Archive for June 10th, 2010

India Comes Out Swinging Against ACTA at WTO

The Government of India came out forcefully against ACTA this week in an intervention at the World Trade Organization.  The India position, which may well reflect the views of other ACTA-excluded countries, demonstrates that ACTA is emerging as a contentious political issue that extends well beyond civil society and business groups concerned with the agreement.  Countries excluded from the ACTA process have to come to recognize the serious threat it represents both substantively as well as for the future of multilateral organizations.

This growing concern from countries such as India represents a major new pressure point on the ACTA discussions.  The notion that ACTA countries could negotiate an agreement that would ultimately be used to pressure non-ACTA countries to conform without attracting opposition from those very countries was always unrealistic.  If the April ACTA round of talks was marked by the mounting pressure for greater transparency, the late June ACTA round of talks will undoubtedly have developing country opposition as its core concern.

India's intervention includes the following comments:

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June 10, 2010 4 comments News

Setting the Record Straight: 32 Questions and Answers on C-32’s Digital Lock Provisions, Part Three

The first two posts on the 32 Questions and Answers on Bill C-32's digital lock provisions focused first on general issues in the bill and second on C-32's circumvention exceptions.  Today's post discusses the missing exceptions – circumvention exceptions found in other countries but missing from the Canadian bill. For those that want it all in a single package, I've posted the full series as PDF download.

The Missing Exceptions

This section features answers to the following questions:

  • Does C-32 include "authorized circumventers" as is used in New Zealand to facilitate legal circumventions?
  • Are companies required to unlock locked content for legal purposes under C-32?
  • Does C-32 include an exception for non-infringing access, such as accessing DVDs from other regions?
  • Does C-32 include a circumvention exception for personal uses?
  • Does C-32 include a circumvention exception for digital archiving?
  • Does C-32 include a circumvention exception to protect minors?
  • Does C-32 include a circumvention exception for filtering software programs?
  • Does C-32 include an exception for circumventing digital locks that become obsolete or broken?
  • Does C-32 include an exception for court cases, laws, and government documents?
  • Bill C-32's digital lock provisions apply to copyrighted works.  Does that mean that public domain (ie. out-of-copyright) works are not affected?

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June 10, 2010 3 comments News

B.C. Court Clicks With Internet Advertising Keyword Case

Google has grown to become the world’s leading Internet company based largely on accurate search results, yet its financial success owes much to tiny advertisements that are posted as sponsored links alongside the "organic" search results.  The determination of which sponsored links appear on a Google search result page comes in part from a keyword advertising system in which marketers bid on specific words. Whenever a user clicks on the sponsored link, the marketer pays Google the bid amount.  Each click may only cost a few pennies, but with millions of clicks every day, the keyword advertising business is a multi-billion dollar business for Google and has been emulated by competitors such as Yahoo and Microsoft.

Keyword advertising has been a huge commercial success fueling many ad-supported websites, but it has not been without legal controversy.  The practice has generated a steady stream of cases addressing whether the use of a competitor's keyword raise potential trademark or misleading advertising issues.  For example, is Coca-Cola permitted to bid on the Pepsi keyword so that when an Internet user searches for Pepsi they are presented with a sponsored link for Coke?

The issue has been litigated in other countries, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that late last month a B.C. court provided the Canadian perspective for the first time. 

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June 10, 2010 8 comments Columns

Australian Senator Kate Lundy on ACTA

Australian Senator Kate Lundy has posted a critique of ACTA, expressing concern about both its scope and secrecy.  Lundy endorses the Wellington Declaration as a good standard to apply to any IP trade policy consideration.

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June 10, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Reuters Reports Interim ACTA Meeting on Friday

Reuters covers the growing clash over ACTA with countries such as India and China increasingly concerned with the proposed agreement.  The report indicates that an interim ACTA meeting is planned for this Friday in Geneva.

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June 10, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads