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Screenshot of 21st ANNUAL REPORT ON GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ADVERTISING ACTIVITIES 2022 to 2023, https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/pspc-spac/documents/rapports-reports/2022-2023/adv-pub-2022-2023-eng.pdf

Bid to End Crown Copyright is Back: MP Brian Masse’s Bill C-374 Would Remove Copyright from Government Works

Crown copyright, which grants the government exclusive copyright in any any work that is, or has been, prepared or published by or under the direction or control, has long been the focus on copyright and open government advocates who have called for its elimination. Under the current system of crown copyright that dates back for decades, government departments can use copyright to limit the publication or distribution of public works. While the government moved away from paid licensing to a non-commercial licence in 2010, commercial uses are still subject to permission and licence. The issue was one of the most controversial at the 2019 copyright review with the committee split on the issue: the government supported the creation of an open licence, while both the Conservatives and NDP backed its elimination altogether.

While debate over crown copyright continues (this 2019 Law Bytes podcast episode with Amanda Wakaruk and Jeremy de Beer focused on it), NDP MP Brian Masse has been a consistent advocate in favour of its elimination. There have been bills to eliminate crown copyright that date back to the 1990s, but Masse has introduced several crown copyright bills in recent years. Last week, he did it again with Bill C-374.

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February 14, 2024 6 comments News
Source code security plugin by Christiaan Colen CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/xp2RBy

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 192: Kate Robertson on the Privacy, Expression and Affordability Risks in Bill C-26

Bill C-26, alternately described as a cyber-security, critical infrastructure or telecom bill, remains largely below the radar screen despite its serious implications for privacy, expression, and affordable network access. The bill is currently being studied at a House of Commons committee that seems more interested in partisan political gamesmanship rather than substantive hearings. Kate Robertson is lawyer and senior research associate at the Citizen Lab in the Munk School at the University of Toronto who is a former criminal counsel and the co-author of one of the most extensive Bill C-26 committee submissions. She appeared last week at the committee studying the bill, but with limited opportunity to engage on the issues, she joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the bill, the concerns it raises, and some of the potential fixes.

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February 12, 2024 3 comments Podcasts
House of Cards by Victoria Pickering CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/SVn4VL

The House of Cards Crumbles: Why the Bell Media Layoffs and Government’s Failed Media Policy are Connected

Bell’s announcement this week that it is laying off thousands of workers – including nearly 500 Bell Media employees – has sparked political outrage with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterizing it as a “garbage decision.” The job losses are obviously brutal for those directly affected and it would be silly to claim that a single policy response was responsible. Yet to suggest that the government’s media policy, particularly Bills C-11 and C-18, played no role is to ignore the reality of a failed approach for which there have been blinking warning signs for years. Indeed, Trudeau’s anger (which felt a bit like a reprise of his Meta comments over the summer) may partly reflect frustration that his policy choices have not only not worked, but have made matters worse.

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February 10, 2024 14 comments News
Ekō (formerly SumOfUs), CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Booklet_Delivery_to_EU_Parliament_-_Strasbourg,_2023.jpg

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 191: Luca Bertuzzi on the Making of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act

European countries reached agreement late last week on a landmark legislative package to regulate artificial intelligence. AI regulation  has emerged as a key issue over the past year as the explosive growth of ChatGPT and other generative AI services have sparked legislation, lawsuits and national consultations. The EU AI Act is heralded as the first of its kind and as a model for Canadian AI rules. Luca Bertuzzi is a Brussels-based tech journalist who was widely regarded as the leading source of information and analysis about the unfolding negotiations involving the EU AI Act. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to explain the EU process, the ongoing opposition by some countries, and the future steps for AI regulation in Europe.

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February 5, 2024 2 comments Podcasts
RealID notice, TSA pre-check line, Dulles Airport, Washington, DC, USA by Cory Doctorow CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/Rswr4J

Bill S-210 is Just the Beginning: How a Canadian Digital Lobby Group is Promoting a Standard to “Foster Widespread Adoption of Age Verification Technologies in Canada”

This week’s Law Bytes podcast features a revealing discussion with Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, the chief architect and lead defender of Bill S-210 or the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act. It may be the most dangerous Internet bill you’ve never heard of since it contemplates measures that raise privacy concerns, website blocking, and extend far beyond pornography sites to include search and social media. The bill started in the Senate and is now in the House of Commons, where last year Conservative, NDP, and Bloc MPs voted alongside a small number of Liberal MPs in favour of it at second reading and sent it to committee for further study. The government has called the bill “fundamentally flawed”, but there may be sufficient House support to turn it into binding legislation.

While Senator Miville-Dechêne emphasizes stopping underage access to sexually explicit material and her view that that goal merits site blocking and mandated age verification even for some uses of Google and Twitter, a new standards initiative suggests that some envision far more extensive use of mandated age verification systems. The Digital Governance Council is one of several Jim Balsillie-led organizations focused on influencing government digital and innovation policy. Its CEO is Keith Jansa, who Senator Miville-Dechêne identified in the Law Bytes podcast as her source for providing assurance of the privacy safeguards in the bill.

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January 31, 2024 19 comments News