UN report on internet disconnection flawed and contrary to jurisprudence

June 13th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom  of opinion and expression released a controversial report in which he stated he was

“alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet  access if they violate intellectual property rights. This also includes legislation based on the  concept of “graduated response”, which imposes a series of penalties on copyright  infringers that could lead to suspension of Internet service, such as the so-called “three strikes-law” in France  and the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom.”

Throne Speech promises swift passage of copyright amendments

June 3rd, 2011 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The Throne Speech delivered earlier today promises “swift passage of copyright legislation that balances the needs of creators and users.”  With a majority Government, the fourth try to amend the Copyright Act since 2005 will likely succeed where Bills C-60 (2005), C-61 (2008), and C-32 (2010) did not.

The copyright reforms are a long time coming. Canada has acknowledged since 1997 that it needs to adapt its laws to address digital technologies and the Internet. That year it signed the 1996 WIPO Treaties.Since then, at least 12 government, department, and committee reports have studied and made recommendations for reform to address digital issues.[1] So have Canadian businesses.[2]

G8 declaration: Internet and IP critical to innovation

May 30th, 2011 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

The leaders of the G8 concluded their meetings last week with a renewed commitment to freedom and democracy. They released a declaration dealing with a variety of topics including the importance of the Internet and intellectual property as catalysts to innovation. The declaration also highlights the challenges of maintaining the privacy and security of networks and network communications.

The declaration on the Internet made the link between the Internet and innovation as follows:

For business, the Internet has become an essential and irreplaceable tool for the conduct of commerce and development of relations with consumers. The Internet is a driver of innovation, improves efficiency, and thus contributes to growth and employment…

A Masterpiece for Brand Owners – The Supreme Court of Canada makes it easier to enforce your trade-mark

May 26th, 2011 by Brian Edmonds Beth Macdonald and Dan Glover No comments »

By Brian Edmonds, Beth Macdonald and Dan Glover*

On May 26, 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Masterpiece Inc. v. Alavida Lifestyles Inc., 2011 SCC 27. The Court reversed decisions by the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and painted a rosier picture for those who seek to protect trade-mark rights in Canada.

Masterpiece started using the trade-mark MASTERPIECE THE ART OF LIVING in Alberta in 2001.  It used the mark in association with retirement residences.  On December 1, 2005 Alavida filed an application to register the trade-mark MASTERPIECE LIVING for use, in brief, with retirement residences.  In the application Alavida indicated that it proposed to commence use of the mark in Canada in the future.  In 2006 it did in fact commenced using the mark in Ontario.

Rethinking CASL

May 25th, 2011 by Lorne Salzman and Barry Sookman 1 comment »

SPAM is awful.  It wastes our time. It clogs the Internet. It is full of scams, malware and fraudulent, false and misleading messages. Who wouldn’t cheer when Canada finally decided late in 2010 to outlaw SPAM and related afflictions of malware, spyware, address harvesting and sending false and misleading commercial electronic messages?

Indeed, there was much satisfaction when Canada’s anti-SPAM law, also known as FISA[2], was given royal assent on December 15, 2011.  After a lengthy and thorough review process, including consultations and Parliamentary reviews, Canadians could look forward to the toughest anti-SPAM law in the world just as soon as the regulations were finalized, which is expected this summer.

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”.