Archive for August, 2021

DANGER INTERNETS AHEAD by Les Orchard (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cSsSX

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 99: “They Just Seemed Not to Listen to Any of Us” – Cynthia Khoo on the Canadian Government’s Online Harms Consultation

Late last month – just weeks prior the national election call – Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault released plans for online harms legislation with a process  that was billed as a consultation, but that is probably better characterized as an advisory notice, since there are few questions, options or apparent interest in hearing what Canadians think of the plans. Those plans include the creation of a bureaucratic super-structure that featuring a new Digital Safety Commission, a digital tribunal to rule on content removal, and a social media regulation advisory board. In terms of illegal content, the proposed legislation envisions a myriad of takedown requirements, content filtering, complaints mechanisms, and even website blocking.

Cynthia Khoo is an Associate at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law in Washington. She is also the author of a ground-breaking Canadian study for LEAF, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, on holding digital platforms accountable for technology technology-facilitated gender-based violence. She joins the Law Bytes podcast in a personal capacity to discuss the government’s consultation and her recent report.

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August 23, 2021 9 comments Podcasts
Agir Pour La Liberte D'Expression by Deb Ransom https://flic.kr/p/2m7BZ4U Public Domain

The Conservative Election Platform: Freedom of Expression Commitment Tainted By Support for Payments for Links, Restrictions on Fair Dealing

The Conservative Party released its election platform yesterday, providing a lengthy document that covers a myriad of policy issues. From a digital policy perspective, there are positions sprinkled throughout the document, covering everything from a new innovation policy (an issue that the Liberals de-emphasized over the past two years and the Conservatives are right to target) to labour rights for gig workers.

On many issues, the reality is the policy platform isn’t all that different from the Liberal government’s approach.

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August 17, 2021 15 comments News
Coursepacks by Jason Jones (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/27cQjXR

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 98: Kim Nayyer on the Supreme Court of Canada’s Landmark Access Copyright v. York University Copyright Ruling

The Supreme Court of Canada recently brought a lengthy legal battle between Access Copyright and York University to an end, issuing a unanimous verdict written by retiring Justice Rosalie Abella that resoundingly rejected the copyright collective’s claims that its tariff is mandatory, finding that it had no standing to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement on behalf of its members, and concluding that a lower court fair dealing analysis that favoured Access Copyright was tainted. The decision removes any doubt that the Supreme Court remains strongly supportive of user’s rights and vindicates years of educational policy in shifting away from Access Copyright toward alternative means of ensuring compliance with copyright law.

Kim Nayyer is the Edward Cornell Law Librarian, Associate Dean for Library Services, and Professor of the Practice at Cornell Law School. She appeared before the Supreme Court in this case, representing the Canadian Association of Law Libraries as an intervener. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the case and its implications for the future of copyright, education, and collective rights management.

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August 16, 2021 4 comments Podcasts
My iPhone usage: 36 minutes a day during the week before Christmas by Can Pac Swire https://flic.kr/p/RTN3zs (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 97: John Lawford on Why the CRTC Should Take Action on Inadequate Low-Cost Wireless Plans

The CRTC’s wireless decision earlier this year dubbed the “MVN-no” decision given its very limited opening to mobile virtual network operators in Canada sparked widespread frustration with the Commission. That decision included one less discussed element, however, namely the expectation that the major wireless carriers would introduce low-cost plans to ensure connectivity for low-income Canadians. Those plans were recently introduced, but John Lawford, the Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, wasn’t impressed. He wrote to the CRTC asking the Commission to take action over plans that aren’t even offered under the main carrier brands. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about that issue, the ongoing concerns with the wireless affordability in Canada, and the deepening frustration with the CRTC.

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August 9, 2021 4 comments Podcasts
Spin by Rex Dingler (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/3nyyzk

Same Old Spin: Why Access Copyright Needs a Reality Check on Canadian Copyright

Last week’s Supreme Court of Canada copyright decision in Access Copyright v. York University has unsurprisingly been applauded by the education community, which having faced years of litigation launched by the copyright collective, now finds its position vindicated. With the court resoundingly rejecting Access Copyright’s claims that its tariff is mandatory, finding that it had no standing to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement on behalf of its members, and concluding that a lower court fair dealing analysis that favoured the copyright collective was tainted with “a fairness assessment that was over before it began”, there is little doubt about which party prevailed. Yet Access Copyright has returned to its longstanding playbook of downplaying Supreme Court decisions and misleading its own members in the process.

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August 5, 2021 12 comments News