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.

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.