Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay: using blocking orders to curtail infringements

February 22nd, 2012 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The UK High Court appears likely to order UK ISPs to block the notorious BitTorrent site, The Pirate Bay. In the just released opinion in the Dramatico Entertainment Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors [2012] EWHC 268 (Ch) (20 February 2012) case, Justice Arnold ruled that users of the site as well as its operators infringe copyright. Users who download copies of sound recordings violate the right of reproduction. Users who make sound recordings available for downloading make them available to the public and are liable for communicating the sound recordings to the public. The Pirate Bay is liable for authorizing the infringement of its users. It is also liable for infringement based on the accessorial liability theories of joint infringement and inducement.

Bill C-11 off to legislative committee (updated)

February 19th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

After much debate and anticipation, Bill C-11 passed second reading in the House of Commons on February 13, 2012 and was referred to a legislative committee.

The individuals and organisations invited to appear can be viewed here. The committee has voted to commence clause by clause by March 14, 2012 and to have a final vote on the bill by March 29, 2012.

For those interested in the procedure referring the bill to the committee, here is the Hansard Journal recording the step.

Is Google News legal? (Updated)

February 15th, 2012 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

In May, 2011 a Belgium appellant court released an important decision finding Google liable for copyright infringement by offering its Google News service to subscribers in Belgium at the Google.be and Google.com websites. The decision in Google Inc v Copiepresse et al, Brussels Court of Appeal (9th Chamber) May 5, 2011 suggests that services such as Google News cannot be legally offered in many countries around the world even from servers located in North America.

On February 14, 2012, the UK Copyright Tribunal in the Meltwater Holding BV v The Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited case suggested Google News and the Google Alerts service would also be illegal in the UK without a license from publishers.

ISPs not broadcast undertakings says Supreme Court

February 9th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Supreme Court delivered its reasons this morning affirming the decison of the Federal Court of Appeal  in the  Broadcasting Reference case. The Court ruled that ISPs do not carry on “broadcasting undertakings” under the Broadcasting Act when, in their role as ISPs, they provide access through the Internet to “broadcasting” requested by end-users.

The reasons for the decison were given as follows:

Bill C-11 to be law by April

February 8th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

House Leader Peter Van Loan said Monday that the Government’s agenda includes passage of Bill C-11 by the end of April. The plan is that the bill to modernize the Copyright Act “must pass” by that time. The government indicated last month it mght impose time allocation to get the bill to Committee. On February 8, 2012 a motion passed in the House of Commons to lmit debate to two more days before sending the bill to committee. The Bill was referred to a legislative committee for stufy on February 13, 2012. MPs agreed to examine the bill clause-by-clause by March 14 and end the study by March 29. The Bill will then be reported back to the House of Commons for Third Reading.

Reining in the rhetoric on copyright reform

February 8th, 2012 by Barry Sookman 4 comments »

This blog post is a longer version of the article entitled This Bill is no SOPA published in the Financial Post  today.

While recent attempts by the usual suspects making hysterical predictions about copyright reform in Canada have been ratcheted up yet again, this time the claims are so outrageous that they can perhaps best be described as having “jumped the shark”. Canadians are being told that Bill C-11, an act to amend Canada’s outdated copyright law, could be used to shut down popular web sites like YouTube, fundamentally change the Internet, sabotage online freedoms, and hog-tie innovators.

P2P file sharing hurts music sales in Canada, study finds

February 2nd, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Does P2P file sharing negatively affect legitimate music purchases in Canada? Does the availability of music for downloading from illegitimate P2P sources act as a substitute for legitimate music purchases? Would stronger copyright laws increase music purchases in Canada? Would it also increase artist incomes, industry employment and tax revenues in Canada?

The answers to all of these questions is yes according to a recent study published by Dr George Barker, the Director, Centre of Law and Economics, at ANU College of Law, Australian National University. What’s more, the study was done based on survey evidence conducted by Decima Research on behalf of Industry Canada.

Chief Justice asks: will accuracy and fairness be casualties of the social media era?

February 1st, 2012 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada gave a speech yesterday at Carleton University. In it she questioned whether fairness and accuracy might be lost in the world of blogging, tweeting and the use of social networks. She said the media is essential to building public trust in the administration of justice.

For those of you who follow copyright law reform developments on certain blogs and social media sources you might find her speech will resonate with you.

Redefining copyright in the digital era

January 29th, 2012 by Barry Sookman and Dan Glover No comments »

Here is a copy of the article with the above title published in the January  20, 2012 edition of The Lawyers Weekly.

In early December, copyright lawyers from across the country descended on the Supreme Court to participate in a cluster of cases that may redefine the scope of copyright in the digital era.

EU Commission proposes comprehensive reform of data protection rules

January 26th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Yesterday, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy. Highlights of the reform plan are described by the Commission as follows:

  • A single set of rules on data protection, valid across the EU. Unnecessary administrative requirements, such as notification requirements for companies, will be removed. This will save businesses around €2.3 billion a year.
  • Instead of the current obligation of all companies to notify all data protection activities to data protection supervisors – a requirement that has led to unnecessary paperwork and costs businesses €130 million per year, the Regulation provides for increased responsibility and accountability for those processing personal data.