Archive for March 6th, 2012

Canadian Heritage: Why Statutory Damages Do Not Belong in Bill C-11’s “Enabler” Provision

The “enabler provision” has emerged as one of the major demands by copyright lobby groups, who want to see significant expansion of the current provision by including SOPA-style reforms that could target sites such as Youtube. In fact, the music industry has gone even further with demands that could create liability risk for social networking sites, search engines, blogging platforms, video sites, and many other websites featuring third party contributions. Jason Kee of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada argues that unless the enabler provision is expanded “the provision is useless.” All of these demands come despite the fact that the industry is using existing law to sue isoHunt for millions of dollars under current copyright law.

In addition to expanding the provision, the same groups want to add statutory damages to the mix (the music industry recently argued that statutory damages should be unlimited). Yet a June 2010 letter to SOCAN from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore’s department indicates it is opposed to the change since it stems from a lack of understanding about how statutory damages work. The letter states:

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March 6, 2012 7 comments News

All Your Internets Belong to US, Continued: The Case

Imagine a scenario in which a country enacts a law that bans the sale of asbestos and includes the power to seize the assets of any company selling the product anywhere in the world. The country tests the law by obtaining a court order to seize key assets of a Canadian company, whose operations with hundreds of employees takes a major hit. The Canadian government is outraged, promising to support the company in its efforts to restore its operations.

That is the opening of my technology law column this week (Toronto Star version, homepage version) which continues by noting this scenario became reality last week, though the product was not asbestos and the Canadian government has yet to respond. The case involves, a Canadian-owned online sports gaming site and the country doing the seizing was the United States. Supporting online gaming operations will undoubtedly make governments somewhat squeamish, but the broader implications of last week’s seizure touch on millions of websites and Internet companies who now find themselves subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

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March 6, 2012 30 comments Columns