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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
The Hill Times published my Op-ed “Copyright Board harmonization good policy” earlier today. The unedited version with endnote references is below.
Everyone agrees that the Copyright Board needs fixing. A Senate Committee recommended a full review in 2016. The Government acted on the recommendation by convening a public consultation and received numerous submissions.
One of the Government’s options to make the Board more effective is to harmonize the availability of statutory damages so they are available to all creators represented by collectives and not only those represented by the performing rights societies SOCAN and Re:Sound.
The Internet and other digital technologies are transforming the everyday lives of all Canadians. The pace of change requires our legislative frameworks to be continually reviewed and adapted to these changing needs. The current government is tackling these challenges on numerous fronts including most recently in respect of copyright, anti-spam law (CASL), and privacy.
The government has now started its mandatory review of the Copyright Act. The review was proceeded by a letter from Minister Bains and Heritage Minister Joly, both of whom share the copyright file, which provided some guidance to the INDU Committee. The letter underscored the importance of copyright to all stakeholders including that:
Yesterday, a judge of the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed Google’s motion to vary or set aside the global injunction against it that had been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The injunction required Google delist websites that were being used to market a product that Equustek claimed was developed through theft of its trade secrets. Justice Smith in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, 2018 BCSC 610 held that Google was not able to show that the global delisting order made by against it violated its First Amendment rights in the U.S. or the core values of the U.S..