Canadian regs tap new chair

Finckenstein replacing Dalfen

Konrad von Finckenstein, the judge who in 2004 dealt a severe blow to the Canadian music industry when he ruled that uploading and downloading music on the Internet is not copyright infringement, is the new chairman of Canada’s broadcast regulator.

A political appointee, he replaces Charles Dalfen, whose five-year term at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ended Dec. 31.

Illegitimate downloading and pirating of music and movies continues to be a particular problem in Canada, with industryites fingering toothless copyright laws and regulation.

According to the Canadian Recording Industry Assn., “illegitimate downloads outnumber legal sales by hundreds of times in Canada, which is cited by the OECD (Org for Economic Development) as having the largest online piracy rate per capita in the world.”

Von Finckenstein is former director of the Competition Bureau of Canada, a federal competition watchdog, where he spoke out against too much consolidation. He is also founding chairman of the Intl. Competition Network and has lengthy experience in dispute settlement, something that will come in handy at the CRTC.

Regulator has two major deals on its dossier; the takeover of Chum by CTV Globemedia, announced in July, and the takeover of Alliance Atlantis Communications by CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs. Both require a greenlight from the broadcast regulator to go ahead.

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