Friday, February 25, 2011

Rage at the Monopoly

A pet peeve of mine is the Canadian cable and phone racket. If like me you are persuaded that in voyaging across the Web we enter into a social experiment more profoundly changing than anything humans have ever done and you live in Canada, your freedom to participate is firmly limited by our national trio of monopolist telecom-media conglomerates. They keep our local access to the magic global realm of the Internet world-beatingly expensive.

When other Western consumers get all the downloadable goodies long before we do we Canadians look like Second-Worlders. Blockbuster Video, the film rental chain, while bankrupted in the USA is doing just fine up here in the Frozen North where our Chapters/Indigo bookshops continue to expand their music offerings on CDs. On the air we now hear our favourite radio or TV stations boasting about their new iPhone app - with our costly data plans who tunes in on a mobile? By keeping the cost of streaming so high our cable monopolies help Canadians to remain global technology yokels.

If you like recorded music you may have heard of Pandora music downloads? Pandora got pulled here in our Dominion before it ever got going. For that you can thank Re:Sound, a Canadian agency that collects music royalties on behalf of record companies. While film downloads are finally available through Netflix, they can offer nothing still in movie theatres or as a recently-released DVD. This is because another monopoly called Hollywood with its global reach controls all the copyright. Why encourage downloads when folk up here can still be made to pay more for movies at a video store or cinema?

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