Columns

By Office of the President of the United States (@realDonaldTrump on Twitter) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADonald_Trump_Justin_Trudeau_2017-02-13_03.jpg

The USMCA and Copyright Reform: Who is Writing Canada’s Copyright Law Anyway?

Canada’s year-long copyright review has thus far featured dozens of witnesses from creators such as singer Bryan Adams to telecom giants Bell and Telus. While the review is designed to help Canadian policy makers craft a roadmap for future reforms, the release of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the successor to NAFTA, represents a significant detour as it contains a detailed intellectual property rights chapter that effectively cedes many key issues to U.S. trade negotiators.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that in the weeks leading up to the conclusion of the trade pact negotiations, most of the attention was focused on supply management and the dairy sector, the threat of tariffs on the automotive industry, and the future of dispute resolution provisions. Yet once the secret text was released just after midnight on Sunday, the mandated reform to Canadian copyright law became more readily apparent.

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October 3, 2018 10 comments Columns
Supreme Court of Canada Chamber by Sean_Marshall (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/Fb3RmX

Notice the Difference?: Supreme Court Rules ISPs Can Be Compensated for Copyright Costs

Policy makers have long struggled to strike a fair balance in crafting rules to address allegations of copyright infringement on the Internet. Copyright owners want to stop infringement and the right to pursue damages, Internet subscribers want their privacy and freedom of expression rights preserved in the face of unproven allegations, and Internet providers want to maintain their neutrality by resolving the disputes expeditiously and inexpensively.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that the Canadian system for online infringement was formally established in 2012 and came into effect in 2015. The so-called “notice-and-notice” approach grants rights holders the ability to send notifications of alleged infringement to Internet providers, who are required by law to forward the notices to the relevant subscriber and to preserve the data in the event of future legal action. The system does not prevent rights holders from pursuing additional legal remedies, but Internet providers cannot reveal the identity of their subscribers without a court order.

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September 17, 2018 8 comments Columns
Julia Reda by MIT Media Lab (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/XjNmdG

The First Rule of Copyright Reform: Don’t Mess With Free Speech and Net Neutrality

Countries around the world have been actively rethinking copyright for the digital age, grappling with the potential for the Internet and new technologies to facilitate new creativity and business models as well as the need for fair remuneration for content creators. The European Union has been particularly active on the issue with a two-year copyright reform process that was billed as providing an update for the digital environment.

As the process neared its conclusion earlier this month, the European Parliament experienced the equivalent of a copyright political earthquake. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that hundreds of elected officials shocked observers by voting against quick approval of a reform package that would have led to blocked access to thousands of legitimate works through upload content filters alongside new “link taxes” that would have charged sites for linking to news stories online.

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July 17, 2018 6 comments Columns
Opening ceremony | Cérémonie d'ouverture by #G7Charlevoix https://flic.kr/p/24bTSjc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Unpacking Canada’s IP Strategy: Countering IP Abuse, Addressing IP Administration and Removing IP Barriers to Innovation

Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, unveiled the government’s long-awaited intellectual property (IP) strategy, which responds to the need to increase IP awareness, develop new IP tools for businesses and counter IP misuse that harms both consumers and businesses. Following Bains’s announcement in April, the strategy garnered widespread applause for its holistic approach to IP policy, which recognizes the need to support IP through a combination of better information, administration and corporate practices.

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July 5, 2018 3 comments Columns
Boxee beta screenshot by Ian Forrester (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7vRe8Z

The CRTC’s Fundamental Flaw: Broadcasting May Be the Internet, but the Internet is Not Broadcasting

Canada’s communications regulator last week reversed decades of policy by recommending that the government implement new regulation and taxation for internet services in order to support the creation of Canadian content. The report on the future of program distribution, which will surely influence the newly established government panel reviewing Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting laws, envisions new fees attached to virtually anything related to the internet: internet service providers, internet video services, and internet audio services (wherever located) to name a few.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes with the remarkable popularity of services such as Netflix and YouTube, there is a widely held view that the internet has largely replaced the conventional broadcast system. Industry data suggests the business of broadcasters and broadcast distributors such as cable and satellite companies won’t end anytime soon, but it is undeniable that a growing number of Canadians access broadcast content through the internet.

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June 8, 2018 6 comments Columns