Blacklock’s Reporter is a small Canadian online news agency. Like many publishers it has challenges in enforcing its copyrights against unauthorized digital copying. To protect its rights it uses a subscription model to license content. It attempts to keep materials from unauthorized access and distribution by using a paywall. Recently the Federal Court in 1395804 Ontario Ltd. (Blacklock’s Reporter) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 FC 1255 concluded that the copyright in Blacklock’s news articles was not infringed when copies of articles lawfully obtained under a subscription by one subscriber were emailed to the Department of Finance and were then forwarded to others within the department. The court found the copying was a fair dealing, an exception from infringement under the Copyright Act.
Archive for the ‘E-commerce’ category
Online vendors will be interested in a recent decision of an Ontario court in Hazjizadeh v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 CanLII 48552 (ON SCSM). In the ruling the court held that online advertisers owe a duty of care to prospective purchasers to ensure that their representations are true and not misleading. If they breach this duty, they may be held liable in negligence for online statements which induce purchasers to engage in transactions.
A recent UK case addressed an important contract issue for IT lawyers. Will a limit of liability clause that prevents recovery of damages for a wrongful termination of an agreement be a ground for granting an injunction to prevent the irreparable harm associated with the breach for which full damages cannot be recovered? Alternatively, will the liability exclusion be accepted as the bargain reached by the parties for such breaches and not be a basis for a finding of irreparable harm? The court in AB v CD  EWHC 1 (QB) (03 January 2014) considered that the latter position was the law, but expressed doubts as to its correctness.
Earlier today, I gave my annual presentation to the Toronto Computer Lawyers’ Group on developments in Computer, Internet, and e-commerce Law. The slides cover the period from my last presentation in June 2012, Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2011-2012).
The cases summarized in the slides below canvass developments in a number of countries and include cases from Canada, United States, UK, Ireland, Australia, and Israel.
Blizzard v. Simpson, 2012 ONSC 4312
Earlier today, Andrea Rosen, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer at the CRTC and Lynne Perrault, Director – Electronic Commerce Enforcement Division, Compliance and Enforcement Sector of the CRTC, gave a talk to the ITAC Legal Affairs Forum in Toronto. The subject was the Commission’s plans for enforcement of CASL. Ryan Caron, manager of e-commerce enforcement from the CRTC participated by phone.
The following are some highlights from the talk.
- The CRTC has hired staff and has the capability to engage in computer forensics and cyber investigations. It is establishing a lab to aid in enforcement. The SPAM reporting centre will also be run out of the CRTC.
Last week the CRTC released its first two “information bulletins” intended to help businesses in interpreting CASL and the CRTC’s regulations under CASL. While certain of the Commission’s interpretations are helpful, some are troublesome as they would impose new requirements not contemplated either by the statute or the CRTC’s own regulations. They would necessitate costly compliance, which would particularly affect small and medium-sized businesses and mobile digital commerce.
Under the Commission’s interpretation of its regulations and the related provisions of CASL, among other things:
- Users should be given the opportunity to unsubscribe from all messages from the sender, not merely CEMs.
On March 5, 2012 the CRTC finalized its set of regulations for Canada’s new anti-spam bill, CASL. These regulations were revised following extensive consultations held separately by the CRTC and Industry Canada on previously published regulations. These consultations resulted in extensive recommendations for changes by more than 57 organisations.
Industry Canada is still considering what changes to make to its draft regulations. Unlike the CRTC, it intends to publish a new set of draft regulations, possibly next month, for comment before finalizing them. The bill will not be proclaimed into force until the Industry Canada regulations are finalized and the public is given some time to implement the processes needed to comply.
Over the holidays I got an email from one of my relatives visiting Toronto. She asked me to recommend a dental surgeon for an unexpected tooth extraction. She also asked me to refer her to other dentists to get additional recommendations. I sent her an email with a recommendation to get treatment from a dental surgeon who I encouraged her to see and also provided the name of a family dentist who could make other recommendations. My email included a link to a website of the clinic operated by the dental surgeon. My wife sent a similar email when I told her my relative was looking for a dentist. Later that day I started wondering whether responding to this type of inquiry would be legal or illegal under Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL), once it is proclaimed into force.