Archive for December, 2010

CanLII Seeking New President

CanLII, a leader in free access to law, is seeking a new President.  If you’re interested, please apply (I’m a CanLII board member).

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December 22, 2010 1 comment Must Reads

Wikileaks ACTA Cables Reveal Concern With U.S. Secrecy Demands

The Guardian has posted two Wikileaks cables that focus on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  The first is from Italy in November 2008.   It provides a useful reminder that the U.S. at one time hoped to conclude the ACTA negotiations by the end of 2008 (and the George Bush term).  The cable quotes the Italian head of the IP office within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that timeline was unrealistic:

European countries are likely to ask for a slowdown in negotiations because of opposition to the EU commission’s involvement in negotiating portions of the treaty, disagreements over the confidentiality level of the negotiations, and the absence of geographical indications from the agreement.

The official also noted opposition among member states with the European Commission negotiating criminal matters and ongoing frustration with the level of secrecy associated with ACTA that made it impossible to properly consult stakeholders:

The level of confidentiality in these ACTA negotiations has been set at a higher level than is customary for non-security agreements. According to Mazza, it is impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under this level of confidentiality. He said that before the next round of ACTA discussions, this point will have to be renegotiated.

The official characterized ACTA as “TRIPS Plus” and noted (correctly) that geographic indications was likely to become a major sticking point.

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December 22, 2010 5 comments News

Bell Pays $1.3 Million To Settle Do-Not-Call Violations

The CRTC announced yesterday that Bell has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a case involving multiple violations of the do-not-call list rules. Bell places the blame at third-party telemarketers who placed calls to people on the list.  The fine is the largest to-date by the CRTC for a do-not-call violation and unquestionably sends a strong signal that the Commission is prepared to enforce the law with strict penalties.  I had previously been critical of the enforcement efforts and this marks an important step forward in demonstrating that the law can be used effectively.

The fact that Bell was the target is significant for at least two reasons.  First, Bell administers the do-not-call list under contract.  By targeting the company, it sends the message that no one is above the law.  Second, as I wrote last year, Bell was seemingly the top source of complaints among reputable companies:

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December 21, 2010 10 comments News

UK, Ireland Conduct Studies on Fair Use Copyright Reform

The UK and Ireland are both engaged in reviews of intellectual property laws with an emphasis on fair use reforms.  The UK study, focusing on innovation and economic growth, can be found here.  Information on the Irish plans here.

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December 21, 2010 9 comments Must Reads

Federal Court Awards PIPEDA Damages

Slaw reports that a federal court judge has awarded $5,000 in damages to a self-represented applicant for violations of PIPEDA, relating to an inaccurate credit report.

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December 21, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads