There are several reports (here, here, and here) that Wayne Crookes, who previously launched suits against a wide range of parties including Wikipedia, Yahoo, and a domain name registrar, has sued me in B.C. courts for defamation. I have not been served with the suit, but the reports indicate that […]
Archive for May, 2007
This morning Industry Minister Maxime Bernier released the government's response to the Industry Committee's manufacturing report, which included a recommendation to ratify the WIPO Internet treaties and to increase IP enforcement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The government's response is about what you would expect:
the Government of Canada is:
- reviewing the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and options to strengthen this regime, in order to combat video piracy and the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, and
- preparing amendments to Canada's copyright regime that would provide for the implementation of the WIPO Internet Treaties into our domestic legislation
The response continues by noting that the Public Safety and Industry committees are also examining the counterfeiting issue. I do not think there is anything particularly new here – the government has long indicated that it plans to amend the Copyright Act and this statement is obviously consistent with those plans.
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at the recently released national science and technology strategy. The column includes new information obtained under the Access to Information Act that highlights publisher opposition to open access in Canada and demonstrates the need for government leadership on the open access issue. I argue that maximizing the value of Canada's investment in research requires far more than tax breaks and improved accountability mechanisms. Instead, government must rethink how publicly-funded scientific data and research results flow into the hands of researchers, businesses, and individuals.
Achieving that goal requires action on two fronts. First, the government should identify the raw, scientific data currently under its control and set it free. Implementing expensive or onerous licensing conditions for this publicly-funded data runs counter to the goals of commercialization and to government accountability for taxpayer expenditures. Ottawa has already taken some important steps in this direction. Last month, it announced that Natural Resources Canada was making its electronic topographic mapping data available to all users free of charge over the Internet. The topographic data, which can be accessed at the aptly-named GeoGratis, provides information on the location of landscape features – such as lakes, rivers and elevations as well as roads, railways and administrative boundaries. This information is used for commercial, non-commercial, and research purposes by governments, academia and the private sector.
Second, Ottawa must pressure the three federal research granting institutions to build open access requirements into their research mandates.
P2PNet scores an interview with the controversial Allofmp3.com.