Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News

Should Canadians be Concerned About SOPA

We’ve been seeing more questions about SOPA and what it means for our Canadian Web Hosting customers.  The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is an U.S. bill that, if passed, would give law enforcement and copyright holders a new level of recourse whenever it appears that their intellectual property has been infringed.   In short, it gives law enforcement the ability to target third parties that have helped “facilitate” or “enable” copyright infringement and gives the copyright holders a more active role in the process where alleged copyright violations have occurred.

What does this have to do with us, we’re Canadians not Americans?

As a matter of fact, a whole lot.  As an example, do you use Google? YouTube? Facebook?  If you do, you better think twice because these service providers (and many others) will become responsible for their users actions.  If you want to show a video to your friends of you playing a Beatles song, then you would be subject to these new regulations and because the service provider has to comply with these new requirements, they would be forced to restrict you/your account including surrendering the video, verifying your identity, etc.  In reading various blogs around the web, it is easy to see that there is a lot of concern and it isn’t hard to see the severity of the situation.

A company offering backup solutions recently sent out an email to its users, which (in part) discusses SOPA:

What is SOPA? This act allows content owners - movie companies, music labels, etc. - to obtain court orders requiring search providers such as Google to filter their search results to exclude websites that host allegedly infringing material, and requiring the net registrars to block DNS servers from providing the correct IP address for such sites. The act also makes site owners civilly liable for the availability of copyright material on their sites. In addition, it makes the posting of a link to a third party website that has copyright material on it the same as hosting the material on your own site.

Again, think about the sites that we all use everyday and the impact that it could potentially have on us.  There is one other very impact aspect that we will keeping our eyes on as this discussion continues.

Because of the broad manner by which SOPA sets up “censorship” safe guards, it could have a very real impact on how IP addresses are used within this law:

It defines “domestic Internet Protocol addresses” — the numeric strings that constitute the actual address of a website or Internet connection — as “an Internet Protocol address for which the corresponding Internet Protocol allocation entity is located within a judicial district of the United States.”  Yet IP addresses are allocated by regional organizations, not national ones. The allocation entity located in the U.S. is called ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Its territory includes the U.S., Canada and 20 Caribbean nations. This bill treats all IP addresses in this region as domestic for U.S. law purposes.  To put this in context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes.

For the purposes of SOPA, it would essentially “pretend” that all foreign sites and providers are domestic potentially including Canadian web sites.   While we don’t think our Canadian customers will be directly impacted by this, it does create a scenario where future iterations of this law could impact us directly through the creation of cross-border agreements or access to entities that control distribution and access to the internet.  What do you think?

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Union Gospel Mission: Feeding hope. Changing lives.

Back in March 3, 2009, we published a press release announcing that our company ( donated $5,000 to the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and over two years later, we’re still supporting this wonderful, local, non profit organization. In this article, we take a step back as the year comes to a close. It’s now December and the weather has significantly gotten colder over the past few weeks recently. When the weather drops, it becomes harder and harder for those less fortunate individuals who are on the streets to make it through the winter. We feel fortunate that we have the basic necessities here at home, however, our minds turn towards those who lack those basic needs. UGM is a terrific, resourceful non profit to get involved with. You can also connect with them via Twitter at @ugm, their Facebook page or YouTube.


Outside of their new building

About UGM
UGM is an urban relief organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM is positioned to help those who need it most. The heart of the Mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside.

What is the mission of UGM?
Union Gospel Mission is determined to restore the God-given dignity of people by sharing and demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ, providing without discrimination:
- Meals, shelter, outreach and chaplaincy services that relieve suffering and renew hope
- Life recovery programs that offer freedom from addictive lifestyles
- Education and job preparation that equip for successful living
- Affordable housing that fosters community and personal contribution
- Preventative programs that build healthy families

Their slogan is: "Feeding hope. Changing lives."

The other week, we had the opportunity to visit their new facility, have lunch with one of their staff members and learn more about their programs. It's amazing what they do. They start serving meals as early as 6:30 am throughout the day, serving hundreds of meals daily. They have many regular volunteers and also, drop in volunteers. We learned that if you want to volunteer on a longer commitment basis, you'd have to attend a volunteer session. We also had the chance to tour some of their offices, classrooms, their computer labs, and some of their lodging facilities.

