Shifting Paradigms: the Heritage Committee study on copyrightShifting Paradigms: the Heritage Committee study on copyright



Earlier this week the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage released its report Shifting Paradigms. The Committee studied remuneration models for artists and the creative industries including the challenges and opportunities for creators. The Committee found several major themes that connected testimony throughout the study:

  • the increasing value gap (a disparity between the value of creative content enjoyed by consumers and the revenues that are received by artists and the creative industries)
  • the decline in the artistic middle class
  • the negative impact of technology on creative industries, and
  • changes in consumer culture and the Indigenous perspective on copyright

The Committee’s conclusions were no surprise to people working in the creative industries.

The Unintended Equustek Effect: a reply to Michael GeistThe Unintended Equustek Effect: a reply to Michael Geist



Cyberspace is not a “No Law Land”. That was the title to a study conduced for Industry Canada in 1997. It started with this quote from Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder:

It’s always surprising how old concepts carry into the new medium. It’s overly idealistic to act like, Oh, the Internet is the one place where people should be able to do whatever they wish: present child pornography, do scams, libel people, steal copyrighted material. Society’s values have not changed fundamentally just because it’s an Internet page.

Democracy under threat: Parliament must actDemocracy under threat: Parliament must act



There was a time when large platforms could do no wrong. They were engines that facilitated free speech, political debate, and were seen as a revolutionary force for democratization. They were largely unregulated. In fact, they were accorded special trust and treatment, especially in the United States, where they were given unprecedented and controversial immunities from suits under the Communications Decency Act for enabling the dissemination of illegal content such as hate speech, defamation, and harassing information.

Then came the public revelations about false and misleading information campaigns, disinformation and manipulation of news, disseminated via the Internet and social media (referred to here collectively as “fake news”) of gargantuan proportions – Cambridge Analytica, Brexit, and the presidential election of Donald Trump, among others.

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.

_________________________

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’s troubling guidelines on CASL accessorial liabilityCRTC’s troubling guidelines on CASL accessorial liability



If you thought CASL wasn’t draconian enough, think again. The CRTC’s interpretation of CASL in the new Guidelines on the Commission’s approach to section 9 of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) (Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2018-415) has tightened the noose on Canada’s already speech impairing anti-spam law. Under the Guidelines, intermediaries of all stripes including telecom providers, ISPs, hosting companies, payment processors, advertising brokers, electronic marketers, software and application developers and distributors can be liable for CASL violations of their users – whether these intermediaries even intend or know that their users are using their products or services to violate CASL.

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) of the notice and notice regime.

Google’s loss in online defamation case Trkulja v Google good reason to resist CDA in NAFTAGoogle’s loss in online defamation case Trkulja v Google good reason to resist CDA in NAFTA



There is a repeating pattern in online defamation cases against Google. An individual’s reputation is alleged to be tarnished by Google’s search results or its autocomplete feature. The individuals plead with Google for help. As one of the Internet’s most important gatekeepers, Google is in a position to stop the damage, especially because its algorithms are the source of it. Google refuses to help, or does so only partially. Courts rule against Google finding it a publisher, at least once it has notice.