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:

Virtual IIC Canada Conference 2020Virtual IIC Canada Conference 2020

If you’re looking for a conference you can attend, the Virtual IIC Canada Conference may be for you. IIC Canada (the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications), brings together the communications industry, government and academia to analyze and debate Canadian and international trends in broadcasting, telecommunications, and media production.

The Annual Conference has been moved online and will take place May 28, 2020, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET).

Participants will hear presentations on:

    • Resolving the broadcasting crisis, Speakers, Richard, Stephen Armstrong
    • Contact tracing applications in pandemic times, Speaker, Pierre Trudel
    • Reimagining publicly-funded Canadian content, Speaker, Catalina Briceño
    • Indigenous media in Canada, Speaker, Monika Ille
    • Access to infrastructure for broadband deployment, Speaker, Leslie Milton
    • Mental health and the workplace, Speaker, Beth Beattie
    • Introduction and closing remarks, Grant Buchanan (IIC Canada Board Chair)

I will be speaking on the topic Communications Law and Copyright.

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).”…

COVID-19 and Canada’s anti-spam law CASLCOVID-19 and Canada’s anti-spam law CASL

Since going into social isolation and working from home I have been inundated by unsolicited emails. Many of these are from businesses I have never heard of or dealt with before. They offer goods or services that directly or indirectly relate to the COVID19 pandemic – how to get stuff delivered to your house, how to order that, how to entertain your kids, how to get virtual care, how to stay connected…. Many of these messages come from organizations trying to survive during this crisis, businesses announcing an adapted online or virtual business model, organizations truly trying to be helpful, or attempting to be relevant and discovered.…

COVID-19 and privacy: artificial intelligence and contact tracing in combatting the pandemicCOVID-19 and privacy: artificial intelligence and contact tracing in combatting the pandemic

COVID-19 is having a debilitating effect on people’s health and their economic well-being. People are being forced by social distancing/isolating edicts and provincial emergency closure orders to stay home. As we slowly look like we may be emerging from the first wave of this health and economic emergency, people are rightly asking how we can gradually start to re-open the economy and resume “semblances of normalcy” without triggering substantial negative health rebounds or violating privacy norms or rights.

Governments, medical practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and others have been feverishly pursuing solutions to this challenge.…

COVID-19 and electronic contractingCOVID-19 and electronic contracting

For years, organizations have moved their businesses digital. To consummate transactions and to otherwise engage in contractual activities, organizations have increasingly relied on electronic means of contracting using everything from webwraps and clickwraps (and hybrid variations of these forms of agreements) and electronic documents executed using electronic signatures.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 there are increasing pressures to use electronic methods to effect legal activities including to enter into agreements traditionally done using paper and for other things such as signing and commissioning affidavits for use in courts.…

OPC consultation on artificial intelligence: my submission to the consultationOPC consultation on artificial intelligence: my submission to the consultation

Here is my submission to the OPC consultation.


Thank you for the opportunity to provide input into the OPC’s consultation on artificial intelligence (AI) as it relates specifically to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

By way of introduction, I am a senior technology lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault. As part of my privacy practice, I regularly advise clients on privacy issues. I also teach privacy at Osgoode Hall Law School as part of an intellectual property law course.…

2020 Holiday reading: Blockchain, AI and the Four Digital Titans2020 Holiday reading: Blockchain, AI and the Four Digital Titans

Happy new year everyone. I hope you all had a good vacation with some spare reading time. Over the holidays, I had the pleasure to listen to four audiobooks. It is pretty clear that the next decade is going to be another exciting ride for us tech and IP lawyers.

The first audiobook was Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code, written by Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright. A lot has been written about blockchain. In this book, the authors not only look at developments, past, present and future, but also provide an ambitious, scholarly, and fact rich analysis of the legal challenges associated with blockchain.…

Privacy Law Reform: the OPC 2018-2019 Annual ReportPrivacy Law Reform: the OPC 2018-2019 Annual Report

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada just published the 2018-2019 Annual Report to Parliament on the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Unlike other reports, this report’s focus was on privacy law reform. In fact, it was so titled as Privacy Law Reform – A Pathway to Respecting Rights and Restoring Trust in Government and the Digital Economy.

The Annual Report is a must read for everyone concerned about privacy including members of the general public and organizations whose privacy practices and compliance burdens would be significantly affected if some or all of the proposals were accepted and enacted into law.…

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

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 ( and that were infringing the copyrights of the plaintiffs Bell Media Inc., Groupe TVA Inc, and Rogers media Inc.…