Archive for December, 2009

Canada and The WIPO Treaties: Flexibility Was Always Key

Yesterday I blogged about the origins of the WIPO Internet treaty, challenging Mihály Ficsor's claims that the treaty requires a ban on the distribution and manufacture of circumvention devices.  Coincidentally, I recently received long overdue documents under the Access to Information Act that highlight the Canadian position during the negotiations of those treaties.  As the Canadian delegation prepared to go to Geneva for the final round of negotiation, then Deputy Minister Kevin Lynch (later Clerk of the Privy Council under Prime Minister Harper) provided then Industry Minister John Manley with a memorandum approving the Canadian instructions (the delegation was led by Danielle Bouvet, then with Industry Canada).

Three issues stand out from the document.  The first has to do with the hesitation with the treaty itself.  The memo acknowledges "in certain areas, the proposed treaty language has not been the subject of adequte debate within Canada – or indeed internationally." Perhaps arising from these concerns, the memo concludes by noting "the delegation will not have full powers to sign a treaty."

Second, the position of the Canadian government was to support provisions that would not result in major changes to domestic law or were sufficiently flexible in implementation.  In particular, the memo states that "Canada will also support provisions that constitute minor changes to domestic policy, or which provide flexiblity to adopt measures compatible with Canadian policy."  The delegation instructions were therefore limited to provisions consistent with Canadian law (which the WIPO Internet treaties were not) or were flexible in implementation.

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December 23, 2009 4 comments News

CBC Sued for Unauthorized Fashion Show Taping

Nygard International, a women's clothing company, has sued the CBC for unauthorized recording of a fashion show.  The company claims both trespass and copyright infringement.

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December 23, 2009 12 comments Must Reads

NB Court Orders Production of ISP and Facebook Records

A New Brunswick court has ordered a plaintiff in a disability insurance claim to obtain “a history of her computer account use” from her ISP and “request” her ISP to generate a record accounting for her FaceBook use.

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December 23, 2009 3 comments Must Reads

Amazon Kindle DRM Broken

Amazon's Kindle DRM, which restricts ebooks to the device, has been broken. The hack reportedly allows ebooks stored on the reader to be transferred as PDF files to other devices.

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December 23, 2009 4 comments Must Reads

Canadian Supreme Court Establishes “Responsible Communication” Defence in Defamation Cases

This morning the Supreme Court of Canada established a new defence in defamation cases in Grant v. Torstar Corp., which it is calling the "responsible communication" defence.  The defence is designed to provide greater protection for communications on matters of public interest.  The court establishes several conditions to the test, including the scope of its application.  In a big win for new media and bloggers, it concludes that the defence applies broadly:

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December 22, 2009 8 comments News