isoHunt shut down

October 17th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The file sharing website IsoHunt.com is shutting down. In a Stipulation and Proposed Judgment filed with a District Court in California it has agreed to halt all operations and to be permanently enjoined from further infringements. In addition, isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung have agreed to be jointly and severally liable for damages in the amount of US $110 million dollars.

Is unauthorized online copying theft and does it hurt creators?

October 15th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Slavish copying of a work protected by copyright without consent is sometimes called theft. There is a long history of this association in the Commonwealth and the United States. In fact, in a leading case, the Privy Council stated that the moral basis of copyright rests on the 8th Commandment “Thou shalt not steal”. Despite the long lineage between unlawful appropriation of copyright material and the concepts of “theft”, “larceny” and “steal”, there are still debates as to whether the term is accurate or appropriate to use in this context. There are also still debates as to whether online piracy hurts creators and the creative industries. The recent US case Tamburo v. Dworkin 04 C 3317 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2013)  and several recent reports including a brief by the London School of Economics sheds light on both of these debates.

Dr Ficsor on the Marrakesh Treaty

October 10th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Dr Mihály Ficsor, one of the leading experts on international copyright and the former Deputy Director General of WIPO, has published a comprehensive commentary on the Marrakesh Treaty for access to works for the visually impaired. His synopsis of the paper is as follows:

UGC under Canadian copyright law: does the exception conform to international law?

October 10th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

IP Osgoode held a symposium today on the topic of User Generated Content under Canadian Copyright Law. I had the pleasure to speak on the topic “Is the UGC exception in conformity with international treaty standards?” My slides are set out below. Videos of the presentation are available at the IPOsgoode site.

Cyber security and lawyers

October 6th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

If the past week is any indication, cybersecurity will continue to be an issue that will have to be kept top of mind for lawyers, individuals and organizations. Here are a few of the top stories:

  • Symanetc reported that cybercrime is costing Canadians $3 billion US annually.
  • Adobe reported a massive security breach affecting 2.9 million customers. Some of its confidential source code was also accessed.
  • Thirteen hackers associated with Anonymous were indicted for cyber-attacks against targets that refused to process payments for WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website founded by Julian Assange.

Using social networking in business development

October 1st, 2013 by Barry Sookman 1 comment »

Yesterday, I gave a speech at the Ontario Bar Association’s TECHxpo 2013. My talk was titled Ethical and Efficient Ways to Use Social Networking in Business Development. My slides are set out below and can also be accessed on Slideshare. Note the last slide which has links to guidelines on the use of social media from law societies around the world.

Canada’s anti-spam law and universities

September 30th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Contrary to a popular misconception, Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL) will apply to Canadian universities. Unlike universities and charities in other countries like Australia that have specific exemptions,  CASL will impose significant burdens on these organizations even though they are the least likely offenders and have very constrained resources, making compliance even more difficult for them.

Internet and copyright: significant developments

September 18th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

Yesterday, I gave a talk at the U.S. Federal Circuit Bar Association’s IP conference in Toronto. My talk was on Significant Recent Developments: Internet and Copyright. My slides are shown below and are available here.

Michael Geist on CASL: flaws not Festivus grievances

September 16th, 2013 by Barry Sookman 2 comments »

Last week Michael Geist published a blog post summarizing his remarks to Industry Minister Moore as to why the almost universal criticisms of Canada’s anti-spam/malware law CASL are unfounded. He suggested it is intense lobbying by “squeaky wheels” with “knee jerk” “greatly exaggerated” and “Festivus” grievances about CASL” that has delayed bringing the law into effect”. He acknowledges that CASL creates new compliance obligations but suggests they are not onerous and even standard internationally (when referring to “opt-in” for spam) and that there is not much more to CASL than “a simple proposition – obtain customer consent and you can do pretty much whatever you like.”

U.S. Federal Circuit Bar Association IP conference coming to Toronto

September 10th, 2013 by Barry Sookman No comments »

The U.S. Federal Circuit Bar Association is holding an IP conference in Toronto on September 17, 2013. The conference title is Trade, Intellectual Property and Recovering Economies: A Search for Best Practices. 

This unique event, sponsored by the Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA), has a fabulous program that includes the following topics:

  • Innovation
  • Patent, Internet and Copyright Litigation
  • International Trade
  • Views from the Courts and the Patent Offices

Some key speakers include the following:

  • Chief Judge Randall R. Rader – United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit