The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has released its final report on CASL, Canada’s anti-spam legislation. While some groups pleaded for a legislative overhaul – Scott Smith of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce “urge[d] this committee to take a stand on this legislation and make recommendations for a significant overhaul” – the committee adopted a far more cautious tone, limiting the recommendations on substantive provisions to “clarifications” of the law. The emphasis on clarification (it even appears in the study title) is clearly intentional, stopping short of specifying any precise legislative amendments. I appeared before the committee, arguing that spam and spyware pose real risks and that there is evidence that the law has been effective in reducing spam and improving the effectiveness of electronic marketing.
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The Fight for Fair Copyright Returns: Canadian Government Launches Major Copyright Review
The Canadian government kicked off its review of the Copyright Act this afternoon with a motion to ask the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to conduct a study on the issue. The formal launch had been expected for months since the 2012 reforms included a mandatory review of the law every five years. Lobby groups have been steadily gearing up for the review, with some hoping to undo some of the balancing provisions of the last reform process or demanding new restrictions. Indeed, restrictions on fair dealing, takedown rules, website blocking, and copyright term extension will undoubtedly figure prominently in the lobby playbook. Yet for millions of Canadians, the copyright review offers an opportunity to ensure that the law meets the needs of education, innovation, consumer rights, and creators with more flexibility in the form of fair use and restoring neutrality on Canada’s restrictive digital lock rules.
The Case for CASL: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology
The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is conducting a review of CASL, Canada’s anti-spam law. While the usual critics are out in full force, I had the opportunity to appear before the committee yesterday to explain why there is real harm, why CASL has helped solve the problem, and why claims that the law is overbroad are overstated. Of particular note was the discussion involving the significant decline in the number of major spamming organizations operating in Canada since the law took effect. Three years ago, Spamhaus’ Register of Known Spamming Organizations listed Canada as home to 7 of the top 100 spamming organizations worldwide (who are responsible for 80% of global spam). Canada’s presence on the ROKSO list has been dramatically reduced with only two Canadian-based organizations remaining on the list, suggesting that spam originating in Canada has experienced a significant decline. My full opening remarks are posted below.
Toward a Canadian Knowledge Transfer Strategy: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology recently launched a study on intellectual property and tech transfer, which it hopes will feed into the government’s national IP strategy. I appeared before the committee yesterday, which provided an opportunity to provide a perspective that shifted away from encouraging greater university patenting and instead emphasized that the real goal should be knowledge transfer, not just tech transfer. I noted that knowledge transfer certainly incorporates tech transfer but it also includes research papers, data trials, educational materials, and highly qualified students and personnel. My opening remarks also highlighted potential strategic reforms including emphasizing open access, crafting an anti-IP abuse statute, and expanding fair dealing with additional categories or adopting fair use provisions. The ensuing discussion touched on a wide range of issues, including patent and copyright trolls. My opening remarks are posted below.
Fixing the Digital Privacy Act: My Bill S-4 Appearance Before the Industry Committee
Yesterday I appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to discuss Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act. The discussion focused on a wide range of concerns, including the shortcomings in the security breach disclosure rules and the need for greater enforcement powers for the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Metro News covered the appearance. My opening remarks are posted below. I’ll link to the full transcript once available.