The role of the public and the public interest has factored prominently into many of the Law Bytes podcast conversations. For the 100th episode, Osgoode Hall Law School Professor David Vaver, widely viewed as Canada’s leading IP expert, joins the podcast. The recipient of the Order of Canada, Professor Vaver provided the scholarly grounding for the emergence of user rights in copyright in Canada and around the world. In this episode, he gives a masterclass on the history of copyright, the emergence of user rights, Supreme Court copyright jurisprudence, and potential future copyright reforms.
The Liberal party released its election platform yesterday and perhaps everything you need to know can be gleaned from the fact that Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault posted multiple tweets about plans for new cultural spending initiatives and Internet regulations in French without a single English language tweet. This is surely not a coincidence since the government’s digital policies have long been designed to curry favour in Quebec, even at risk of angering voters in the rest of Canada. Based on decision to forge ahead with Internet regulations with enormous implications for freedom of expression, alienating voters in the rest of Canada that have raised concerns with policies such as Bill C-10 is not a worry for the Liberal government.
Neither, it would seem, is the affordability of Internet and wireless services, which do not receive a single mention or direct policy measure. In doing so, the party has seemingly abandoned wireless competitiveness as an issue and unequivocally sided with the big telecom companies despite presiding over some of the world’s most expensive wireless services. The party platform is titled “Forward for Everyone” but not everyone moves forward in quite the same way with big telecom companies moving further ahead than Canadian consumers.
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.
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.