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Kerr event

Celebrating Ian Kerr

This past week there were two notable celebrations of the life and work of Ian Kerr. First, Jotwell published a remarkable tribute featuring 12 short reviews of some of Ian’s most notable scholarship. The collection speaks both to Ian’s breadth of scholarship covering privacy, copyright, e-commerce, robots, and AI as well as his incredible impact with contributors from around the world. I was privileged to wrote about Ian’s 2005 chapter on digital rights management and anti-circumvention laws.

On Friday, September 27th, the University of Ottawa gathered together for a community celebration of Ian. The full video is embedded below. The event included musical performances and speeches from former students, colleagues, collaborators, and admirers. I was honoured to speak and I have posted my remarks below. The event also provided an opportunity to formally launch the Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund, which will support students, events, and research. More information on the fund and how to contribute can be found here.

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September 29, 2019 1 comment News
“A Broad and Liberal Interpretation”: The Supreme Court of Canada Expands Copyright Users’ Rights

“A Broad and Liberal Interpretation”: The Supreme Court of Canada Expands Copyright Users’ Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada today released its decision in Keatley Surveying v. Teranet, a case that involves the application of the Copyright Act’s crown copyright provision to land surveys registered or deposited in provincial land survey offices. The Government of Ontario argued that crown copyright applies to the surveys. The surveyors argued that it did not and were seeking compensation for their inclusion in a database service run by Teranet under licence from the province. The court ruled in favour of the province, concluding that the surveys are covered by current crown copyright provision.

I’ll address the challenges with that decision in an upcoming post, though it is clear that the majority decision written by Justice Abella is open to legislative reform:

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September 26, 2019 4 comments News
In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

In Memoriam: My Dear Friend and Colleague Ian Kerr

Nearly twenty years ago, Ian Kerr was a rising star in the law and technology field at the University of Western Ontario. He had already published on the role of computers as intelligent agents in the nascent world of electronic commerce and was crafting new courses examining the legal and ethical challenges posed by machines and the law. In the fall of 1999 – about a year after I had arrived at Ottawa – he agreed to a visit to consider coming to help build a leading program focused on law and tech. I spent the day trying to convince Ian to come, offering tours of the law school, the city’s foodie hot spots, and a dinner at my house. My closing argument was that no matter his decision, this was going to happen since Ottawa was ideally situated to lead on tech law and policy and that there was no better place for him, personally or professionally.

I’m heartened that Ian told me during my last visit with him at the Ottawa Hospital that the decision was one of the best he ever made. But I was wrong. This wasn’t just going to happen. It happened because Ian – my colleague, friend, advisor, and professional partner – made it so.

Ian passed away last night after months of battling complications from cancer. He was a singular talent, whose impact not just on the field, but on everyone he worked with, taught, mentored, or lectured will be felt for decades to come.

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August 27, 2019 71 comments News
Tax Service by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4wPt8s

The Cultural Lobby Demands for Internet Taxes and Fees: The Forgotten Piece in Canada’s Lower Wireless and Internet Cost Puzzle

Over the past few weeks, both the National Post and Reuters have reported that the Liberals plan to include lower Internet and wireless costs as part of the fall election campaign. The reports indicate that reforms could include price caps or a firm commitment to facilitating the entry of new competitors in the form of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). I’ve posted regularly on Canada’s high wireless prices and efforts to address the issue (here, here, here, here, and here), which remain uncompetitive relative to many other countries (some of the reasons why are discussed in this LawBytes podcast episode with Antonios Drossos of Rewheel Research).

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August 27, 2019 4 comments News
TPP Signing, February 4th, 2016 by US Embassy (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/DCM31U

Canadian Government Consults on Expanding Pacific Trade Treaty to UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand

The Canadian government has launched a public consultation on expanding the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, formerly TPP) to other countries, specifically citing the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand. The consultation could raise significant concerns as the UK would be the first non-Pacific country in the agreement and Taiwan could spark a response from China. Moreover, opening the agreement to new countries must likely factor in the possibility that the U.S. might want to re-enter the agreement if there is a change in administration in 2020.

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July 30, 2019 0 comments News