Technology law and policy is notoriously unpredictable and crystal ball gazing in Canada this year is particularly challenging given the current political and economic uncertainty. With that caveat, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) provides my best guess for the coming months includes the following:
January. The Copyright Board of Canada releases its much-anticipated decision on the copyright royalties payable by primary and secondary schools across Canada. The board reduces the fees based on the Supreme Court of Canada’s liberal interpretation of fair dealing, Canada's version of fair use. At the end of the month, the government's budget includes the expected stimulus package for the auto and forestry sectors, but there is little for the culture and technology sectors.
February. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission kicks off a busy year with its new media hearings. The positions are by-now well known – cultural groups seek the creation of a new ISP levy and increased regulation of Internet-based broadcasting, while most broadcasters and telecommunications companies support the status quo.
March. Secret negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume in Morocco. Calls for greater transparency fall on deaf ears as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea urge participants to keep the treaty under wraps and to conclude the draft treaty by year-end.
April. The U.S. Trade Representative releases its annual Special 301 Report on the status of global intellectual property laws. Canada once again finds itself in good company as it (along with dozens of other countries) is criticized for failing to pass new copyright reform legislation.