In 2017, I filed an access to information request with Global Affairs Canada seeking records related to the creation of the WIPO Internet Treaties more than 20 years earlier. The timing of the request was not accidental. The exception for cabinet confidences in the Access to Information Act no longer applies after 20 years and my hope was to gain insights into the government’s thinking during the negotiation process that might have previously been publicly unavailable. The request took a long time to process and the department still withheld many records on a range of grounds. I rarely appeal to the Information Commissioner, but in this case I did. Last week, the Information Commissioner determined that my complaint was well-founded, but Global Affairs and its Minister, Melanie Joly, have thus far refused to abide by the ruling.
Archive for October, 2023
“A Lack of Commitment to Transparency and a Failure of Leadership”: Melanie Joly and Global Affairs Ignore Information Commissioner Ruling in My Request for Decades-Old Copyright Records
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 182: Inside the Hearings on Privacy and AI Reform – My Industry Committee Appearance on Bill C-27
After months of delays, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology has finally begun to conduct hearings on Bill C-27, which wraps Canadian privacy reform and AI regulation into a single legislative package. Last week, I appeared before the committee, making the case that the process is need of fixing and the bill in need of reform. The appearance sparked a wide range of questions from MPs from all parties. This week’s Law Bytes podcast takes you inside the committee hearing room for my opening statement and exchanges with MPs.
Several weeks ago, the CRTC released the first set of what is likely to become at least a dozen decisions involving the Online Streaming Act, formerly known as Bill C-11. One of those decisions involved establishing which services would be required to register with the CRTC as part of new registration requirements in the law. That sparked an immediate public debate over the scope of the registration requirements and their potential applicability to podcasts. This week’s Law Bytes podcast tries to set the record straight: the registration rules – and even the forthcoming regulations – will not regulate what you can say on a podcast nor do they establish a government podcast registry. However, the registration rules and the forthcoming regulations will have a direct or indirect impact on podcasts.
The Broadcasters’ Online News Act Submission: Demanding An Even Bigger Piece of the Bill C-18 Pie for Bell, Rogers and the CBC
The government has yet to release its final regulations for the Online News Act, but recent comments from News Media Canada seemed to suggest that it is hoping to find common ground with Google, stating that it supports the company’s proposed amendments to Bill C-18 draft regulations. While that may be a long shot – I posted that Google’s call for legislative changes signals that it has arrived at the conclusion that regulations alone cannot fix the foundational flaws in the law – the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has created yet another complication. The lobby group representing private broadcasters such as Bell and Rogers isn’t looking to find a compromise position. Instead, its submission indicates that wants all broadcasters (which given the law would include the CBC) to get an even bigger portion of the potential Bill C-18 revenues by expanding the definition of “journalist” to include everyone from sound and video engineers to researchers and fact checkers. The expansive definition prioritizes many broadcasting jobs, which would mean conventional newspaper services likely would get even less than the current estimate of 25% of revenues.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 180: Victoria Owen Sets the Record Straight on the State of Canadian Copyright Law and Content Licensing By Libraries and Educational Institutions
Since the Canadian copyright law reforms in 2012, education and libraries have increased spending on licensing and a non-partisan House of Commons study found no need to create new restriction on education and library copying rights. Yet with misinformation flooding the copyright debate, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations recently spoke out in an effort to set the record straight. Victoria Owen, a leading expert on copyright and libraries, is the chair of the CFLA copyright committee. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the CFLA statement and copyright law in Canada.