The FairPlay coalition comprising more than 25 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members of Canada’s creative community made a reasonable proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada’s telecommunications and broadcast regulator, to address the scourge of online copyright infringement. The proposal, which involves website blocking, was immediately attacked by anti-copyright activist Michael Geist (“Geist”) in a series of articles and interviews. As I showed in a prior lengthy blog post, his criticisms were unfounded and overblown.
Posts Tagged ‘Michael Geist’
Here is an Op-ed of mine that ran earlier today in the Hill Times. The post below includes endnotes not in that article.
In his Hill Times Op-ed (Canadian copyright reform requires a fix on the fair dealing gap, Dec. 5, 2016) Michael Geist takes issue with the need to address the “value gap” that is hurting Canadian artists, writers, and other members of the creative class. He argues instead that Canada faces a need to address a “fair dealing gap” in our copyright laws. There is no such need and his arguments don’t withstand scrutiny.
I recently had the privilege of speaking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the Fordham 24th Annual Intellectual Property Law and Policy Conference, a stellar international IP conference. The other speakers on my panel were Probir Mehta (lead U.S. negotiator of the IP portion of the TPP), Pedro Velasco Martins (lead EU negotiator of the IP portion of the TTIP), and Daren Tang (lead Singapore negotiator of the IP portion of the TPP). The title of the panel was “Examination of TPP & TTIP”. My talk focused on how the IP provisions of the TPP are being inaccurately depicted to the public.
This is a guest post by Peter Grant. Peter S. Grant is Counsel at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. He is an expert on communications and cultural policy, and the co-author of Blockbusters and Trade Wars: Popular Culture in a Globalized World (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2004), a book focused on the interrelationship of trade law with cultural policy.
There is an inherent conflict between free trade agreements and cultural policy. Unless measures that support local culture are exempted from these agreements, there is a risk that the principle of “national treatment” (the free trade rule that foreign products must be given the same treatment as local products) might override those measures.
On May 16, 2014 the Copyright Board released its decision certifying Re: Sound Tariff 8 setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada. Re:Sound promptly filed an application for judicial review of the decision, calling it a “significant outlier in the world” that “greatly disadvantages the Canadian music industry in the globalized market place.” Re:Sound’s application was met with a blizzard of support when 70 music organizations released a joint statement publically denouncing the Copyright Board decision. They called it “a serious setback for the music community in Canada” and “for artists and the music companies who invest in their careers”.
Michael Geist loves Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL). He was one of the first witnesses called by the Government to support it (then Bill C-27) when it came before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. He told the Committee to resist attempts to change it. He later urged Minister Moore not to listen to the tsunami from across all sectors of Canadian society to fix CASL calling the criticisms Festivus grievances, Now that CASL is law and the public is ridiculing it calling it, among other things, a Monty-Python-esque farce and Spamaflop, deeply stupid, and a sledgehammer that is ludicrous regulatory overkill, he once again tries to defend it. If anyone could defend CASL, it would be Michael Geist. However, CASL is indefensible and his attempts to defend it clearly show there is no policy basis on which it can be justified and that It should be scrapped or amended.
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.”
My mother warned me to be suspicious when people give gratuitous compliments. So, I read with some suspicion the recent blog post by Ariel Katz, who responded to my post Did the Supreme Court eviscerate Access Copyright’s business model? A reply to Michael Geist, generously calling me a “well experienced lawyer” and a “smart well-trained lawyer”.[]
In that post I argued that Michael Geist’s claim that the Supreme Court’s decision eviscerated Access Copyright’s business model did not stand up to scrutiny. I pointed out that his assertions completely ignored the teachings of the Supreme Court that whether something is a fair dealing is a question of fact and that his claims were not based on any analysis to demonstrate why the Supreme Court decision had the effects he claimed.
In 2006, the highly regarded economics professor Prof. Liebowitz, Director of the Center for Economic Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation at University of Texas, surveyed the entire field of econometric studies on file sharing. On the basis of his comprehensive review (which displayed a remarkable consensus on the issue), he concluded that “file-sharing has brought significant harm to the recording industry”. Prior to that in a comprehensive article published in 2005 Prof. Liebowitz criticized the theory that unlicensed file sharing helps copyright owners. He said those that professed this view saw “gains from copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited.”
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.