Term extension and respect for artists: a reply to Michael Geist

April 23rd, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

On Wednesday, the government announced an extension of the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings, increasing the term from 50 years to 70 years. The announcement was widely applauded by Canadian artists, such as Randy Bachman, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Cowboy Junkies, Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Kardinal Offishall, Serena Ryder, Tom Cochrane, Gordon Lightfoot, Loreena McKennitt, and Triumph, and by organizations representing artists and makers of sound recordings, including the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), Music Canada, and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Leonard Cohen expressed the sentiments of many artists in saying:

Canada to extend copyright term for artists and record producers

April 21st, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Canadian Government announced today that it is amending the Copyright Act to extend the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from its current term of 50 years to 70 years. The announcement, which also included a statement that Canada intends to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty for the blind and visually impaired, was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget expressed the Government’s intentions as follows:

Canada to accede to Marrakesh Treaty and extend copyright term in sound recordings

April 21st, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Canadian Government announced today that it is making amendments to the Copyright Act to enable Canada to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty and to extend the term of copyright protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. The announcement was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget described the Government’s intentions in relation to the Marrakesh Treaty as follows:

Safari workaround claimants to get their day in UK court against Google: Google Inc v Vidal-Hall

March 30th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The ‘Safari workaround’ has cost Google millions. In 2012, it paid a civil penalty of US$22.5 million to settle charges brought by the US FTC that Google misrepresented to users of the Safari browser that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted advertisements to those users. In 2013 it paid US$17 million to settle US state consumer-based actions brought by State AGs.

Message board operators liable for defamatory posts says court: Baglow v. Smith

March 1st, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

You know a defamation case is going to be a good one when it starts like this:

Political debate in the Internet blogosphere can be, and, often is, rude, aggressive, sarcastic, hyperbolic, insulting, caustic and/or vulgar.  It is not for the faint of heart.  This case is an action in defamation involving political bloggers on the Internet.

The case is Baglow v. Smith, 2015 ONSC 1175. One of the issues in the case was whether the moderator of a message board who does not remove defamatory content is liable as a publisher for defamation purposes.

C.D. Howe: Copyright Board undercompensating artists and depriving rights holders of royalties

February 19th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Shortly after the Copyright Board certified Tariff 8 setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada, 70 music organizations publicly denounced it. They called it “a serious setback for the music community in Canada” and “for artists and the music companies who invest in their careers”. A core criticism was the Board’s refusal to use freely negotiated market-based agreements as the proxy to set the rates and to certify the tariff at 10% of the rates that the same services pay in the U.S.

Cyber threats, information sharing and The Digital Privacy Act

February 16th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Cyber security is top of mind these days in corporate boardrooms, governments, and with consumers. Last week was exemplary with more reports of hacks and governments moving forward with measures attempting to address the growing threats.

The New York Times reported that bank hackers stole millions using malware in a scam that allegedly involved an attack on more than 100 banks and other FIs in 30 nations. This followed a series of seemingly unending reports of attacks against other organizations.

Jurisdiction simpliciter in copyright cases: Geophysical Service v Arcis Seismic Solutions

February 8th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

In Club Resorts Ltd. v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, the Supreme Court clarified the rules for when a Canadian court can assume jurisdiction over a claim against a party located outside the jurisdiction. Specifically, it clarified the rules for applying the real and substantial test to determining if there is a sufficient connection between the subject matter of the action and the jurisdiction for  determining jurisdiction simpliciter. The Van Breda case did not, however, address how that test would apply to cases involving infringement of copyright.

Internet justice: Mosley v Google

February 2nd, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

In the landmark ruling in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (case no. C-131/12, May 13, 2014), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recognized that search engines are controllers of the personal information they process and have the obligation, in appropriate cases, to de-list links to personal information in their search results. A recent decision in  Mosley v Google Inc & Anor [2015] EWHC 59 (QB) (15 January 2015) has recognized that a right to get a blocking order against a search engine might also exist in the United Kingdom under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. The case also illustrates the challenges individuals have in vindicating their privacy interests in the Internet context.

LSUC: The year in review in copyright (2014)

January 25th, 2015 by Barry Sookman 2 comments »

On January 22, I gave a talk at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 19th Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. My talk canvassed developments in copyright in 2014. I previously published a paper that summarizes leading cases from Canada, the United States, elsewhere in the Commonwealth and the European Union called Copyright law 2014: the year in review and is available at the link on my blog.

My slides from the LSUC talk are reproduced below and summarize the following cases:

Canada

  1. Canadian Artists’ Representation v. National Gallery of Canada, 2014 SCC 42