Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Fair Dealing by Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dRkXwP

Copyright

Heavy Duty by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/MTgEda

Industry Committee Recommends Adding Digital Lock Exception to USMCA Copyright Provisions

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has released its recommendations for changes to Bill C-4, the bill designed to implement the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement. I appeared before the committee and used this week’s Lawbytes podcast to highlight some of the discussion. The committee had a limited time to study the bill, but arrived at some important recommendations on the copyright and digital policy provisions.

First, it recommended adding a new exception to Canada’s digital lock rules to address concerns in the agriculture sector about the right to repair their equipment. The issue has been gaining momentum around the world as many identify the over-broad restrictions often associated with anti-circumvention laws. The recommendation:

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March 12, 2020 2 comments News
22 NAFTA Style by Steven Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/CSNKez

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 42: What Does the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement Mean for Digital Policy?

The ratification of the Canada – US- Mexico Trade Agreement has captured considerable attention with several committees studying Bill C-4, the bill aimed at ratifying the deal. Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to appear before two of those committees – the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade and on Industry, Science and Technology – where I discussed the digital law and policy implications the agreement. This week’s podcast features excerpts from those appearances, including my opening statement and the ensuing discussion with several MPs on copyright term extension, cultural policy, and privacy.

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March 9, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
President Donald J. Trump at the G20 Summit by the White House (Public Domain) https://flic.kr/p/2dgdd46

The CUSMA Cost: My Appearances Before the Standing Committees on International Trade and Industry, Science and Technology

Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to appear before two House of Commons committees – International Trade and Industry, Science and Technology – to discuss the digital law and policy implications of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement. My opening remarks were nearly identical and focused on four issues: copyright term extension, the cultural exemption, privacy and data protection, and Internet platform liability. The Standing Committee on International Trade yesterday released its report on Bill C-4, the bill implementing CUSMA, with no changes, meaning that lobbying pressure to immediately extend the term of copyright was rejected.

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February 28, 2020 1 comment News
copyright-trap-action-3 by EFF https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/08/tpps-copyright-term-extension-isnt-made-artists-its-made-and-big-content-companies (CC BY 3.0 US)

The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 40: “Copyright Term Extension is a Tax on Consumers” – Paul Heald on What Extending Copyright Term Could Mean for Canada

Copyright term extension has emerged as a major policy issue in Canada in recent months. Canada’s general copyright term is life of the author plus 50 years and successive governments have rejected lobbying pressure to extend by an additional 20 years. That changed with the new NAFTA, which includes a life plus 70 years requirement. Canada negotiated a 30 month transition period with no need to extend the copyright term during that time. The Canadian copyright review recommended that any extension include a registration requirement for the extra 20 years.

Paul Heald is a law professor at the University of Illinois, where he has led the world in conducting extensive empirical analysis on the effects of copyright term extension and the value of the public domain. His work has used some creative methods examining data on sites such as Amazon and Wikipedia to learn more about the effects of term extension. He joined me on the podcast to discuss his findings and new work he has been doing on the data in Canada.

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February 24, 2020 2 comments Podcasts
Image by Simaah from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/cbc-interview-people-outdoors-4729171/

CBC Leads Call for New Government Regulations to Support “Trusted” News Sources

Last month, the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel report sparked an immediate outcry as it recommended that the CRTC identify “trusted” news sites and require news aggregators to link to them:

We recommend that to promote the discoverability of Canadian news content, the CRTC impose the following requirements, as appropriate, on media aggregation and media sharing undertakings: links to the websites of Canadian sources of accurate, trusted, and reliable sources of news with a view to ensuring a diversity of voices; and prominence rules to ensure visibility and access to such sources of news.

In fact, notwithstanding Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s attempts to walk-back initial comments that regulating news websites and services was “no big deal”, the reality is the regulatory structure envisioned by the panel also empowers the CRTC to require these organizations to disclose financial information, consumption data, and algorithmic information. It would also be given the power to regulate commercial negotiations between news providers and these sites and services.

Notwithstanding the public backlash against the proposals (including a House of Commons petition), there is another lobbying effort to get the government to regulate in support of “trusted” news sources. Led by the CBC, the initiative has succeeded in bringing the Toronto Star, Postmedia, Winnipeg Free Press, La Presse, Le Devoir, and others on board.

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February 19, 2020 11 comments News