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Michael Geist's Blog

Transport Canada Issues DMCA Takedown Over On-the-Record Response

Transport Canada has reportedly issued a DMCA takedown notice to Scribd over an on-the-record response it provided to a journalist. The move is particularly odd (though not unprecedented, see here and here) given the document was issued to a journalist and the government changed its crown copyright licence last year to allow for private and non-commercial public use without the need for further permission.
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Canadian Music Industry Lobby: Put SOPA Into C-11 Or Stand With Illegal Sites

The reports that the music industry lobby (along with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the movie lobby) is seeking the inclusion of SOPA-style provisions into Bill C-11 has generated considerable discussion online and in the mainstream media (CBC, Financial Post). Yesterday, Balanced Copyright for Canada, the group backed by the music industry, fired back with several tweets claiming that opposing their reforms would benefit "illegal BitTorrent sites"and "illegal hosting sites." Leaving aside the fact that if these sites are illegal, they are by-definition already in violation of current law, the claims point to what seems likely to become a SOPA-like scare campaign that seeks to paint skeptics of CRIA demands as supporters of piracy.

These claims involve two different issues with Bill C-11. The first are the digital lock provisions, which dozens of organizations (including businesses, the Retail Council of Canada, creator groups, consumer groups, and education associations) have argued are overly restrictive. The proposed solution is to link circumvention of a digital lock with actual copyright infringement, an approach that is consistent with the WIPO Internet treaties and has been adopted by trading partners such as New Zealand and Switzerland (Canada even proposed the approach in Bill C-60). These amendments would not legalize hacking businesses, but rather ensure that the same balance that exists offline is retained in the digital environment.


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Keeping Score of Canada’s Spectrum Auction

Reports indicate that Industry Minister Christian Paradis could unveil the government's spectrum auction and telecom foreign ownership policies this month. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) provided a preview of some the key issues. While interest in spectrum auction policy is typically limited to telecom companies and business analysts, all Canadians have a stake in this decision. The available spectrum - known as the 700 MHz spectrum - opens up a host of possibilities for new innovation, competitors, and open Internet access. It is viewed as particularly valuable spectrum since it easily penetrates walls, making it ideal for delivering wireless high-speed Internet services.

Auctioning the spectrum raises a host of critical policy choices.


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"Piracy is the New Radio"

Canadian superstar Neil Young on piracy:

It doesn't affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. [...] Piracy is the new radio. That's how music gets around. [...] That's the radio. If you really want to hear it, let's make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it.
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Katz on the Access Copyright Deal

Ariel Katz adds his voice to the criticisms from Howard Knopf and Sam Trosow on the recent agreement between Access Copyright and two Ontario universities.
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MEP Says ACTA Goes Too Far

The Guardian features an exclusive interview with Kader Arif, the lead ACTA negotiator in the European Parliament who quit his position over objections that review process is a charade.
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