Post Tagged with: "Access"

Shipments from Amazon by Public.Resource.Org (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7tayh5

The Government’s Role in E-commerce: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade

On the same day that I wrote about the overwhelming volume of hearings, notices, and consultations on digital policy, I also appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the role of government policy in fostering the growth of e-commerce. The panel included eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs (who argued for an increase in the de minimis threshold for consumer imports) and Peter Simons, the CEO of the Simons department store chain (who argued for no de minimis and the application of sales taxes on all purchases regardless of the size or location of the seller). My opening remarks centered on five areas for government action on e-commerce: access to affordable broadband, fostering consumer trust, intermediary liability, intellectual property, and e-commerce in trade agreements.

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October 27, 2017 1 comment News
Draft Marrakesh Treaty submitted by the Drafting Committee to the Plenary, 27 June 2013 by EIFL (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/f25S8C

Canada to Introduce Copyright Bill Implementing Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access for the Blind

While the media focus has unsurprisingly been on Budget 2016, the government has quietly moved to introduce copyright reform legislation that will allow Canada to implement the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The notice paper for Wednesday, March 23rd includes an Act to amend the Copyright Act with specific provisions on access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities. The decision to implement the Marrakesh Treaty is long-overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

The treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the export of works to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world, which is needed since only a tiny percentage of books are ever made into accessible formats. Further, it restricts digital locks from impeding access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired. The last bill featured changes to Canada’s digital lock rules that demonstrated (yet again) that the rules are overly restrictive and in need of amendment. The bill should be introduced as soon as Wednesday with analysis to follow.

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March 22, 2016 1 comment News

Statscan Data Points to Canada’s Growing Digital Divide

Statistics Canada released its bi-ennial Internet use survey last week and while much of the immediate reaction focused on the continuing growth of Internet use (due largely to increased usage by those aged 65 and older), my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the bigger story is the ongoing Canadian digital divide that confirms the strong link between household income and Internet use.

Statscan reports that 83 per cent of Canadians use the Internet, yet a closer examination of the data reveals a significant gap that is closely correlated to income. Moreover, the data also shows that Canada’s high wireless prices now play a role in the digital divide, with only a quarter of lower-income Canadians using Internet wireless services.

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November 5, 2013 5 comments Columns

Canada’s Digital Divide Likely To Widen Due to Access and Adoption Failures

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 6, 2013 as Canada’s Digital Divide Likely to Widen The state of Internet access in Canada has been the subject of considerable debate in recent years as consumers and businesses alike assess whether Canadians have universal access to fast, affordable broadband that compares […]

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April 10, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Supreme Court of Canada Stands Up For Fair Dealing in Stunning Sweep of Cases

The Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated rulings in the five copyright cases (ESAC v. SOCAN, Rogers v. SOCAN, SOCAN v. Bell – song previews, Alberta v. Access Copyright, Re:Sound) it heard last December (my coverage of the two days of hearings here and here). It will obviously take some time to digest these decisions, but the clear takeaway is that the court has delivered an undisputed win for fair dealing that has positive implications for education and innovation, while striking a serious blow to copyright collectives such as Access Copyright.

Led by Justice Abella, the court has reaffirmed that fair dealing is a user’s right that must be interpreted in a broad and liberal manner. In fact, the court provides further guidance on interpreting fair dealing with an emphasis on the need for a flexible, technology-neutral approach. In reading the decisions in the Access Copyright and song previews cases, it is hard to imagine a bigger victory for education, Internet users, and innovative companies. This post will provide some quick key points in the Access Copyright and song previews decisions.

The Access Copyright case has enormous implications for education and copyright in Canada. With the court’s strong endorsement of fair dealing in the classroom, it completely eviscerates much of Access Copyright’s business model and calls into question the value of the model licence signed by many Canadian universities. Writing for the majority, Abella adopts several crucial findings, not the least of which is that fair dealing is a user’s right. Piece by piece, Abella tears apart Access Copyright’s claims. First, she says the attempt by Access Copyright to separate teacher copies for students and students making their own copies should be rejected. The court states:

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July 12, 2012 78 comments News