The CRTC has finalized its anti-spam regulations
, retaining some notable new disclosure requirements for some software installations. The requirements were opposed by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and Research in Motion, who both asked for the requirements to be either dropped or significantly changed. The regulation requires
A computer program’s material elements that perform one or more of the functions listed in subsection 10(5) of the Act must be brought to the attention of the person from whom consent is being sought separately from any other information provided in a request for consent and the person seeking consent must obtain an acknowledgement in writing from the person from whom consent is being sought that they understand and agree that the program performs the specified functions.
The functions listed in 10(5) of the Act are:
(a) collecting personal information stored on the computer system;
(b) interfering with the owner’s or an authorized user’s control of the computer system;
(c) changing or interfering with settings, preferences or commands already installed or stored on the computer system without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(d) changing or interfering with data that is stored on the computer system in a manner that obstructs, interrupts or interferes with lawful access to or use of that data by the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(e) causing the computer system to communicate with another computer system, or other device, without the authorization of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(f) installing a computer program that may be activated by a third party without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system; and
(g) performing any other function specified in the regulations.
While this is obviously designed first and foremost at spyware, it targets many other possibilities including the infamous Sony rootkit case and other attempts by software or app developers to unexpectedly collect personal information or interfere with a user’s computer. It could also have an impact on some digital rights management systems, raising interesting questions about the interaction between these requirements and the digital lock rules in Bill C-11.
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The Business Software Alliance has issued its annual Global Software Piracy report with some positive words for Canada. Consistent with my column this week on how claims that Canada is a piracy haven is rhetoric over reality, the BSA study notes that Canada had one of the sharpest declines in […]
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Felix Salmon debunks recent claims of a $500 million seizure of counterfeit software, demonstrating why the claims are enormously overstated.
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A blog reader has passed along a legal demand letter they recently received from Smart & Biggar, a leading Canadian IP law firm, representing the Entertainment Software Association. The letter focuses on the sale of modification devices – frequently referred to as "mod chips" that can be used to modify or alter store-bought video games or play infringing copies of those games. Mod chips have been rendered illegal in the U.S. and U.K., while Australia's High Court upheld their legality in 2005 (the law was changed under pressure from the U.S. last year).
The letter argues that the ESA has both trademark and copyright rights in the video games. In addition to pointing to Section 27 of the Copyright Act as governing the sale or distribution of unauthorized software, the applicability of criminal offences under Section 42 of the Copyright Act, and the fraud provisions of the Criminal Code, it claims:
"any use, offer for sale or sale of modification devices, or 'mod chips' to permit circumvention of our clients' consoles security systems to play pirated or counterfeit software, is also an offence and constitutes direct or indirect infringement of our clients' intellectual property rights by inducing and procuring infringement by others of our client's aforesaid rights."
Given that the letter makes no reference to patent rights, the intellectual property referred to in this sentence is presumably copyright. This raises at least two issues.
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