Developments in computer, Internet and e-commerce law: the year in review (2018-2019)

June 14th, 2019 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I gave my annual presentation yesterday to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covers the period from June 2018 to June 2019. The developments include cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., EU, Australia, South Africa, India and other countries.

The developments are organized into the broad topics of:

  • Privacy / Big Data / AI
  • Employee / HR
  • E-commerce / Online Agreements
  • Online Remedies / Governance / Jurisdiction
  • Copyright

The cases and other documents referred to are below.

Privacy / Big Data / AI

Shifting Paradigms: the Heritage Committee study on copyright

May 17th, 2019 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier this week the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage released its report Shifting Paradigms. The Committee studied remuneration models for artists and the creative industries including the challenges and opportunities for creators. The Committee found several major themes that connected testimony throughout the study:

  • the increasing value gap (a disparity between the value of creative content enjoyed by consumers and the revenues that are received by artists and the creative industries)
  • the decline in the artistic middle class
  • the negative impact of technology on creative industries, and
  • changes in consumer culture and the Indigenous perspective on copyright

Internet and Technology: New Regulatory Paradigms

April 18th, 2019 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I was pleased to speak earlier today at the McCarthy Tétrault  8th Annual Technology Law Innovation Summit. My topic was Internet and Technology: New Regulatory Paradigms. A copy of my slides are set out below.

Barry Sookman 8th_Annual_Technology_Law_Innovation_Summit_Slides

 

The Unintended Equustek Effect: a reply to Michael Geist

April 2nd, 2019 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Cyberspace is not a “No Law Land”. That was the title to a study conduced for Industry Canada in 1997. It started with this quote from Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder:

It’s always surprising how old concepts carry into the new medium. It’s overly idealistic to act like, Oh, the Internet is the one place where people should be able to do whatever they wish: present child pornography, do scams, libel people, steal copyrighted material. Society’s values have not changed fundamentally just because it’s an Internet page.

Democracy under threat: Parliament must act

December 29th, 2018 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

There was a time when large platforms could do no wrong. They were engines that facilitated free speech, political debate, and were seen as a revolutionary force for democratization. They were largely unregulated. In fact, they were accorded special trust and treatment, especially in the United States, where they were given unprecedented and controversial immunities from suits under the Communications Decency Act for enabling the dissemination of illegal content such as hate speech, defamation, and harassing information.

Norms for copyright reform: my submission to the INDU Committee

December 11th, 2018 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Here is my submission to the INDU Committee conducting the s.92 review of the Copyright Act. It is based on my remarks made to the Committee when I appeared before it on December 3, 2018. My remarks to the Committee and answers to questions can be accessed on Parvu.

_________________________

I am a Senior Partner in the technology law group of McCarthy Tétrault.  I have represented members of the creative industries, intermediaries and users. I also teach intellectual property law at Osgoode Hall Law School and have published books including on copyright and Internet law.[1] I have both a practical and theoretical understanding of copyright. This submission, like my appearance, is on my own behalf and not on behalf of any clients.

CRTC’s troubling guidelines on CASL accessorial liability

November 7th, 2018 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

If you thought CASL wasn’t draconian enough, think again. The CRTC’s interpretation of CASL in the new Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) (Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2018-415) has tightened the noose on Canada’s already speech impairing anti-spam law. Under the Guidelines, intermediaries of all stripes including telecom providers, ISPs, hosting companies, payment processors, advertising brokers, electronic marketers, software and application developers and distributors can be liable for CASL violations of their users – whether these intermediaries even intend or know that their users are using their products or services to violate CASL.

CRTC punts FairPlay site blocking proposal to Parliament

October 2nd, 2018 by Barry Sookman 2 comments »

In a decision that can only be regarded as a major blow to Canadian creators and distributors of copyright materials, the CRTC today, in Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-384, dismissed FairPlay Canada’s application to establish a site blocking regime to combat the scourge of online piracy.

The CRTC dismissed the application on jurisdictional grounds, but not before making the express finding that the record before it “demonstrates that there is evidence that copyright piracy results in harm to the Canadian broadcasting system and to the economy in general”.

ISPs fees for complying with Norwich orders: Rogers v Voltage

September 14th, 2018 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Who bears the costs of complying with Norwich orders? These orders require ISPs to disclose the identify of their subscribers to enable copyright owners to bring legal proceedings against suspected infringers. The issue was resolved earlier today by the Supreme Court in Rogers Communications Inc. v. Voltage Pictures, LLC, 2018 SCC 38.

Global Internet injunctions: my Alai talk

September 14th, 2018 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I had the pleasure earlier today of speaking at the 2018 ALAI Congress in Montreal. My topic was on global internet injunctions. My slides are shown below.

ALAI_International_Injunctions_Equustek_Case