This weekend, I was pleased to deliver a keynote address at the Nova Scotia Music Week conference. While groups like CRIA (Music Canada) position themselves as industry-wide representatives, discussions with many in the industry in Nova Scotia revealed considerable disagreement. My talk – Why Copyright Reform Is Not the Cure for What Ails the Music Industry – focused on CRIA’s conventional talking points and assessed Bill C-11 provisions on statutory damages, ISP liability, the enabler provision, and digital locks. See this post for links to the supporting documents, additional articles and sources on each issue.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote address at the Cybera Summit in Banff, Alberta. The conference focused on a wide range of cutting edge technology and network issues. My opening keynote discussed Canada digital economy legal strategy. While the formal digital strategy has yet to be revealed, I argued that the digital economy legal strategy is largely set with legislative plans touching on lawful access, privacy, online marketing, and copyright.
I presented on Confronting the Social Media Regulatory Challenge at the the International Telecommunications Union’s 11th Global Symposium for Regulators. The presentation and discussion paper are available for free online.
Last week the privacy world gathered in Montreal for the most important global privacy conference on the calendar. The International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioner's conference brings together hundreds of privacy commissioners, government regulators, business leaders, and privacy advocates who spend three days grappling with emerging issues. I was privileged to be asked to provide some concluding remarks in the final plenary and my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) is a shortened version of that address.
This year's conference theme was "Terra Incognita," a reference to the unknown lands that typify the fear of the unknown in a world of rapidly changing technologies that challenge the core principles of privacy protection. Yet despite a dizzying array of panels on new technologies such as ubiquitous computing, radio frequency identification devices (RFID), and nanotechnology, it was a reference by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to a simple fingerprint that struck the strongest chord.
Canada last hosted the conference in 1996 and it quickly became apparent that privacy has become virtually unrecognizable in the intervening eleven years. The technological challenges were on display throughout the event including eye-opening presentations on the privacy impact of popular children's websites such as Webkinz and Neopets, on genetic innovation that is pushing the boundaries of science without regard for privacy, and on the continual shift toward tiny devices that can be used to collect and disclose personal information.
The conference placed the spotlight the growing "toolkit" of responses, including privacy audits of both public and private sector organizations, privacy impact assessments that are used to gauge the effect of new regulations and corporate initiatives, trust seals that include corporate compliance programs, and emphasis on global cooperation in a world where personal data slips effortlessly across borders. While the effectiveness of these measures has improved in recent years, there remained a pervasive sense that these responses are inadequate.
In my Hart House Lecture, Our Own Creative Land: Cultural Monopoly and The Trouble With Copyright, I discussed a number of topics, including the Bulte incident, the opportunities presented by the Internet, the context of the current round of copyright reform. I concluded by sketching out an alternative and forward-looking vision of Canadian copyright law.
A video broadcast of the lecture appeared on TVO’s Big Ideas program, but is no longer available online.