Hyperlinking and ISP liability clarified by Supreme Court in Crookes case

October 20th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Supreme Court released its reasons in Crookes v. Newton 2011 SCC 47 yesterday. The legal issue in the appeal was whether hyperlinks that connect to allegedly defamatory material can be said to “publish” that material. The majority of the Court concluded that a hyperlink, by itself, should never be seen as “publication” of the content to which it refers. Although the case dealt mainly with that issue the Court gave expansive reasons which will have significant impacts on future cases involving Internet defamation, freedom of expression on the Internet, and the liability of ISPs for dissemination of defamatory or infringing content.

Copyright Bill C-11 gets second reading in the House of Commons

October 19th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Yesterday Bill C-11 was given second reading in the House of Commons. The statements by the Government and opposition parties can be found here.

For the record, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the following in speaking about the Bill in the House:

Mr. Speaker, as you know, this is the second time that the government has introduced this bill. During the previous Parliament and for almost a year, the Copyright Modernization Act—then known as Bill C-32—was carefully examined and debated by parliamentarians and stakeholders.

Canada’s new anti-spam Law: too much of a good thing?

October 17th, 2011 by Lorne Salzman and Barry Sookman No comments »

Here is a copy of the op-ed published by The Hill Times today on CASL.

Most people would agree that unwanted commercial emails – commonly called spam – are awful. Spam wastes our time. It clogs our inboxes and can be full of scams, malware and fraudulent, false and misleading messages. So who wouldn’t have cheered when Canada finally decided to outlaw spam and related afflictions?

With the September 7 conclusion of the public comment period on the new anti-spam law, known as CASL (for Canada’s anti-spam law), Canada has taken a major step toward finalizing legislation designed to outlaw practices such as sending commercial electronic messages without recipients’ consent or using misleading information in the online promotion of products. Reason to celebrate, one would think.

Belgium ISPs ordered to block The Pirate Bay

October 11th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

On September 26, 2011, the Antwerp Court of Appeal ordered two Belgium ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. The ISPs, Telenet and Belgacom, were ordered to implement DNS blocking on 11 domains to do this.

The legal basis for the order was Article art. 87, §1, al.2 of the Belgian Copyright Act. This provision transposes Article 8(3) of the EU InfoSoc Directive 2001/29/CE. This Article provides that

“Member States shall ensure that rightholders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right.”

ASCAP case highlights differences in Canadian and US copyright law

October 4th, 2011 by Barry Sookman 3 comments »

The influential US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in ASCAP v RealNetworks that a download of a musical work is not a public performance under the US Copyright Act. According to the Court downloads of musical works are not musical performances that are contemporaneously perceived by the listener.

“They are simply transfers of electronic files containing digital copies from an on-line server to a local hard drive. The downloaded songs are not performed in any perceptible manner during the transfers; the user must take some further action to play the songs after they are downloaded. Because the electronic download itself involves no recitation, rendering, or playing of the musical work encoded in the digital transmission, we hold that such a download is not a performance of that work, as defined by § 101.”

Some observations on Bill C-11: The Copyright Modernization Act

October 3rd, 2011 by Barry Sookman 6 comments »

Last Thursday the Government of Canada introduced into the House of Commons Bill C-11, an Act to Amend the Copyright Act. In a press release describing the Bill, Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Christian Paradis, stated that the Bill will ensure that Canada’s copyright laws “are modern, flexible, and in line with current international standards” and will “protect and help create jobs, promote innovation, and attract new investment to Canada.”

Canada signs ACTA

September 30th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today, Ed Fast, the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The press release announcing the signing stated the following:

“Counterfeit and pirated goods are an increasingly global problem that requires a globally coordinated solution,” said Minister Fast. “We all have an interest in combatting counterfeiting and piracy because these activities cost billions of dollars each year in revenue and trade losses, which translates into higher prices, lost income and lost jobs for people employed in a range of industries—from film and pharmaceuticals to electronics. Counterfeit goods also pose a real threat to the health and safety of people because the producers of goods such as drugs and auto parts evade the rigorous rules, standards and guidelines that are in place to protect consumers.”

Supreme Court to hear “value for signal” appeal

September 29th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Supreme Court of Canada granted leave this morning to Cogego and other telcos to appeal the “value for signal” decision of the Federal Court of Appeal. The question in the case is whether the CRTC has the jurisdiction, under its mandate under the Broadcasting Act to establish a system allowing private local television stations to choose to negotiate with broadcasting distribution companies a fair value in exchange distribution of programming services distributed by the local television stations?

The Supreme Court has summarized the case as follows:

Copyright and privacy bills to be introduced in House of Commons

September 27th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Government will likely introduce new Bills to amend the Copyright Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) within the next few days. The Parliament of Canada Notice Paper for Wednesday September 28, 2011 provides notice that the Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) will introduce a Bill entitled “An Act to Amend the Copyright Act” and a Bill entitled “An Act to Amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act”.  The actual notices are dated September 27, 2011, which means that the Bills could be introduced as early as this Thursday.

Signing Ceremony for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) this Weekend

September 27th, 2011 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a press release announcing that ACTA will be signed this weekend. Here is the text from the press release.

  1. On Saturday, October 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan will hold the signing ceremony for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at Iikura Guest House, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  2. The Agreement was inspired in significant part by Japan’s proposal at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to create a new international framework against counterfeit and pirated products, in the context of the heightened awareness of the need for a higher degree of intellectual property protection. Its negotiation has been led by a strong initiative of Japan, the United States and other key partners.