CASL: myths about Canada’s anti-spam law

July 8th, 2014 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The Government just revised the fightspam.ca website. The site now has more information about CASL and how it will be enforced. In addition, and likely because of the heavy criticisms of CASL, the site purports to clarify some “myths” about CASL.

The new website does give facts about CASL, although they are incomplete. Some of the so called myths about CASL are more fact than myths. For example:

MYTH: I won’t be able to use email or my current email list to promote my products and services.

Canada’s anti-spam law perspectives

July 7th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The first week under Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) is nearly over. The media and blogosphere gave CASL a lot of coverage. Much of it was negative. Here is a summary of some of the highlights.

I was interviewed on The Current, Metro Morning, and CJAD Radio. The Current and Metro Morning radio shows also featured individuals who voiced concerns about CASL’s impacts on small businesses. Michael Geist was also interviewed on The Current. He defended CASL claiming it was not onerous for small businesses who were already collecting express consents under PIPEDA. Peter Nowak also defended CASL in a post in Canadian Business Why Canada’s Anti-Spam Law won’t harm small businesses.

CASL enforcement against charities clarified by CRTC

July 5th, 2014 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

CASL’s rules apply to any person that sends commercial electronic messages to members of the public including charities and other not for profit organizations. The indiscriminate targeting of everyone from real spam culprits to genuine commercial communications is one of the reasons that Terrance Corcoran from the Financial Post recently called Canada’s new anti-spam law “a Monty-Python-esque farce”.

CASL, in its present form, should never have targeted charities or not for profit organizations. According to some, CASL punishes charities for no good reason.

CASL Spamaflop

July 4th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Check out Terrence Corcoran’s opinion article on CASL in this morning’s Financial Post: Spamaflop! Why Ottawa’s spam ban law is absurd and should be overturned. Here are a few choice quotes:

“I could say that Canada’s new anti-spam law is both horrifying and stupid, but Mark Joseph Stern, writing in Slate Magazine, already said that the other day.  One could also call it absurd, interventionist, controlling, costly, offense and an all-too-typical Tory mega-solution to a mostly non-problem.”

Aereo: SCOTUS rules its service infringing

June 26th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 6 to 3 opinion yesterday that Aereo’s Internet retransmission service infringes copyright. Aereo had tried to architect its television restransmission system to avoid paying copyright royalties or license fees by “renting” dime sized antennae to subscribers. Judge Chin of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals had called Aereo’s service  “a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, over-engineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law.” In  American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., the SCOTUS agreed telling Aereo essentially, it looked like a cable retransmitter, it acted like a cable retransmitter, Congress had specifically amended the Copyright Act to ensure that cable retransmitters publically performed when they delivered programming to subscribers, and that Aereo’s service was indistinguishable in any meaningful way from those services.

CASL’s effect on small business

June 21st, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Many businesses are in the midst of trying to become CASL compliant. They hate it. As I explained in a previous post, CASL will hit the SME sector very hard. According to a recent article about it in the Globe:

Marketers big and small facing this legislative change are criticizing it as costly to implement, penalizing to small businesses, and not targeted enough at the spammers who are the real problem in the world of e-mail advertising.

Notice and notice regime under C-11 coming into force

June 17th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Government announced today that the notice and notice regime established under C-11 is coming into force in January 2015. The delay in bringing these provisions into force was a consultations on possible regulations that the regime permitted. The Government announced that the provisions are coming into force without regulations.

The regime permits copyright owners to send notices to internet service providers and other internet intermediaries claiming infringement of copyright. The notices must be passed on by these service providers to their users. Because there are no regulations, the notices must be processed and passed on by the internet intermediaries without any fees payable by copyright owners.

Internet users’ privacy and anonymity protected by Supreme Court: R v Spencer

June 13th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today, the Supreme Court released a landmark decision dealing with privacy on the Internet. The main issue in R v Spencer 2014 SCC 43 was whether a user of the Internet has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her basic subscriber information held by the user’s ISP that prevents the police from obtaining this information from the ISP without a warrant or court order. Prior to the decision some courts had ruled that ISPs could turn over subscriber contact details associated with the person’s IP address to police without  a warrant or court order. The Court rejected this line of cases ruling that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy associated with Internet activities and that the “lawful authority” exemption in PIPEDA does not create a basis to turn such information to the police.

CASL clarified by CRTC at information sessions

June 8th, 2014 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The CRTC has published materials recently used in public Information Sessions on Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The materials consist of a video and transcript of one of the information sessions as well as slides. The transcript did not include answers given to questions from the public at the information sessions.

Much of the information provided had already been published by the Commission. However, some of the information was new or had elements that were new. The following are some examples.

Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2013-2014)

June 5th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

 

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 2013, Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2012-2013).

The cases summarized in the slides below canvass developments in a number of countries and include cases from Canada, United States, and the EU.

CANADA

Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 2013 SCC 62

(AOM) NA Inc. et al v. Reveal Group, 2013 ONSC 8014