There was a time you could count on The Globe and Mail to support the Canadian cultural industries and to favour legal frameworks designed to strengthen them. You could also count on the Globe not to be soft on content theft by commercial pirates that harm Canadian businesses and impede their ability to innovate. Recently, however, the Globe has taken one-sided positions opposite the creative community. Worse, it has taken these positions relying on inadequate research and supporting them with inaccurate factual assertions, in some cases by relying on writings of anti-copyright activist Michael Geist.
Site blocking is an important tool to reduce online copyright piracy. As I argued in a recent blog post, Website blocking proposal good policy, there are persuasive reasons why these orders should also be available in Canada.
Some opponents of effective protection for the creative industries, broadcasters and distributors oppose site blocking, questioning whether it is effective and suggesting it is a disproportionate remedy, despite the studies and decisions around the world that show otherwise.
CANADALAND recently reported (Inside Bell’s Push To End Net Neutrality In Canada) that a coalition of Canadian companies is considering a proposal to have Canada’s telecommunications and broadcast regulator, the CRTC, establish a regime to block egregious copyright infringing websites.
The proposal is long overdue and, if adopted, would modernize Canada’s laws relating to Internet piracy and bring them into line with those of many of our trading partners. The proposal is not an attack on net neutrality; rather it is an efficient means of stopping content theft. If adopted, the proposal could stop the hemorrhaging that Canadian creators, producers, actors, broadcasters and distributors are suffering due to the scourge of illegal streaming services. The criticisms of the proposal are overblown and contain factually inaccurate statements.
A court in the Northern District of California in Google LLC v. Equustek Solutions Inc. 2017 WL 5000834 (Nov 2, 2017) issued an order earlier this month enjoining Equustek from enforcing the global de-indexing order it obtained against Google in a British Columbia court. This was an order that was given great scrutiny and which was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34 (summarized here).
The fall is usually accompanied by some great conferences for tech and communications lawyers. This year is no exception.
The IT.Can 21st Annual Conference will be held on October 23 and 24, 2017 at the St. Andrew’s Club and Conference Centre in Toronto. There are some terrific plenaries and break-out sessions, as usual. This is the best annual conference for Canadian tech lawyers and a great way to catch up on recent developments. The conference brochure and registration information can be found at IT.Can’s website.
I thank the Committee for inviting me here today. What you are doing is very important. CASL is flawed and needs re-examination.
I am a senior partner with the law firm McCarthy Tetrault. I am also an Adjunct professor of intellectual property law at Osgoode Hall Law School and am on the advisory boards of the think tanks Macdonald Laurier Institute (MLI) and CIGI. I am here today in my personal capacity.
Here are my representations sent to Jill Paterson, Senior Policy Analyst, Digital Policy Branch, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications (SITT) Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, CD Howe Building, 235 Queen Street, Room 162D, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5.
These are my representations on the draft Breach of Security Safeguards Regulations published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, August 14, 2017.
I am Barry Sookman, a senior Partner with the law firm McCarthy Tétrault. I am also an Adjunct professor of intellectual property law at Osgoode Hall law School where I teach, among other things, privacy law. My firm acts for clients that have important concerns about the draft Regulations. However, I make these representations solely on my own behalf.
The Copyright Board just released its long awaited decision on the scope of the making available right under the Copyright Act. In a well reasoned and thorough decision, the Board ruled that the MAR right applies to the making available of both streams and downloads, acts that have to be exclusive rights in order for Canada to meet its international treaty obligations under the WCT and WPPT.
The Board summarized its reasons as follows:
The Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark decision today ruling that Canadian common law courts have the jurisdiction to make global de-indexing orders against search engines like Google. In so, ordering, the Court in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34 underlined the breadth of courts’ jurisdiction to make orders against search engines to stem illegal activities on the Internet including the sale of products manufactured using trade secrets misappropriated from innovative companies.