Category: Copyright

Developments in computer, Internet and e-commerce law: the year in review (2017-2018)Developments in computer, Internet and e-commerce law: the year in review (2017-2018)



I gave my annual presentation today to the Toronto computer Lawyers’ Group on “The year in review in Computer, Internet and E-Commerce Law”. It covers the period from June 2017 to June 2018. The developments include cases from Canada, the U.S. the U.K., Singapore, Australia, and other countries.

The developments are organized into the broad topics of:

  • Jurisdiction/Online Remedies/Conflicts of Laws
  • Hyperlinks/Search Results/Computer Generated Content
  • e-Commerce & Online Agreements
  • Technology Contracting
  • Privacy
  • Copyright
  • CASL.

The cases referred to are listed below.

Copyright Board harmonization good policyCopyright Board harmonization good policy



The Hill Times published my Op-ed “Copyright Board harmonization good policy” earlier today. The unedited version with endnote references is below.

Everyone agrees that the Copyright Board needs fixing. A Senate Committee recommended a full review in 2016. The Government acted on the recommendation by convening a public consultation and received numerous submissions.

One of the Government’s options to make the Board more effective is to harmonize the availability of statutory damages so they are available to all creators represented by collectives and not only those represented by the performing rights societies SOCAN and Re:Sound.

Canadian government response to copyright and digital policy issuesCanadian government response to copyright and digital policy issues



The Internet and other digital technologies are transforming the everyday lives of all Canadians. The pace of change requires our legislative frameworks to be continually reviewed and adapted to these changing needs. The current government is tackling these challenges on numerous fronts including most recently in respect of copyright, anti-spam law (CASL), and privacy.

Copyright

The government has now started its mandatory review of the Copyright Act. The review was proceeded by a letter from Minister Bains and Heritage Minister Joly, both of whom share the copyright file, which provided some guidance to the INDU Committee.

FairPlay copyright blocking proposal: my presentation at the Fordham IP conferenceFairPlay copyright blocking proposal: my presentation at the Fordham IP conference



I had the pleasure to speak at the 26th Annual Fordham Intellectual Property Law & Policy Conference. In my opinion, this is the best IP conference. My topic was

Canada’s Fairplay’s Website-Blocking Plan: What is it and is it consistent with international norms and principles including requirements for proportionality, rights to freedom of expression and principles of net neutrality?

I have written extensively about the proposal including in a lengthy intervention supporting it filed with the CRTC, also available here.

Fact checking Michael Geist’s criticisms of the FairPlay site blocking proposalFact checking Michael Geist’s criticisms of the FairPlay site blocking proposal



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.[1]  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,[2] his criticisms were unfounded and overblown.

Kodi box add-on distributor loses copyright appeal: Bell v Adam Lackman dba TVADDONS.AGKodi box add-on distributor loses copyright appeal: Bell v Adam Lackman dba TVADDONS.AG



Illegal streaming of TV and movie programming fueled by the sale of illicit streaming devices (ISDs) (such as fully loaded Kodi boxes) and websites that make available to the public software add-ons configured and marketed to facilitate receipt of pirate streams is a real problem in Canada. The most effective way of reducing this type of illegal streaming is by the use of website blocking, something the CRTC will have to consider in the FairPlay Canada website blocking application.

In the meantime, the less effective but still very important ground game against the distribution of ISDs and software add-ons continues.

Why the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s website-blocking plan: a reply to Michael GeistWhy the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s website-blocking plan: a reply to Michael Geist



The Hill Times published my op-ed on the FairPlay Canada website blocking proposal,  Why the CRTC should endorse FairPlay’s piracy site-blocking plan. The full unedited version, complete with endnote references is below.

Last week Fairplay Canada filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), asking for a new tool to help Canadian creators to combat online theft of their content by illegal piracy websites. It proposed that the Canada’s telecom regulator create an independent agency to identify websites and services that are “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy”.

Support for creators: pirate streaming and the value gap, my op-ed in the GlobeSupport for creators: pirate streaming and the value gap, my op-ed in the Globe



Here is my full unedited op-ed published in today’s Globe and Mail.

The cultural industries in Canada are facing major challenges. A significant contributing cause is our outdated legal frameworks. They did not contemplate, and have not been updated to address, the new means of stealing content or uses of content by Internet platforms and others without permission or paying just compensation. These issues and proposals to address them deserve our attention. Two examples are illustrative.

The first involves Internet streaming piracy.

Globe and Mail editorial attacks on Canadian creators and broadcasters: what’s up with the Globe?Globe and Mail editorial attacks on Canadian creators and broadcasters: what’s up with the Globe?



There was a time you could count on The Globe and Mail to support the Canadian cultural industries and to favour legal frameworks designed to strengthen them. You could also count on the Globe not to be soft on content theft by commercial pirates that harm Canadian businesses and impede their ability to innovate. Recently, however, the Globe has taken one-sided positions opposite the creative community. Worse, it has taken these positions relying on inadequate research and supporting them with inaccurate factual assertions, in some cases by relying on writings of anti-copyright activist Michael Geist.