Archive for October, 2017

Stop Spam, CC0 Creative Commons https://pixabay.com/en/stop-spam-spam-road-sign-mail-940526/

Better Marketing and Reduced Spam: New Data Demonstrates that Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Working

Few Canadian laws have sparked as much animosity from the business community as Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). The law, which took effect in 2014, has faced a barrage of complaints regarding its breadth and cost of implementation. Yet as a House of Commons committee nears the conclusion of a statutorily-mandated CASL review, it has become increasingly clear that the law has worked.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that while spam has obviously not disappeared from anyone’s inbox, the law never envisioned eradicating the proliferation of spam, spyware, malware, and other online ills. Rather, new data disclosed at the committee review reveal that Canada is a now a world anti-spam leader, resulting in more effective e-commerce campaigns and a significant reduction in the number of spam organizations operating within Canada.

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October 31, 2017 1 comment Columns
canadian money is pretty by Robert Anthony Provost (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/3jV8UB

Access Copyright Calls for Massive Expansion of Damage Awards of Up To Ten Times Royalties

The Canadian government’s consultation on reform to the Copyright Board recently closed and the 60 written responses were just posted online (my response – which focuses on the public interest role of the Board – can be found here). I will have a more fulsome review of the responses in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime one of the most radical recommendations, from Access Copyright, is worthy of comment. The copyright collective has called for a massive expansion of damage awards, seeking a new statutory damages provision that could result in damage awards ten times the size of actual applicable royalties.

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October 30, 2017 1 comment News
Shipments from Amazon by Public.Resource.Org (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7tayh5

The Government’s Role in E-commerce: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade

On the same day that I wrote about the overwhelming volume of hearings, notices, and consultations on digital policy, I also appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the role of government policy in fostering the growth of e-commerce. The panel included eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs (who argued for an increase in the de minimis threshold for consumer imports) and Peter Simons, the CEO of the Simons department store chain (who argued for no de minimis and the application of sales taxes on all purchases regardless of the size or location of the seller). My opening remarks centered on five areas for government action on e-commerce: access to affordable broadband, fostering consumer trust, intermediary liability, intellectual property, and e-commerce in trade agreements.

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October 27, 2017 1 comment News
Ryerson talk screen shot, https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/11/Watch/11904.aspx

Canadian Copyright, OA, and OER: Why the Open Access Road Still Leads Back to Copyright

It is open access week and this year I had the honour of delivering the keynote address at a terrific open access event co-sponsored by the Ryerson University Library and Archives and the University of Toronto Libraries. My talk – which can be viewed in full here or from the embed below – starts with a review of the remarkable success of open access over the past 15 years, but quickly shifts toward the continuing connection between balanced copyright and open access.

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October 26, 2017 6 comments News
free consultation by russell davies (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4jxLPq

Too Much of a Good Thing: What Lies Behind Canada’s Emerging Consultation Crisis

After years of often feeling excluded from the policy making and legislative process, many civil society groups were excited by the prospect of a new government committed to public consultations and feedback. The Liberal government moved quickly to consult on all manner of issues, providing hope that an emphasis on participatory democracy would lead to better policies and an opportunity to incorporate a broader range of perspectives.

My op-ed in today’s Hill Times notes that two years into the Liberal mandate, the consultative process is now a well-established part of how policy is developed. It is nice to be asked for your opinion, but Canada is increasingly facing a consultation crisis as the sheer volume of hearings, notices, and consultations can be overwhelming.

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October 25, 2017 4 comments Columns