European courts have ordered ISPs to block access to pirate file sharing sites in other countries for years. The jurisdiction for doing so is Article 8(3) of the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001) which is transposed into the laws of EU Member States. The courts have considered these orders to represent a reasonable balance between the interests of copyright holders, intermediaries, and end users. See, Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay.
Archive for the ‘Copyright’ category
Earlier today, a number of international and foreign associations and copyright scholars filed an Amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in the ABC, Inc. et al v. Aereo, Inc case. The brief brings to the attention of the SCOTUS a number of international treaties and trade agreements respecting copyright that impose obligations on the United States to provide copyright holders with a broad technologically neutral communication to the public right that would cover all aspects of Aereo’s service and make its service infringing.
Yesterday, I gave a talk at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 18h Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. My talk canvassed developments in copyright in Canada, the US and UK in 2013. My slides are shown below. The associated paper prepared in collaboration with Glen Bloom, with the help of others, is available here.
The following copyright cases from Canada, the USA, and UK are dealt with in the slides. The paper has additional Canadian cases.
In the last decade, the Supreme Court of Canada has canvassed many important issues in copyright law including the scope of the rights of reproduction and authorization, what makes a work original, and how to apply the fair dealing defense. In its decision released yesterday in Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, 2013 SCC 73, a unanimous Supreme Court released an important precedent dealing with many other core areas of copyright including the framework for how to assess if a “substantial part” of a work has been reproduced, the assessment of damages for infringement including accounting of profits, non-pecuniary damages and punitive damages, the use of experts in a copyright case, the vicarious liability of directors for infringement, and whether copyright is protected by the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms. For copyright lawyers, this case is a goldmine – a treasure trove -of important copyright holdings by the Supreme Court.
The England High Court recently made an order requiring ISPs to block two linking websites located at www.solarmovie.so (“SolarMovie”) and www.tubeplus.me (“TubePlus”). In doing so, the court in Paramount Home Entertainment International Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors  EWHC 3479 (Ch) (13 November 2013) ruled that the sites, which did not themselves host any content, were nevertheless liable for infringement because they facilitated streaming of content to users by hosting and organizing hyperlinks to the content without consent of copyright owners.
The nature of the sites in issue (the “Websites”) were describe by Justice Arnold as follows:
The file sharing website IsoHunt.com is shutting down. In a Stipulation and Proposed Judgment filed with a District Court in California it has agreed to halt all operations and to be permanently enjoined from further infringements. In addition, isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung have agreed to be jointly and severally liable for damages in the amount of US $110 million dollars.
Slavish copying of a work protected by copyright without consent is sometimes called theft. There is a long history of this association in the Commonwealth and the United States. In fact, in a leading case, the Privy Council stated that the moral basis of copyright rests on the 8th Commandment “Thou shalt not steal”. Despite the long lineage between unlawful appropriation of copyright material and the concepts of “theft”, “larceny” and “steal”, there are still debates as to whether the term is accurate or appropriate to use in this context. There are also still debates as to whether online piracy hurts creators and the creative industries. The recent US case Tamburo v. Dworkin 04 C 3317 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2013) and several recent reports including a brief by the London School of Economics sheds light on both of these debates.
IP Osgoode held a symposium today on the topic of User Generated Content under Canadian Copyright Law. I had the pleasure to speak on the topic “Is the UGC exception in conformity with international treaty standards?” My slides are set out below. Videos of the presentation are available at the IPOsgoode site.