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Pablo Rodriguez tweet, May 3, 2022 https://twitter.com/pablorodriguez/status/1521467518149402624

Standing on a Shaky Foundation: What Lies Behind The Near-Impossible Challenge of Updating Canada’s Outdated Cancon Rules

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who is hosting a culture summit this week in Ottawa, has said that he is open to modernizing the definition of Canadian content and that he is “open to all kinds of suggestions and ideas.” I’ve devoted many posts to the Cancon definition issue (even creating a Cancon quiz), noting that the current system is a poor proxy for “telling Canadian stories.” This system matters since the government’s Internet regulation policies are ostensibly designed to support Canadian content, but if the existing definitions don’t do that, they cannot reasonably be expected to achieve their objectives.

While I’m supportive of Rodriguez opening the door to reform, I have my doubts the government will make any significant changes to the current system. The challenge is that Cancon policy stands on a shaky foundation that is really three policies in one: an economic policy, a cultural policy, and an intellectual property policy. These three policies are often at odds with one another and used by politicians and lobby groups interchangeably to justify mandated contributions, content regulation, and foreign ownership restrictions. When the data doesn’t support one of the policies, they simply shift the discussion to one of the other policy objectives.

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May 4, 2022 8 comments News
copyright reasons by gaelx (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bx59Gn

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 127: Lucie Guibault on Canada’s Approach to Copyright Term Extension

Last week, the government took another step toward copyright term extension in Canada, inserting extension provisions within Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Budget Implementation Act bill.  Despite recommendations from its own copyright review, students, teachers, librarians, and copyright experts to include a registration requirement for the additional 20 years of protection, the government chose to extend term without including protection to mitigate against the harms.

Lucie Guibault is an internationally renowned expert on international copyright law, a Professor of Law and Associate Dean at Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and the Associate Director of the school’s Law and Technology Institute. Days before the release of the bill, she joined the Law Bytes podcast for a discussion on copyright term extension, its implications and the government’s implementation options.

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May 2, 2022 1 comment Podcasts
David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic at the Creative Commons Global Summit 2017 by Sebastiaan ter Burg (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/THdYmQ

The Canadian Government Makes its Choice: Implementation of Copyright Term Extension Without Mitigating Against the Harms

The Canadian government plans to extend the term of copyright from the international standard of life of the author plus 50 years to life plus 70 years without mitigation measures that would have reduced the harms and burden of the extension. The Budget Implementation Act, a 443 page bill that adopts the omnibus approach the government had pledged to reject, was posted late yesterday by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s department and could be tabled in the House of Commons as early as today. Page 328 of the bill features the shoehorned amendments to the Copyright Act, including an extension of the term of copyright. While the government is not making the change retroactive (meaning works currently in the public domain stay there), no one seriously expected that to happen. What many had hoped – based on the government’s own committee recommendations and copyright consultation – was to introduce mitigation measures to reduce the economic cost and cultural harm that comes from term extension. Instead, Freeland, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, and Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez have chosen to reject the recommendations of students, teachers, universities, librarians, IP experts, and their own Justice Minister.

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April 27, 2022 5 comments News
what I should be studying... by Jonathan Coffey https://flic.kr/p/JPyac (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

What is the Logic Behind The Logic’s Demand for Internet Platform Payments?

The Logic is a Toronto-based news startup that focuses on the innovation economy. Launched in 2018, it has attracted some great reporters with a subscription-based business model that starts at $299 per year. I’ve been a subscriber for several years, dating back to when it began providing extensive coverage of the Waterfront Toronto – Sidewalk smart city project and I was serving as chair of the Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory Board. The site, which tends to produce one or two new articles per day, uses a hard paywall as nearly all articles – other than an occasional Letter from the Editor – can only be accessed by paying subscribers.

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April 26, 2022 14 comments News
transparency by Alec Perkins (CC BY 2.0)  https://flic.kr/p/TjPJkb

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 126: Why Canada’s Online Harms Consultation Was a Transparency and Policy Failure

This week’s Law Bytes podcast departs from the typical approach as this past week was anything but typical. As readers of this blog will know, last week I obtained access to hundreds of previously secret submissions to the government’s online harms consultation. Those submissions cast the process in a new light. This week’s Law Bytes podcast explains why the online harms consultation was a transparency and policy failure, walking through what has happened, what we know now,  and how this fits within the broader Internet regulation agenda of the Canadian government.

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April 25, 2022 0 comments Podcasts