Post Tagged with: "free speech"

Julia Reda by MIT Media Lab (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/XjNmdG

The First Rule of Copyright Reform: Don’t Mess With Free Speech and Net Neutrality

Countries around the world have been actively rethinking copyright for the digital age, grappling with the potential for the Internet and new technologies to facilitate new creativity and business models as well as the need for fair remuneration for content creators. The European Union has been particularly active on the issue with a two-year copyright reform process that was billed as providing an update for the digital environment.

As the process neared its conclusion earlier this month, the European Parliament experienced the equivalent of a copyright political earthquake. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that hundreds of elected officials shocked observers by voting against quick approval of a reform package that would have led to blocked access to thousands of legitimate works through upload content filters alongside new “link taxes” that would have charged sites for linking to news stories online.

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July 17, 2018 2 comments Columns
The Nine. by Jamie McCaffrey (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/eA1qcp

Google v. Equustek: The SCC Hearing on Internet Jurisdiction and Free Speech

The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments in Google v. Equustek Solutions, a hugely important Internet case with implications for Internet jurisdiction and free speech online. I wrote about the lower court and appellate court decisions and I have a forthcoming piece in the Communications of the ACM on the case.  I attended yesterday’s hearing and live tweeted some of the main exchanges between counsel and the court. As my final tweet of the hearing indicated, I have no idea where the court is heading in this case. A storified version of my hearing tweets is posted below.

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December 7, 2016 13 comments News
CBC News advertising board, CBC Broadcast Centre, Toronto, Southern Ontario, Canada by Pranav Bhatt (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9HBz23

Broadcaster Copyright Misuse and Collusion?: Why Criticism Over the Government’s Political Ad Copyright Exception May Be Pointed in the Wrong Direction

The Canadian Thanksgiving weekend featured escalating rhetoric over the government’s proposed copyright exception for political advertising with claims of fascism, censorship, expropriation, and more. The commentary bears almost no relationship to reality. The truth is that the government and the broadcasters both agree that the current law already permits use without authorization. For all the claims of “theft”, the copyright owner (broadcasters) and user (political parties) both agree that the works can be used without further permission or payment. As Ariel Katz points out this morning, the bigger issue may well be whether Canada’s broadcasters violated the Competition Act by conspiring to not air perfectly lawful political advertisements.

I wrote about the controversy in my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version), but the debate can be boiled down to three issues.

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October 14, 2014 22 comments Columns
New Copyright Exception for Political Advertising, Presentation by Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Government’s Political Advertising Copyright Exception: Fine Print Shows Proposal Privileges Politicians’ Speech Rights Over the Public

Last night I posted on reports that the Canadian government is considering a new copyright exception for political advertising.  While many have been harshly critical of the plans, I’ve noted that political speech is critically important and that copyright law should not be used to stifle it.  My post argues that the law may already cover some of the uses and that if changes are needed, a better approach would be to adopt a fair use provision in Canada.

I have now obtained a copy of the document that was presented by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The document is obviously consistent with the media reports, but provides significantly more detail and raises several additional questions and concerns.

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October 9, 2014 10 comments News
Erasing history by Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9a21aJ

Global Deletion Orders? B.C. Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From its Worldwide Index

In the aftermath of the European Court of Justice “right to be forgotten” decision, many asked whether a similar ruling could arise in Canada. While a privacy-related ruling has yet to hit Canada, last week the Supreme Court of British Columbia relied in part on the decision in issuing an unprecedented order requiring Google to remove websites from its global index. The ruling in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack is unusual since its reach extends far beyond Canada. Rather than ordering the company to remove certain links from the search results available through Google.ca, the order intentionally targets the entire database, requiring the company to ensure that no one, anywhere in the world, can see the search results. Note that this differs from the European right to be forgotten ruling, which is limited to Europe.

The implications are enormous since if a Canadian court has the power to limit access to information for the globe, presumably other courts would as well. While the court does not grapple with this possibility, what happens if a Russian court orders Google to remove gay and lesbian sites from its database? Or if Iran orders it remove Israeli sites from the database? The possibilities are endless since local rules of freedom of expression often differ from country to country. Yet the B.C. court adopts the view that it can issue an order with global effect. Its reasoning is very weak, concluding that:

the injunction would compel Google to take steps in California or the state in which its search engine is controlled, and would not therefore direct that steps be taken around the world. That the effect of the injunction could reach beyond one state is a separate issue.

Unfortunately, it does not engage effectively with this “separate issue.”

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June 17, 2014 31 comments News