If you’ve ever shopped for a used car, you likely know the two popular services, autotrader.ca and CarGurus. In a decision released earlier this week in Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841, Trader (the owner and operator of autotrader.ca) was awarded statutory damages of $305,604 against CarCurus for infringements of its copyrights in photographs of vehicles. The decision written by Justice Conway of the Ontario Superior Court contains some important interpretations of the Copyright Act including in relation to the scope of the new making available right, the copyright defenses for information location tools and fair dealing, and the calculation of statutory damages.
In a decision that should not surprise anyone, the distributors of set top boxes that were specifically adapted to enable purchasers to stream and download infringing copies of programs made available by Bell, Bell Expressvu, Rogers, and Videotron lost their appeal of an injunction granted this summer by Justice Tremblay-Lamer in Bell Canada v ITVBOX.NET 2016 FC 612. (summarized here).
The appellants didn’t appeal the findings of the court that there was a strong case of infringement. Rather, they challenged the court’s findings that broadcast distribution undertakings would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was not granted. The court in Wesley dba MTLFREETV.com v Bell Canada et al 2017 FCA 55 easily rejected this attempt to re-argue the evidence stating:
This is a guest blog post by Donald Houston and Jonathan Bitran of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.**
While much has been written about the impending CASL private rights of action, less has been said about the new private right of action CASL will tack on to the Competition Act for misrepresentations in electronic messages.
Is operating a website that provides links to torrent websites which facilitates unauthorized downloading of musical works a criminal offence? If so, can the operator of such sites expect jail time as punishment for this crime? In a recent decision of the English and Wales Court of Appeal in Evans, R. v  EWCA Crim 139 (14 February 201), the accused, Mr Evans, was convicted of two offences of distributing infringing copies of musical works and was sentenced to 12 months in prison for these crimes.
For those of you that need to find the meaning of computer or internet related terms as defined in legislation or judicially construed by the courts, you will be interested in the latest edition of my book. Sookman Computer, Internet and Electronic Terms: Judicial, Legislative, and Technical Definitions (2016). It is available from Thomson Reuters as are my other books including seven-volume treatise, Sookman: Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (Carswell, 1999-2016); Copyright: Cases and Commentary on the Canadian and International Law, co-authored with Steven Mason and Prof. Carys Craig (2nd. Ed. Carswell, 2013), and Intellectual Property Law in Canada: Cases and Commentary, co-authored with Steven Mason and Dan Glover (2nd. Ed. Carswell 2013).
If you use software licensed by SAP you better read your license. If you have not yet acquired SAP software, you should make sure you use an experienced IT licensing lawyer before contracting. If you agreed to SAP’s standard license terms and use the software in a way not expressly permitted by the license it could cost you tens of millions of dollars in completely unexpected incremental license and maintenance fees. That is what happened to a UK company in a questionable decision released a few days ago in a case called SAP UK Ltd v Diageo Great Britain Ltd  EWHC 189 (TCC) (16 February 2017) .
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.
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.
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.
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.