Post Tagged with: "blacklock’s"

Username and password 20170626, Santeri Viinamäki, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Huge Win for Copyright User Rights in Canada: Federal Court Rules Digital Lock Rules Do Not Trump Fair Dealing

The Federal Court has issued a landmark decision (Blacklock’s Reports v. Attorney General of Canada) on copyright’s anti-circumvention rules which concludes that digital locks should not trump fair dealing. Rather, the two must co-exist in harmony, leading to an interpretation that users can still rely on fair dealing even in cases involving those digital locks. The decision could have enormous implications for libraries, education, and users more broadly as it seeks to restore the copyright balance in the digital world. The decision also importantly concludes that merely requiring a password does not meet the standard needed to qualify for copyright rules involving technological protection measures. If this all sounds technical, this post provides the necessary background and then reviews the decision.

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June 1, 2024 11 comments News
read-2007118_1920 CC0 Creative Commons https://pixabay.com/en/read-learn-school-student-2007118/

Fair Dealing and the Right to Read: The Case of Blacklock’s Reporter v. Canada (Attorney General)

My fair dealing week posts conclude with a look at the link between fair dealing and the fundamental right to read (previous posts focused on the lawsuit to recover overpayments from Access Copyright, the importance of fair dealing for creators, freedom of expression, and news reporting). The critical importance of fair dealing as a user’s right was demonstrated in the 2016 copyright case between the Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based online paywalled news site, and the federal government. Blacklock’s, which has filed multiple lawsuits against government departments, sued the Department of Finance for $17,209.10 over two articles that were sent to government officials from a paying subscriber concerned with comments found in the article. The articles were subsequently forwarded to several media relations personnel within the department.

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March 2, 2018 2 comments News
New article in Professional Artist magazine. by Gwenn Seemel https://flic.kr/p/C6ftqz (CC BY 2.0)

Federal Court Rules Against Blacklock’s: Business Models Always Subject to Copyright Fair Dealing Rights

The Federal Court of Canada issued its much anticipated copyright decision yesterday in the lawsuit launched by Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based online paywalled news site, against many government departments. I discussed the case in a Canadaland podcast earlier this year, highlighting some of Blacklock’s business strategies that include using the access to information system to trace the use of its articles by government subscribers and recipients of articles from third parties. Blacklock’s sued the Department of Finance for $17,209.10 over two articles that were sent to government officials from a paying subscriber concerned with comments found in the article. The articles were subsequently forwarded to several media relations personnel within the department.

The court acknowledged that there are concerns with some of Blacklock’s business practices (the government argued that it engages in copyright trolling), but concluded that it could address the case with only a fair dealing analysis. Affirming well established Supreme Court jurisprudence on fair dealing, the court emphasized that fair dealing is a user’s right that must not be interpreted restrictively. In this case, the court had little trouble finding that the department’s use of the articles qualified as fair dealing given that it was done for a proper research purpose, involved a limited distribution, the originals were obtained legally by a paying subscriber, and officials had a legitimate interest in reading the articles in order to hold Blacklock’s to account for questionable reporting.

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November 11, 2016 2 comments News
paywall_nyt by Christoph Borer (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/czkcBm

Flawed Copyright Case Places Spotlight on Canada’s Digital Lock Problem

Does asking a friend for a copy of a newspaper article from a subscription website constitute copyright infringement? According to an Ottawa small claims court, it does.

The court recently issued a deeply flawed copyright ruling, providing a timely warning about the dangers of Canada’s restrictive digital lock rules that were enacted by the Conservatives over the strong objection of many copyright watchers.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the case involved the president of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), who received an email from Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based political publication, advising that he was quoted in an article discussing a recent appearance before a House of Commons committee. The man did not subscribe to the publication, which places its content behind a paywall, so he contacted a member of the association who was a subscriber and asked if he could see a copy of the article. When Blacklock’s Reporter learned that he had received a copy from the subscriber, it demanded that he pay for a full subscription or face a copyright infringement lawsuit.

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November 10, 2015 9 comments Columns