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 No comments »

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.

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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

Online immunities for Internet platforms under NAFTA

August 31st, 2018 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Canada and the U.S. appear to be getting close to the wire on the renegotiated NAFTA. If the USTR Fact Sheet on the UNITED STATES–MEXICO Trade Agreement is accurate, the agreement will contain a new requirement to:

Limit the civil liability of Internet platforms for third-party content that such platforms host or process, outside of the realm intellectual property enforcement, thereby enhancing the economic viability of these engines of growth that depend on user interaction and user content.

Google’s loss in online defamation case Trkulja v Google good reason to resist CDA in NAFTA

June 25th, 2018 by Barry Sookman No comments »

There is a repeating pattern in online defamation cases against Google. An individual’s reputation is alleged to be tarnished by Google’s search results or its autocomplete feature. The individuals plead with Google for help. As one of the Internet’s most important gatekeepers, Google is in a position to stop the damage, especially because its algorithms are the source of it. Google refuses to help, or does so only partially. Courts rule against Google finding it a publisher, at least once it has notice. Google, appeals the decision, apparently unconcerned about the damages its search services cause to members of the public or the financial and emotional costs of litigating against one of the planet’s richest companies. Google loses the appeal.