Archive for January, 2012

Thousands Take to the Streets to Protest ACTA

The protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continue to spread in cities across Europe. The protests began in Poland, where thousands have taken to the streets and opposition politicians have worn Guy Fawkes masks in protest against the country signing the agreement last week. The scenes from Poland are remarkable, […]

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January 29, 2012 11 comments News

The ACTA Fight Returns: What Is at Stake and What You Can Do

The reverberations from the SOPA fight continue to be felt in the U.S. (excellent analysis from Benkler and Downes) and elsewhere (mounting Canadian concern that Bill C-11 could be amended to adopt SOPA-like rules), but it is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that has captured increasing attention this week. Several months after the majority of ACTA participants signed the agreement, most European Union countries formally signed the agreement yesterday (notable exclusions include Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia). 

This has generated a flurry of furious protest: thousands have taken to the streets in protest in Poland, nearly 250,000 people have signed a petition against the agreement, and a Member of the European Parliament has resigned his position as rapporteur to scrutinize the agreement, concluding that the entire review process is a “charade.”

Some are characterizing ACTA as worse than SOPA, but the reality is somewhat more complicated. From a substantive perspective, ACTA’s Internet provisions are plainly not as bad as those contemplated by SOPA. Over the course of several years of public protest and pressure, the Internet provisions were gradually watered down with the removal of three strikes and you’re out language. Other controversial provisions on statutory damages and anti-camcording rules were made optional rather than mandatory.

While the Internet provisions may not be as bad as SOPA, the remainder of the agreement raises many significant concerns.

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January 27, 2012 28 comments News

From Deadwood to Opportunity: CRIA Changes Its Tune on the Canadian Online Music Market

For many years, the most prominent critic of the Canadian online music market has been the industry itself. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (now known as Music Canada) has consistently argued that few would want to invest in Canada due to the state of our copyright laws. For example, in 2009, CRIA President Graham Henderson published an op-ed that said our trading partners were racing ahead of Canada, which he argued was a product of Canadian copyright law. A year later, Universal Music Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and told MPs the legal uncertainty meant that the investment was going to other countries.

This week, the industry seemingly decided to change its tune. It released a new guide on licensing digital music in Canada that identifies the key organizations that license music in Canada, including the record labels and several copyright collectives. The report highlights how there are services in Canada in all the major segments, including digital downloads, non-interactive streaming, on-demand streaming, and music videos.

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January 26, 2012 15 comments News

Taking Stock of the SOPA Battle

Several excellent pieces assessing the recent battle over SOPA have been posted over the past few days. They include: Larry Downes, has a great piece titled Who Really Stopped SOPA, and Why? Yochai Benkler on Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megauplaod and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here The Hollywood […]

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January 26, 2012 5 comments News

Bill C-11: Copyright, The Movie

Jesse Brown blogs on the push to introduce SOPA style rules into Canadian copyright reform.

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January 26, 2012 1 comment Must Reads