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Michael Geist's Blog

The Real Story Behind Canada's Copyright Plans

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version or free hyperlinked Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) provides some context for last week s announcement on the government s plans for Canadian copyright reform. The immediate spin from the recording industry was that they were delighted with the push toward copyright reform. While I am sure they are happy that the government is doing something, a closer look at the actual proposals suggest that they did not get much of what they wanted.

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The ISP March Toward Packet Preferencing Continues

Mark Evans, a reporter with the National Post, reports on his blog that Clearwire has established a terms of use that effectively excludes services such as Vonage and BitTorrent.

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Japenese Study Finds No Negative Impact From P2P

A Keio University economics professor recently released research (Japanese report) that indicates that the use of "Winny", the most popular P2P application in Japan, has no effect on CD sales. In fact, the study found that P2P helps to promote music sales and allows for new music discovery were indicated by the research.

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Government of Canada Unveils Plans for Copyright Reform

Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage, the two departments responsible for copyright policy in Canada, this morning released a joint statement on plans for copyright reform. There is an additional FAQ that fleshes out the issues. A bill is expected this spring and the statement spells out where Canada is headed.

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New Accountability Needed For ISPs

My weekly Law Bytes column (full hypertext version with background links or Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on a touchy subject -- ISP accountability.

I argue that it is time to re-examine the self-regulatory, hands-off approach to ISPs. Content regulation is clearly unworkable and dangerous, however, I am of the view that increased accountability for ISP's carrier function may be needed.

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P2P and Private Copying

With the appeal of the BMG v. Doe case scheduled for next month, it is interesting to see developments in Europe this week that also seek to protect individual file sharers who download for personal, non-commercial purposes.

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National Digital Libraries

Earlier this year, I wrote a column calling on the Canadian government to create a national digital library. The concept was simple -- Canada should become the first country in the world to to create a comprehensive national digital library. The library, which would be fully accessible online, would contain a digitally scanned copy of every book, government report, and legal decision ever published in Canada.

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Canadian MP Says Extended Licensing Proposal Delayed

Marlene Catteral, a Canadian MP and chair of the Canadian Heritage parliamentary committee has told (Quicktime format) a university audience that the government has delayed plans to introduce a much-criticized copyright proposal to establish a extended license for educational institutions. The proposal would have created a license for Internet materials that were not publicly available.

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Time for Canada To Cancel Crown Copyright

My weekly Law Bytes column (full hypertext version with background links or Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on Canadian crown copyright, which provides that the government retains the copyright associated with any work that is prepared or published by or under its direction, creating an enormous and unconscionable barrier to Canadian film making, political advocacy, and free speech.

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P2P Goes to the Movies

The Vancouver Sun ran a story over the weekend on the growing popularity of downloading movies on P2P networks. The article notes that movie swapping is still tiny in comparison to music, but that it may grow in the future.

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