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    Celebrating Internet Freedom Day: When the Internet Met Copyright

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    Friday January 18, 2013
    Today is Internet Freedom Day, a day to celebrate efforts to ensure an open and free Internet. Coming on the anniversary of the Wikipedia blackout that successfully stopped the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States, it is worth thinking about the many successes (ACTA, Internet surveillance in Canada), failures (TPP, digital locks in Canadian copyright law), and tragedies (Aaron Swartz) that have occurred in the past year.

    Last fall, I delivered a keynote address at the University of Saskatchewan for its Technology Week 2012 that focused on these issues. The talk was titled When the Internet Met Copyright and can be viewed via a stream here (sorry no embed available).
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    The MPAA's Secret Lobby Campaign on Bill C-11 and a Canadian SOPA

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    Thursday June 14, 2012
    Over the past few years, the Motion Picture Association - Canada, the Canadian arm of the MPAA, has recorded nearly 100 meetings with government ministers, MPs, and senior officials. While their lobbying effort will not come as a surprise, last October there were several meetings that fell outside the norm. On October 18, 2011, MPA-Canada reports meeting with Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, Foreign Minister John Baird, and Industry Canada Senior Associate Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy, all on the same day. These meetings occured less than three weeks after the introduction of Bill C-11 and the decision to sign ACTA, and only eight days before SOPA was launched in the U.S.

    To get a sense of how rare these meeting were, this is the only registered meeting John Baird has had on intellectual property since Bill C-11 was introduced and ACTA was signed by Canada. Similarly, since the introduction of Bill C-11, James Moore has only two intellectual property meetings listed - this one with MPA-Canada and one in March 2012 with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (in fact, Moore had only three meetings on intellectual property in all of 2011. Those meetings were with MPA-Canada, the Canadian Recording Industry Association, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce). Even the Simon Kennedy meeting was a rarity as he has had multiple meetings with pharmaceutical companies, but only two (MPA-Canada and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) that appear to have included copyright.

    Given how unusual it is for a single lobby group to gain access to two of Canada's leading cabinet ministers and a senior department official on the same day, it begs the question of how they did it.


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    The IP Lobby's Post-Bill C-11 Playbook: ACTA, SOPA, Warrantless Search and the Criminalization of IP

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    Friday June 08, 2012
    The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (itself a group within the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) released a new policy document yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Bill C-11 might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It? is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search results from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement.

    This long post reviews the report, focusing on the case it makes for addressing counterfeiting concerns in Canada and on the resulting recommendations. The recommendations are divided into five main groups:
    1. Introduce a Canadian SOPA
    2. ACTA Implementation
    3. New Search Powers Without Court Oversight
    4. The Criminalization of Intellectual Property
    5. Massive Increase in Public Spending Creating an IP Enforcement Subsidy

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    Benkler on the SOPA & ACTA Protests

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    Tuesday May 08, 2012
    Harvard professor Yochai Benkler recently delivered an exceptional talk examining how the SOPA and ACTA protests unfolded. The talk highlights the role of online new sources and the rapidly changing key players in raising awareness or generating protest activity.

    The Guardian: Blueprint for Democratic Participation from The Guardian and The Paley Center for Media on FORA.tv


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