming rate to compensate. A diagnostic tool offered on the BBC iPlayer site measures a user’s streaming capabilities and bandwidth.
In the last few years[when?], Channel 4 has started providing HD content on its On Demand platforms such as iOS App, Android App and Channel4.com website. Although competitors in the UK such as Demand Five have not yet offered HD streaming[when?], the technology to support it is fairly new and widespread HD streaming is not an impossibility. The availability of Channel 4 and Five content on YouTube is predicted to prove incredibly popular as series such as Skins, Green Wing, The X Factor and others become available in a simple, straightforward format on a website which already attracts millions of people every day.
Internet television is common in most US households as of the mid 2010s. About one in four new televisions being sold is now a smart TV.
Considering the vast popularity of smart TVs and devices such as the Roku and Chromecast, much of the US public can watch television via the internet. Internet-only channels are now established enough to feature some Emmy-nominated shows, such as Netflix‘s House of Cards. Many networks also distribute their shows the next day to streaming providers such as Hulu Some networks may use a proprietary system, such as the BBC utilizes their iPlayer format. This has resulted in bandwidth demands increasing to the point of causing issues for some networks. It was reported in February 2014 that Verizon is having issues coping with the demand placed on their network infrastructure. Until long-term bandwidth issues are worked out and regulation such at net neutrality Internet Televisions push to HDTV may start to hinder growth.
Aereo was launched in March 2012 in New York City (and subsequently stopped from broadcasting in June 2014). It streamed network TV only to New York customers over the Internet. Broadcasters filed lawsuits against Aereo, because Aereo captured broadcast signals and streamed the content to Aereo’s customers without paying broadcasters. In mid-July 2012, a federal judge sided with the Aereo start-up. Aereo planned to expand to every major metropolitan area by the end of 2013. The Supreme Court ruled against Aereo June 24, 2014.
Many providers of Internet television services exist—including conventional television stations that have taken advantage of the Internet as a way to continue showing television shows after they have been broadcast, often advertised as “on-demand” and “catch-up” services. Today, almost every major broadcaster around the world is operating an Internet television platform. Examples include the BBC, which introduced the BBC iPlayer on 25 June 2008 as an extension to its “RadioPlayer” and already existing streamed video-clip content, and Channel 4 that launched 4oD (“4 on Demand”) (now All 4) in November 2006 allowing users to watch recently shown content. Most Internet television services allow users to view content free of charge; however, some content is for a fee.
Since 2012 around 200 over-the-top (OTT) platforms providing streamed and downloadable content have emerged. Investment by Netflix in new original content for its OTT platform reached $13bn in 2018.
Broadcasting rights vary from country to country and even within provinces of countries. These rights govern the distribution of copyrighted content and media and allow the sole distribution of that content at any one time. An example of content only being aired in certain countries is BBC iPlayer. The BBC checks a user’s IP address to make sure that only users located in the UK can stream content from the BBC. The BBC only allows free use of their product for users within the UK as those users have paid for a television license that funds part of the BBC. This IP address check is not foolproof as the user may be accessing the BBC website through a VPN or proxy server. Broadcasting rights can also be restricted to allowing a broadcaster rights to distribute that content for a limited time. Channel 4’s online service All 4 can only stream shows created in the US by companies such as HBO for thirty days after they are aired on one of the Channel 4 group channels. This is to boost DVD sales for the companies who produce that media.
Some companies pay very large amounts for broadcasting rights with sports and US sitcoms usually fetching the highest price from UK-based broadcasters. A trend among major content producers in North America[when?] is the use of the “TV Everywhere” system. Especially for live content, the TV Everywhere system restricts viewership of a video feed to select Internet service providers, usually cable television companies that pay a retransmission consent or subscription fee to the content producer. This often has the negative effect of making the availability of content dependent upon the provider, with the consumer having little or no choice on whether they receive the product.
With the advent of broadband Internet connections, multiple streaming providers have come onto the market in the last couple of years. The main providers are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Some of these providers such as Hulu advertise and charge a monthly fee. Other such as Netflix and Amazon charge users a monthly fee and have no commercials. Netflix is the largest provider; it has over 43 million members and its membership numbers are growing.[when?] The rise of internet TV has resulted in cable companies losing customers to a new kind of customer called “cord cutters”. Cord cutters are consumers who are cancelling their cable TV or satellite TV subscriptions and choosing instead to stream TV shows, movies and other content via the Internet. Cord cutters are forming communities. With the increasing availability of video sharing websites (e.g., YouTube) and streaming services, there is an alternative to cable and satellite television subscriptions. Cord cutters tend to be younger people.