Canada names new CRTC chair


OTTAWA -- The Canadian government Friday named federal judge Konrad von Finckenstein as the new chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Von Finckenstein, who made a landmark legal decision in 2004 that denied major record labels relief from Internet-driven music piracy, replaces Charles Dalfen as head of Canada's TV and telecoms regulator.

"I am confident that his experience will greatly benefit the commission," heritage minister Beverly Oda said in a statement

Von Finckenstein, 61, was appointed as judge of the Federal Court in 2003. Before that, he worked for six years as commissioner of the Competition Bureau, a federal government department which evaluates major corporate deals on competition grounds.

Von Finckenstein made the headlines in March 2004 with a court ruling against record companies that were pushing to have the exchange of music through peer-to-peer file-sharing declared illegal.

In a controversial decision, Von Finckenstein ruled it wasn't illegal to trade music files via the Internet as long as it was done for personal use. Since the ruling, there has been a strong push for changes to Canada's Copyright Act from most sectors of the entertainment industry.

Former CRTC chair Charles Dalfen stepped down at the end of his term on Dec. 31.

Von Finckenstein could not be reached for comment at press time.