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My Solace - Emily Of New Moon by Susan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/aJuNCF

Making the Best of a Bad Provision: Why Canada Should Work Toward a Copyright Term Extension Registration Requirement

The agreement on a revised Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement this week featured both good news and bad news. Among the positive changes in the revised agreement is the significant changes to the patent provisions, including the elimination of the ten years of protection for biologics. That provision would have required changes to Canadian law and added significant new costs to pharmaceuticals. Moreover, the retention of the Internet safe harbour provision is a win for freedom of expression in Canada as it will help ensure that free speech is not lost in the current rush to regulate Internet platforms.

On the downside, many of the problematic digital trade provisions remain unchanged (they can also be found in the CPTPP so their inclusion does not change much) as does the requirement for a copyright term extension to life of the author plus 70 years. The additional 20 years of protection beyond the international standard found in the Berne Convention will be costly for Canadians with little discernible benefit.

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December 11, 2019 7 comments News
Best Rubber Stamp by Funky Tee (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bchhhx

Taking Value out of the Copyright Tariff Process: The Copyright Board’s Access Copyright Post-Secondary Tariff Decision

In March 2010, Access Copyright filed a tariff proposal with the Copyright Board to cover copying at post-secondary institutions in Canada. The proposed rate was $45 per year per university student and $35 per year per college student. The proposal represented a dramatic increase in the fees paid under the Access Copyright licence, which, when combined with Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence on fair dealing in the 2004 CCH decision and the growing investment in digital materials, sparked concern among the Canadian education community. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada re-emphasized the broad and liberal approach to fair dealing as user’s right and the government would expand the fair dealing purposes to explicitly include education.

The Access Copyright tariff proposal progressed slowly before the Copyright Board, but on Friday, more than nine years after it was first filed, the Board issued its ruling. It established a retroactive tariff for the years from 2011-2014 of $24.80 per university student ($9.54 for college students) and $14.31 per university student ($5.50 for college students) for the years 2015 to 2017. Access Copyright welcomed the decision, arguing that it outlined a reasonable framework for copying in post-secondary institutions.

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December 10, 2019 0 comments News
This site contains blocked messages by Banksy by Duncan Hull https://flic.kr/p/nDggUx (CC BY 2.0)

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 35: Allen Mendelsohn on Canada’s Copyright Site Blocking Saga

Site blocking has been on the policy and regulatory radar screen for several years in Canada, starting with the Bell-led Fairplay proposal to the CRTC and demands for site blocking as part of the copyright review. With both the CRTC and elected officials rejecting site blocking proposals, rights holders have turned to the courts. Last month, a Federal Court of Canada judge issued a major website blocking decision granting a request from Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA to block access to a series of GoldTV streaming websites.

The case is an important one, representing the first extensive website blocking order in Canada. I’ve argued that it is also deeply flawed from both a policy and legal perspective, substituting the views of one judge over Parliament’s judgment and relying on a foreign copyright case that was rendered under markedly different legal rules than those found in Canada. Allen Mendelsohn, a Montreal based Internet lawyer and sessional lecturer at McGill University joins the podcast this week to help sort through the issues.

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December 9, 2019 0 comments Podcasts
Kerr Fellows

Honouring Ian Kerr’s Legacy: University of Ottawa Launches the Kerr Fellows Program

It has been nearly 100 days since our colleague and friend Ian Kerr passed away. During that time, scarcely a day goes by where I don’t think about Ian. Whether it is resisting the urge to send him a message seeking his advice or counsel, thinking about how he would have reacted to emerging developments, or passing by the closed door to his office, his presence is still strongly felt by the entire University of Ottawa and technology law communities. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve run into someone who I haven’t seen in awhile and their first response is to express their condolences and admiration for Ian. Indeed, seemingly everyone has a story of how Ian touched them or had a positive impact on their lives.

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December 3, 2019 1 comment News
Fadi Chehadé President & CEO of ICANN speaks as part of the panel during the Ministerial meeting 'Addressing the challenges of a Hyper-connected world' at the 7th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) ann by Internet Society (Richard Stonehouse) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/drosgZ

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 34: The Fight to Save the Dot-Org

The dot-org domain extension was established as one of the first top-level domains in 1985 alongside dot-com, dot-net and a handful of others. In 2002, administration over the domain was awarded to the Public Interest Registry (PIR), a non-profit established by the Internet Society (ISOC), to run the extension. PIR recently announced that it was being purchased by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm that includes a former CEO of ICANN among its founders. With a rumoured purchase price of over $1 billion dollars, there is big money for ISOC but the deal has left the non-profit community worried about potential price increases and policy changes to the domain that could impact online speech. Elliot Harmon, Activism Director with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently wrote about the issue and has been working on a campaign with NGOs around the world opposed to the deal. He joined on the podcast to discuss the background behind dot-org, the concerns with the sale, and what can be done about it.

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December 2, 2019 1 comment Podcasts