Google’s plans to prioritize legitimate online content

August 13th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Google announced on Friday it is updating its search algorithms. In making the announcement Google said the purpose is to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed fromSpotify.” According to the statement, it plans to reduce search rankings for sites with “high numbers” of valid takedown notices.

Understanding Flava Works v myVidster: does inline linking infringe copyright?

August 8th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals released its opinion in the  Flava Works, Inc, v Gunter dba myVidster 2012 WL 3124826 (7th.Cir. Aug 2, 2012) case. The central issue was whether Flava Works, the owner of copyrights in videos, was entitled to a preliminary injunction against the social video bookmarking service myVidster. The injunction which had been granted by the District Court was vacated.

Did the Supreme Court supplant the market for Access Copyright licenses?

July 31st, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Just over two weeks ago, the Supreme Court released its opinion in the Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, 2012 SCC 37 (Access Copyright) fair dealing case. In that proceeding, the Copyright Board examined whether copying of short extracts of works for classroom teaching purposes was a fair dealing.* The Board and the Federal Court of Appeal found it was not. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and remitted the matter to the Board to reconsider its decision in accordance with the Court’s construction of the fair dealing factors.

Supreme Court decisions to affect future Copyright Board cases

July 23rd, 2012 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The five copyright decisions released by the Supreme Court of Canada just over a week ago are bound to influence copyright cases for a long time. Nowhere is this more likely than in future proceedings before the Copyright Board which was the source of all of the appeals in the first instance.

The Supreme Court decisions will clearly be relevant in follow on tariffs to those that were the subject of the appeals such as SOCAN Tariff 22.A (online music services) and Tariff 22G (game sites) and the Access Copyright Educational Institutions tariff.

The Supreme Court rules on copyright in a pentology of cases

July 12th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today, the Supreme Court released reasons in the five copyright appeals heard back to back on December 6 and 7, 2011 in the following cases:[i]

Supreme Court of Canada to release reasons in five copyright cases

July 9th, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The copyright bar has been eagerly awaiting the release of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the five copyright appeals which were heard on December 6 and 7, 2011. The Court announced earlier today that the decisions will be released this Thursday, July 12, 2012.

The Court published case summaries.  I also summarized the main issues in the appeals here.  The webcasts of the arguments can also be accessed here.

Copyright Bill C-11 passes Senate and given Royal Assent (updated)

June 29th, 2012 by Barry Sookman 5 comments »

Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act passed Third Reading in the House of commons and was given First Reading in the Senate on June 18, 2012. On June 26, 2012, the Bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. On June 27, 2012 the Senate Banking Committee reported C-11 back to the Senate without amendment. Earlier today, June 29, 2012, the Bill was passed by the Senate and given Royal Assent. It will come into force in the next few months through an order-in-council process.

My remarks to the Senate Committee studying Bill C-11

June 22nd, 2012 by Barry Sookman 7 comments »

The following are my opening remarks to the Senate Committee studying Bill C-11 earlier today. The link to the webcast can be found here.

I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to appear today to provide input on Bill C-11.

Before starting my remarks, I would like to give you some background about myself.

  • I am a senior partner with the law firm McCarthy Tétrault.
  • I am an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where I teach IP law.
  • I am the author of 5 books including the leading 6 volume treatise on Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law.

Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2011-2012)

June 21st, 2012 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Here are the slides used in my presentation to the Toronto Computer Lawyers Group earlier today, The Year in Review: Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2011-2012). It covers significant developements since my talk last spring, Developments in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law (2010-2011).

The slides include a summary of the following cases:

Kraft Real Estate Investments, LLC v Homeway.com, Inc. 2012 WL 220271 (D.S.Car. Jan 24, 2012)

Swift v. Zynga Game Network, Inc., 805 F.Supp.2d 904, (N.D.Cal., 2011)

Fteja v. Facebook, Inc., 2012 WL 183896 (S.D.N.Y. 2012)

Grosvenor v. Qwest Corp., 2012 WL 602655 (D.Colo., 2012) 

So you want to protect computer programs by copyright, the Oracle v Google and SAS v WPL cases (Updated)

June 3rd, 2012 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Are computer programs protected by copyright? That issue was a hot one three decades ago when courts began to struggle with whether these intangible utilitarian objects could be protected. Were they machine parts outside the realm of copyright or literary works, the kind of subject matter that copyright protects? This issue was quickly resolved in favor of copyright protection, first by the courts in the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere in a series of cases involving the Apple II operating system and in other cases, then by international conventions and treaties and worldwide copyright amendments by governments that wanted to be sure programs could not be blatantly pirated.