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..
I had the pleasure to speak at the 26th Annual Fordham Intellectual Property Law & Policy Conference. In my opinion, this is the best IP conference. My topic was
Canada’s Fairplay’s Website-Blocking Plan: What is it and is it consistent with international norms and principles including requirements for proportionality, rights to freedom of expression and principles of net neutrality?
My slides from the Fordham talk are below.Sookman_Fordham_re_Fairplay_6_April_2018
The FairPlay coalition comprising more than 25 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members of Canada’s creative community made a reasonable proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada’s telecommunications and broadcast regulator, to address the scourge of online copyright infringement. The proposal, which involves website blocking, was immediately attacked by anti-copyright activist Michael Geist (“Geist”) in a series of articles and interviews. As I showed in a prior lengthy blog post, his criticisms were unfounded and overblown.
Illegal streaming of TV and movie programming fueled by the sale of illicit streaming devices (ISDs) (such as fully loaded Kodi boxes) and websites that make available to the public software add-ons configured and marketed to facilitate receipt of pirate streams is a real problem in Canada. The most effective way of reducing this type of illegal streaming is by the use of website blocking, something the CRTC will have to consider in the FairPlay Canada website blocking application.
A court in the Northern District of California in Google LLC v. Equustek Solutions Inc. issued a preliminary injunction on November 2, 2017 enjoining Equustek from enforcing the global de-indexing order it obtained against Google in a British Columbia court. Later that year, as Equustek did not defend the proceeding, the court issued a one page default judgment making the injunction permanent.
The Hill Times published my op-ed on the FairPlay Canada website blocking proposal, Why the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s piracy site-blocking plan. The full unedited version, complete with endnote references is below.
Last week Fairplay Canada filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), asking for a new tool to help Canadian creators to combat online theft of their content by illegal piracy websites. It proposed that the Canada’s telecom regulator create an independent agency to identify websites and services that are “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy”. Following a fair procedural process, the agency could recommend that a site be blocked by ISPs. Then, if the CRTC agreed, that quasi-judicial administrative agency could use its lawful authority to order ISPs to block the site.