In a bombshell opinion released earlier today, the CJEU ruled that Google Inc. is subject to EU data protection laws even where its servers are located outside of the EU. The Court ruled that when Google spiders the web and indexes the globe’s data, it is a processor with respect to personal information and a controller of such information. In the case before the Court, this meant that Google was required to de-index links to personal information, even though the information was accurate and without any showing that making the information available was prejudical to the data subject. The case is bound to lead to many further questions about the scope of the duties of search engines like Google under EU laws. I raised this issue in an interview with CTV News.
Archive for the ‘Piracy’ category
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.
On Friday, Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) moved that Bill C-56, The Combating Counterfeit Products Act be read the second time and referred to a committee. The Bill is a long overdue attempt to bring Canada’s laws related to combating counterfeiting to international standards.
Kellie Leitch Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour rose in the House to describe the reasons for the Bill and its scope. Here, in part, is what she said about Bill C-56.
Criminal copyright convictions of The Pirate Bay operators “necessity in democratic society” says human rights courtMarch 13th, 2013
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the convictions of Fredrik NEIJ and Peter SUNDE KOLMISOPPI, operators of The Pirate Bay bittorrent site did not violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court found that the convictions of the defendants for criminal copyright infringement did not violate their rights to freedom of expression as the convictions and jail sentences imposed by Sweden’s Court of Appeal was “necessary in a democratic society” within the meaning of Article 10 § 2 of the Convention. The application to set aside the convictions was rejected “as manifestly ill-founded”.
Last week, the Government introduced Bill C-56, Combating Counterfeit Products Act. It has two main objectives. First, to protect public safety and health by enacting legislation specifically to target commercial scale trafficking in counterfeit products. Second, to make technical amendments to the Trade-marks Act such as to permit registration of non-traditional trade-marks like sounds, and to improve registration procedures. The Government backgrounder and related FAQs, and other information is available at Industry Canada’s website.
Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, with a few exceptions, is now law with the publication of the Governor General Order in Council. The fourth attempt to amend the Copyright Act since 2005 succeeded where Bills C-60 (2005), C-61 (2008), and C-32 (2010) did not.
A lot has changed since 2005 when Bill C-60 was first introduced. That Bill would have made a limited, but important, set of amendments. Its summary reminds us that it would have amended the “Copyright Act to implement the provisions of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, to clarify the liability of network service providers, to facilitate technology-enhanced learning and interlibrary loans, and to update certain other provisions of the Act.” Bill C-11 addresses far more than this.
The French Hadopi graduated response law was passed in October 2009. A study by Professor Bret Danaher published earlier this year titled The Effect of Graduated Response Anti-Piracy Laws on Music Sales: Evidence from an Event Study in France found that it is effective in helping to reduce online copyright infringement and spur legitimate sales of music in France. He talked about the study earlier this year while in Toronto at the Canadian Music Week, Global Forum.
Earlier today, Anne-Sylvie Vassenaix-Paxton a lawyer with Heenan Blakie in Paris gave a speech at an ALAI meeting in Toronto. She described the history, operation, and effectiveness of the Hadopi graduated response law.
Was the statutory damages award of $675,000 against Joel Tenebaum for downloading and distributing 30 music files over peer-to-peer networks excessive? Did it violate US due process? According to a decision released by a U.S. District Court yesterday in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment v Tenebaum 2012 WL 3639053, (D.Mass., Aug. 23, 2012) case, the answer to both questions is no.
After a five-day jury trial, the jury found that Tenenbaum’s infringement was willful as to each of the thirty sound recordings in issue, and returned a verdict within the US statutory range of $22,500 per infringement, for a total damages award of $675,000. After an appeal of the jury verdict, the Court was charged with the duty of determining whether the award was excessive under the common law remittitur doctrine and whether it violated due process.
In 2006, the highly regarded economics professor Prof. Liebowitz, Director of the Center for Economic Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation at University of Texas, surveyed the entire field of econometric studies on file sharing. On the basis of his comprehensive review (which displayed a remarkable consensus on the issue), he concluded that “file-sharing has brought significant harm to the recording industry”. Prior to that in a comprehensive article published in 2005 Prof. Liebowitz criticized the theory that unlicensed file sharing helps copyright owners. He said those that professed this view saw “gains from copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited.”