Archive for the ‘implied licenses’ category

Is unauthorized online copying theft and does it hurt creators?

October 15th, 2013

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.

Is Google News legal? (Updated)

February 15th, 2012

In May, 2011 a Belgium appellant court released an important decision finding Google liable for copyright infringement by offering its Google News service to subscribers in Belgium at the Google.be and Google.com websites. The decision in Google Inc v Copiepresse et al, Brussels Court of Appeal (9th Chamber) May 5, 2011 suggests that services such as Google News cannot be legally offered in many countries around the world even from servers located in North America.

On February 14, 2012, the UK Copyright Tribunal in the Meltwater Holding BV v The Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited case suggested Google News and the Google Alerts service would also be illegal in the UK without a license from publishers.

Website terms, copyright used to shut down real estate data scraping in Century 21 v Rogers

September 8th, 2011

You can always tell when you are about to read a good case by its opening paragraph. The decision of the BC Supreme Court in Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership v. Rogers Communications Inc., 2011 BCSC 1196  doesn’t disappoint. It begins as follows:

The ability of the law to adapt is part of its strength. Technological innovation tests that resilience. This case considers that ability as claims for breach of contract, trespass to chattels and copyright infringement meet the Internet.  At the root of this lawsuit is the legitimacy of indexing publically accessible websites.

Robertson 2 copyright class action settles

January 18th, 2011

The lawyers for Heather Robertson have announced the settlement of the “Robertson 2” class action copyright case. The freelance authors reached a tentative settlement worth more than $5 million with the publisher defendants which include the Toronto Star, Rogers Publishing Limited, CEDROM-SNi Inc., and ProQuest Information and Learning LLC.

The suit alleged that the defendants infringed on the copyrights of the freelance writers by disseminating their articles online without their consent.

There will be a hearing in the Ontario Superior Court on April 11 for the court to consider whether to approve the settlement.