Oracle v Google: APIs protected by copyright; copying for compatibility not a defense to copyright infringement

May 10th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit released an important decision yesterday in the ongoing battle between Oracle and Google over copyright protection for the Java APIs Goolge used in developing Android. In Oracle America, Inc. v Google Inc. 2014 WL 1855277 (CAFC. May 9, 2014), the Court reversed the District Court on practically every legal finding made by that court and ruled that, subject to a possible fair use defense, that Google infringed Oracle’s copyright.

Fordham’s debate about Canada’s unlocatable copyright owner regime

May 9th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Fordham has the best IP conference. It stimulates vigorous debates about IP issues at and after the conference. A case in point is the usefulness of Canada’s orphan works regime.

I was a panelist at Fordham which addressed the challenges associated with orphan works. I provided a summary of Canada’s Unlocatable Copyright Owner process highlighting its usefulness. I later did a blog post on the topic, Orphan works: the Canadian solution.

The debate about Canada’s regime started at Fordham when Howard Knopf (a persistent Fordham questioner) disagreed with my assessment stating the following (according to the Fordham unedited transcript of the panel):

CRTC releases new CASL FAQs

May 8th, 2014 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Earlier today, the CRTC released a new set of FAQs related to CASL. The topics covered are set out below.  I will be providing comments on these FAQs in subsequent blog posts.

Coming Into Force

When does the legislation come into force?Will the coming-into-force dates and the compliance date be different?

Transition

Once the law comes into force, how does it affect consent?

Liability

What are the penalties for committing a violation under CASL?Can directors and officers be liable too?

Sending Messages

General

Does the legislation prohibit me from sending marketing messages? When does section 6 of CASL apply?

CASL: insights into Canada’s anti-spam law at the Lexpert conference

May 6th, 2014 by Barry Sookman 5 comments »

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of chairing a conference on Canada’s anti-spam/spyware law (CASL). The Lexpert conference covered the anti-spam, computer program and Competition Act aspects of the new law. The speakers brought useful insights into interpreting CASL and its regulations as well as practical guidance on implementing compliance programs. The slides from some of the speakers are set out below.

The conference was attended by Philip Palmer, a former Justice Canada lawyer and one of the individuals who played a lead role in drafting CASL and the initial regulations. He was on an “Ask the Experts” panel with David Canton and I. In the course of the conference and during the panel discussion he provided some helpful personal opinions about CASL that are worth sharing. Among them:

CASL and Freedom of Expression –The Writing Is on the Wall

May 2nd, 2014 by Dan Glover No comments »

On May 1, I participated in a vigorous discussion on the constitutionality of CASL at the 17th Biennial National Conference on Communications Law and Policy hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian Bar Association in Ottawa. My talk was on whether CASL could survive a Charter challenge based on freedom of expression grounds. I focused on the recent United Food decision at the Supreme Court of Canada, which struck down the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act for disproportionately impinging on expression rights in order to achieve privacy objectives, and pointed out that CASL might also fall to a similar challenge. Further, I commented on the possibility that even if CASL were found to be Charter-compliant, its implementation by the CRTC and other regulators still might not pass Charter muster, a point raised by the recent Doré decision at the Supreme Court. My slides are shown below.

Orphan works: the Canadian solution

April 27th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I had the pleasure of being a panelist at the 2014 Annual Fordham Law and Policy IP Conference.  My panel was on the topic of orphan works and mass digitization.  My contribution was to provide a summary of Canada’s orphan works regime. The following are some of my speaking notes from the panel.

S.77 of the Act sets out the basis for granting licences to works and other subject matter where the owner cannot be located after reasonable efforts. S. 77 reads as follows:

77 (1) Where, on application to the Board by a person who wishes to obtain a licence to use

Law and Innovation: Is Intellectual Property a Path to Progress

April 13th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)  Toronto 2014 Conference called Human After All. The topic of my talk was “Law and Innovation: Is Intellectual Property a Path to Progress”. The speakers with me on the session were Giovanni Dosi, Director, Institute of Economics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and Mariana Mazzucato, Professor, University of Sussex. The paper I prepared for the talk is below. (A PDF version of the paper can be accessed here.) My slides can be accessed here.* .

Canada to amend PIPEDA with the Digital Privacy Act

April 8th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act (An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act,) was given First Reading in the Senate today.  The summary of the Bill describes the proposed amendments as follows:

CASL don’t forget about the computer program “malware” and “spyware” provisions

April 7th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Earlier today, I co-chaired the program Countdown to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation: Make Sure You Are Ready, jointly provided by the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada. I gave an overview of CASL focusing on the computer program provisions before moderating the “Ask the Experts” Q&A panel.

My slides on the computer program provisions are shown below.

 

Blocking orders against ISPs legal in the EU: UPC Telekabel Wien

March 30th, 2014 by Barry Sookman No comments »

European courts have ordered ISPs to block access to pirate file sharing sites in other countries for years. The jurisdiction for doing so is Article 8(3) of the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001) which is transposed into the laws of EU Member States. The courts have considered these orders to represent a reasonable balance between the interests of copyright holders, intermediaries, and end users. See, Keeping The Pirate Bays at Bay.