Here are some photos from our visit:

The front of the building

One of the posters in the reception area

Lunch offerings

The sign outside

Finally, they just celebrated their 71st Annual Christmas Celebration and you can watch their video:

Union Gospel Mission's 71st Annual Christmas Celebration from Union Gospel Mission.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


How Vancouver Entrepreneurs Can Benefit from the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)

It’s already December which translates into the holiday season! Holidays typically mean spending more time connecting with those around us who matter to you. Why not apply that on a business level where we take more time to connect face-to-face and spend extra time getting to know those in your local community, whether you’re here in Vancouver or elsewhere in the world?

Continuing with our theme of networking offline and building a strong network when being a part of a community, I wanted to highlight one of our wonderful local non profit organizations in Vancouver: Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). You can follow them on Twitter at @FWEBC. Shortly, after Social Media Week, I organized an informal tweetup and their CEO, Jill Earthy (@jearthy), showed up with Lisa Niemetscheck, Manager of FWE Experience (@LNiemetscheck) and they were both extremely personable and full of information about local small businesses in the area. It was such an honour that they took the time out of their busy day to meet with myself along with Scott Dawson (@sdd).

What is Forum Women Entrepreneur (FWE)?

Right off their site, “Forum for Women Entrepreneurs of British Columbia (FWE) is for all who are entrepreneurially-minded. It is our mission to provide tools, energy, education and support to all women, encouraging them to become wildly successful entrepreneurs. All of our leading-edge professional programs aim to build long-term relationships and foster a strong bond between our members, advisors, speakers and high-calibre members of the business community. Women entrepreneurs and both men and women business professionals who want to support women entrepreneurs can become a member of FWE.”

What are some Benefits to Being Involved?
My next two thoughts are coming from a non-FWE member's perspective at this point in time.

1) Gaining Relevant Knowledge about Key Topics during their Events
I have attended two of their last events. One was called “Women in Politics" which was a nonpartisan event. Some of the community leaders that we heard from were:

  • Suzanne Anton, NPA
  • Elizabeth Ball, NPA
  • Sandra Garossino, Independent
  • Cherie Payne, Vision
  • Andrea Reimer, Vision
  • Ellen Woodsworth, Cope

Here, they covered thoughts on what it was like to be a woman in politics, the challenges and benefits of being in these highly visible roles, and especially the role of leadership. One of the most relevant topics when you listen to a group of politicians is that you really gain a strong sense of what is really happening within your local communities including the public challenges that citizens are trying to resolve and the solutions that they’re bringing forth to solve those problems. These individuals are some of the most connected people to get to know. Everything is relevant and everything is key. No one was promoting their own parties instead they were sharing their personal stories with us. From an individual standpoint, you get to learn the hardships that others have gone through and it makes you appreciate progress as a whole and perhaps, in your own endeavours, whether they are professional or personal.

2) Connecting and Expanding your Own Understanding about Local Businesses
The very latest event was called “Virtually Possible: How to Monetize Online Platforms & Platforms & Boost ROI.” The moderator, panelists and sponsor representatives included:

Here, this type of event brings various small business owners from around town to connect with. There was a Q&A panel that covered answers regarding how to drive online traffic to your sites, SEO and online content, and online reputation. Afterwards, we were broken in different rooms for a roundtable discussion with one of the panelists. This was a great opportunity to learn more other local businesses that you may not have heard of otherwise.

Closing Thoughts
If you are in the Vancouver area and looking for new business connections, or simply want to expand your professional knowledge, I would recommend that you get involved with the FWE. You will gain something out of this depending on your purposes. Most of their events are in the evenings and they usually include some small bites, coffee and even some great wine. You may even make new friend connections there too. It’s all about putting your business out there and building relationships in the process. We have a fantastic entrepreneurship community here and this non profit organization has been supporting our community successfully since 2002. Check them out and get involved.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru