Archive for the ‘Copyright’ category

Canadian government response to copyright and digital policy issues

April 24th, 2018

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.

Copyright

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:

FairPlay copyright blocking proposal: my presentation at the Fordham IP conference

April 7th, 2018

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?

I have written extensively about the proposal including in a lengthy intervention supporting it filed with the CRTC, also available here.

My slides from the Fordham talk are below.

Sookman_Fordham_re_Fairplay_6_April_2018

 

Fact checking Michael Geist’s criticisms of the FairPlay site blocking proposal

March 29th, 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.[1]  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,[2] his criticisms were unfounded and overblown.

Kodi box add-on distributor loses copyright appeal: Bell v Adam Lackman dba TVADDONS.AG

February 21st, 2018

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.

US court thumbs its nose at Supreme Court of Canada: Google v Equustek

February 18th, 2018

A court in the Northern District of California in Google LLC v. Equustek Solutions Inc.[1] 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.[2]

Why the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s website-blocking plan: a reply to Michael Geist

February 12th, 2018

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.

Support for creators: pirate streaming and the value gap, my op-ed in the Globe

January 19th, 2018

Here is my full unedited op-ed published in today’s Globe and Mail.

The cultural industries in Canada are facing major challenges. A significant contributing cause is our outdated legal frameworks. They did not contemplate, and have not been updated to address, the new means of stealing content or uses of content by Internet platforms and others without permission or paying just compensation. These issues and proposals to address them deserve our attention. Two examples are illustrative.

The first involves Internet streaming piracy. Canadians have a plethora of ways to watch television and movie programming, including over-the-air broadcasts, cable, satellite, authorized IPTV services, and over-the-top services such as Netflix.

Globe and Mail editorial attacks on Canadian creators and broadcasters: what’s up with the Globe?

January 4th, 2018

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.

Website blocking effective without over blocking: EUFA v British Telecommunications

December 31st, 2017

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.

Website blocking proposal good policy

December 8th, 2017

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.