Keyword advertising not passing off: Vancouver Community College v. Vancouver Career College

August 25th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Search engines make billions of dollars each year selling keywords to businesses to advertise their products and services online. Businesses often bid for keywords that are trade-marks or trade-names of their competitors. Understandably this has generated considerable litigation around the world against search engines such as Google and their customers, much of it unsuccessful.

The recent Canadian case, Vancouver Community College v. Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc., 2015 BCSC 1470 affirmed that the owner of a trade-mark cannot succeed in a passing off action against a person who buys and uses the trade-mark of a competitor as a keyword unless, the person can prove that that use causes or is likely to cause confusion. The court made these types of cases difficult to pursue by also holding that the potential for confusion cannot arise before a searcher reaches the advertiser’s website.

Digital Privacy Act (Bill S-4) now law

June 18th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Digital Privacy Act was given a quick third reading in the House yesterday and was speedily given royal assent to become law earlier today. This law, which has been in the making since 2007, updates Canada’s comprehensive federal privacy legislation PIPEDA in quite significant ways. I previously summarized salient aspects of the law in my blog posts, Digital Privacy Act: Important work still to be done by the INDU Committee and Cyber threats, information sharing and The Digital Privacy Act.

The year in review: developments in computer, internet and e-commerce law (2014-2015)

June 10th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

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 2014 to June 2015. The developments included cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries.

The developments were organized into the broad topics of: Online Agreements, Licensing/Technology Contracting, Privacy, Online Liability, Cyber-security and Copyright.

The cases referred to are listed below. My slides can be viewed after the case listing.

Online Agreements

Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 763 F. 3d 1171 (9th.Cir. 2014)

Privacy by Design certification framework launched by Ryerson and Deloitte

May 25th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

This morning, Ryerson University and Deloitte announced a new certification framework based on Privacy by Design principles. Privacy by Design is a set of principles that builds privacy into the design, operation and management of a given system, business process or design specification. It is based on 7 Foundational Principles developed by Dr Ann Cavoukian, Executive Director of Ryerson’s Privacy and Big Data Institute and the former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Under the Privacy by Design framework, Ryerson will be responsible for certifying organizations that meet the necessary privacy criteria. Organizations must first undergo an assessment by Deloitte, Ryerson’s exclusive assessment arm for the certification framework, against the 7 Foundational Principles.

Budget Bill with copyright amendments tabled in House of Commons

May 7th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Government tabled legislation in Parliament today to implement certain provisions of the budget. The Bill summarizes the following key legislative provisions of interest to readers of this blog as follows:

  • amends the Copyright Act to extend the term of copyright protection for a published sound recording and a performer’s performance fixed in a published sound recording from 50 years to 70 years after publication; it caps the term at 100 years after the first fixation of, respectively, the sound recording or the performer’s performance in a sound recording;

Economic effects of term extension for sound recordings

April 30th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Last week the government announced an extension to the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings, increasing the term from 50 years to 70 years. In doing so, the Government exhibited respect for artists and their music and decided to act before their valuable recordings fell into the public domain.

Michael Geist was quick to criticize the announcement, claiming it could cost Canadian consumers “millions of dollars” and that it would result in fewer works entering the public domain. In support of his claims, Geist referred to several “studies”.

Term extension and respect for artists: a reply to Michael Geist

April 23rd, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

On Wednesday, the government announced an extension of the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings, increasing the term from 50 years to 70 years. The announcement was widely applauded by Canadian artists, such as Randy Bachman, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Cowboy Junkies, Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Kardinal Offishall, Serena Ryder, Tom Cochrane, Gordon Lightfoot, Loreena McKennitt, and Triumph, and by organizations representing artists and makers of sound recordings, including the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), Music Canada, and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Leonard Cohen expressed the sentiments of many artists in saying:

Canada to extend copyright term for artists and record producers

April 21st, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Canadian Government announced today that it is amending the Copyright Act to extend the term of protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from its current term of 50 years to 70 years. The announcement, which also included a statement that Canada intends to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty for the blind and visually impaired, was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget expressed the Government’s intentions as follows:

Canada to accede to Marrakesh Treaty and extend copyright term in sound recordings

April 21st, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Canadian Government announced today that it is making amendments to the Copyright Act to enable Canada to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty and to extend the term of copyright protection for performers and makers of sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. The announcement was made as part of the Government’s Budget and is expected to be enacted as part of a budget implementation bill to be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.

The Budget described the Government’s intentions in relation to the Marrakesh Treaty as follows:

Safari workaround claimants to get their day in UK court against Google: Google Inc v Vidal-Hall

March 30th, 2015 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The ‘Safari workaround’ has cost Google millions. In 2012, it paid a civil penalty of US$22.5 million to settle charges brought by the US FTC that Google misrepresented to users of the Safari browser that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted advertisements to those users. In 2013 it paid US$17 million to settle US state consumer-based actions brought by State AGs.