News

Kodi by DownloadsourceES (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/pd6LVo

Canadian Telcos Take Aim At Kodi Addon Site With Shocking Search: True Purpose to “Destroy Livelihood of the Defendant”

Canadian telecom giants Bell, Rogers, and Videotron have escalated their copyright fight against the sale and distribution of Android set-top boxes and websites that facilitate distribution of addons for Kodi software. Kodi boxes – Android set-top boxes pre-loaded with the open source Kodi media player software – have become increasingly popular in recent years. The set-top boxes turn standard televisions into “smart TVs”, enabling users to access their own content and a wide range of video content found online. By all accounts, this includes authorized content such as YouTube, Netflix or other online video providers, as well as unauthorized streaming services that offer access to unlicensed content. The set-top box providers do not make the content available themselves, but rather sell a device preloaded with software that can be used to access both infringing and non-infringing content. In the case of “addon” sites, the sites point to addons or plugins that can be added to the Kodi media player software to make it easier to access online content.

Read more ›

August 4, 2017 28 comments News
First Day of OAS General Assembly by OEA-OAS (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/UGvFXA

Canada’s NAFTA Council: Political and Industry Boxes Checked But Missing Key Perspectives

The Canadian government unveiled a new NAFTA Advisory Council yesterday as it prepares for trade negotiations that start later this month. The Council advising Minister Chrystia Freeland is an impressive one with broad representation from across the political spectrum and from many industry sectors. Indeed, the council is presumably as much about signalling the government’s priorities and including potential critics as it is about the substance of the negotiations. The committee therefore includes Conservatives (Rona Ambrose and James Moore) and NDP members (Brian Topp), Perry Bellegarde (national chief of the AFN), Hassan Yussuf (President of the Canadian Labour Congress) and a representatives from the automotive, energy, financial, agriculture, entertainment, and entrepreneurial sectors.

Read more ›

August 3, 2017 5 comments News
Super Bowl Tickets by Michael Dorausch (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7CjXzW

Inconsistent Arguments and Questionable Claims: Bell Launches Yet Another Action Over CRTC’s Super Bowl Simsub Ruling

Jean-Pierre Blais’ term as CRTC chair was marked by dramatic changes in how policies were developed and in the substance of the policies themselves. As I wrote on his departure, Blais placed the Internet at the centre of the communications systems and worked to gradually revamp broadcast safeguards in an effort to make the Canadian system more globally competitive. With the appointment of new chair Ian Scott and vice-chair of broadcasting Caroline Simard, the established stakeholders will unsurprisingly test the new leadership to see if a change in approach is on the way. Yesterday, Bell took a major step in that direction as it asked the CRTC to rescind its order banning simultaneous substitution from the Super Bowl broadcast in Canada.

Bell had already filed a legal action, asked the government to intervene in the case, and ramped up lobbying pressure from the U.S., but the government rightly declined to overturn the decision with the case still before the courts. I’ve written extensively about the issue, making the case for why the CRTC got it right (if anything, it did not go far enough as simultaneous substitution has become less relevant as more subscribers cut the cable cord). After the Super Bowl broadcast, I argued that the viewership data largely vindicated the CRTC. Indeed, Bell’s data confirms that it massively over-estimated the impact of the simsub loss. In advance of the broadcast, it forecast a $40 million loss. It now claims an $11 million advertising loss, a fraction of its earlier estimate.

Read more ›

August 2, 2017 5 comments News
Copyright, Course Materials and YOU! by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bmnrCJ

Why Fair Dealing is Not Destroying Canadian Publishing

While the copyright world waits for the likely appeal of the Access Copyright v. York University federal court decision (my post on the fair dealing legal errors, Ariel Katz on tariff legal errors), Canadian universities have begun to respond to the decision with many remaining committed to a reasonable policy based on licensing, open access, and fair dealing. Rather than a free-for-all, these approaches include spending hundreds of millions of dollars for access to thousands of copyright works.

This week, Intellectual Property Watch posted a longer piece of mine based on several recent posts and articles. It digs into the data, unpacking the realities behind revenues, guidelines, licensing, and emerging alternatives. The post begins:

Read more ›

July 27, 2017 0 comments News
Google Logo in Building43 by Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7twZcy

Google Files Suit in U.S. Court To Block Enforcement of Canadian Global Takedown Order

Last month’s Supreme Court of Canada decision upholding a global takedown order requiring Google to remove search results on an international basis sparked widespread concern from civil liberties and digital rights groups who fear the implications for freedom of expression online (the case was celebrated by IP rights groups who now envision using Canada as the base for global takedowns). My initial post on the decision argued that the Court had failed to grapple with the elephant in the room, namely the broader implications of global takedowns and the likelihood of conflicts:

The Supreme Court of Canada did not address the broader implications of the decision, content to limit its reasoning to the need to address the harm being sustained by a Canadian company, the limited harm or burden to Google, and the ease with which potential conflicts could be addressed by adjusting the global takedown order. In doing so, it invites more global takedowns without requiring those seeking takedowns to identify potential conflicts or assess the implications in other countries.

The prospect of global conflicts has now come to the Equustek case with Google filing suit in a federal court in California asking the court to block enforcement the Canadian order on the grounds that it violates the U.S. constitution and federal laws.

Read more ›

July 25, 2017 4 comments News