Microsoft Azure IP Advantage: cloud computing without patent risk?

February 17th, 2017 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith recently announced a new program called the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program. It is touted as  “the industry’s most comprehensive protection against intellectual property (IP) risks”. It will be available for users of Azure cloud offerings. The  protection is intended to “help foster a community that values and protects innovation and investments in the cloud” “without worrying about lawsuits”, especially from non-practicing entities (NPEs, aka patent trolls) and the frivolous patent lawsuits they are infamous for.

PIPEDA’s global extra-territorial jurisdiction and right to be forgotten: A.T. v. Globe24h.com

February 1st, 2017 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Federal Court of Canada released a landmark decision finding that the court has the jurisdiction to make an extra-territorial order with world-wide effects against a foreign resident requiring the foreign person to remove documents containing personal information about a Canadian citizen that violates the person’s rights under Canada’s privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In A.T. v. Globe24h.com, 2017 FC 114 the Honourable  Mr Justice Mosely ordered the individual operator of the website Globe24h.com to remove all Canadian tribunal and court decisions  posted on the site that contain personal information and to take all necessary steps to remove the decisions from search engines caches.

Fix the value gap – a reply to Michael Geist

January 9th, 2017 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Here is an Op-ed of mine that ran earlier today in the Hill Times. The post below includes endnotes not in that article.

In his Hill Times Op-ed (Canadian copyright reform requires a fix on the fair dealing gap, Dec. 5, 2016) Michael Geist takes issue with the need to address the “value gap” that is hurting Canadian artists, writers, and other members of the creative class. He argues instead that Canada faces a need to address a “fair dealing gap” in our copyright laws. There is no such need and his arguments don’t withstand scrutiny.

Browsewraps, fair dealing and Blacklock’s Reporter v Canada: a critical commentary

January 2nd, 2017 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

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.

Limitations of liability in IT contracts: Atos v Sapient

December 8th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

For tech lawyers like me and many readers of this blog, it’s a rare treat when a Canadian court construes an IT contract and opines on clauses we see in agreements all the time. The case IT lawyers will want to read is Atos v Sapient, 2016 ONSC 6852

This case involved a contract dispute between the prime contractor Sapient and its subcontractor Siemens (now Atos). Here are some legal nuggets you might want to think about in your next IT contracts.

Google v Equustek at the Supreme Court

December 6th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The argument in the Google v Equustek Supreme Court case is about to start. An issue in the case is whether a court has a right to grant a de-listing order against a search engine to assist in enforcing a prior injunction granted by the court. The decisions of the courts appealed from are summarized here.

All of the factums  can be retrieved from the Supreme Court website. The webcast can be viewed here.

I did a presentation on the case several months ago highlighting what is in issue in the case. My slides are set out below.

Senate report on Copyright Board: A RATIONALE FOR URGENT REVIEW

December 1st, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce which examined the operations of the Copyright Board is now available. I reported on the hearing in a prior post. The recommendations are clear: a thorough in depth examination is needed because the Board is in need of reform.

PIPEDA privacy law given business friendly interpretation by Supreme Court: RBC v Trang

November 18th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Canada’s federal privacy law, PIPEDA, was enacted to be one of our framework laws that would underpin our digital economy. It’s goal was to recognize the privacy rights of individuals and at the same time to recognize the legitimate needs of organizations to collect, use, and disclose personal information. That balance between privacy and  uses of personal information for appropriate purposes was underscored by the Supreme Court in a decision released yesterday in Royal Bank of Canada v. Trang 2016 SCC 50.  .

Copyright Board studied by Senate Banking Committee

November 6th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Copyright Board may not be a household name, but it is a vital institution that is relied upon by tens of thousands of creators and users. But, according to witnesses who appeared before the Senate banking committee examining the operation and practices of the Copyright Board of Canada last week, there are significant problems with it that need to be addressed.

The witnesses that appeared at the two Committee meetings included Claude Majeau, Vice-Chairman and Gilles McDougall, Secretary General, of the Copyright Board, Gilles Daigle (GC SOCAN), Erin Finlay (GC Access Copyright), Graham Henderson (President Music Canada), Jason Kee (Public Policy Counsel Google Canada), Ian MacKay (President Re:Sound), Paul Daly (U of Cambridge), Jeremy de Beer and Michael Geist (U of Ottawa), Ariel Katz (U of T), and Howard Knopf (Counsel, Macera & Jarzyna).

CASL’s private right of action

August 29th, 2016 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Canada has the most onerous anti-spam/anti-malware law (CASL) in the world. In less than a year, July 1, 2017, it is going to become even worse. That’s when the private right of action (PRA) comes into force.

Since its inception, the anti-spam and anti-malware portions of the Act (ss.6-9) have been enforced by the CRTC. But when the PRA becomes law organizations big and small including charities, small businesses and even children marketing their first lemonade stands – and their officers, directors and agents – could become liable for millions of dollars in penalties.