Archive for the ‘Copyright’ category

Robert Thomson’s keynote address on the distributionists

September 2nd, 2015

Last month, Robert Thomson, the CEO of News Corp., gave a keynote address at the 2015 Lowy Institute Media Awards dinner.

He spent a good part of that speech addressing challenges to the creative industries, and to  media companies in particular, posed by powerful distribution channels – what he labels “distributionists” – such as Google.

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

June 10th, 2015

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)

Budget Bill with copyright amendments tabled in House of Commons

May 7th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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:

C.D. Howe: Copyright Board undercompensating artists and depriving rights holders of royalties

February 19th, 2015

Shortly after the Copyright Board certified Tariff 8 setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada, 70 music organizations publicly denounced it. They called it “a serious setback for the music community in Canada” and “for artists and the music companies who invest in their careers”. A core criticism was the Board’s refusal to use freely negotiated market-based agreements as the proxy to set the rates and to certify the tariff at 10% of the rates that the same services pay in the U.S.

Jurisdiction simpliciter in copyright cases: Geophysical Service v Arcis Seismic Solutions

February 8th, 2015

In Club Resorts Ltd. v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, the Supreme Court clarified the rules for when a Canadian court can assume jurisdiction over a claim against a party located outside the jurisdiction. Specifically, it clarified the rules for applying the real and substantial test to determining if there is a sufficient connection between the subject matter of the action and the jurisdiction for  determining jurisdiction simpliciter. The Van Breda case did not, however, address how that test would apply to cases involving infringement of copyright.

Internet justice: Mosley v Google

February 2nd, 2015

In the landmark ruling in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (case no. C-131/12, May 13, 2014), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recognized that search engines are controllers of the personal information they process and have the obligation, in appropriate cases, to de-list links to personal information in their search results. A recent decision in  Mosley v Google Inc & Anor [2015] EWHC 59 (QB) (15 January 2015) has recognized that a right to get a blocking order against a search engine might also exist in the United Kingdom under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. The case also illustrates the challenges individuals have in vindicating their privacy interests in the Internet context.