Supreme Court rules on whether access laws apply to records of PMO but not which records are personal information

May 15th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Supreme Court released its reasons Friday in an important appeal in which the Court had to decide whether citizens can demand disclosure of records located in the offices of the Prime Minister, Ministers of the Crown, the RCMP and PCO under the Access to Information Act. In Canada (Information Commissioner) v. Canada (Minister of National Defence), 2011 SCC 25, the Supreme Court ruled that none of the requested documents had to be disclosed.  The ruling, however, by-passed an important opportunity to clarify the meaning of the term “personal information” in Canadian privacy legislation.

The OPC on online tracking, profiling and targeting and cloud computing

May 7th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner released a report yesterday on online tracking, profiling and targeting and cloud computing, Report on the 2010 Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Consultations on Online Tracking, Profiling and Targeting, and Cloud Computing. These areas are currently very hot and challenging topics for Canadians and Canadian businesses.

The privacy issues raised by online tracking, profiling and targeting and cloud computing raise many questions with important public policy and economic implications. The report, by and large, raises and does a good job of explaining the issues and challenges. Beyond explaining general principles, it does not purport to provide any real guidelines. After discussing the issues and generally applicable principles, the OPC asked for further comments and input on most of the intriguing questions.

Significant Privacy Law Decision: Leon’s Furniture v Alberta (IPC)

May 4th, 2011 by Geoff R. Hall Kara L. Smyth No comments »

By Geoff Hall and Kara Smyth*

The Alberta Court of Appeal recently overturned a decision of the Alberta Privacy Commissioner resulting in a significant privacy law decision for businesses in Alberta and B.C. The Court endorsed a deferential approach to businesses and their adoption of reasonable policies towards the collection of personal information. The majority ruled that the collection of personal information must only be “reasonable.” A business need not show that it adopted the “best” or “least intrusive” approaches.”

Summary

In a split decision released March 29, 2011, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Alberta Privacy Commissioner: Leon’s Furniture Limited v. Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2011 ABCA 94.

Canada back on the USTR 2011 Special 301 Watch List

May 2nd, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) just published its 2011 Special 301 Report. The 2011 Special 301 review process examined IPR protection and enforcement in 77 of the US’s trading partners. The Special 301 Report is a critical mechanism for the U.S. government to ensure that its trading partners provide adequate and effective protection of IP for America’s creators and innovators.

Following extensive research and analysis, the USTR again listed Canada on its Priority Watch List along with Algeria, Argentina, Canada, China, India, Israel, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela.

C-32 and the BlackBerry PlayBook: A reply to Michael Geist

April 25th, 2011 by Barry Sookman 2 comments »

Michael Geist’s recent blog post “The PlayBook Tax: Why the Conservative’s Copyright Plans Create a Hidden Cost for RIM’s PlayBook” makes the claim that “the Conservative plan for copyright reform (as found in Bill C-32) establishes a significant barrier that could force many consumers to pay hundreds in additional costs in order to switch their content from existing devices” to RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook. He calls this a “PlayBook tax” and claims switching costs apply to “any digital content with a digital lock”.

YouTube adopts “copyright school” to stop copyright infringement

April 14th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

YouTube has changed its copyright policy.  YouTube already has a policy that involves suspending accounts of YouTube users who have three copyright strikes. Now, if YouTube receives a notification that a user’s video is infringing the user will be required to go to  “YouTube Copyright School”.  A second change in the policy relaxes YouTube’s copyright strikes from a user’s accounts if the user completes the YouTube Copyright School and has demonstrated good behavior over time.

The Official YouTube Blog says the following:

New Zealand passes law to reduce online file sharing

April 14th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

New Zealand just enacted legislation that puts in place a three-notice regime to deter illegal file sharing.

The three-notice regime involves ISPs sending warning notices to their customers informing them they may have infringed copyright. The legislation extends the jurisdiction of the NZ Copyright Tribunal to provide an efficient, low-cost process to hear illegal file-sharing claims. The tribunal will be able to make awards of up to $15,000 based on damage sustained by the copyright owner.

Charlie Crist Official Apology to David Byrne for Copyright Infringement

April 13th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Who Profits from Piracy?

April 12th, 2011 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The video shown below is based on a presentation first given by Ellen Seidler (fastgirlfilms) at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum in March of 2011.

In the introduction to the video she says: “Online piracy isn’t about altruism, it’s about income. Today’s technology allows web pirates to steal content and monetize that content with a click of a mouse. Meanwhile, “legit” companies encourage and facilitate this theft while also profiting from it (ad service providers, advertisers and payment processors). The time has come for reasonable measures to be taken to discourage this theft. Content creators and consumers will benefit. Only the pirates and those who profit from their theft will lose.”

The Liberal Digital Canada Plan and Copyright

April 11th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today, Marc Garneau and guest commentators Michael Geist and Steve Anderson had a live online chat about the Liberal Digital Canada Plan.  A transcription of the chat is available here.

The Liberal Digital Plan says the following about copyright:

Fair balance Between Creators and Consumers.

Digital technology offers many new opportunities, but enjoying content without compensating its creators shouldn’t be among them. At the same time, consumers should have freedom for personal use of digital content they rightfully possess. Liberals have worked to pass effective copyright legislation, including a private copying compensation fund instead of any new tax on consumers.