Archive for February, 2016

G1 Data roaming option by Kai Hendry (CC BY 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 40: Mobile Roaming Promises Unfulfilled

The Trouble with the TPP series has identified several instances where promises about deal’s benefits for consumers prove to be largely illusory upon closer examination of the actual text. These include weak privacy protections, anti-spam standards, and e-commerce rules. The same over-promise and under-deliver TPP approach arises with respect to consumer mobile roaming.  The TPP contains a large telecom chapter, which some governments used to promote as a key pro-consumer feature of the agreement. For example, the Australian government claimed:

Australia has successfully advocated for a provision that addresses, for the first time, the high cost of International Mobile Roaming.

The Canadian government used similar language in its TPP summary, stating that the TPP “includes, for the first time in a trade agreement, a dedicated article addressing the high cost of international mobile roaming.”

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February 29, 2016 Comments are Disabled News
laval university campus by Elena (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Quebec Court Dismisses Copibec Copyright Class Action Against Laval University

The recent Copyright Board ruling involving Access Copyright and copying at K-12 schools affirmed the fairness of educational copying practices across Canada. While writers groups continue to mislead with claims that the board’s decision springs from 2012 legislative reforms, the reality is that the current approach is grounded in several Supreme Court of Canada decisions. Writers groups and Access Copyright have repeatedly sought to downplay those decisions, yet it has been obvious to most observers that there is nothing unfair about copying up to 10% of a work for purposes such as research, private study, criticism, and education.

With repeated losses at the Copyright Board and the Supreme Court of Canada, copyright collectives have adopted another legal strategy: lawsuits and class actions against universities. The Access Copyright lawsuit against York University is ongoing, but the Quebec counterpart – an attempted class action filed by Copibec against Laval University in November 2014 –  hit a legal wall last week. Copibec had been seeking millions in compensation after Laval shifted to an approach based on fair dealing and transactional licenses. According to a release from Copibec, the court refused to authorize the class action. Copibec says it plans to appeal, but the decision suggests that the legal alternatives for the copyright collectives is rapidly diminishing.

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February 29, 2016 Comments are Disabled News
3D Broken Copyright by (CC BY 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 39: Quiet Expansion of Criminal Copyright Provisions

The past two Trouble with the TPP posts have focused on the disconnect between the TPP and Canadian copyright law which raises the possibility that the Canadian digital lock rules may not be consistent with the TPP.  In addition to those concerns, the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently identified a subtle change that was added during the “legal scrub”. The change involved a provision on applying criminal procedures and penalties in cases of willful copyright infringement on a commercial scale. The version released in November stated:

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February 26, 2016 3 comments News
CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser 2014 by Canadian Film Centre (CC BY 2.0)

OMDC Response Confirms Minister Coteau’s Music Fund Claims Inaccurate

My column/post this week on the Ontario Music Fund’s lack of transparency and exaggerated impact has elicited numerous private responses from people frustrated by the program (some public too) as well as some comments from the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Speaking to FYI Music, OMDC unsurprisingly defend the program and its results. However, the comments appear to confirm that claims about the impact of the program by Michael Coteau, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, were inaccurate.

Coteau spoke to Karen Bliss, Billboard’s Canadian correspondent, in April 2015 about the Ontario Music Fund. As part of the interview, Coteau was asked about auditing or vetting where the money was spent:

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February 26, 2016 1 comment News
Copyright 6/52 by Dennis Skley (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 38: Limits on Canadian Digital Lock Safeguards

As part of the contentious debate over the implementation of anti-circumvention rules in Canadian copyright law in 2012, the government tried to assure concerned stakeholders that it had established specific mechanisms within the law to create additional exceptions to the general rule against circumvention. The law includes a handful of exceptions for issues such as security or privacy protection, but there is also a process for adding new limitations to the general rule. There are two possible avenues for new limitations and exceptions. First, Section 41.21(1) allows the Governor in Council to make regulations for an exception where the law would otherwise “unduly restrict competition.” Second, Section 41.21(2)(a) identifies other circumstances to consider for new regulations for exceptions including whether the circumvention rules could adversely affect the fair dealing criteria.

In addition to those two potential regulation making models for new exceptions and limitations, Canadian law also establishes the possibility of creating a positive requirement on rights holders to unlock their locked content. It states that the Governor in Council may make regulations:

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February 25, 2016 1 comment News