Archive for February, 2007

Privacy Commissioner on Domain Name Registrant ID Requirements

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has just released a finding that considers domain name registrar requirements of personal identification, such as a driver's license, in order to change the administrative email address for a domain name registration.  The Commissioner found that the requirement was reasonable, noting that ID requirements are […]

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February 26, 2007 4 comments Must Reads

Open Access Reshaping Rules of Research

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities, and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

For years, the research model remained relatively static.  In Canada, federal funding agencies in the sciences, social sciences, and health sciences doled out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to support research at Canadian universities.  University researchers typically published their findings in expensive, peer-reviewed publications, which were purchased by those same publicly-funded universities.  
The model certainly proved lucrative for large publishers, yet resulted in the public paying twice for research that it was frequently unable to access.  Cancer patients seeking information on new treatments or parents searching for the latest on childhood development issues were often denied access to the research they indirectly fund through their tax dollars.

The emergence of the Internet dramatically changes the equation.  

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February 26, 2007 Comments are Disabled Columns

Open Access Reshaping Rules of Research

Appeared in the Toronto Star on February 26, 2007 as Open Access: Reshaping Rules of Research Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy to require that all government-funded research be made available to the public shortly […]

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February 26, 2007 1 comment Columns Archive

Modifying Canadian Law

A blog reader has passed along a legal demand letter they recently received from Smart & Biggar, a leading Canadian IP law firm, representing the Entertainment Software Association.  The letter focuses on the sale of modification devices – frequently referred to as "mod chips" that can be used to modify or alter store-bought video games or play infringing copies of those games.  Mod chips have been rendered illegal in the U.S. and U.K., while Australia's High Court upheld their legality in 2005 (the law was changed under pressure from the U.S. last year).

The letter argues that the ESA has both trademark and copyright rights in the video games.  In addition to pointing to Section 27 of the Copyright Act as governing the sale or distribution of unauthorized software, the applicability of criminal offences under Section 42 of the Copyright Act, and the fraud provisions of the Criminal Code, it claims:

"any use, offer for sale or sale of modification devices, or 'mod chips' to permit circumvention of our clients' consoles security systems to play pirated or counterfeit software, is also an offence and constitutes direct or indirect infringement of our clients' intellectual property rights by inducing and procuring infringement by others of our client's aforesaid rights."

Given that the letter makes no reference to patent rights, the intellectual property referred to in this sentence is presumably copyright.  This raises at least two issues. 

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February 23, 2007 16 comments News

Progress at WIPO

The EFF and Jamie Love report on the surprising (and encouraging) progress on the WIPO Development Agenda this week in  Geneva.

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February 23, 2007 Comments are Disabled Must Reads