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.
I gave my annual presentation today to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covered the period from June 2016 to June 2017. The developments included cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., and other EU and Commonwealth countries.
The developments were organized into the broad topics of: Online Liability/Intermediary Remedies, Copyright, Trade-marks/Domain Names, Technology Contracting, e-Commerce & Online Agreements, and Canada’s (despised) anti-spam/malware law, CASL
The cases referred to are listed below. My slides can be viewed after the case listing. These and many other cases will be added to my 7 volume book on Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (1988-2016).
The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Equustek v Google case is likely going to be an important precedent. It will decide whether a Canadian common law court has the jurisdiction to grant de-indexing orders against search engines to aid in enforcing court injunctions, and if it does, the test to apply in making such orders.
The Supreme Court has invited counsel for the parties to make comments on a possible media lock-up immediately prior to the release of the decision by the court. The purpose of lock-ups, as explained in the court’s procedure, “is to facilitate accurate and informed reporting of the Court’s judgments”.
CASL in its present form was a big mistake. The private right of action (PRA) which was scheduled to come into effect July 1, 2017 would have compounded the adverse effects of this flawed, overly-broad, indefensible, and likely unconstitutional law. See, CASL’s private right of action.
The Government strongly signaled today that it is prepared to fix or at least mitigate some of the excessive elements of the CASL regime. This is something that every sector of the Canadian public including charities, not-for profit and educational institutions, private individuals, small, medium and large businesses, retailers, publishers, financial institutions, technology and telecom companies had been asking for even before CASL came into force. See, Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL), too much of a good thing .
I had the pleasure of speaking to the Council of Ontario Universities last week on the topic of Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL). July 1, 2017 is a milestone date with the private right of action (PRA) slated to come into force and the transitional period for the existing and non-existing business relationship implied consent provision coming to an end. Both these events are causing significant anxiety across the country and in countries with organizations doing business with Canadians, in all sectors. (My e-mail in-box and phone have been “ringing” off the hook.)
ISP are often ordered to disclose subscriber information to copyright holders seeking to vindicate their rights. Prior to the Copyright Modernization Act, ISPs were entitled to be paid reasonable compensation for compiling and disclosing the information. In an important ruling yesterday in Voltage Pictures, LLC v Joe Doe #1 2017 FCA 97, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the notice and notice regime established under the CMA changed the law. According to the Court, ISPs are now expected to retain and verify subscriber information without payment of any fees. They may only charge their costs for disclosing this information, costs that the Court stated were likely to be negligible.
You’re a bank and receive instructions by e-mail to wire transfer funds from someone purporting to be your customer. But, the customer’s account was hacked and the e-mail was sent by a fraudster. You, the bank, have no reason to suspect any fraud and act in accordance with your account terms which require you to accept electronic instructions and pursuant to which the customer agreed to secure his account against hackers. Who bears the loss, the bank or the customer? An Ontario court recently examined this question in Du v Jameson Bank, 2017 ONSC 2422 and ruled in favor of the bank on common law and contract grounds.
Fordham Law School has the best annual intellectual property conferences. I had the privilege of speaking at its 25th Annual IP Conference yesterday on the Equustek v Google case. In this case the Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to decide if Canadian courts have the jurisdiction to make global de-indexing orders against search engines like Google, and if so, the factors to be considered in making such orders. My slides from the talk are shown below.
Kodi boxes pre-configured to enable buyers to stream and download movie and TV content are proving to be a challenge to producers and distributors of this content in Canada and around the world. Recently the Federal Court granted an injunction prohibiting the sale of certain pre-configured boxes. The decision was recently affirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal.
I was interviewed earlier this week about the these decisions and the legality of the sales and uses of these boxes. My interview can be viewed here and below.
If you’ve ever shopped for a used car, you likely know the two popular services, autotrader.ca and CarGurus. In a decision released earlier this week in Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841, Trader (the owner and operator of autotrader.ca) was awarded statutory damages of $305,604 against CarCurus for infringements of its copyrights in photographs of vehicles. The decision written by Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court contains some important interpretations of the Copyright Act including in relation to the scope of the new making available right, the copyright defenses for information location tools and fair dealing, and the calculation of statutory damages.