Category: Copyright

Communications and copyright: IIC Canada ConferenceCommunications and copyright: IIC Canada Conference



I had the pleasure of speaking today at the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications annual conference, held virtually. I spoke chiefly about the following cases and developments:

Artificial intelligence and intellectual property rights: the USPTO DABUS decisionArtificial intelligence and intellectual property rights: the USPTO DABUS decision



Is an invention autonomously generated by artificial intelligence patentable? This is a question that is being studied including by the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO) which launched an investigation into issues associated with patenting artificial intelligence inventions. In the meantime, the USPTO just released a decision denying the application for a such a patent holding that under the U.S. patent law, 35 USC §§ 1 et seq. an inventor must be a natural person.

The decision was based on an application listing a single inventor with the given name “[DABUS]” and the family name “(Invention generated by artificial intelligence).”

Site blocking orders come to Canada: GoldTV.bizSite blocking orders come to Canada: GoldTV.biz



In an important decision released Friday, the Federal Court of Canada issued the first Canadian site blocking order against sites that predominantly facilitate copyright infringement. The order made by Justice Gleeson, in a carefully reasoned decision in Bell Media Inc. et al v GOLDTV.BIZ 2019 FC 1432, ordered certain ISPs in Canada to block access to pirate subscription streaming sites (GoldTV.biz and GoldTV.ca) that were infringing the copyrights of the plaintiffs Bell Media Inc., Groupe TVA Inc, and Rogers media Inc.

Hard lessons in dataset licensing to create commercial products: 77m v Ordnance SurveyHard lessons in dataset licensing to create commercial products: 77m v Ordnance Survey



If you are interested in database licensing, the intrigue of how complex geo-spatial based services are developed, electronic mapping and polygons, the legality of scraping, how online terms governing databases are construed, and database rights, then the recent UK decision in 77m Ltd v Ordnance Survey Ltd [2019] EWHC 3007 (Ch) (08 November 2019) is for you.

The dispute in the case was between a start-up company 77m and Ordnance Survey (OS), the national mapping agency of Great Britain. 77m created a dataset called Matrix consisting of an up-to-date, detailed and accurate list of the geospatial coordinates of all the residential and non-residential addresses in Great Britain containing 28 million records.

When copyright in a work transfers to the Crown: Keatley v TeranetWhen copyright in a work transfers to the Crown: Keatley v Teranet



When does copyright transfer to the Crown under the Copyright Act? The Supreme Court clarified this in a landmark ruling released earlier today in Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc., 2019 SCC 43, authoritatively interpreting Section 12 of the Act.

The Court did so in delivering two sets of reasons, the majority written by Justice Abella  (Moldaver, Karakatsanis and Martin JJ. concurring) and by Justices Côté and Brown JJ. (Wagner C.J. concurring). All seven Judges agreed that the decision of the Court of Appeal (2017 ONCA 748) which sided with Teranet should be affirmed.

Developments in computer, Internet and e-commerce law: the year in review (2018-2019)Developments in computer, Internet and e-commerce law: the year in review (2018-2019)



I gave my annual presentation yesterday to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covers the period from June 2018 to June 2019. The developments include cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., EU, Australia, South Africa, India and other countries.

The developments are organized into the broad topics of:

  • Privacy / Big Data / AI
  • Employee / HR
  • E-commerce / Online Agreements
  • Online Remedies / Governance / Jurisdiction
  • Copyright

The cases and other documents referred to are below.

Norms for copyright reform: my submission to the INDU CommitteeNorms for copyright reform: my submission to the INDU Committee



Here is my submission to the INDU Committee conducting the s.92 review of the Copyright Act. It is based on my remarks made to the Committee when I appeared before it on December 3, 2018. My remarks to the Committee and answers to questions can be accessed on Parvu.

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I am a Senior Partner in the technology law group of McCarthy Tétrault.  I have represented members of the creative industries, intermediaries and users. I also teach intellectual property law at Osgoode Hall Law School and have published books including on copyright and Internet law.

CRTC punts FairPlay site blocking proposal to ParliamentCRTC punts FairPlay site blocking proposal to Parliament



In a decision that can only be regarded as a major blow to Canadian creators and distributors of copyright materials, the CRTC today, in Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-384, dismissed FairPlay Canada’s application to establish a site blocking regime to combat the scourge of online piracy.

The CRTC dismissed the application on jurisdictional grounds, but not before making the express finding that the record before it “demonstrates that there is evidence that copyright piracy results in harm to the Canadian broadcasting system and to the economy in general”.

ISPs fees for complying with Norwich orders: Rogers v VoltageISPs fees for complying with Norwich orders: Rogers v Voltage



Who bears the costs of complying with Norwich orders? These orders require ISPs to disclose the identify of their subscribers to enable copyright owners to bring legal proceedings against suspected infringers. The issue was resolved earlier today by the Supreme Court in Rogers Communications Inc. v. Voltage Pictures, LLC, 2018 SCC 38.

In an 8-1 decision written by Brown J, (with whom Wagner C.J. and Abella, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, Gascon, Rowe and Martin JJ agreed) the Court held that ISPs must bear the costs of complying with their obligations under s41.26(2)